How To Have The Best Birthday When You’re Self-isolating

Hey there!

If you’re stuck at home because of Coronavirus, why not use this time to get the skin of your dreams with my downloadable skincare guide!

Have you had to cancel your birthday plans because of Coronavirus? That’s so disappointing, but try to stay positive because there are some really great ways to spend your birthday self-isolating!

Many of us are having to put our lives on hold and self-isolate at home now to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. This is stressful and upsetting, and we’re all anxious about health and money. So, we need to do our best to bring some joy to our lives. If it’s your birthday, or a loved one’s birthday, I think it’s more important than ever to celebrate it!

Here are the best ways to spend your birthday when you’re self-isolating and stuck at home!

I hope you have a very happy birthday 🙂

1- Picnic

If you are still able to go out, a picnic is a good way to maintain self isolation while having a great time. I don’t recommend inviting anyone who you’re not self isolating with, but going out with those in your household for a picnic in a quiet area is really fun.

If you are in total lockdown, try picnicking in the garden!

My partner and I have just had a picnic in the garden for her birthday, and it was a lot of fun.

how to have the best birthday in self-isolation

2- Treat yourself

During these crazy times, it’s more important than ever to treat yourself. Why not have a day of self-pampering? You could have a long, relaxing bath, or treat yourself by pampering your skin with a body scrub, or doing a face mask. I have a previous post on how to do beautiful gel nails at home, which might interest you!

If you’re self-quarantining with family or your partner, get them to give you a massage. It’s your special day, after all!

3- Movie marathon

Having a movie marathon with your loved ones is a lovely way to spend your birthday. Grab some snacks and just have a chill day vegging out on the sofa watching your favourite films.

4- Have a mini party

Although during times of self-isolation you can’t invite people to your home, why not have a mini party with the people in your home? You could decorate the room, turn the music up loud and have a dance. Or if you like a more chill day, you could have a game night with the other people in your household!

5- Order in

It’s your birthday, so that means not doing anything you don’t want to! Don’t feel like cooking? No problem! Order in that XXL pizza you’re craving, or get an Indian feast for you and your family. You could even try ordering from the restaurant you were planning on going to for your birthday meal. This is a nice way to bring a bit of normality back into your life.

6- Baking

What’s a birthday without cake, right? During these times, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a cake. Baking your own, either alone or with someone else is a lot of fun, and it’s really rewarding (and delicious!).

7- Video call loved ones

Video calling loved ones on your birthday can really make your day, especially if you’re self-quarantining alone. You could even try group video calling with your friends or family on Zoom, Skype or House Party!

8- Buy yourself a gift

Although we aren’t able to go shopping right now, you can still treat yourself by buying yourself a gift! Now is the perfect time to get that special thing you’ve always wanted to buy yourself. Maybe you need some new boots, or maybe you just want to buy yourself something new, or fun.

It’s your day, and you deserve some happiness.

9- Happy hour

Bring the bar inside and become the mixologist on your birthday. Making cocktails is a lot of fun, and so is drinking them 😉

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I hope you enjoyed these tips on how to have a happy birthday when you’re self quarantining. If you did, I think you might love my self-isolation blog posts, which are about looking after your mental health when in self-isolation, and some top tips on beating the boredom when stuck inside!

These are tough times, but I hope this post will help you have some joy 🙂

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog below for more self-care and beauty ideas!

Bye for now,

Jazmin

Revox brand review

This post is a brand review of Revox B77 Skincare!

When I was living in Spain, I came across a new line of skin care there that I had never heard of before. The brand is called Revox B77, and they are an extremely affordable brand, with simple packaging and branding. Many of their products feature active ingredients, making effective skin care accessible for everyone. This brand stood out to me for their sleek packaging which also seems quite eco-friendly; the only plastic on these products is on the cap and top of the pipette.

Range of products

Revox B77 sell a huge range of beauty products, such as serums, toners, masks, creams and micellar waters. They also offer some hair products, like hair masks and milks.

When I came across this brand, there were very few products left on the shelf, which is generally a good sign! As they’re extremely affordable, I could have bought one of each of the products left to give them a try, but I didn’t as I am trying to be a more conscious shopper. Instead, I bought the two products that I was the most curious about and that I thought I would enjoy.

I bought their 20% Glycolic Acid serum and their Hyaluronic Acid serum for £4 in total!

Packaging

I really enjoy the packaging of the Revox B77 products that I bought. The boxes have a soft feel to them, and the branding is simple and sleek. The instructions are on the box and on the product inside, and they are clear and easy to follow. Their serums come in glass bottles with a glass dropper, which I appreciate as I am trying to reduce the amount of plastic I buy. The dropper is a fantastic addition as it allows you to use the product without placing your hands inside the bottle, keeping it bacteria-free!

I do think that they took great inspiration from The Ordinary with their branding on the boxes and the bottle design, too. At first glance in the shop, I thought their products were The Ordinary products!

Product review

The ingredients in these products do not seem harmful to the skin, and neither of the two products have a very large ingredient list, meaning that there shouldn’t be too many unnecessary ingredients!

Hyaluronic Acid Serum

The hyaluronic acid is a lightweight but very hydrating formula. I found that it’s gentle on my skin (as it should be!), and after patting it into the skin for a few moments, it sinks right in. I then apply a moisturiser on top to seal in the hydration. I usually use this serum at night time, and when I wake up, my skin is super glowy and feels incredibly soft and moisturised.

I would definitely recommend this serum. I’m really impressed with it considering the price; it performs like some of my more expensive hydrating serums!

Revox Brand Review

20% Glycolic Acid Serum

This product has me very confused. It has an extremely high percentage of glycolic acid. Most glycolic acid toners or serums designed to be used on a daily basis or multiple times a week tend to be under 7%. However, this serum is 20%. That’s really strong!

This makes me think that perhaps this is a peeling/exfoliating mask, designed to be rinsed off. But still, using it everyday is way too much for the skin.

