• THE CUTEST BAG AND THE ISSUE OF ETHICS IN FASHION

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    I’ve been lusting after this little bag since I first spotted it on the Stella McCartney website a while back. I held back because it’s cheaper to buy from the Irish online store than the American one but now that I’m back in Ireland, I couldn’t resist. When I ordered it, I was so afraid that my iPhone 6 plus wouldn’t fit. I genuinely thought I would have to return it.  Thankfully, it just fits, because I love this little bag so much. And I mean it just fits, a millimetre or two more and I probably wouldn’t get it in (that’s what she said…..yeah.)

    So this bag is not cheap. It’s the most I’ve ever paid for a hand-bag. But I was tired of my bags falling apart. When I love something, I wear it to death. Literally. I’ve had so many handbags fall apart on me and it’s so annoying because then I have to go look for another one that’s just going to fall apart on me as well. This is my second Stella McCartney bag; the first one I got last July and I have used it pretty much daily. It shows basically no sign of wear. It’s not falling apart, the lining doesn’t have any holes, the stitching isn’t coming undone. Apart from the white details on it looking a little bit dirty, it’s like new. Now I’m not saying you can’t get a cheaper bag that wears well, but in my experience, it’s hard to find one that has longevity when buying from the high street. I can literally feel how well made this bag is.

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    But beyond this, I love Stella McCartney. Not just for the designs, but because they’re probably the most famous brand that is focused on improving ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry. I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost and I would recommend it to everyone. It’s very educational about sweat shops and how people in the supply chain are treated, as well as the environmental impact the fast fashion industry has on nature and villages. To summarise, the fast fashion industry treats people like shit and is ruining the planet in many different ways. It is not sustainable. These are things everyone should know about. But the trouble is, even when you know about and want to change you’re buying habits, there aren’t many great alternatives.

    Firstly, you can buy from ethical companies that use sustainable practices. But these are far and few between. Even online it’s hard to find shops with a lot of variety; I’ve been trying to find companies for a while now and I still only have a limit selection. They also tend to have limited sizing and can be a bit expensive. Then there’s designer clothing. And while I’m okay with buying a few handbags from Stella McCartney, so many designer items are over-priced. You might be paying for the fact that is wasn’t made in a sweat shop but you’re also paying for the name. Not only do I not like that, I don’t have the money for it. Again, limited sizing is also an issue. I’m not saying I’ll never buy a designer clothing item but they’re never going to fill my entire wardrobe.

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    Then there’s second hand clothing shops. This is something I want to explore more but honestly, our second hand stores in Ireland are not great. In the U.S., they are big and have a lot of options. The ones in Dublin are small and cramped. It’s hard to find anything good, and it’s hard to find things that fit. Altering clothes or just making your own is something else one can do, and I do want to experiment with this, but again, right now that isn’t going to work for my whole wardrobe.

    These issues seems to be gaining more and more attention in regards to the fashion industry but change is happening very very slowly. There are tons of people talking about it online, but the Ted Talks on the issue date back years and are unfortunately still extremely relevant. It’s hard for me because clothes are my thing. I love clothes. But I also want to be a responsible and compassionate member of the human race. I think the answer is keep doing research but ultimately, don’t be too hard on yourself. Am I never going to buy anything from a fast fashion brand again? No. It’s not feasible for me. But am I going to think twice about it? Yes. Am I going to continue to look for alternatives and buy from them when I can? Yes. Doing their best with what they’ve got is all anyone can do but I really would love to see some bigger shifts in the industry starting to happen.

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    Dress – ASOS (old)
    Cardigan – ZARA (old)
    Boots – Vegan Doc Martins
    Bag – Stella McCartney

    Jane x

  • ALL ABOUT BED OF NAILS ACUPRESSURE MATS

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    I know the spikes look scary. They look like they hurt. And they do, a little bit. But you do get used to it very quickly, I promise. You can always put a layer of fabric between you and the spikes to ease yourself into it if you want. But honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary. I wouldn’t say I have the biggest pain threshold and I can handle it. Now that that’s out of the way….

    What are acupressure mats and how do they work?

    The mat is based on the theory that the body is lined with pressure points which, when stimulated, release the body’s natural pain-relieving hormones, similar to acupuncture but this doesn’t involve breaking the skin. The idea for the mat comes from the bed of nails concept which originated in Asia over 1,000 years ago and was used by gurus in the practice of meditation and healing. These gurus would lie on sharp metal nails with heavy blocks stacked on top of them and while this idea can be a bit shocking, it’s not as painful as it may seem as the weight of the body and the blocks is distributed evenly across the nails. The same is true of this modern day equivalent, which is made up of a thin foam mattress with more than 8,000 non-toxic plastic spikes, harmless to the skin, but boosts the same numerous healing benefits, inducing deep relaxation.

