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
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
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 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 CarbManager , 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.Ientered 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.
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 therantidepressents,withvenlafaxine my appetite diminished.Nothing major to report here ,I did not lose significantlyamount 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.
summer is the U.K. this year has been amazing so far but you know the sun means UV rays which mean damage, pigmentation, dehydration, sunspots and other nasty stuff and nobody got time for that.
So today I wanna introduce you to a lesser known product of Japanese origin, Gokojyun Premium: a toning lotion containing 5 different types of hyaluronic acid.
I came across this lotion a few months back on Amazon and decided to give it a try but being overwhelmed by all the products I have I ended up using it only a couple of time rediscovering it again last month and loving it since then
WHAT’S IN IT: 5 different types of hyaluronic acid and glycerin
Sodium Acetyl Hyaluronate
Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid
Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer
Now in terms of ingredients, there is nothing groundbreaking here but somehow together these ingredients leave your skin feeling extremely supple, smooth and radiant.
HOW TO USE IT:instructions on the bottle are in Japanese but browsing and watching a few videos I realised it’s best to be used as a toner. A few drops (the consistency is gel-like) applied on the face and then pat into the skin. Let it absorbed for a few minutes and follow with the rest of your skincare. I do use it around my eyes and eyelids with no problem.
WHO IS IT FOR: there are two versions of this products and I believe this one is the more ‘antiageing’ one designed for slightly drier skins. combination skins would benefit from this too.
It retails for around 11 quid and the bottle is pretty big meaning it will last you quite a long time.
CONCLUSION: If you are looking for a hydrating toner, if you are a fan of hyaluronic acid and if you are intrigued by oriental skincare this is the product for you. It does the job, it doesn’t cost the earth and it really does leave your skin looking smoother and more hydrated. In terms of ingredients, it tends to be a one ingredient kind of product and I do believe your skin needs more but I say give it a try.
I have been absent for a minute as I was testing different ways to use tretinoin and retinol in combination and also because I have embarked on a new approach to my diet (a.k.a ketogenic diet) to tackle my chronic fatigue issues, which I will review soon.
Last time we spoke about retinol and tretinoin I told you I was switching almost completely to Paula’s choice 1 per cent retinol as the tretinoin was really irritating me and also making me break out like crazy. Well, a few things have changed since then: I really wanted to find a way to be able to use tretinoin for its amazing antiaging benefits and I can say that after a month I can now pretty much use tretinoin 0.5 pretty much nightly and this is what I did:
1 -after reacting badly to just using tretinoin two times a week I decided to completely stop it and started using Paula’s 1 per cent retinol nightly, every night for two weeks
2- a the end of the second-week od continued use of retinol I started to alternete tretinoin three times a week at night and kept using retinol the remaining nights.
3-during week 4 I started to use retinol one night and tretinoin the following for the whole week.
4- week 5 I used tretinon 5 nights a week and retinol 2 nights a week
5 -week 6 I diced retinol and switched completely to tretinoin 6 days a week
6- I will keep using tretinoin 6 nights a week and I will reserve the 7th night for my intensive peeling treatments(lactic/azelaic/glycolic
A few words of advice:
Paula’s choice 1 per cent retinol is still an amazing product and very effective and people with sensitive skin might prefer this to tretinoin. Also, bear in mind,if you have never used it, you might still have to gradually build u tolerance
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 :
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 THERAPY5 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 !
it’s been a minute since we talked about retinol and tretinoin so I thought what better time to introduce to you my retinol of choice: Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% retinol treatment.
A little disclaimer: I had used this product a couple of years ago but had to stop it because of irritation which was probably caused by my negligence in following the instructions properly. Fast forward and this product is now working wonders on me.
WHAT IS IT: it’s a 1% strength retinol (highest without a prescription) mixed with a good amount of vitamin c and peptides. The inclusion of peptides and vitamin c makes this serum/lotion/cream a great all rounder and not a one ingredient wonder.I do not know how to describe it in the sense that once pumped out of its dark airless pump bottle(to keep retinol stable) it has the consistency of a light cream yet you should apply it before your serum and moisturizer.