EDIT:

So, a kind commenter just gave me a heads up about something. They say that the packaging now has updated guidelines on how to use this product (however, the Revox website still has their old guidelines of “apply 4-5 drops every morning to cleansed skin and gently massage until absorbed”.) This has me really confused, as there is no way that your skin could absorb 5 drops of this serum; it’s way too sticky.

The commenter let me know that their packaging says that the serum should be rinsed off after leaving it on for 10-15 minutes. This makes more sense to me! But it’s weird that Revox still recommend to use it daily. Because this is an exfoliating mask rather than a leave on serum, I wouldn’t recommend this! 20% glycolic acid is a very high percentage, and your skin does NOT need this much exfoliating daily. I would recommend trying it once or twice a week and seeing how your skin gets on.

I’ve started using this on my body, particularly on my keratosis pilaris and it feels gentle on the skin. It has been really helping reduce the texture of the bumps. I do really enjoy using glycolic acid on my keratosis pilaris. If you would like to see my top tips on how to reduce the appearance of keratosis pilaris, check out my previous blog post.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this serum. I think The Ordinary’s lactic acid serums or their Glycolic Acid 7% toning solution work extremely well and are equally affordable!

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I am interested in this brand, because of how they are making active ingredients accessible to the average consumer.  However, I do feel that when products are this affordable it’s easy to go overboard and try them all. Our skin is a delicate thing, and it doesn’t really need too many products!

The main things you need in order to have soft and glowing skin are a good cleanser, exfoliator, moisturiser, and of course SPF during the day time. Make sure to not over exfoliate or irritate your skin, and when trying new products, you should always do a 24-hour patch test before using them.

Have you ever heard of Revox B77? What affordable skin care do you like?

Please subscribe below, it really helps me out!

Thanks for reading,

Jazmin xx

How to Double Cleanse Effectively

Have you ever struggled to remove your waterproof mascara, or have you rubbed at your liquid lipstick for what feels like hours without it budging? If this is you, or you find that you use a mountain of makeup wipes to remove your makeup every day, double cleansing might be for you!

In essence, double cleansing is just washing your face twice, instead of just once. Cleansers that are good to use on the first cleanse are cleansing oils, cleansing balms and micellar water. If the word ‘oil’ just made you fear for pimples, don’t worry! These are synthetic oils carefully designed for use on all skin types. They remove fully with water and leave no traces of oil, or makeup on the skin!

Although makeup wipes are loved by many, I don’t consider them a first cleanse as they don’t really get in there and remove all of your product. Instead, the remove the visible part, but don’t effectively clean your skin. We’ve all tried to remove waterproof mascara with makeup wipes… It just doesn’t work.

Double cleansing might sound kind of pointless (and long winded!) but it has many benefits when done using the right cleansers, apart from just helping you remove your makeup. Here are some benefits that I find double cleansing provides, which might help you see the value of a double cleanse!

Top 5 benefits of double cleansing

1) Double cleansing removes makeup completely

Double cleansing can remove all of your makeup (depending on what you use). Effective double cleansing can remove foundation, primer, powder products, eyebrow products, eyeliner, mascara (including waterproof mascara!), and even eyelash glue. I personally love using a good first cleanser to melt down my liquid lipsticks or lip tints!

This might sound too good to be true, but the first cleanse breaks down and removes the makeup, while the second cleanse properly cleanses your face and removes any traces of makeup that could still be lurking on the skin!

2) It breaks down SPF too!

If you’re a regular SPF wearer, double cleansing is a really good way to keep your skin clear. Mineral sunscreens aren’t absorbed into the skin, unlike chemical sunscreens. This means the SPF sits on top of your skin, which keeps you safe, but it also means that if you wash your face at night just the once, the sunscreen isn’t being broken down and effectively removed.

Over time, this can lead to a build up on the skin. If you wear sunscreen on a daily basis, and you’ve noticed your skin becoming congested or spotty, it could be because of this! I would recommend trying a double cleanse (read below how to effectively double cleanse), to see if things clear up.

3) Double cleansing is gentler on the skin

When double cleansing, cleansing balms and cleansing oils are gentle on the skin. These will just require you to gently massage your skin, and then you will just add some water to emulsify your cleanser and then rinse. This is far gentler than makeup wipes as they are a highly ineffective way to remove makeup. Because makeup wipes don’t easily break down the products on your skin (especially waterproof formulas), you have to rub quite hard to effectively remove it all.

4) Double cleansing is faster

Because of the fact that cleansing balms and oils are extremely effective at breaking down your makeup, it is a much faster way to wash your face at night (especially when removing things like waterproof mascara). The time it takes to massage the cleanser into your skin and rinse it off is much faster than trying to remove all your makeup in one cleanse, or using makeup wipes to cleanse your skin.

It is tempting to rub too hard and tug at the skin when using makeup wipes, so if you’re trying to be careful to be gentle with your skin it can take even longer to wash your face!

5) Double cleansing is less wasteful

Although many cleansing oils and balms come in plastic tubs or bottles which may not be fully recyclable, the waste produced by these is far less than the waste produced by daily cleanses using makeup wipes. You can go through so many makeup wipes when removing your makeup as they don’t melt the makeup down, which produces an incredible amount of waste, every day. Most makeup wipes are not biodegradable or compostable, meaning they just go straight to landfill. Also, as they get used up so quickly, you have to buy new packs very often; think of how quickly that plastic packaging adds up!

There are some cleansing oils and cleansing balms that come in glass jars or bottles, which are a fantastic way to make your skin care routine a little bit greener.

Wipes are just not worth it!

How to effectively double cleanse

So, if you’re now sold on the idea of a double cleanse you might be wondering how exactly you should do it.

The best products for the first cleanse of a double cleanse are cleansing oils and cleansing balms. Micellar water is good too, but slightly less effective than these two.

Cleansing oil and cleansing balm


Cleansing oils and balms are oils (either natural or synthesised oils) combined with an emulsifying ingredient. These are designed to wash off the face with ease once emulsified with water.

Cleansing balms and cleansing oils shouldn’t leave oil on your skin, which makes them good for all skin types, including oily or acne-prone skin.

