Just a quick one

Hello my lovelies ,

I am currently working on a second video about anxiety and psychotropic medications , but in the meantime I started using Drunk Elephant and I also managed to get my hands on Sunday Riley Good Genes from the states ( the U.K. version has been reformulated and swapped lactic for glycolic….more to come).I will be reviewing these products asap so stick with me.

lots of love,

Alex

Being honest

Hello my skincare junkies ,

I am just back from a few days in the Algarve and while sunbathing I had a little time to reflect and to ponder: Instagram,social media in general and the beauty community are guilty of promoting images that are not real ,unachievable. In the pursuit of these elusive standards of beauty we, myself included ,often times lose track of what is real and important. Filters, photoshop, editing and so on create an illusion which is just that : an illusion. It’s fine as long as we understand that and we don’t take it too seriously , but when we start comparing ourselves then it is a losing battle as there is no way we can compete with computer generated images and we SHOULDN’T.

I am extremely passionate about beauty ,about skincare and I believe beautiful skin can make us feel amazing and empowered but I also believe and accept that we all have different ideas of what beautiful is,and that’s fine .I am going to post a picture I took this arvo,  no make up ,no Instagram filters, no beauty filter on my camera just a straight shot .I have flaws and the first step towards really loving yourself is embracing who you are for who you are. I don’t want anyone ever feeling insecure or sad about their looks ,but rather happy with themselves and open to the possibility of learning new trick to ENHANCE! Skincare can be a great tool for that . Rant over . Let me know your thoughts in the comments box .

Love ,

Alex

Retinol trio

Just a quick one my lovelies :

My current retinol regimen includes these fantastic products. Let me know what you think.

ALEX

Love

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Quick update on retinol : These are my three favourite retinol products 1 @dermatica.skin 0.5 percent tretinoin (the strongest but also the most likely to give you adverse reactions so build up slowly) 2 @paulaschoiceuk 1 percent retinol plus vitamin c ( this is still one of the best non prescription retinols out there) 3 @sundayriley Luna uses a retinoid Esther to mimic affects of stronger retinol. Probably the mildest of the three but when used at night, give your skin a gorgeous glow by morning. Plus it's packed full of antioxidants #retinol #tretinoin #retinoid #luna #Smoothing #Antiaging #skincare #nighttime #regimen #routine #skincarejunkie #addictedtobeauty #blogger #alexinwonderland #37yearsyoung #bbloggers #bbloggersuk #bbloggersaus #travelblogger #powerhouse #mix #passion #goforit #linesbegone #sundayriley #paulaschoice

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Sunday Riley juno hydroactive cellular face oil

Dear skincare junkies,

it’s been a while since my last post as I have been busy with other projects but here I am bringing you one of my favourite face oils: Juno by Sunday Riley.

Despite the mouthful that the name is, this is seriously good stuff especially for dry, dehydrated and sentistive skin and since winter is fast approaching this side of the globe I thought I’d share it with you.

WHAT IS IT  well the promise of it being a dry oil is a tad misleading as this is an oil, nothing dry about it.If you can get past that you will love its nourishing, soothing and plumping properties.

WHATS IN IT  a fantastic cocktail of cold pressed oil rich in antioxidant and omegas: blackberry, blueberry, cranberry,raspberry oil plus carrot oil, black cumin oil and broccoli oil.  Pretty much a cooking oil 🙂 Jokes aside all these oil have good research behind them in terms of antioxidant properties.

HOW TO USE IT  as I mentioned earlier, I don’t find this oil to absorb as quickly as advertised so I mostly tend to use it at night unless I have overdone it with retinol the night before and my morning skin needs extra hydration.I like to take 4 drops, warm them up in my palm and massage them all over face and neck.

WHO IS IT FOR  anyone with dry skin, dehydrated skin, lucklustre skin. not particurarly suited for oily or blemish prone skin ( they offer another oil for that called Martian which I have not tried, yet).

