April 2020 ‎| Birchbox Beauty Box Review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Birchbox Beauty Box Review

It’s been so long since I last reviewed a beauty box. I still subscribe every now and then but either I have been too lazy/busy/not great enough to publish a review or I just lost interest in writing it. However since the lockdown, I have had more time to myself and able to show some love on the blog again… especially now that I have had a big influx of people passing by since quarantine, it’s nice to keep busy whilst I’m off work. I also purchased March’s Birchbox which you can read here.

April’s Birchbox Review

First of all, I have to give a huge kudos points for Birchbox’s packaging for April’s box. It’s stunning. Photos actually do not do it any justice, it’s really amazing. This May’s box packaging is also fantastic and totally unique so check that out too.

The design was created in collaboration with Anthropologie – a lifestyle-fashion brand that sells everything from clothing and jewellery to homeware, beauty and gifts. Their designs are funky, unique and fun. I’m a big fan of their homeware and gifts section, I really like their fun and colourful prints. It’s one of the reasons why I really wanted to try out this April’s box.

Can I just say… I am really excited to try all of the products in this box! Apart from This Works and Percy & Reed, I’ve not heard of the other brands before. It might just be because I’ve been away from beauty boxes for a while but it’s a nice treat for me.

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The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Birchbox Beauty Box Review
Birchbox X Anthropologie
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Birchbox Beauty Box Review
Lots of fab goodies to try!

So what’s inside…

  • KNDR Mood Balm in Positivity Pink
  • Huygens Infusion Blanche Purifying Face Wash
  • Brushworks Silicone Cleansing Pad (Birchbox exclusive!)
  • This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
  • Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness No-Fuss Fabulousness Dry Shampoo

KNDR Mood Balm
I received this lip balm in Positivity Pink which is actually a bright purple colour. Once you apply the lip balm, the colour changes according to your lip’s natural pH level and adjusts to your very own tone of pink. Mine came out a light, bright pink. When Little Miss put hers on more, she came out with a subtle fuchsia colour. Very pretty and fun to use. It glides on smoothly and left my lips feeling soft. It’s also very hydrating, I got a few hour’s wear out of it before needing to re-apply.

 

 

I really love the packaging of the mood balm – the feminine design is super cute! The outer packaging is made from card and the inside packaging is card with a plastic applicator. It seems like a good idea but if water gets onto the balm, I’m not sure it’ll last! I’m also not the neatest with lip colours and you can see from the image, I already smudged the colour onto the white bit of the packaging already! I also chipped the top of the lip balm but let’s pretend you don’t see that. 🙂

Huygens Infusion Blanche Purifying Face Wash

During summer my skin tends to produce a little more oil than normal so I usually swap out my creamy cleanser for a gel cleanser or wash. I will be trying this one out and let you know how it goes. The face wash states that cleanses effectively without stripping essential moisture from the skin and is suitable for all skin types. Containing a blend of tea-tree (anti-bacterial), aloe vera (skin repairing) and glycerine (hydrating), this purifying face wash looks like it will re-balance skin types and leaves skin cleansed and clear. It does remove makeup but I’m not sure if it’s suitable for eyes.

Brushworks Silicone Cleansing Pad
This is a Birchbox exclusive product and one of the products I was really looking forward to use. Made from ultra-hygienic, flexible silicone with tiny bristles, it’s designed to lift away impurities and makeup whilst gently exfoliate the skin. Definitely gentle enough to use every day. Again, another product great for all skin types especially dull and dehydrated skin. I’ll be using this in conjunction with my Huygens face wash but also with my Aromatherapy Associations creamy rose cleanser.

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
This stuff smells super calming. The relaxing scent of lavender, chamomile and vetivert will definitely help to soothe your senses. It’s also been clinically proven to help you sleep quicker than usual and wake up feeling more refreshed. I’ll try it and let you know as I already have a product which I use when I’m feeling restless (Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax roller ball). It’s the sedative aroma of vetivert that sends you off to sleep and it’ll take a lot to sway me from my AA roller ball, however I will say that a spray is definitely easier to dispense.

Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness No-Fuss Fabulousness Dry Shampoo
This product is not CG-friendly as it contains alcohol denat but I might give it a try near to the next time I’m doing a clarifying wash just to see how it works on my hair. I’m not usually a fan of dry shampoo but they do come in handy if you’re spending a night out or away from home ie on a city break, camping, glamping or on a trip where you aren’t able to take all your haircare with you.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Birchbox Beauty Box Review

So.. yay or nay?

Definitely YAY! I am so glad that Birchbox’s April beauty box was a hit with me. I remember a time when I loved beauty boxes so much but then what happens is the products start accumulating and I also end up receiving a lot of doubles from the boxes.

I love the fact that with the beauty boxes you can subscribe and un-subscribe whenever you want. There’s no contract to tie you down and if you want to save even more on your boxes, you can choose to pay for 3, 6 or 12 boxes in advance. If you’ve never given Birchbox a try but have tried other brands, let me know what you think of the box. Would you ever give it a try or do you think they’re all too samey-samey?