    In fact, the Bed of Nails website states that if used regularly for a long enough period of time their products can:

    • Improve circulation
    • Increase energy level
    • Reduce blood pressure
    • Reduce stress and anxiety
    • Alleviate headache
    • Relieve tension and muscle aches
    • Improve sleep and relieve insomnia
    • Relieve chronic neck and back pain
    • Activate the parasympathetic nervous system
    • Benefit weight loss by reducing cortisol levels
    • Improve heart rate variability
    • Revitalize and rejuvenate
    • Improve skin complexion
    • Relieve constipation
    • Alleviate malaise

    That’s a hell of a lot of benefits. I haven’t used my consistently enough to see all of them, but I’ve found even occasional use can help. I got my mat over a year ago because I was having trouble sleeping. I’ve had sleeping problems on and off for years, so I’m always looking for things that can help. And this definitely helped. It’s a weird sensation at first, not quite painful but you can feel the spikes. After a few minutes though, I always start to relax. I would love to be someone who meditated but I struggle with being able to shut off, however this mat helps me feel more at peace and allows me to just lie still for a while.

    After about 10 minutes, I can feel my circulation start to increase as my back starts to heat up. Honestly, the experience is hard to describe but I really enjoy it. Although the sensation when you sit up after lying on it for a while is so bizarre. I’m still not sure if I love it or hate it; it’s pain and pleasure all in one! Speaking of pain, I’ve also found the mat really helps when I have a sore back. My boyfriend’s job involves manual labor and he’s also used it to help reduce tension and pain in his muscles.

    I only recently purchased the neck pillow because I’ve been experiencing pain and stiffness in my neck but I hate massages (weird, I know…). After using it 3 tries, I’ve already noticed a difference. I really do want to start using both the pillow and the mat as frequently as possible because I don’t doubt that their products can produce all of those benefits they state on their website.

    Note: Both my pillow and mat are from the company Bed of Nails. I haven’t done a ton of research but I think you can find cheaper options out there, I just like the quality of their products.

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    Jane x

  • WHAT ARE JADE FACE-ROLLERS AND HOW TO USE THEM

    If you haven’t heard of jade face rollers before, it’s basically just a piece of smooth jade that you roll over your face. They’re very simple to incorporate into your route but they have a lot of benefits; I got mine over a year ago and still absolutely love it. I’ve also gifted them to multiple people after they tried mine and needed one in their lives.

    The Chinese have used the healing properties of jade and deep massaging action to transform skin and facial contours for centuries (my online research tells me it dates back to at least the 7th century). It helps your body’s filtration organs and lymph system to expel toxins meaning that if you’re experiencing sinus pain, this help alleviate the pressure and keeps everything moving. I developed allergies for the first time last autumn and my face roller helped me deal with the blocked up feeling and reduce the pain. I also find it great to use on a plane or just after traveling because my sinuses tend to get sore and stuffed up.

    The jade roller also increases blood flow, promoting cell turnover which helps with spots and keeping your skin looking young. The boost to your circulation also helps improve elasticity and decrease puffiness. I’ve definitely noticed my skin looking fuller and it has a bit more of a glow. I keep my roller on my windowsill and we normally leave our window open so it gets a bit cold (you can get the same effect putting it in the fridge) which makes it really soothing. Jade is a naturally cold stone, even when it’s at room temperature, but this extra temperature drop is even more refreshing.

    I have the medium Yu Ling roller from Cult Beauty, but I do actually want to try the double one that has a smaller roller on the other end that you can use to use on under-eyes circles. There’s quite a few different places online that sell face rollers in different price ranges, just make sure it’s real jade and not a plastic knock-off.

    HOW I USE IT: 

    I roll it over my face and up my neck after cleansing my skin and applying my face oil, which helps really work the oil into my skin and increase the benefits. I roll it in movements from the centre of my face outward, concentrating on rolling from my nose along my cheekbone towards my ear, as that’s were I get a lot of congestion. I then roll from the bridge of my nose along my eyebrow bone and up my forehead. I roll just above my jawline, again from the centre of my face outward. Finally, I roll up my neck. I do play around with all this a bit though and just do whatever feels good at the time.

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    I highly recommend a Jade face-roller to everyone, regardless of age or skin type. They’re universal, nice to use and have an amazing amount of benefits.

    Jane x

  • MY SCRAPBOOK

    I’ve always loved the idea of scrapbooking. I literally have boxes of tickets and other mementos at home. I have such a terrible memory so I think that’s part of the appeal, I’m just drawn towards different ways to keep records of events and things that happen to me because I know I can’t rely on my own mind. The problem is, I also love crafting so I always get carried away and in the past, I’ve spent over a week working on the first 2 pages of a scrapbook before getting distracted and not continuing it.

    However, I was really inspired by Gabriella Lindley’s (VelvetGh0st) scrapbook, which was mainly pictures.  It wasn’t as detailed as the ones you see on Pinterest but it was something I felt was achievable. Last year was pretty crazy for me; I moved to another continent and did lots of fun new things, so I decided to back track quite a bit and make a scrapbook for all of 2016 using the photo stream on my phone as a guide.