PRICE £54 FOR 30ml ( some stores offer a 15ml too for £27)

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE  there is absolutely nothing I dislike about this product(maybe the scent is not the most alluring).It cocoons your skin in moisture, gives you a beautiful dewy finish while delivering lots of antioxidants.Love ,Lov e and Love.

Let me know what you guys think in the comment section below,

Love

Alex

Erno Laszlo dual phase vitamin C peel

Hello my beuties,

it’s been a minute but I have been busy testing lots of stuff so please forgive me.If you follow me  you probably know I am a big fan of both Vitamin C and chemical peels so I could not NOT try this product.

Erno Laszlo is an iconic brand ,his founder responsible for customising Marylin Monroe ‘s routine !His brand is mostly known for the three step cleansing system they provide: cleansing oil, cleansing bar and toning solution.

This product is a physical scrub and a chemical peel two in one and it retails for 85 pounds( in the U.K. it is exclusive to harrods).

WHAT IS IT : a dual phase scrub and peel. the physical scrub helps to shed away dead skin cells and has a smoothing action. The lactic acid peel helps to reveal brighter and more luminous complexion.The inclusion of carrot seed oil  and vitamin c really boost the performance of this product.

WHO IS IT FOR : anyone with dull,lackluster skin even sensitive skin. It is a pretty mild yet affective peel, great also for anyone struggling with pigmentation or acne scarring.Great pre party !!

HOW TO USE IT:  scoop out a little bit of phase 1 scrub and massage it for two minutes on cleansed , slighltly damp skin ( I used it on dry skin , but I am a rebel).after two minutes, without rinsing the scrub off,apply a few drops of the lactic acid solution and massage for a further two minutes then rinse.

MY EXPERIENCE : I am in love!! This product really does make your skin glow .I did not experience any redness or inflammation like I did with some other peels or scrubs.I did apply the scrub onto dry skin for a stronger physical exfliation.Right after the peel my skin felt smoother,my pores appeared smaller and overall my skin had a glow.I followed with my tried and tested Bobbi Brown extra balm to replenish the skin.

Hope you enjoyed this review and please do comment in the comments section and follow me on youtube.com/alexinwonderland81 and on instagram alexinwonderland81

Love,

Alex

My go-to keto breakfast

Hello my lovelies ,

breakfast is such a controversial topic: some people fast , some people have a big one ,some people skip it .

For me, personally, breakfast is a necessity and I need a good filling one. On my keto diet, it can be easy to overdo it with the usual bacon, eggs and avo, this is why I made a quick video to show you an alternative.

I hope you enjoy it and please leave comments and ideas in the comment box 

love

Alex

To Keto or not to Keto?

Hello my lovelies,

Today’s post is about the infamous ketogenic diet and my first two months on this woe(way of eating, it took me a while to figure out what woe meant).

I am 5’11” for 63kg so it’s clear I did not embark on this journey to lose weight( which is primarily what most people do it for): ketogenic diet can be very beneficial for other issues such as chronic fatigue, anxiety, epilepsy, diabetes and so on. Chronic fatigue affects many people and is thankfully becoming less of a taboo. I first read Sarah Myhill book ‘ Diagnosis and treatment of chronic fatigue’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diagnosis-Treatment-Chronic-Syndrome-Encephalitis/dp/1781610797/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with chronic fatigue as it really explains how this disease works and what you can do to better yourself while living with it. To make the story short Dr Sarah Myhill advise all of her patients to embark on a Paleo Keto diet as the first treatment of chronic fatigue.Hence my decision to give it a try.

The ketogenic diet is a low car high-fat diet where ideally 75 per cent of your calories comes from fat, around 20 per cent from protein and the remaining 5 per cent from carbs. It is meant to be an anti-inflammatory diet that enables you to move from glucose to fat as your main energy source. The aim is to reach a state of ketosis where every cell in your body is eventually using fat for energy. This state of ketosis will help you lose weight, feel more alert, improve concentration, increase your libido and much more.Or so they claim. A good read, if you decide keto is for you, is this great and cheap book which I love: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginners-KetoDiet-Cookbook-Delicious-Weight-Loss/dp/1592338151/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534588208&sr=1-7&keywords=the+ketogenic+diet+beginner

The ketogenic diet consists mostly of meat, fish, non-starchy vegetables, olive and coconut oil, dairy( which dr Sarah Myhill is against and that is why she named her regimen Keto Paleo diet) to name a few. Out are grains, legumes, most high fructose fruits, starchy veggies such as potatoes and root vegetables, SUGAR, and any high carb food. It is, for this purpose, advisable to use a macronutrients tracker when embarking on this diet as you are required to keep your net carbs intake below 20/25 grs a day.  The app I use is Carb Manager , which works out your macros for you.