I hope you enjoyed this review, if you’d like to see more please do leave me a comment or click the like button if you’re also on WordPress! 🙂

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Want to give Birchbox a try?
You can subscribe online or find out more here: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/subscribe

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The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

My Top 5 natural facial cleansers for all skin types

Cleansing your face should be one of the first and most important step in your skincare routine. It preps the skin for the next steps in your routine and is a must for those who don’t have a routine in place. With slightly more time on our side now, kick-starting your skincare routine might be a good idea plus it allows you to have more self-care time. 🙂

Why use a facial cleanser?

Cleansing helps to remove dirt and debris sitting on the skin – this goes for men and women. Think of it like washing your hands. Most cleansers will removes face makeup effectively but not all of them will remove eye-makeup or waterproof mascara so read the labels carefully. If the cleanser doesn’t state it removes eye-makeup then it won’t be gentle enough to use on eyes or take it off effectively. Micellar water is usually your best option for eye makeup removal and they’re usually a 3-in-1 (makeup remover, cleanser, toner) which means you can use it all over the face with no need to rinse off.

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Skin types can be broken down into the following categories: 

  • Dehydrated – skin that lacks water; parched skin can feel tight, it can look dull and sallow, uneven skin tone/texture, can also become red, sensitive, congested 
  • Combination – a combination of two or more skin types, generally combination skin is oily and dehydrated
  • Dry or Ageing – skin that lacks oil; rough texture, looks dry and flaky look, can be itchy, dry skin is more prone to ageing ie. visible lines and wrinkles are more prominent
  • Oily – skin texture may be thick and consistently shiny, may also be congested and/or acne-prone, if acne is active the skin can become red and sensitive
  • Sensitive – skin that suffers from redness, feels sore or irritated, affected by the environment (sun, heat, cold), may suffer from rosacea, reactive to ingredients in products, medication or diet, may also become prone to breakouts

I’ve not listed ‘normal’ skin types as even this skin type can become dehydrated so if you have normal skin, look for products that can improve dehydration and/or radiance.

The different types of facial cleansers out there:

  • Balmrich texture that is nourishing and comforting
  • Creammedium-rich texture that is heavier than gels or oils but lighter than balms,  moisturising and hydrating
  • Gel – lightweight texture that usually foams, leaves skin feeling refreshed and/or slightly astringent
  • Oillightweight to medium-rich texture that glides on the skin smoothly, usually great at removing all types of makeup including waterproof eye makeup
  • Micellar watervery lightweight, used on the face to remove makeup usually including eyes, cleanses and tones the skin without the need to rinse off

There are other types which include foaming washes, cleansing milk, 2-in-1 cleansers, solid bars, and cleansers that emulsify to a ‘milk’ before washing off.

Everyone’s skin type is a little different and can change depending on climate, weather and even the environment. Check out how your skin looks and feels regularly and if needed, switch up your cleanser but no more than twice a year (cold and hot seasons). I live in London, UK which is usually cold but I can tell that in ‘summer’ months, my skin is a little more dewy and hydrated so I’ll switch to a lighter cream cleanser or gel/foaming wash cleanser.

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My top natural skincare cleansers for your skin type

As a natural skincare junkie (and spa therapist) I’ve come across quite a few skincare cleansers. Some I love, some others love and some that are questionable. All of the cleansers I’ve listed below are labelled as suitable for all skin types but I’ve included my recommendations for which skin type I think is would get the best results from them. Ingredients like rose, aloe vera and glycerin are great for hydrating the skin – something which all skin types can benefit from.

None of these cleansers do not contain sulfates, parabens or silicones. As good practice, I’d advise you to always check the full ingredients list just in case. A cleanser might market itself as sulfate-free but could still contain parabens or silicones.

I’ve included the full list for you below too… you’re welcome! 🙂

Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating Renewing Rose Cleanser

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beauty: Natural Facial Cleansers of 2020

This light but creamy cleanser smells gorgeous and feels so smooth on the skin. We use the AA brand at the spa – this natural brand that really does its job. As the cream is lightweight, it really is suitable for all skin types especially normal/dehydrated, sensitive and combination skin types. This is one of the few cleansers that can be used directly on the eyes to remove eye makeup and doesn’t sting the eyes.

Apply on with clean hands using circular motion and rinse off with water. As an extra step I like to rinse then use my wet face cloth to buff the skin so I’m getting a deeper cleanse and a little exfoliation. It’s really easy to use.

[Full ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Phenoxyethanol, Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Water, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Linalool*.]
*Natural Essential Oil Contents.

I’d highly recommend this for: dehydrated skin, dry/ageing skin, combination skin, sensitive skin


Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beauty: Best Natural Skincare Cleansers

The Pro-Collagen range from Elemis has been their bestselling collections for over 5 years. I used Elemis during my training days and it’s a wonderful brand; it smells divine and products incorporate a lot of science to deliver on results. It’s much more science-y than Aromatherapy Associates and so they used to contain more chemical nasties however their new formulations now are more gentle and they’ve cut out a lot of those chemicals. This product doesn’t state it can be used on eyes to remove eye makeup so I wouldn’t suggest it. If you do, then do it with caution at your own risk.