Cleansing balms are essentially the same as cleansing oils; the only difference is the texture is thicker. Because of this, before using a cleansing balm, allow it to warm up for a moment on your fingertips before working it on your skin.

IMG_20200229_155200
Here’s a pump of cleansing oil

Please do not confuse cleansing oils with natural oils such as coconut oil or olive oil. These are not cleansing oils, as they will not emulsify when mixed with water, meaning they will stay on your skin and may even block your pores and cause spots.

Cleansing oils and balms are applied to the skin when it is dry. Massage them into the skin, all over your face (especially if you wear makeup or SPF daily, too). Focus gently on the eyes, where you may have applied mascara and eyeliner. Cleansing oils can also be used to remove a liquid lipstick or a lip tint. Just rub it into your lips as you would the rest of your face.

You will look quite a mess at this point as the makeup is smeared all over your face LOL. But this is good! You want the makeup to almost look like it has melted.

At this point, you should add a little bit of water to your face to emulsify the cleanser, and massage a little more, before fully rinsing off the mask. You will find that upon contact with water, the oil/balm will become watery and milky-looking, and some may become foamy. This is good! This means the oils (and the makeup), have emulsified with the water, and are rinsing off your face.

You are now ready for your second cleanser! This could be a gel cleanser, a cream cleanser, a foaming cleanser or a facial bar soap.

Micellar water

Micellar water I find to be slightly less effective than a cleansing balm or oil, but a million times better than face wipes.

With micellar water you have the same issue of waste as you have with face wipes, but at least you can use reusable cotton rounds instead of single use cotton pads. This helps to cut down on waste, but it does mean that you have to do quite a bit of wiping, and you will produce quite a bit of washing if you use micellar water to remove a whole face of makeup.

Although you can definitely use cleansing oils and balms to remove eye makeup, I enjoy using micellar water as a first cleanse on my eyes. I have sensitive eyes and the thought of getting the oil and makeup mixture in eyes terrifies me. However, every time I have used a cleansing balm on my eyes it has gone well, without any stinging.

To remove your makeup with micellar water, saturate a cotton pad or reusable cotton round with the water. Hold it on the area you would like to cleanse for about 5 seconds to allow the cleanser to start to break down your makeup, so that when you wipe the cotton pad it comes off more easily. This is especially important when doing your eye makeup, so you don’t irritate your eyes or yank out any eyelashes.

Side note: Although micellar waters are no-rinse formulas, I wouldn’t trust this too much as if you shake a bottle of micellar water you can see how foamy it becomes. This is because the effective ingredients in these cleansers are surfactants, which is what makes soaps and facial cleansers effective. Although they are safe to not rinse-off, your skin won’t be completely clean until all traces of makeup, SPF and cleanser are gone.

After a micellar water first cleanse, you should go in for your second cleanse.

Micellar water is a good bridge cleanser for those who are looking to ditch makeup wipes, but I recommend an oil or balm cleanser as the most effective first cleanse, as I find they work deeper.

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I hope that this post has proven useful to those wanting to learn more about double cleansing! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below.

For more beauty related tips and tricks, be sure to follow my Instagram.

Bye for now,

Jazmin

Top 10 Lotte World Adventure Korea Tips & Tricks!

Hey there! If you’d like to learn about Lotte World Adventure in Seoul, South Korea, and the best tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your Lotte World trip, you’re in the right place!

Lotte World is an enormous theme park in Seoul. It features an outdoor park, called ‘Magic Island’, but unlike most theme parks, the majority of it is a huge indoor space; that’s why Lotte World Adventure is the WORLD’s largest indoor theme park. It spans 7 floors, and even features an ice-skating rink on the ground floor.

If you’re coming to Seoul, I highly recommend paying a visit to this park, as it is great for families, couples, and even solo travellers! There is so much to do and you might even find that you need more than one day to do it all!

In this blog post I’ll be highlighting what I did when I went and giving vital advice that you won’t find online. So, if you’re interested in finding out more, please keep on reading!

What we did at Lotte World Adventure

I heard about Lotte World a couple of years ago as it was referenced on a Korean TV show I was watching. I’ve always wanted to go, but I had no idea of the sheer SCALE of the park. When I walked in, my jaw dropped as I tried to take in all the lights, buildings and rides all fighting for my attention.

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Those hot-air balloons look tiny but there are actually people in there! That just goes to shop how big Lotte World is!

I arrived at the park at 11 am and it wasn’t very busy. It did get slightly busier around 3pm, but it never seemed like there were a lot of people (as the park is so big), but the stand-by ride times gave me an indication of how many people there really were. By 12pm, the most popular rides at the park (Atlantis, Pharaoh’s Fury and French Revolution) had queue times of 1 hour to 1.5 hours! My partner and I very quickly realised that we wouldn’t be able to do the popular roller coasters, but we were okay with that.

We did a great swinging boat ride called The Conquistador and then went to the hall of mirrors. You had to pay to enter but the fee was 3000 won per person (around $3.50) so it is not expensive. I’m actually kind of afraid of these usually but this one was lots of fun.

After this, we spent some time in the arcade, which featured a lot of Japanese arcade games, and then we did a ride for kids called Dragon Wild Shooting. I’m not sure if my girlfriend and I have a skewed sense of fun but we are very competitive, so we had a really fun time shooting dragons for a while (I won, ha!). We then did a simulation kind of ride called SkyVenture which was more fun than I had imagined. You enter a sort of cinema room, and your row of seats gets lifted up towards the screen, and moves along with the video to simulate the feeling of experiencing tornados and flying through the air. Warning: if you suffer from motion sickness you might need to close your eyes at times as I started to feel a bit green halfway through!

Heads up: I would like to warn you that is incredibly difficult to navigate the inside area of the park. It’s really difficult to know where you are and how to get to where you need to be! There aren’t many maps or signs in the park.

We were starving after this so we began our mission of finding vegetarian food in the park. Check out my next blog post on how to be vegetarian in Lotte World Adventure!