Some people,especially if they have been living on high carb diets for long, find it easier to transition slowly into this diet; I, on the other hand, went full out and started immediately on 20gr of carbs a day 8 weeks ago.

A little side note is that while on a ketogenic diet you will excrete a lot of sodium from your body and that means your electrolytes will be out of balance.It is therefore VERY IMPORTANT  to consume higher amounts of salt and potassium than normal and magnesium too. I normally put a tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt on my 2lt water bottle and one teaspoon of potassium chloride and drink it throughout the day.P lease do not underestimate this step as if you do you will most likely suffer the so-called keto flu: headaches, nausea, muscle cramps and other very uncomfortable side effects. Keep your water intake at at least 3lt a day.

Now my experience:

Week 1 and 2: I was prepared, I researched ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. My breakfast would look like avocado,two fried eggs and two slices of nitrate free bacon. Lunch would be salmon with olives and feta cheese,dinner steak with asparagus and cheese. Snack for me would be some nuts( macadamia) and one or two squares of 85 percent dark chocolate(this is not strictly keto and not advisable if you are a sugar addict,but works for me). I did not feel particularly hungry but I did experience some headaches and during the really hot weather spell in London, I actually fainted on the tube because I was not taking my electrolytes!! I used keto sticks to check the ketones in my pee to make sure I was entering Ketosis. You can purchase them cheaply on Amazon.I entered ketosis on day 3 .

Week 3 and 4: I upped my game and decided to become more inventive with food to avoid boredom and to remain enthusiastic: almond muffins with mascarpone, chia puddings for breakfast, bacon and egg muffins and so on. I also learned Erythritol is the best sweetener on this woe, it is safe on teeth, does not cause digestive issues, great for diabetics, does not spike insulin and measure cup for cup like sugar. Its carb content can be dismissed when macro tracking. A couple of days I did not come to work prepared and ended up being unable to find anything suitable to eat and starved until I got home, which was awful. Prepping is key!!

Week 5 and 6 : my ketosticks started showing no traces of ketones so I thought I had somehow eaten something I should not have but after chatting to a few people on facebook keto groups I realised that after a few weeks your body start utilising those ketones instead of flushing them out so if you want a reading of them you need a blood monitor. So I purchased on amazon for around 20 quid but the strips you need to use to measure ketones are crazy expensive, roughly one each. Anyhow my measurement was 1.2( anything between 0.5 to 3.5 is considered the ideal range)and was happy about it.M y ibs seemed to have settled but my energy had not yet improved. I had lost at this point around 3kg. You can have some white spirits while on keto but be careful that you will get drunk very easily.I had one glass of white wine and I was smashed.

Week 7 and 8: I started to snack less and feel less hungry in between meals which is a sign of fat adaptation. My energy started to improve a little but, maybe it’s TMY I entered constipation land.I then upped my fibre intake via chia seeds and a supplement with aloe vera to try and balance things out.I decided to switch to decaff coffee as caffeine was making me very jittery and I purchased MCT oil (guess where? Yes amazon again) which I  pour into my decaff as it boosts ketones production and helps with energy levels. So far so good.No more weight loss for me as I was careful to add lots of fats on my plates and keep an eye on calories to make sure I was not fading away. Started adding double cream or butter to decaff coffee too.