It’s only rich once you put it on but that’ll change. Massage the cleansing balm into the skin using circular upward motions to work it into the skin to loosen up the makeup and dirt. Add a little water (emulsify) to get it going, this will allow the makeup to lift off the skin. Once it turns into a milk you wash it off and pat dry, leaving you with baby soft skin.

[Full Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-8 Beeswax, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry) Oil, Sorbitan Stearate, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Silica, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glycerin, Lecithin, Borago Officinalis (Starflower) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Cera (Wax), Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Acacia Decurrens (Mimosa) Flower Cera (Wax), Rosa Multiflora (Rose) Flower Cera (Wax), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Tocopherol, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavandin) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cinnamomum Camphora (Ho Wood) Wood Oil, Mentha Arvensis (Mint) Leaf Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Menthol, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Citric Acid, Linalool, Geraniol, Eugenol, Citronellol, Limonene]

I’d highly recommend this for: dry/ageing skin, dehydrated skin, combination skin


Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beauty: Natural Facial Cleansers of 2020

This cleanser was one of the first natural products I tried and I do love it still. The smell of the cocoa butter with the menthol aroma of eucalyptus reminds me of chocolate-minty goodness. It can be used over the eyes to remove makeup but the menthol might sting a little if you have sensitive eyes.

This rich cleanser needs to be applied similar to the Elemis cleanser, dispense 1-2 pump(s) into your hands and massage onto your face and eyelids. Make sure you massage all of the cleanser in then rinse the cloth in hot (but not boiling) water and wring out excess water. Use circular motions to remove the cleanser off.

[Full ingredients: Aqua (water), Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl esters, Cera alba (beeswax), Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan stearate, Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, Humulus lupulus (hops) extract, Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, Propylene glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Benzoic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Sorbitol, Limonene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl biguanide, Citric acid, Sodium hydroxide.]

I’d highly recommend this for: oily/congested skin, combination skin, dehydrated skin


A’kin Cleansing Micellar Water

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beauty: Natural Facial Cleansers of 2020

Micellar water is actually one of my favourite beauty bag staples. Simply because you can take it with you anywhere, use it to remove makeup or even just freshening up your skin when out and about. A’kin’s micellar water is super gentle and can be used on all skin types. It’s cooling on the skin and removes eye makeup pretty well. It has a really fresh cucumber scent (one of its main ingredients) so if you’re not a fan of cucumbers, this may not be one for you. This micellar water is totally water-based however you can find some other micellar water includes oils.

Can be used to remove eye makeup. Simply use with cotton pads and wipe over eyes, face and neck area. No need to rinse off.

[Full ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water *+, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Green Tea)*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice*+, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract*, Glycerin*, Ethylhexylglycerin, Heptyl Glucoside*, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate*, Sodium Levulinate*, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid*, Linalool^.]
+Certified organic.  *Botanical source.  ^From essential oil.

I’d highly recommend this for: sensitive skin, dehydrated skin, combination skin


REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beauty: Natural Facial Cleansers of 2020

I’m not a massive fan of gel cleansers however they are slightly better for my dehydrated skin in the summer than full-on foaming wash cleansers. Gel cleansers are super lightweight but will contain some lightweight oils to keep skin moisturised and balanced. I find gel cleansers also work best on combination and oily/congested skin types but ideally could be used for all types. Dry/ageing skin types might find that gel cleansers do not provide enough moisture or hydration and will probably do better with a creamier cleanser.

Apply onto skin with wet hands or emulsify gradually with water to cleanse the skin, avoiding the eyes. Rinse off with water and pat dry.

[Full ingredients: Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Coco Glucoside, Polysorbate 20, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Potassium Sorbate, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Parfum* (Fragrance), Rosa Damascena Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Lactic Acid, Citronellol, Geraniol]
*100% Natural Fragrance – Parfum 100% Naturel

I’d highly recommend this for: combination skin, oily/congested skin, dehydrated skin, sensitive skin

There you go!
It’s not a comprehensive list but enough to get you looking around and get you started this Spring on your skincare journey. Do you have a favourite cleanser? Let me know in the comments section what you think of these recommendations and whether you agree. x

Happy #WellnessWednesday


NB. this post contains affiliate links

Health: 5 ways on how to relieve flat feet pain

Like many people, I suffer from fallen arches, also known as “flat feet”. It’s not something I had noticed until my late teenage/young adult years as I’ve never really worn high heels so just assumed that the pain from wearing them was due to infrequent wear and not because I have very low arches in my feet.

When I was pregnant with Little Man I started becoming more susceptible to ankle sprains and whilst pregnant (last trimester) with Little Miss, I badly sprained my left ankle walking home one night by missing a step on to the pavement from crossing a road. I remember the crunching sound was so loud I thought I broke my whole ankle but surprisingly was still able to hobble home with a 15mins walk. It swelled that nice and became extremely painful when I got home and sat down.

I carried out the RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) and eventually made an appointment to see the GP but it was too late. The GP confirmed I had torn the whole ligament and because I left it so long (3 months post sprain), it will never fully heal as I was supposed to strengthen the ankle and foot muscles as soon as the ankle was healing and had no pain. Since then I have been extremely cautious – even now, my ankle sometimes gives way and I get mini-sprains but I can carry on with normal activities.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog / photo: Unsplash

With my low foot arch and being prone to ankle sprains what else? I also suffer from over-pronation. What’s that you ask? Over-pronation is when the feet roll/tilt inwards either due to foot alignment or fallen arches. This can cause knee and hip problems in some people. I think most people with flat feet would suffer from some degree of over-pronation. Stability shoes are recommended for us over-pronators but they usually look bulky or just plain ugly.