WHO IS IT FORanyone with scarring(acne anyone?), pigmentation, melasma, fine lines and deep wrinkles. I would probably recommend to people 30 and over. It should suit most skin types but I know Paula now offers a lighter texture called Retinol booster 1% for oilier skin types. I have not checked that out yet.
WHAT’S IN IT: 1 per cent retinol, vitamin c, peptides, liquorice extract, antioxidants, and anti-irritants.
HOW TO USE: start with 2 or three times a week, one pump all over. the face avoiding eye area(you can use around orbital bone) and sides of the mouth. If you find even a couple of times a week is troubling your skin, mix it with your moisturiser and then apply. Gradually build up to every other night and then nighly. Always use SPF in the morning.
It retails for £53 pounds, but if you are lucky sometimes on eBay you can snatch it for less. ( i didn’t tell you that). After using now for several months I can honestly say my pores got smaller, my pigmentation around my eyes is starting to fade and my crow’s feet look diminished. Please be patient and be consistent and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section and as usual:
today we are talking about retinol! Whoever has been following me for a while sure knows how fond I am of retinol and its benefits and that I am always on the outlook for the best retinol possible. But let’s start from the basis:
WHAT IS RETINOL: Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and its most commonly used as an anti-aging ingredient thanks to its effectiveness at treating major signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage etc
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RETINOL AND RETINOIDS: The difference between retinol and retinoids is that over-the-counter products contain a form of retinol in ester forms (vitamin A derivatives) like retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, etc (you’ll typically see these names on ingredient labels). “These need to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin at the cellular level in order for the skin to use it. Basically, the more conversions it takes for an ester form to get to the retinoic acid form, the weaker it is. So over the counter retinol products tend to be much weaker than prescription only retinoids such as Retin A (tretinoin is the actual active ingredient)but they also carry much less chance of irritation.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER:Ok, so this is the main question. Tretinoin is an amazing cell-communicating ingredient capable of doing wonders for your skin and also working as an antioxidant. It was first used in the seventies to treat acne, but years of research and studies have concluded it is also fantastic as speeding u skin cell turnover and to boost collagen production and is now referred to as the anti-aging gold standard. Problem is most people cannot tolerate tretinoin and its side effects can range from moderate to severe: flakiness, redness, extreme dryness or like I experienced myself ‘ retinol purge’: weeks of breakouts which I had never experienced before. Having said that, going in slowly starting at 2 or three times per week and slowly increasing can lessen the side effects. You can choose between 0.025% and 0.5% strength to start with . Retinol carries much less chance of irritation since it needs to be converted by your skin, but it also takes longer to work its magic. If you are willing to dip your toes into the retinol wagon I suggest you start with Retinol(just make sure on the ingredient list you see ‘ Retinol’ and not all those other palmitate derivatives as they are even weaker). My absolute favorite one is Paula’s choice clinical 1% retinol treatment https://www.paulaschoice.co.uk/clinical-retinol-treatment-m8010.html?dwvar_m8010_size=fullsize&cgid=#q=retinol&lang=en_GB&start=0&top=312.66668701171875
HOW TO USE RETINOIDS: should you decide to go straight into the retinoids, here are a few tips to avoid or lessen the side effects:
1- only use at nighttime and always wear SPF during daytime
2- apply on perfectly clean and dry face(wait 20 mins after washing face to apply to make sure is completely dry)
3- avoid corner of the eyes, side of the nose and mouth and these areas tend to be extremely sensitive and prone to dryness
4- start with twice a week application for a month, then 3 times and so on until your skin gets gradually used to the product.
5- wait 20 mins after retinoid application and layer additional products( i recommend vitamin c and a nice hydration moisturizer to prevent flakiness)