So this is where I am at 8  weeks in, I am not craving bread, pasta, fruit or sugar at this point. My body has started to change, feels and looks more defined even though I have been slacking at the gym. I am enjoying learning new recipes and experimenting. A slow cooker can be your friends on this diet/lifestyle to save you time and money. At nighttime, I take a magnesium supplement which really helps me relax and sleep better called Natural Calm. Constipation has not completely eased off but I am working on it.

If you have started this journey or are thinking about it and have questions please do comment below and I will try to respond to the best of my abilities.This is my experience,my journey and so far I am loving Keto.

I attached a few pictures of the foods I have been enjoying so you can see that keto is not just bacon and steaks.

Love ,

Alex

nfd

Venlafaxine: my experience

Dear beauties,

I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time; mental health is something very dear to me and sharing with you my experiences I hope will be helpful for some while being somehow cathartic for me.

My encounter with anxiety happened when I was 21 and I had my first panic attack which I erroneously mistook for a heart attack ( I am sure many of you anxiety sufferers will relate to this). From that moment on I have had bouts of extreme anxiety,depression, OCD episodes and hypochondriac tendencies. A nice mix I’d say.

Medications and psychotropic drugs are often demonised with the ill effect of stigmatising and turning mental health into a taboo.There is nothing worse than hearing your friends saying ‘ You should not take that stuff’, as if my idea of fun is popping pills morning to night.At the same time the imprudence with which GPs hand out antidepressants is somehow shocking.So where do we draw a line?

Well, first of all let’s straighten something out: mental health problems are health problems. You would not tell someone with a broken arm :‘ I am sure you are fine, it’s just a phase,don’t think too much about it, it’s all in your head’.Secondly, I always advise seeing more than one doctor ,especially when it comes to depression/anxiety.I do not believe GPs are trained in this particular field and honestly my brain is way too important to be messed with uncareseely.

My diagnosis was generalised anxiety disorder: catastrophising everything,worrying about a plug left switched on, thinking a cold would lead to imminent death  and so on. Things that when read aloud might make you laugh but when lived on a daily basis can send your life into an abyss of fear.

I pretty much tried every antidepressant that there is: Prozac, citalopram, sertraline, mirtazapine and ultimatly venlafaxine. From my understanding, venlafaxine is one of the newest types of medications that are able to work on both serotonin and norepinephrine.It is usually prescribed when all other medications have failed( at least this is what my doc said) and it is aimed at both depression and anxiety.

I actually pushed my GP to prescribe this mediction as they were kind of unaware of its effects or benefits.Anyhow we started off at 37.5mg for a few weeks and gradually incresed to 75mg. Everyone who has been on meds knows they come with side effects and psychotropic drugs are no different,actually worse.Here are the side effects i experienced while on 75mg venlafaxine for the first 3 months:

  • interrupted sleep: this was the most troublesome side effect I experienced with venlafaxine and I was on the verge of giving up. I would fall asleep easily and wake up a couple of hours later and so on through the night,resulting in me being drained of energy every day.Eventually at the 3 month mark things started to improve and now I can sleep more or less six hours uninterrupted.
  • weight loss: unlike most of the ther antidepressents ,with venlafaxine my appetite diminished.Nothing major to report here ,I did not lose significantly amount of weight.
  • Loss of libido : this is something that happens with all SSRI and SNRI but somewhoe ,while on venlafaxine, I have not experienced it to such a high degree.
  • Constipation: only occured during the first few weeks,i just upped my fibre intake.
  • Alcohol consumption : YOU SHOULD NOT BE DRINKING while on medication but we all know that is not always possible . Anyhow I get drunk way quicker on the rare occasions I do decide to drink.So be careful

These are the main side effects I experienced. I have now been on venlafaxine for about 2 years and my dose has been adjusted to 225mg daily.I do not know how long I will be on it but I am trying to take small steps.Many times in the past I have quit meds only to relapse a few months later and having to start from scratch.(in my experience when you quit a med and you start it again months later ,it does not seem to have the same effect as before.I don’t have an answer for that.sorry)