So how can you relieve flat feet pain?

There’s many different ways but here are five ways which I think are simple yet practical and effective…

1. Choose shoes that support your feet

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to relieve flat feet pain

Working as a spa therapist, I am always on my feet and on top of that, either in bare feet or super flat shoes. Standing for long periods of time can also take its toll on flat feet, resulting in flat feet pain.

Recently I started suffering from really bad feet pain and I couldn’t understand why. After coming home from work I would soak and massage my feet, rest them but they were still in pain. It then dawned on me that it could be due to standing for prolonged periods, combined with flat shoes that offer no support. So I did some research and looked for decent-looking shoes with support. I first checked out Sketchers as my sister said they’re a good brand for support shoes but I wasn’t attracted to any of the designs. They either looked really ugly but practical or just plain bulky. Their trainers looked nice but unfortunately we are not allowed trainers at the spa.

I then discovered FitFlop and saw they had a few nice designs. I’ve always wanted a pair but could never afford buying at full price but they currently have a spring offer on and found a pair I absolutely love!

FitFlop | The Greenwich Mummy Blog

The Übernit Bow Ballerinas shoe is not only cute, it’s also practical and super comfortable. The breathable knit material is comfy, soft on the skin and lightweight making it ideal for a warm spa environment. The soles are slip-resistance which helps when performing massages so no more need to do it barefoot on hard floors!

The shoes are ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort, thanks to FitFlop’s Anatomicush technology. They give my fallen arches that extra bit of support. Since wearing these babies, my feet don’t hurt as much by the end of the day and some days they stop hurting at all so result! If you work a job that requires you to be standing, walking or just being on your feet all day definitely have a look for a shoe that has good cushioning to give you support and avoid those super flat shoes at all cost. They may look pretty but in the long run, they’ll do more harm than good.

2. Strengthen your (foot) muscles

A no-brainer here. If you experience pain in your feet, it could be due to weakened muscles. Just like any other muscle in your body, the muscles in your feet also need to be worked on and strengthened, especially considering how much we actually use it.

Like our gluteal muscles (bum muscles in layman’s terms) – they are one of the largest muscle groups in our body but are the least worked. The muscles weaken, eventually cause a posterior imbalance that leads to lower back pain and other postural issues. You can find many foot strengthening exercises online; the most popular ones are:

  • Toe curls “toe-towel pickup”
  • Heel lifts
  • Inner and outer edge rolls

Check out this article by Runtastic which has all the exercises above plus a couple more. Ideally aimed at runners but can be for anyone with feet pain. You can also find a couple of other exercises on Arthritis Research UK which also gives you a printable PDF option.

3. See a foot specialist (podiatrist, also known as a chiropodist)

If you’re lucky enough to be referred on the NHS then great but if you’re like me then you will need to look private. According to my local complementary therapies centre, Blackheath Complementary Health Centre who does offer chiropody/podiatry services, an initial 30mins consultation will set you back around £45 and follow-ups around £40 for 30mins. This is quite a reasonable price as I have seen some places charging a lot more by the hour.

Some footwear stores, especially running trainer stores like Asics offer free gait analysis checks in store so you can see discover the pronation of your feet; which would be either over-pronated (feet roll in), under-pronated (feet roll out) or neutral (neutral alignment). If you love going for a jog or run, or run professionally then choosing footwear best suited your pronation can improve your performance and help with stability.

**update** I had my podiatrist appointment and she told me that my feet and femur are anatomically misaligned so there is a natural deformation of the bones – that caused my over pronation and with also having flat feet, my feet are basically F’ed up. She told me I can no longer wear flip flops and I have to buy only stability trainers/shoes from brands like Skechers, Fitflop or Asics and choose the footwear that offers good arch support. That, and the constant wear of orthotic insoles that I can get from Amazon for around £10.

4. Treat your feet to some R&R

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to relieve flat feet pain

Having a good foot soak once a week is a brilliant thing to do and we really should take the effort to make time for our feet.

Feet get neglected a lot until summer when people want pedicures to show off their cute tootsies but it’s not good enough. I’ve set myself a new wellbeing task of treating my body monthly to some good ol’ pampering. Either I do it myself, or if I have a bit of cash then book in for a treatment. In winter, I treated my toes to paraffin wax pedicures which was AMAZING. If you don’t know about this treatment then google it and get ready to book yourself one asap!

Anyone can carry out a good foot soak at home, either in the bath or with a bowl of warm/hot but not boiling water and add in some bubble bath and you’re good to go. You can get fancy and add in bath salts or epsom salts which help refresh tired feet and even essential oils. Finish off the treat by drying feet thoroughly with a towel and massaging in a nourishing foot cream or oil. Put on socks to help the products penetrate a little deeper into the skin.

If you prefer something more luxury, have a look for a foot spa, you can get a decent one from Amazon for around £30-40 but check whether it can be used with bath salts or scrubs if you intend on using those.