We eventually settled on Panda Express for lunch. I know… I know… I went to South Korea just to have American Chinese food. But in my defence, they don’t have Panda Express in my country (the UK) and there weren’t many other vegetarian options there! The food was actually delicious and I made a friend.

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Minding my distance because I think my friend needed a wash

After lunch, we ventured outside for the first time. We were met with a suspiciously familiar looking castle. I know what we’re all thinking. There is a lot of borderline copyright infringement in Lotte World actually and I’m currently writing up a blog post about this! Be sure to come back to my blog next week to check that out!

Magic Island is a fraction of the size of the indoor park. It is quite pretty, and the castle is nice to look at from angles, but there isn’t much to do outside apart from a couple of rides, (Atlantis, Gyro Drop, Gyro Spin, Bungee), and the Haunted House. There is also the option to take the monorail from here if you’d like. We did a ride outside called Swing Tree which somehow made us sleepy, so by this point we were craving sugar (and coffee!).

We passed by Gongcha and bought a limited-edition Strawberry Cheesecake bubble tea, and it was INCREDIBLE. It even had strawberry flavoured boba! I’m still thinking about this drink…

We did a few more of the indoor family rides (Desperados, Wild Jungle and Jungle Adventure), and took a ride on the carousel. By this time, it was getting dark, and the carousel was glowing beautifully in the dusk!

Lotte World Aventure

After this, we decided to call it a day, and we left as the night-time parade was taking place. We passed by the store on the way out and I was really impressed by the quality of the products. They felt like Disney products but without the unnecessary mark-up… I guess because they can’t afford to mark-up the prices like Disneyworld can.

Summary of what we did with ratings

1) The Conquistador: 5/5
The name of this one is disappointing, but it was very good and had a short wait time.

2) Hall of mirrors: 4/5

3) Arcade: 3/5

4) Dragon Wild Shooting: 4/5

5) SkyVenture: 3/5

6) Swing tree: 3/5

7) Desperados: 3/5
This one was badly calibrated and my horse was missing a head but it’s extremely fun to ride a fake horse that gallops like a real horse.

8) Wild Jungle: 2/5

9) Jungle Adventure: 3/5

10) Carousel: 4/5
Slightly bumpy but beautiful.

Lotte World Adventure Tips
Two small notebooks and a fridge magnet I bought for $8!

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So, here is the part you came here for:

My Top 10 Lotte World Adventure Tips and Tricks

1) Arrive early

I would suggest arriving at opening time, which is 10am. Although the park never seems busy, if you want to take the more popular rides (Atlantis, Pharaoh’s Fury and French Revolution), you need to arrive early to even dream of reserving your seats.

2) Get the app

Lotte Word Adventure app is available on Android and iPhone, and on this you can see all the different rides’ wait times. On android, the app is called MagicPass and is available in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

In Lotte World, every visitor gets 3 Magic Passes per day which allow you to skip the queue of a particular ride. I don’t recommend trying to reserve your seats on a ride through the app as it is nearly impossible to do it this way. I recommend using the ticket machines (see next tip).

3) Be ready

Rides can be booked within windows, but all rides have different windows, which are either on the hour or 15, 30 or 45 minutes past the hour. We arrived at 11.05am and tried to immediately book us onto Atlantis, but we had to wait until 11.15am to try.

I recommend heading to one of the ticket machines when you arrive to see when the next window for a ride you want to do opens. Once the window is open, you are able to try to reserve your seats on the ride. I say ‘try to’, as everyone on the app and ticket machines will be trying to do the same as you at the same time. You will have more luck with the machines than the app as the app is slow to update.

We ended up not using any of our Magic Passes because once we figured out how the system works, all the time slots for the entire day were gone (this was at 12pm). You can tell when they’re all gone as the app will say Reservation Closed.

If you are able to get a Magic Pass for a ride via the machines, you will have to scan the QR code of your ticket to confirm.

I think this is a bit of a flawed system and doesn’t work anywhere near as well as in Disneyland Tokyo, where you can easily get a free ticket from the machines.

4) Take snacks if you’re vegan of if you’d like to save money

Being vegetarian, I found very few foods that I could eat, but there were even fewer vegan options. I think the only vegan option I saw was Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish that comes with vegetables and a spicy sauce. None of the snacks (that I saw) were vegan.

5) Give up and take the lift

What no one prepares you for when you go to Lotte World is how confusing the layout of the park is. The inside area has lots of hidden stairs and paths to enter the different floors. It was really confusing to find where we were and where we needed to be!

I wouldn’t normally recommend using a lift (because of the unnecessary use of energy), but in this case, when you see a lift, flock to it! It is much easier to get from floor to floor this way.

6) Find your way into the park easily

If you have a foreigner ticket, like I did (as I didn’t buy mine through Lotte World), you will have to enter the park through a specific entrance. This is actually a good thing as it is less hectic in this entrance, but it can be difficult finding where you need to go! Once you arrive at the Lotte World entrance, where people are queuing to enter the park, turn left and walk down that corridor. Follow this corridor, following signs for South Gate/Entrance. It is quite a walk, and you will pass a Kimbap restaurant on your left, a Lotte World bench on your right, and then a 7/11 (on your right). Just after the 7/11 there is a set of glass doors, and once you go through them, take the escalators up (on your left). Once you go up, you will be outside. Turn left and you will see the South entrance to the park.

If you have a foreigner ticket, you will need to convert it before entering. In this case, ignore the queue and walk through the large glass doors and enter the little ticket office on your left. It is marked for ‘foreign tickets’. Here, show them your e-ticket (either on your phone or printed) and they will convert it to a paper ticket. Now you can enter the park!

Note: you can only use your converted ticket on the day that you convert it.

7) Check out discounts

This is not an ad, nor will I get a penny for sharing this, but through the Klook app I got my entrance tickets at half price! I only paid 31,000 won entrance fee ($25), which is an amazing price. You do need to be a foreigner, and you may need to show your passport when entering the park.

8) Pre-book to avoid queuing!

Many people do not book their tickets in advance, and instead queue for a really long time to enter the park. Just booking your tickets beforehand will save you a lot of time, and your feet will thank you by the end of the day!