The advice I would like to pass on is this: If you make the conscious decision that you want to start medication for your anxiety/depression please beware your symptoms will very likely get worse before they get better. It’s not just a saying. Be prepared for it. Write down your symptoms if it helps. Sometimes doctors will prescribe some benzodiazepine for a couple of weeks to help with this. Also remember that for the first 10/12 weeks you might not notice any significant improvement: give the meds time to build up in your system before deciding to give up or switch. Ask a friend or a relative to keep an eye on your behaviour to see if they notice any major changes. Finally: nobody can understand you better than yourself. Be kind to yourself, life is about mistakes, successes and fails.No one has a perfect life.Anxiety/depression should not define you as a person, rather encourage you to be an even better person. If you feel like resting then rest if you feel like running please run. Allow yourself time to heal and recuperate. Most importantly: LOVE YOURSELF.

I hope you will find this piece interesting and of use.These are my personal experiences/views. I am not a doctor nor I claim to be . I am just a regular guy who is trying to share with others.Have a fantastic day.

Love

Alex

Anxiety Disorder: How I cope with it.

 

 

 

 

Hello beautiful people,

today’s post is going to be a little different a little more personal: I decided to share with you how I handle my anxiety disorder, what little tips I can share, what supplements I use and what books I recommend. Anxiety can be a very debilitating condition so I hope that through my experience someone can find some useful tips and ideas.

DISCLAIMER:   I am not a doctor, what you will read is my PERSONAL experience living with an anxiety disorder diagnosed by a GP and a psychiatrist. I am in no way trying to diagnose, but simply willing to share with you a few tips that helped in my long battle with anxiety.

I had my first panic attack at 21 while still in Milan, at the time I thought something was wrong with my heart but it turned out I was experiencing severe anxiety. Not much was done back done apart from dispensing some drops to take at nighttime to help me relax and sleep.

I am now almost 37 and over the past 16 years, I have been through it all: depression, nervous breakdown, severe anxiety, trips to A&R …the whole lot. At the beginning of this journey, I was simply trying not to think too much about my anxiety which would normally manifest itself with heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, racing thoughts and the overwhelming feeling I was going to die. I partied my way through it, clubbing and dancing the night away somehow created an escape, hours of fun that would allow me to really let go. The partying introduced me to recreational stuff that in the long run actually made my anxiety worse, much worse. Over the past 10 years I have been prescribed several antidepressants and several anti-anxiety medications to try and stop my meltdowns and my crippling anxiety, most of them would work for a while then they would stop. The side effects and the withdrawal from one to the other for me have always been agony as I am very sensitive to psychotropic drugs. I then decided to try CBT ( by this time I have developed a phobia of toilets, or better still I was scared of not having one around me if I needed to go)which unfortunately I didn’t find very helpful. Eventually a couple of years ago my GP and I decided I should try venlafaxine(a newish type of antidepressant) and that kind of worked for me.N o drug is magic though, and I am a firm believer that while for some medication is essential, a 360-degree approach to the problem must be taken. And this is what I want to discuss with you all today.Sorry  for the long introduction but I wanted to give you a better picture of where I am at before dispensing advice

.So one of the first things I did was to completely change my diet, which meant ditching most of the processed food, learning how to cook from scratch and most importantly for me ditching the white stuff aka sugar. A friend of mine ( Hello Phoebe!) recommended a series of books from author Sarah Wilson about quitting sugar and they ended up to this day being my go to and my bible. Cooking also gives me a sense of accomplishment which is really soothing if I am having a bad da y. You can find them here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Sarah-Wilson/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_lbr_books_authors_browse-bin%3ASarah%20Wilson. 

My new approach to food means eating lots of veggies( raw,boiled,steamed etc) paired with a good source of protein( salmon,t una,sardines,chicken,lean b eef,e ggs,tofu etc).I tend to use buckwheat as my grain of choice,as its easy to cook and wuite nutriti ous.When it comes to sugar I dont buy cakes or fizzy drinks , but i like to always have 85 per cent dark chocolate in the house for when i crave something sweet and I always have raspberries in the fridge as well which i like to add to my morning porridge or to a bowl of yog urt.Having said that I am no saint and life is meant to be celebrated so If I want to have a tiramisu from time to time I will certainly have it without any guilty feeling.A word about coffee: one little espresso in the morning is the most i can tolerate as if i drink more than that my adreanl glads will go crazy and I might end up having really bad anxiety for the day. Stimulants are not my friend and I dont think they are anxious people’s friends eit her.For the same reason I like to avoid sugar laden stuff. As a result of all of this I ended up getting leaner but also not relying on crap food for energy throughout the day and actually enjoying prepping my meals.