5. Put the skyscraper heels away!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to relieve flat feet pain

High heels can give feet pain due to the curvature of the arch in high heels design. Swelling can offer, especially around the ankles due to pressure.

Most people with flat feet will find that they can’t wear high heels or any heels over four inches because of the shortened arch muscles. As the arch is low or completely flat, it cannot extend properly to accommodate the height and curvature of high heels.

Medium, low or kitten heels are the best options for flat-feeters wanting heels. Alternatively, if you crave the height you may be able to get away with blocky platform heels as they offer additional height to the whole foot and the chunky heel provides more stability.

FitFlop sale! Up to 50% off + EXTRA 20% off almost everything with code FLASH20!


This post contains affiliate links

Winter hair care: tips and hacks

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Winter Hair Care Tips

It’s #WellnessWednesday!

Looking after your hair is a daily task all year round, but when the winter comes there are a few things you need to pay particular close attention to. You’re under attack outside from the weather and inside from the dry heat so, if not looked after, your hair is susceptible to damage.

Let’s take a look at some of the best winter hair care tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to you…

Protect your hair from harsh conditions

Winter brings cold air, rain and plenty of wind, all of which can wreak havoc with hair. Not only with the way your hairstyle looks, but with the condition too. With that said, it’s key to protect your locks from the elements to help keep it in the best condition possible. Whether you go for a hat, wrap or scarf, cover up when you have to be outside in nasty weather.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Winter Haircare Tips & Advice
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Watch your water temperature

There’s no doubt that the temptation is to crank up the heat when it’s cold outside. All you want when you step into your bathroom after being outside is the comfort of a hot bath or shower and that’s fine. However, be careful with the temperature you use to wash your hair as excessive heat can cause damage. Stick to warm or even cool water and your scalp won’t dry out.

The Greenwich Mummy | A Family Lifestyle Blog

Deep condition

Moving on from watching the water temperature, let’s look at treating your hair and scalp. They really will take a battering in the winter and a little regenerative treat is really going to help them stay moist. Consider a deep conditioning treatment once a week to combat the weather conditions and the dry heat that’s caused by having your heating on so much. The final point on washing and conditioning is that it’s important not to overdo it. Stick to two to three times a week maximum.

The Greenwich Mummy | A Family Lifestyle Blog
Photo by NastyaSensei Sens from Pexels

Go easy with the styling

It’s clear that our hair has a lot to deal with in winter and you don’t want to add to the stress it’s under. Something that will make a big difference is if you can lay off heavy styling. Overusing products can cause problems, so when you can go natural do so, or try to keep their use down to a minimum. Steer clear of the harsh heat if you can too, especially intense blow drying and straightening with irons. It can actually be quite easy to style without heat and if you’d like to know how to straighten hair without heat just click here.

Keep it trim

Another temptation in winter is to let your hair grow. It’s difficult sometimes to get the motivation to keep on top of things as we all go into semi-hibernation, but getting regular trims is a good idea. Trimming the dry, brittle and split ends will really help keep your hair in good condition at this time.

Looking after your hair in the winter months doesn’t have to be that tricky. From making sure you protect your hair from harsh weather conditions to going easy with products and knowing how to straighten hair without heat, you just need to follow a plan.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Winter Haircare Tips & Advice

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If so, don’t forget you can share this post with your friends and family by hitting the share button below. #sharingiscaring 🙂


A collaborative post by Joana Teixeira from AllThingsHair.com |

Featured image by freestocks.org from Pexels

Healthy hair & skin: quick fixes for busy women

Happy #WellnessWednesday! With the cold weather fast approaching, here are some hair and skincare hacks to stop you looking less than perfect…

As all mothers know, time management is a must, and anything that could potentially interrupt the morning routine is a big no-no. When you’re in a hurry the last thing you need is bad hair or skin, and the time it takes to rectify those issues. Fear not though, with an action plan you can hide and fix all manner of beauty problems without losing too much time. Let’s check some out.

Tame tangled hair
You wake up, the kids are round your ankles, you need to get everyone ready but your hair looks like a bird’s nest. We’ve all been there, but don’t stress! This is where the detangling brush comes in. Just work section by section and you’ll soon be tangle free.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair and Skincare

There are so many detangling brush benefits versus the ordinary brush and comb:

  • Pain free – you won’t have to tug anywhere near as hard to remove the tangles
  • Quick – much more so than the usual options
  • Gentle – they’re designed to release knots in a much more efficient manner, so less damage occur
  • Versatile – they work on all different hair types

Hide poor condition
Sometimes you wake up and your hair looks awful to you, whether it’s greasy, dry or lifeless. You haven’t got time to bring it back to top condition so it’s time for a quick fix. Step forward the tried and trusted ponytail. This timeless style doesn’t just hide a multitude of sins; it takes no time to do and still looks great. Twist it, tie back on the side or add a few accessories if you’ve got the time, and inclination, to make it more glamorous. Also, having dry shampoo in stock is always a great and quick help.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair and Skincare
Hide poor hair condition in an updo, or a ponytail