9) Be a little green

To help save on some plastic, bring an empty water bottle to the park with you! There are water fountains in the park which you can use to refill your bottles throughout the day, to save you buying a plastic bottle. Or, if you don’t want to carry around your bottle, just forgo it altogether and drink directly from the fountains!

There are also snacks that you can find plastic-free, such as the ice creams and the churros, which are wrapped in paper.

10) Get water ride ready!

Don’t get caught out! In Lotte world there are several water rides. Bring your rain coat if you don’t want to get too wet on the flume ride, and wear clothing that dries easily. And don’t wear your new expensive shoes on this ride!

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Lotte World Adventure Park

Phew, that was a lot of information! If you’re still with me, I want to thank you for reading my article. I had such a fun time at Lotte World and I’m sure you will too, especially if you follow these tips!

Please leave me a comment below if any of this was helpful to you, or share your Lotte World experiences if you’ve been before!

Bye for now,

Jazmin

The Ultimate Holiday Packing Lists for Hot AND Cold Climates

Hello!

So you’re about to go on holiday but you don’t know where to start with your packing! First of all, you lucky thing, you. Second of all, don’t you worry, for I have written up two packing lists for you: 1 for cold climates and 1 for hot climates. I will also be writing a beauty packing list and sharing my tips and tricks for packing cosmetics in an upcoming blog post so stay tuned for that!

For your convenience, this packing list is available as an easily downloadable PDF, so you can print it off and check off all the items, or you can carry it with you on your phone or tablet.

I have included many things on these packing lists; they are quite exhaustive. Do not feel like you have to take everything listed here with you! Just view these lists as a guide, for if you feel like you’re forgetting something, or if you don’t know what are the key things to take with you on holiday. And please, if you think of something that I haven’t included, comment it below!

I hope you find these lists helpful!

Click here to download the PDF.

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Packing list: hot countries

Important documents:
☐ Health Insurance Card/Documents (e.g. EHIC)
☐ Passport
☐ Travel Insurance documents
☐ Medication papers; doctor’s letter/prescription
☐ Tickets for airplane/train/other transport
☐ Student card
☐ Driver’s licence
☐ Visa if necessary

Financial:
☐ Foreign currency
☐ International credit/debit card
☐ Emergency money
☐ Money belt/wallet

Medical kit:
☐ Prescription medication
☐ Small first aid kit
☐ Plasters
☐ Blister plasters
☐ Paracetamol
☐ Anti-sickness tablets
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Mosquito bite patches/cream
☐ Sun cream
☐ Face mask

Toiletries:
☐ Face moisturiser
☐ Body moisturiser
☐ Shaving products
☐ Face wash
☐ Body wash
☐ Toothbrush
☐ Toothpaste
☐ Dental floss
☐ Hair brush
☐ Hair products (cream, spray, oil…)
☐ Hair band, hair clips
☐ SPF lip balm
☐ SPF hair oil
☐ Deodorant
☐ Tweezers
☐ Period products
☐ Makeup
☐ Makeup remover
☐ Skin care products
☐ Contact lens supplies
☐ Hand sanitiser

Clothing:
☐ Underwear
☐ Sun hat
☐ Comfortable walking shoes
☐ Thin rain coat or umbrella
☐ Sandals
☐ Bathing costume

Misc.:
☐ Beach towel
☐ Sunglasses
☐ Swimming goggles
☐ Beach bag

Travel aids:
☐ Language guide
☐ Travel guide
☐ Luggage tags
☐ Suitcase padlocks
☐ Sleeping eye mask
☐ Neck pillow
☐ Earplugs
☐ Entertainment (e.g. book)

Electronic devices:
☐ Phone charger
☐ Portable phone charger
☐ Camera with memory card and charger
☐ Travel adaptors
☐ Headphones (including their charger if wireless)

Packing list: cold countries

Important documents:
☐ Health Insurance Card/Documents (e.g. EHIC)
☐ Passport
☐ Travel Insurance documents
☐ Medication papers; doctor’s letter/prescription
☐ Tickets for airplane/train/other transport
☐ Student card
☐ Driver’s licence
☐ Visa if necessary

Financial:
☐ Foreign currency
☐ International credit/debit card
☐ Emergency money
☐ Money belt/wallet

Medical kit:
☐ Prescription medication
☐ Small first aid kit
☐ Plasters
☐ Blister plasters
☐ Paracetamol
☐ Anti-sickness tablets
☐ Sun cream
☐ After sun

Toiletries:
☐ Face moisturiser
☐ Body moisturiser
☐ Shaving products
☐ Face wash
☐ Body wash
☐ Toothbrush
☐ Toothpaste
☐ Dental floss
☐ Hair brush
☐ Hair products (cream, spray, oil…)
☐ Hair band, hair clips
☐ Deodorant
☐ Tweezers
☐ Period products
☐ SPF lip balm
☐ Makeup
☐ Makeup remover
☐ Skin care products
☐ Contact lens supplies
☐ Hand sanitiser

Clothing:
☐ Underwear
☐ Warm hat
☐ Warm waterproof coat or raincoat
☐ Comfortable walking shoes
☐ Boots
☐ Gloves
☐ Thermals
☐ Thick socks
☐ Scarf

Travel aids:
☐ Language guide
☐ Travel guide
☐ Luggage tags
☐ Suitcase padlocks
☐ Sleeping mask
☐ Neck pillow
☐ Earplugs
☐ Entertainment (e.g. book)

Electronic devices:
☐ Phone charger
☐ Portable phone charger
☐ Camera with memory card and charger
☐ Travel adaptors
☐ Headphones (including their charger if wireless)

…..

There you go! Click here to download these lists as a handy PDF.

I hope you find these useful, and stay tuned for my beauty travel list and tips and trips for packing cosmetics.

Bye for now,

Jazmin

How to Fade Acne Scars Fast

Having a pimple is bad enough, but the scar that stays behind for weeks or months after the spot has healed just really takes the biscuit.