    I order a bunch of photos from here and sorted out all the mementos I had. I bought a black paper sketch pad (here) and a silver gel pen (here) from Amazon. I also used multiple glue sticks, super-glue and the label maker my boyfriend got me for Christmas (here). I love scrapbook paper and washi tape but I knew if I started down that rabbit hole, I would never get it finished.  It still did take me a bit of time but I’m pretty proud that I managed to complete it.

    PLAYING AROUND WITH LAYOUTS

    When I printed my photos from the Social Print Studios website, I got 5 different types that they offer: Mightly photos, Miniprints – Rectangular layout, Miniprints – Square layout (these are the ones that look like polaroids)  and Squares. I tried to play around with different layouts, some pages have a lot going on, some are more simple. I dedicated multiple pages to bigger events, but put multiple smaller fun times on the same page. I used my label maker to make headings for different events and used the silver gel pen to write little things to explain the photos. I wanted someone who wasn’t me to be able to look at my scrapbook and know what had happened to me.

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    KEEPSAKES

    I also tried to add texture by adding all the little mementos I collected through-out the year. Tickets are the easiest thing to keep but there’s a lot more you can add into the mix.

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    Lanyard from a work conference

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    I cut out different parts of the ferry schedule pamphlet and added a picture of us on the boat.

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    While we were in the metro parks one day, my boyfriend picked this flower and gave it to me. I pressed it for a few months so I could keep it.

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    My cousin, my boyfriend and I won tickets to a Cavaliers game, so I included the tickets as well as our winning raffle ticket.

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    During the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Champions parade they shot confetti everywhere and I saved a few pieces.

    INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS

    I added some interactive elements, different cards and things like that so that there was some fun movement in the scrapbook.

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    A Thank You card from a friend

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    Map from the hotel I stayed at in Florida

    CAPTURING A FEELING

    As well as capturing the big things that happened, I wanted to capture the atmosphere and the feelings I had as well. This proved to be a bit difficult but I played around with a few ideas. I think if I want make another scrapbook for this year, I need to make a conscious effort to photograph the little things around me.

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    I included a page showing some of the little Christmas details around our apartment to remind me of that time.

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    Unfortunately, my cousin had a miscarriage on Christmas Day. Everything else in my scrapbook is about happy times and I did struggle with whether or not to include bad things that had happened. This had a big impact on me and my family, and I wanted to make sure the baby was remembered so I decided I had to include it. 

    Jane x

  • MISSOMA JEWELLERY HAUL/REVIEW

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    LARGE SILVER HORN NECKLACE
    I really like this piece.This type of necklace seems to very popular wth bloggers but I stilllike the look. My favourite thing about this necklace is the chain. The little silver balls add so much yet are still subtle.

    MINI FANG NECKLACE AND MINI FANG BRACELET
    These are my favourite pieces. They’re very versatile pieces; I’ve pretty much kept the bracelet (not pictured) on since I bought it.  The only thing I dislike about the duo is the clasps. I don’t know if it’s just me but I find it difficult to open them. But I’ve worn the necklace with lots of different looks and I think it adds a something to every outfit. I’ve always loved the look of layered necklaces but I’ve always found it difficult to achieve the look. They look so good on Pinterest but they turn into a weird knotted trying-to-hard mess on me. But I’ve actually been able to layer necklaces with this one.  I do wish it was slightly longer. I know I have a large neck but I can only wear this necklace on the longest length.

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    STAR CHARM NECKLACE AND CITRINE CHARM
    These are the pieces I’ve struggles with the most to wear.  I like the star but… okay this is going to sound ridiculous, but it’s so small and dainty, it makes me feel like I look bigger. Ridiculous, I know. I’m not sure how i feel about wearing the two of them together, which was my original intention. I’ve started putting the citrine charm on another necklace I have and I’ve been enjoying that.  I think I just need to play with them more to figure out the best way to wear them.

    Jane x

     

  • SHOES THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF

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    I love these shoes so much. They’re the best. They’re aren’t enough heart emojis in the world to express my love for them.  Most people I know don’t like them but I think they are what dreams are made of. Well, the real ones are what dreams are made of. These are the Public Desire knock-offs. The real ones are from Stella McCartney and I’ve been lusting after them for awhile. The trouble is, they’re a tad bit expensive. Now I don’t have an issue spending more money on accessories that I’m going to use all the time. But I’ve held back from buying the original version of these because I wasn’t sure how much wear I would get out of them. I’m a flats person through and through. I don’t wear heels, I just can’t walk in them. So I wasn’t sure how flatforms would go. I’m not usually a big fan of knock-offs, but I figured they would give me an opportunity to see if I would actually wear them before jumping into the depressing wave of debt that would hit me if I bought the Stella ones (that’s a joke, I would never go into debt for shoes, I was being dramatic, woe is me and all that, but it would definitely sting my bank account balance). I really do love them with all my heart but it remains to be seen how much I would actually wear them so for now, the knock-offs will have to do…Also, Stella McCartney is so much more expensive in the U.S. than in Ireland so I will definitely be waiting until I go home to buy them. If I buy them. Urrggghhh the struggle is real.

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