Fight the breakout
You’re awake, you take a look in the mirror and your skin is looking pretty dry. Don’t fret about that, this doesn’t have to take ages to fix. Moisturiser is an obvious one but you can give it a boost by mixing with a face serum. This is a double-pronged attack that’ll give your face a glow and make it feel better too. Prevent this in future by investing in a quality night cream, and make sure you always remove your make-up before you go to sleep. Investing in a skin brush to slough away the superficial layer of dead skin cells can help keep skin clean and spots at bay. You can even choose from a manual one or electric one.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair and Skincare
Keep skin healthy and moisturised

Clear those puffy eyes
Ever woken up and your eyes haven’t got the message? We all have. Puffy, red and looking as though you should be heading for bed, rather than ready to take on the day. Don’t worry, a combination of cold and moisture is going to do the trick. If you’ve got ice packs pop them under or over your eyes for a few minutes. This will clear the puffiness and shrink the vessels that have given you that red eye look. Alternatively, chuck a couple of spoons in the freezer whilst you get breakfast and then hold them over your eyes. If you’ve got time flick the TV on for the kids and put slices of cucumber over your lids to get some much needed moisture in. Failing that, try cold water.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair and Skincare
A cold spoon over the eye area can help reduce puffy eyes

When you’ve got kids, time is precious and these quick fixes are really going to help you claw back a few minutes. From the benefits of a detangling brush to the use of cold compresses on puffy eyes, there’s plenty that can be done. Before you know it, everyone (including you) will be ready to tackle the day!

A contribution post by Joana Teixeira

Tea or Coffee: Which is best to support a healthy lifestyle?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There are many ways to help lead a healthy lifestyle and most people follow the ones that work best for them. The ways to do that include working on your diet, exercise and mental state, to become healthier and happier. The UK is well-known as a nation of tea drinkers – that’s black, breakfast type teas, rather than the fruity options preferred in other countries. And, while coffee is also a popular drink across the UK with around 70 million cups enjoyed every day, tea consumption is more than double with around 165 million cups consumed on a daily basis… but which is best for supporting a healthy lifestyle?

Tea?

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Photo by Drew Taylor on Unsplash

Tea has many benefits, including the fact that it is chock full of beneficial antioxidants. In most cases, tea usually contains more water than coffee (unless you’re among the few who take their coffee black). In particular, black tea is linked to improved health, from as far back as five thousand years. Green tea (including matcha) are also seen as a particularly healthy option and its ingredients are linked with weight loss and also as having an anti-depressant effect. Unlike green tea, matcha is made from whole tea leaves that has been grinded into a fine powder. Matcha can also be enjoyed with dairy, non-dairy, and nut milks.

Source: Pixabay

In addition, all types of teas that come in the bag form, are a doddle to make, so an easy option for a hot, refreshing beverage.

Coffee?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Coffee, meanwhile, has in the past, been blamed for increasing stress, and bouts caffeine addiction. But, is it really as bad as some people say? Apparently not. Recent research shows that coffee consumption is a beneficial ingredient of a healthy lifestyle. That’s good news for the over 80% of households who buy coffee for the home, or the 80% who enjoy a café-made coffee! Specifically, a higher intake of coffee is associated with a lower risk of death. That’s a pretty important lifestyle issue! So, while taking the time to create a cup of coffee might take longer than your average refreshing cup of tea, it’s certainly worth the extra effort and equipment that’s needed.

And the Winner Is… Both!
Drinking either tea or coffee – or both – is a healthy option that will supply you with numerous benefits. Of course, try not to drink too much of either. After all, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

A diet that’s varied and full of different ingredients and flavours is the healthiest and most enjoyable kind of diet. It helps keep the food you eat and beverages you drink interesting and means you’re always finding new tastes and cooking styles to amaze your palate and assist you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle!

Photo by Alondra Olivas on Unsplash
Photo by Alondra Olivas on Unsplash

A contribution post by freelance writer, Jane Sandwood

Throwback Thursday: The Scarlet Spain Newquay Cornwall

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall

This week’s Throwback Thursday goes to the wonderful girly spa trip to The Scarlet Hotel & Eco Spa in Newquay, Cornwall. Blissful and beautiful! It was an amazing two nights we stayed in Newquay and visited this stunning eco-friendly spa. With an naturally-filtered outdoor pool, an outdoor hot tub, beautiful relaxation lounge looking outside, and sleeping pods that hang from the ceiling, cocooning you in warmth and comfort.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
The view from the spa reception
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
The naturally filtered outdoor pool

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall

We only booked in for spa access so I can’t comment on the treatments or the treatment room but can say that the standard of this hotel spa is one of the best I’ve been to. The decor is beautiful and serene and the relaxation lounge is large enough to accommodate both spa only guests and those booked in for treatments or day packages. There was also a soothing relaxation room with bean bags and low lights which I fell asleep in. I remember being so tired I started snoring in there but there was hardly any other guests apart from us that day so it was like having the spa all to ourselves!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
Relaxation lounge
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
Relax on the loungers or beanbags and look out at the pool and beyond
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
The beautiful indoor pool

The Scartlet Spa facilities:

  • Indoor swimming pool 13m x 4m cleansed by low dosage bromine
  • Outdoor barrel cedar sauna
  • Steam room
  • Cliff top outdoor swimming pool (filtered by reeds)
  • Cliff top hot tubs – looking out across the ocean
  • Uplifting relaxation area – overlooking the natural pool and out to the ocean beyond Meditation room
  • Deep relaxation space, a quiet space with hanging canvas pods to curl up in

 

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
Cocooning myself in the sleep pod
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
Me enjoying the heated spa pool 🙂
#TBT
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Scarlet Eco Spa & Hotel in Newquay Cornwall
Panoramic view overlooking The Scarlet Spa in Cornwall

Have A Massage, It Helps!