Despite the fact that you treat your pimples quickly, and you definitely don’t pop your spots, is a mark always left behind? I understand that it is so frustrating that even though your original pimple has gone, it has left hyperpigmentation which can make your skin look like it has way more active pimples than it actually does. I used to suffer from acne scarring on my face quite badly, but I have now figured out how to make those pesky marks go away quickly! My skin has never been clearer and so I want to help you achieve the skin you dream of!

Prevention is better than cure

Before treating the hyperpigmentation caused by pimples, try tackling the source of the issue. There are many causes of spots, such as hormones, medication, oily skin, cystic acne, and clogged pores or your skin could be reacting to a particular product. Clogged pores are a normal thing but can be exacerbated by inefficient washing of the face, and makeup traces being left on the skin.

In order to combat clogged pores, it is helpful to exfoliate and use a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) such as salicylic acid which will help to keep your pores clearer.

Additionally, treating your pimples as soon as they come up is important to avoid hyperpigmentation. The most important factor in avoiding spot scarring is to not pick or pop your spots, no matter how tempting it is! Instead, use a drying solution like Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion, or use a pimple patch such as Cosrx’s to protect your pimple from your attempts at popping it and to help heal it.

Wear your SPF

When a spot scars, if you don’t wear SPF it will get darker with sun exposure, meaning it will become more and more difficult to get rid of! Ensuring you wear SPF everyday (no matter the weather or the season) is a fantastic way to ensure that any hyperpigmentation isn’t becoming more pronounced.

Exfoliation

Exfoliation is key for removing acne scars. This is because when you exfoliate you remove the outer dead layer of the skin, revealing the fresh layer underneath. Over time, it increases skin brightness and fades spot scars, allowing your clear skin to shine through! I prefer to use chemical exfoliators, or alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) as I find them to be gentler on my skin. Don’t worry though, chemical exfoliators are not going to peel your skin; they are different to the chemical face peels that you could only get done from a doctor.

My favourite chemical exfoliator is glycolic acid (I use this one from The Ordinary), but you can also use lactic acid, malic acid and mandelic acid. For more information on what chemical exfoliators are, what they do and how they differ from physical exfoliators, see my previous blog post on my updated skincare routine.

Serums

Try incorporating a serum or solution into your skincare routine that will help to lighten your scars.

Alpha arbutin will lighten hyperpigmentation gradually, allowing for a more even skin tone. I use The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin 2% for lightening, and I saw effects even after just two weeks.

Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is also a fantastic way to lighten spot scars. As well as lightening, Vitamin C will brighten the overall skin tone of the face!

Azelaic acid is a chemical that is produced naturally from the yeast living on our skin, which will also have a similar lightening and brightening effect.

Hydroquinone is an effective solution for treating acne hyperpigmentation. It can also lighten freckles, melasma and age spots, by interrupting the process of excessive melanin production, causing dark spots to fade over time.

Chemical face peel

These can only be performed by a licenced aesthetician, dermatologist or doctor because of their strength. However, if you are looking for something stronger, there is the option of chemical face peels! These are great for people who have pitted acne scars, or those who want a dramatic transformation in a relatively small amount of time.  For a chemical face peel, a strong chemical solution is applied to the face, which will cause several layers of the skin to peel off over the days and weeks following the peel. Chemical face peels will greatly improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines, acne, and general skin texture.

Using a combination of spot treatments, exfoliation and serums, you will be able to lighten your acne scars. My skin is so much smoother and clearer now that I am using these products (and not picking my spots anymore!), and my spots DO NOT scar as much as they used to as I am exfoliating and brightening the skin every day as part of my skin care routine.

Were you aware of all the chemicals and procedures mentioned in this post? Leave me a comment below letting me know what has helped you lighten your acne scars!

Bye for now,

Jazmin

Blog Update and 2020 Goals

Happy 2020!

This is just a quick post to say hello and happy new year, and to outline my blog goals for 2020.

This year I would like to be more regular with blog posting (we’ll see how that goes!) and I would like to expand my blog beyond beauty and sustainability.

I am a huge fan of travel and regularly go to different cities and countries. I love learning about other cultures, and often use blog posts for information when travelling to new places for the first time. I would like to give back to the blogging community and share my travel knowledge with others. I have some serious tips and tricks under my belt now, so I would like to expand my blog to include travel posts. I would like to produce guides and blog posts to help others just as I’ve been helped by blog posts in the past!

My personal goals for 2020 are to become established as a freelance writer, and to be more patient and forgiving with myself.

What are some of your goals for 2020? And what do you think about me expanding my blog?

Bye for now,

Jazmin

How to Make Shower Bomb Fizzers!

Bath bombs have been all the rage for a while, but have you heard of shower bombs or shower bomb fizzers? Also called shower steamers, melts, or tabs, these little gems are popped in the shower with you while you shower. They release a fantastic fragrance, giving you an at-home aromatherapy experience! Plus, if you have a blocked nose, these can open you up and help you breathe freely again!

With all the stress and anxiety surrounding the Cornavirus crisis, now is a great time to just take some time for you to de-stress.

They make fantastic DIY eco-friendly gifts, or they can be a treat just for you.

So let’s get started…

These fizzers are really simple to make and only contain 3 ingredients: bicarbonate of soda, citric acid and essential oils. Because of the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid, when placed in the shower the melts fizz, releasing the scent of the essential oils of your choice.

Including some form of aromatherapy into your life, or a loved one’s life, is a great idea. Aromatherapy can improve sleep quality, reduce stress, sooth sore joints and even help relieve headaches! This is what makes these DIY shower steamers so great! Not only do they smell fantastic but they can have a wide range of benefits. As you choose your own essential oil blend, you can produce different kinds of shower melts for different occasions and benefits.

For example, these melts can be great if you have a cold! Nose clearing essential oils coupled with steam of a shower are the perfect combination for clear sinuses.

Here are some essential oil blends for different benefits:

Congestion relieving shower melts
-Peppermint, eucalyptus, sage
This mix is perfect for when you have a cold, as all three essential oils help to clear the sinuses. Peppermint can also help to soothe a sore throat.