The second step for me was listening to my body: if i need rest I will rest , if I feel like sleeping all day to recharge that is what I will do ,again without feeling guilty about it.My anxiety comes with chronic fatigue as well and as much as I would sometimes like to have more stamine ,unfortunatly that is not possible and I am learning to be ok with it.Physical activity has always been a hit or miss with me as i long to wok out yet i dont always have the energy so twice a week works for me : some weights and some corselene excerci ses.Running unfortunaly ,not quite sure why , makes me very anxious so that is a no no for me. Yoga on the other end i found it quite hard as standing still was an impossible task for me but I might give it anther shot.

When it comes to supplements  , it is all so incredibly confusing and it takes lots of errors before you can get it right.Also bear in mind that what works for me might not work for you.Anyhow this is the list of what I am currently taking right now :

1- testosterone support ( I have been diagnosed with low testosterone so I am trying the natural approach before bombarding my body with hormones)https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0786NM659/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2-selenium and zinc for energy levels

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000GY76MU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

3-turmeric for its anti inflammation benefits

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01FFQKO9U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

4- Magnesium L-Threonate  this is a god sent for nightime use as it really relaxes me and helps me sleep

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01FFQKO9U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

5- omega 3 supplements , there are so many out there but the best for me is always bare biology

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bare-Biology-Heart-Purest-Omega/dp/B00O43LECM/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=drugstore&ie=UTF8&qid=1529486270&sr=1-4&keywords=bare+biology

6- melatonin : this is a gray area , as it is a hormone. I use in cycles, 2 weeks then a couple of months of and so on. it helps me sleep better but bear in mind it can give very lucid dreams

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vitafusion-Sleep-Adults-Passion-Gummies/dp/B018KVBIZ6/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=drugstore&ie=UTF8&qid=1529486322&sr=1-1&keywords=melatonin+1mg

Now when it comes to books  there is a whole universe of self help ones out there so i am not going to bore you with a long list but I am going to share one of the books that made me thing of anxiety in a completly different way ,almost as a superpower and it is from the same author of the I quit sugar stuff i mentioned earlier.This is a great book for anxious minds and for friends of anxious minds alike. Have a read you will love it and learn from it,https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-We-Make-Beast-Beautiful-ebook/dp/B0749C47GM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529486549&sr=1-1&keywords=first+we+make+the+beast+beautiful

ME TIME:  time for myself is essential, i recharge when i am alone.Cleaning my room,tidying up,doing a face m ask,watching a crime mystery drama on netflix and so on. I long for these times and i always try to tresure t hem.My passion for skincare and make up is also an outlet for my anxiety and it allows me to feel truly happy and content.All of this does not mean I dont enjoy being with friends because I do!But it means time speant alone for me is also very important.

PET THERAPY  5 years ago a little, during a very low time in my life a little (not so little acually) fluff ball ended up in my garden and I started feeding him and eventaully this cat moved .He is been with me ever since , and I hinestky could not be more thankful : the calming effect a pet can have on you is beyond words. I f i am feeling very restless and anxious he would just lie on my chest and its purring would be so conforting for me. Please if you think of getting a pet go visit your nearest shelter , do not buy!!

These are some of the tools I use alongside conventional medications,which once again I do not demonise but are for some like myself a necessary evil to cope with day to day life.There is probably a lot more I would love to share with you but maybe I will save it for another post where I will go more into details about what living with anxiety actually feels like.If you have any other tips or tools you want to share please do so in the comment section below, I would love to hear your stories.May you all have a great anxiety free day !

 

Love ,

Alex

 

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