The Greenwich Mummy | UK Family Lifestyle Blog

So last night I had LO in bed with me and for some reason I can never sleep good on a low pillow, my head has to be raised at all times but with LO in bed I adopted a weird sleeping position and as a result, I really messed up my neck. The muscles are tight and stiff I could hardly move my head properly at work and was in constant pain.

A lovely colleague gave me a very brief but well-needed massage on the back of my neck and rubbed some Aveda Blue Oil on there – I am not joking, I could immediately feel some relief from the stiffness. I think it was the massage that did the job but the oil really helped to calm and relax me which helped to take away some of the tension I kept feeling.

It just made me aware how important having a massage can be for our bodies and how we can really benefit from a good massage. When I worked in my previous job as a spa therapist, a regular massage was always on the books as we had to make sure we really looked after our well-being. Now being in two office jobs, I’ve realised that a massage is even more important if you sit at a desk all day; (1) because it does nothing good to our health to be sitting and staring at a screen non-stop for about 4 hours, and (2) Repetitive Strain Injury is one of the most common work-related illnesses we can get as well as depression, back problems, bad posture and anxiety.

Massage can really help to alleviate these conditions and by promoting better wellness, we can live better and work better. Not only are their physical benefits to massage, there’s also psychological benefits too. It has been proven through scientific case studies and medical journals that massage can help to relieve stress as well as help relax stiff muscles and ease tension in the body. In some cases, massage had also helped reduce depression and anxiety.

As a busy working mum, my lifestyle can take its toll on me. All that bending up, down, and sideways to carry him plus all the house chores (bending back to scrub the bath, mop and sweep the floors) and at work sitting slouched at the PC really doesn’t do my body any justice. I’ve not get the best back as I suffer from a lot of back pain since my teens (I’m only 25!) so I know I should really watch my posture but when LO has priority in my life, I just forget about me. Most of the time, I just ‘get by’ with what I’m doing however I know in the long-term, my body could just give up due to exhaustion which is what I really don’t want to happen so I really need to sort myself out now.

So my advice for everyone this week is to have a massage. Whether you do it yourself, get a friend or family member to do it for you, or book in with a massage therapist, I highly recommend you add it to your lifestyle choices to give you that little bit of extra “me-time” but to also care for your body… after all, they do say “always look out for number one” 🙂

 

#WellnessWednesday

How To Do Spa Facials At Home

*Warning: Lengthy post*

For #WellnessWednesday, I thought it would be nice to do an in-depth “How-To” blog post. Coming from a spa industry background, I know how important it is to look after yourself from the inside out. One of the best things about spas is that it is a sanctuary not just for your body, but also for your mind and spirit – it’s the place of recuperation and improving your well-being.

People nowadays are far too stressed and so busy that they don’t fully take the time to relax – I know I am one of these people most of the times which is why I try to take some time out after LO goes to bed to rest my body and my mind. It’s nice to be able to have a facial at the spa – you can unwind and de-stress whilst the therapist gets to work on your skin, making it more radiant and youthful. However sometimes you just can’t get away or money is low and you are stuck for months without a good skin cleanse.

That is why this post is here to help! Below are 5 easy steps how you can achieve spa facial results in the comfort of your own home.

How To Do Spa Facials At Home

Step 1 – Cleanse

If you have makeup on, I recommend doing a “double-cleanse” to ensure that your face is thoroughly cleansed. To do this, use a makeup remover then use a cleanser to thoroughly cleanse the skin. After you have thoroughly cleansed your skin, rinse off with water and pat your skin dry, never rub.

Top Tip: Micellar water is a great alternative as it removes all your makeup (including waterproof mascara) and doesn’t need to be rinsed off – There really is no excuse to sleep in your makeup!

facial cleanse
Step 1: Cleanse

Step 2 – Exfoliate

When exfoliating, don’t be tempted to over-do it as over-exfoliating your skin as it can cause the skin to become sensitive, easily irritated and even break out. When rinsing off your exfoliator make sure you take time to do it thoroughly because you don’t want residue left on your skin when you do the next steps.

After exfoliating, steam your face with a facial steamer that you can buy online, or simply use a face flannel. Make sure it is hot but not boiling then place the flannel over the face for 30 seconds. Adding lavender or tea tree essential oil to a corner of the flannel will give you that spa-like pampering experience. Lavender and tea tree have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties so they can help with congestion or problematic skin.

Top Tip: Products with salicylic acid works best as it’s an active ingredient that helps remove dead skin cells. If you have congested skin, you are better off with a daily powder or enzyme-active product, avoid abrasive types as this can cause your spots to spread through bacteria if they burst.