Energising/positive scent
-Sweet orange or mandarin, lemon and rosemary
OR
-Peppermint, basil, lemongrass and rosemary
These essential oils have been associated with a positive mood and a boost in energy, making this the perfect oil blend to start your day off well.

Sleep
-Lavender, bergamot, sage
Lavender is well known for relaxing and helping induce sleep, but bergamot and sage are also sleep inducing!

But you can also just choose essential oils based on how they smell!

Aren’t these shower melts just the ideal gift for that moody relative that is impossible to shop for? They’re easy and very quick to make at home, so they make for a fantastic last minute gift. But even better, they’re homemade and low waste! If you buy your citric acid and bicarbonate of soda from a zero-waste supermarket, the only plastic involved in the making of the gift is the lid on the essential oils. But, essential oils are very concentrated so they last a long time, and the lids are usually recyclable.

How to use a shower melt

All you need to do to activate the melt is to make it wet, by quickly running it under the stream of the shower. It does not need a lot of water; the littlest amount will activate the melt. You can then place it on a shelf, tray, or even the floor, and it will fizz throughout your whole shower!

You will need

Makes 12-16 fizzers
– 250g bicarbonate of soda
-125g of citric acid
If you want to make different amounts of shower melts, feel free to change the quantities of the ingredients! Just bear in mind that the bicarbonate and citric acid should be a 2:1 ratio.
– <60 drops of essential oils of your choice
– A silicone mould
I recommend using an ice cube tray or something similar, as this will create smaller fizzers that will last one shower, making them more convenient.

A silicone mould is best as you can easily remove them from the mould when they’re dry. If you use an inflexible mould they could break, so if you only have a hard mould, line it with oil to make sure they are easy to remove.

Optional

– Witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
– Corn starch or arrowroot powder
– Food colouring
– Dried flowers
If you would like to jazz up the appearance of your fizzers, you can colour it using some food dye, or add some dried flowers, such as lavender.

How to make them

1) Place the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid in a bowl and mix well. If there are lumps, use your stirrer or spoon to get rid of them.

2) You will then add the essential oils of your choice gradually, to ensure you don’t make the mixture too wet. For this, I recommend using less than 60 drops of essential oils for 375g of mixture. Mix with your hands until the mixture takes on the consistency of damp sand. When you squeeze it with your hand it should hold its shape, and it shouldn’t crumble.

shower steamers image wix

Another reason why it’s good to add them bit by bit is so that you can adjust the amount of each essential oil you’re adding to make the scent just right. The amount of oils you use will vary based on the potency desired and the strength of your essential oils.

If you’ve added the amount of essential oils you want but the mixture still seems too try, add some water, half teaspoon by half teaspoon until you reach the damp and formable consistency needed.

Adding water will start a chemical reaction between the bicarbonate and the citric acid, so the mixture will fizz. This is normal, but keep mixing it well as you add the water.

You can use witch hazel or rubbing alcohol instead of water if you prefer, as they evaporate quickly so your mixture would dry faster in the next stage.

If your mixture won’t form, you can add a bit of corn starch or arrowroot powder to help bind it.

3) When you reach the desired consistency, start putting the mixture into your moulds. Pack the mixture down firmly to make sure it will hold a solid shape.

Let the mixture dry in the mould overnight in a cool, dry place, until completely dry.

shower bath fizzies

4) Remove your melts from the mould when dry and store in an airtight jar or container, as this will allow the fizzers to stay dry.

These shower melts have a long shelf life, but the scent will be strongest if used within a month of their making… but I doubt you will have any left by that point!

I really hope this post inspires you to try making something you might not have made before! I think that these fizzers make fantastic eco-friendly (and low cost) gifts or a great homemade treat for yourself.

Let me know before if you try these, or tell me what your favourite low waste gift ideas are. 😊

Bye for now,

Jazmin

Carbon Theory Charcoal and Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleansing Bar Review

If you’re from the UK, you may have heard about Carbon Theory. I received an advert for their Charcoal and Tea Tree Oil facial cleansing bar on Instagram and was immediately intrigued. You might be too when you read these claims:

– Using three ‘powerful natural ingredients’ (Activated Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil and Shea Butter), this soap is ‘dermatologically proven to prevent breakouts and keep your skin clear, balanced and hydrated’.

– This facial cleansing bar will allegedly ‘transform breakout and acne prone skin’ as the Activated Charcoal will ‘draw out dirt and unblock pores’, while Tea Tree Oil will ‘kill bacteria and reduce inflammation’.

Wow, right?

On their website, there are thousands of rave reviews left by fans of the soap.

screenshot 1screenshot 2screenshot 3

There, I also learnt that the soap is vegan friendly and cruelty free, and best of all: it was only £6! For the price, I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?!’

First impressions

The bar arrived in a resealable plastic pouch, but now Carbon Theory have started selling plastic-free bars that come in paper, which is great for those who are trying to live low-waste lifestyles (like me!)

When I received my first order I was immediately impressed with the design of the bar. It is charcoal black and has Carbon Theory’s logo stamped on it. It’s quite striking.

This facial soap is a bar soap, not a liquid soap such as a gel or foaming cleanser. Although this can sound scary, this bar differs from the typical bar soap that we use to clean our hands. It’s formulated to be more gentle and shouldn’t disturb the skin’s pH level.

The facial soap has a mild scent to it, but I think this due to the tea tree oil.

How to use this cleanser

To use the soap, wet your hands and face, then lather it up in your hands and it’ll produce a loose foam. The directions on the packaging say to use the foam to wash your face for 30 seconds, then rinse off.

It’s not a foaming cleanser so don’t expect a thick foam, but it’s pleasant on the face. I try to avoid foaming cleansers anyway as they can be quite drying for the skin because of their high content of surfactants.

Carbon Theory recommends using this soap morning and night in order to see improvements in the skin.

So, does it work?

I find that this cleanser cleanses my skin without leaving it feeling dry. I think this is in part due to the Shea Butter added in the bar, which helps to leave the skin slightly moisturised rather than stripped.

I have not personally found that this cleanser has had much of an effect on my comedonal acne (spots caused by blocked comedones, or blocked pores). Although I don’t have inflammatory acne, I just get whiteheads on my cheeks, forehead and chin, I have not noticed a reduction in breakouts. This is disappointing, but there are so many other benefits with this cleanser that I have repurchased twice now!

Is it worth the price?

For £6, it is absolutely worth it in my opinion. This soap lasts me ages; using this cleanser day and night, one bar can last me 4 months. That works out at £1.50 a month!

Because the cleanser is a solid bar soap, there are no issues regarding carrying liquids when travelling (which frees up some well-needed space in your carry-on cosmetics bag). This is a fantastic benefit for me.

Another bonus for me is that it is plastic free! I have found a sustainable and affordable cleanser which actually works for my skin. And let’s not forget it’s vegan and cruelty free!

For now, I will continue repurchasing Carbon Theory’s facial soap. I am happy with how it leaves my skin and it has many benefits for me, so unless I’m recommended the ultimate spot-busting cleanser, I will be using this one for a while longer!

Had you heard of this cleanser before? Do you fear using bar soaps on the face?

Bye for now,

Jazmin

Skin Care Product Fails: November 2019

Hey there!

Although I try quite a few different skin care products, it’s not often that I strongly dislike a product. Although calling them product fails may be a bit harsh, I was left very disappointed with these three items of skin care!

If you’re new to my blog, hey! Consider subscribing to my blog for more product reviews and skin care tips! But that’s not what I wanted to say. If you’re new to my blog, you won’t know that I have combination skin. It’s mostly oily but I have dry patches too, so a product may work differently for you than it did for me.

1- The Ordinary: 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder

the ordinary l ascorbic powder reviewIf you follow me here or on my Instagram, you may have realised I am a huge fan of The Ordinary’s products. The Ordinary is an affordable, no-frills skincare company, that makes simple products with fantastic active ingredients. My love of skincare developed because of trying The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toning Solution and I have spoken so much about it that I’m almost sick of hearing myself talk about it! I use several The Ordinary products on rotation and my skin is soft and glowy.

So, when I bought this product, I thought I would love it. I had previously tried a similar Korean product and didn’t enjoy that, but I believed that The Ordinary’s L-Ascorbic Acid powder would change my mind. Unfortunately not.

If you don’t know what L-Ascorbic Acid is, it’s a stable form of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has many benefits, such as evening and brightening (not whitening!) the skin tone, and reducing the appearance of fine lines. This product is not a serum; it is a powder which is designed to be mixed with some serum or moisturiser just before applying it to the skin.

The jar may appear small, but the product can last you up to a year, which makes it fantastic for the price. Or it would do if I actually liked the product! It comes with the tiniest, most adorable little spoon, which you use to scoop out the perfect amount of powder to use. It’s recommended to use a quarter to half a scoop. This also stops you from putting your hands inside the jar, meaning your product should stay bacteria-free!

I don’t particularly mind having to mix my own Vitamin C serum, but it is an extra step which can become become annoying if you’re the kind of person who already has multiple steps in their routine. I used to use it at night (for reasons I will go into soon), and once I was done with my tooth care and cleansing, toners and serums, I sometimes didn’t have it in me to mix my little Vitamin C powder.

My biggest issue with this powder is that I just didn’t see an effect on my skin. I didn’t notice that my skin was glowier or more evened out.

Another issue I found with it is that I hated how it felt on my skin. If you use slightly too much powder, the product pills (balls up) on the skin. Pilling aside, it just sits on top of the skin. It doesn’t sink in, like a serum, so it just leaves a thick film. Which is sticky. And itchy. If you don’t like being glued to your pillow case, this isn’t for you. Plus, this means that you can’t use the powder during the day, as it will be uncomfortable on the skin, and makeup nor SPF would layer on top of it.

Now, maybe I could ignore the pilling, and the feeling of the powder sitting on my skin. But what really broke the deal for me is the fact that it just. stains. everything. Vitamin C is known to do this, but having my white, cream and grey bedsheets and clothing dyed orange every night is just too much.

Oh, the disappointment. But, the jar can be washed and reused. It makes a super cute container for other products!

IMG_20191128_111001

2- The Ordinary: Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 with Antioxidants

Another The Ordinary product! It’s not because their products aren’t great, but it’s because I have tried more products from their line than any other brand. When I saw they also sold SPF I was really excited as I love that their products are high quality without any added fragrance.

I bought the factor 15 cream (although in future I would always buy SPF 30 or higher in order to properly protect my skin).

I actually really enjoy the formula of this cream and I love its natural soft, oat scent. The texture of the cream leaves your skin glowy but slightly tacky, so I think those with dry skin will enjoy the texture, but I don’t think it’s suitable for those with oily skin.

The issue for me with this cream is that it leaves a white cast on me. I’m mixed afro-caribbean and white, but I am quite light, so I did not expect this to show up on my skin. As the cream is a mineral sunscreen it leaves a blue/grey hue on my skin. Not cool. My girlfriend says it makes me look ghostly.

I shudder to think how I would look if I had bought their factor 30 cream.

3- COSRX: One Step Original Clear Pad

cosrx one step original clear pad review

I was recommended these pads as a solution for acneic skin. These pads are small cotton rounds soaked in a solution. To use these, you just run them over your cleansed skins.

These pads contain the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) salicylic acid, and they gently exfoliate because of this as well as the physical exfoliation of using the pads on your skin. BHAs deep clean pores, which helps to reduce pore size and acne.

I don’t have bad acne, but I always blocked pores (closed comedones) which cause whiteheads on my cheeks. I expected this to help relieve some of these spots, but I did not notice an improvement in my skin. It did however make my skin a little softer, but this is an effect I can achieve using other, better, exfoliating toners.

I love the packaging btw, it’s super cute.

….

To conclude, it’s normal that I’m not going to get on with every product from every brand, even my favourite brands. I have forgiven The Ordinary (mostly), and I’ll be writing a blog post about The Ordinary products soon! Subscribe if you’d like to be notified when I upload that post.

Thanks for reading!

Jazmin xx