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Step 2: Steam & Exfoliate

Step 3 – Massage

Massage, I believe is the reason why spa facials work and it’s the reason why you see results so quickly compared to doing just your skincare routine effectively. The reason being is that massage helps the muscles to relax and repair as well as help push the products deeper into the skin. A good facial massage at a spa takes around 15mins however at home, you are most probably short for time but even a quick facial massage is more beneficial than none. Click here to watch Lisa Elridge’s facial massage routine which I highly recommend. Those draining and lifting techniques will help to tone up the skin and flush away toxins.

Top Tip: You don’t need any fancy-shmancy facial oils. Simple oils such as coconut, grapeseed, rapeseed or olive oil are all excellent choices and all natural.

facial massage
Step 3: Massage

Step 4 – Mask

You can choose any type of face masks – it all depends on what you want out of it. If you have problematic/acne/congested or oily skin, use a purifying clay one or a peeling one. If you have no skin concerns or slightly dehydrated skin go for a hydrating face mask. If you have dry skin use a moisturising one to put back the moisture in to your skin. If you have easily irritated skin, use masks specially designed for sensitive skin types.

Top Tip: You only need a face mask twice a week at most, sometimes you can skip this step if you feel that your skin doesn’t need any extra help or if you have no real skin concerns and just want a quick-fix facial.

facial mask
Step 4: Mask

Step 5 – Tone & Moisturise

Toner is good for the skin as it helps to remove any remaining products on your skin, tightens the pores and provides additional hydration to the skin. Blot off any excess toner with a tissue or cotton pad.

Choose a moisturiser that is made for your skin type. If you have fair skin, it’s recommended that you use a moisturiser with built-in SP 30+ factor. You should also think about getting a day and night cream as night creams can help improve skin cell renewal.

Top Tip: If you prefer something more “natural”, swap the toner for rosewater which does the same job and is usually cheaper than good toners. Avoid any toner with Alcohol Denat especially if you have dry or sensitive as this can dry out the skin even more.

facial moisturise
Step 5: Moisturise

I hope you enjoyed reading this in-depth guide on how to do your own spa facials at home. If you do give it a try, let me know how it went!

Happy #WellnessWednesday

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My Review On The Wahanda App

In response to the Professional Hairdresser’s Wahanda App Anniversary

To celebrate #WellnessWednesday, this review is all about the Wahanda App. Wahanda is an online service platform that offers you all types of hair, beauty and spa treatments from thousands of providers all around the UK. The site launched its own app last year (downloaded 250,000 times in its first year) and around 20% of app users book their treatments within three hours which is an astonishing rate for a newcomer. Last week, the company’s app turned one!

What’s Wahanda?
Wahanda is like the Groupon of the spa/hair/beauty world. If you are looking for a cheap spa day or a group booking at your nearest 4* hotel spa, they will be able to find it for you. The salons and spas that join the site are very competitive with each other. To attract customers, the best companies would upload a brief description, a full price list and a list of special offers with value-for-money discounts. Another way of gaining customers is to also add a  description or further information about the treatments, which is what I personally look for. If you’ve never tried a certain treatment before but are interested in it, you want to be able to read about it so you know exactly what to expect and then be able pick out the right one for you.

“Wahanda is like the Groupon of the spa/hair/beauty world…”

The Pros
Now let us talk about the actual app… I love the app, I really do. It’s amazingly easy to use and everything is laid out clearly (with a clean design) to make navigating around the app a doddle. 🙂 You can search for treatments using the little icons (hair, beauty, spa, etc) or you can use the search tool which brings up a wide range of relevant results.

There are also filters which you can set to refine your search even more i.e. by distance, price range, user ratings (we all love reading reviews from others who have experienced it before us).

The Cons
The only thing that brings the app down for me personally, I would say, is the amount of time it can take to load. No matter how many software updates I complete to make sure the app is up-to-date, it’s as slow as a snail. My iPhone takes forever to load up the pages and then at times, it randomly crashes even though I have the latest software iPhone 4S can offer. (Maybe it works better on newer models?) I am not sure if it’s the app that causes the problems for my phone or whether my phone just can’t support this kind of app but whatever it is, it makes me so annoyed as I don’t have forever to wait around for my searches to show. Sometimes I get so fed up, I end up checking out the site on Safari page instead as it seemed to load up faster.

Summary
Overall, the Wahanda app is a brilliant service. If you love to check out spa deals or want to book your next beauty treatment that’s right for you, download the app to your iPhone or android phone. It’s completely free and you can create your profile account on it which saves all of the information you’d want to keep i.e. preferences, favourite salons, name and email address, etc which can also be accessed via the full site or mobile site.

Here are the salons to me that I’ve found on the app around Greenwich:

  1. Ayurveda Pura Health Spa & Beauty Centre, North Greenwich
  2. The Day Spa, Blackheath
  3. Precious Skin Laser Clinic, Blackheath
  4. Eizun Day Spa, Greenwich

I’m seriously in desperate need of a good facial, preferably a deep-cleansing one (or microdermabrasion) to get the skin cells renewing a bit better in time for summer…. All that’s left now is to book!

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UPDATE TO POST – 01/03/2016

As of 2016, Wahanda has now been rebranded as TreatWell