Monday, 8 October 2018

The Pink Tax

I may have lived under a rock for the majority of my 34 years of life but I was pretty oblivious to the term 'The Pink Tax' until very recently. But after reading a few articles, I've come to realise there is still a HUGE difference in how much particular things, aimed at females, cost compared to similar products for the opposite sex. Why?




'The Pink Tax' refers to the extra amount that females are charged for certain products and services, usually health and beauty products, clothes and personal hygiene products.

So why is it that in this day and age, when in some cases women are still being paid less than men, are we also being hit by markups on certain products that are almost, if not completely identical to the male equivalent? 

It's bad enough, in my opinion, that the government still class sanitary wear as 'luxury, non-essential items' as apparently, EU laws prevent them from lowering the VAT or scrapping the tax entirely. I don't know about you ladies, but I know I certainly didn't sign up for that bloody annoying (excuse the pun!!), often rather painful and uncomfortable time of the month and as much as it is our clever little bodies doing it's thing, if I could have the choice, I'd go without. So why are we forced to pay out for products that many of us cannot live without?



I don't choose to menstruate. Periods. Luxury? Am I missing something?

Especially when, wait for this ladies... Jaffa Cakes are considered essential (carry zero tax). I mean, I'm all for a Jaffa Cake, and I'm full of gratitude for that packet of tax-free Jaffa Cakes I devoured the other day ;) but I'm pretty sure that compared to a tampon, it's hardly essential. 
In 2016, 320K people signed a petition to scrap the Tampon Tax, and in March 2016, Parliament accepted an amendment proposed by Labour MP Paula Sherriff that would end Tampon Tax once and for all in the UK. Although we're still waiting on that...

However, we must look at the other side too and note that the revenue the tax generates is often donated to charities such as women's shelters and providing sanitary for women and girls in poorer countries and while that is fantastic and softens the blow slightly, it doesn't take away the fact that according to recent studies, a woman will spend around £18k on period related items (sanitary ware, replacing underwear, pain relief etc) in her lifetime. 

What would you prefer to spend £18k on?

Let's look at health and beauty products. We all need deodorant right? We all have areas of the body we need to shave? So why is it that women often pay up to 34% more for toiletries than men?




Since learning more about The Pink Tax, I decided to check this out for myself.
Bic razors, the standard, no-frills disposable ones. We have a pack of 10 orange razors on the Boots website. And then we have a similar pack aimed at women, but it's a pack of 8. It is packaged towards women; 'Twin Lady' in bright pink packaging and cute pastel coloured razors. But other than the colour, the razors are exactly the same; twin blade razors, both labelled 'sensitive'.
Women's: £2.69 for pack of 8, 34p per unit. 
Mens: £2.00 for pack of 10, 20p per unit.
You don't need me to do the math!

Of course, there is nothing to stop us women buying the simple orange ones. But they are often held on different aisles or stored separately, a men's section and women's section and it is often habit to be attracted to the women's section. So is this just a case of clever attraction marketing?

I popped into Superdrug and headed down the aisle with the shaving products. 
Make your own minds up...





Next up, I looked at Boots No7 Eye Cream. Now, of course, it is an individual choice to purchase eye cream, but it is also a fact, an unfortunate fact ;), that women's collagen levels deplete faster than men and that we age much quicker yet there was a huge £3 difference between the men's version and the women's alternative which looked to have similar active ingredients and state to do a similar job.
It doesn't stop there, reports show that people have found a difference between boys and girls school uniforms, pink and blue toys and lots more.
Things are getting better though, with Asda, Boots and Tesco rolling back their prices on items such as deodorant to match the gender alternative. Cosmeceutical grade company ActiLabs use the same formulation eye cream for both the women and men's ranges, just in different coloured packaging to suit both, at the exact same price. (give me a shout if you fancy giving it a try with 10% off!


So what is the answer? 

Publically shaming brands on social media?
Starting more petitions?
Or simply just shopping better and not falling for the pretty pink stuff?







What is your view on this?







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Monday, 24 September 2018

How to BE YOU

I'm going to be honest here, (because we all love a bit of honesty, right?) I lived the majority of my life trying to please other people, changing myself or acting in a certain way so that people would like me. Going through life with a constant fear of being judged. 

I think many of us have lived like this at some point, right?




For me, it started in secondary school. Peer pressure, silly teenage comments, that whole 'wanting to be liked' feeling. And it continued through most of my life...

They're going to judge me for my unbranded trainers...
They're going to judge me for my obsession with that boy band...
They're going to judge me for having a child at 20...
They're going to judge me for that selfie...
They're going to judge me for shopping at Primark...
They're going to judge me for being a blogger...
They're going to judge me for becoming a single Mum of two children by two different fathers...
They're going to judge me for being in network marketing to earn some extra money for my kids...

I met someone last year who had a huge, positive impact on my life. They taught me to change my mindset about things that had happened in my past, they taught me to live my life free from fear and judgement. Yet THEY were constantly judging ME; picking apart everything I did and said, everything I posted on social media, talking down to me, treating me with disrespect and generally making me question myself a lot. I changed myself; I acted in a way I felt I should, I stopped doing things I enjoyed doing, I found myself analysing every social media post before I hit send.
But ironically, this person had also taught me to become more secure in myself, to put every negative experience down as a lesson and to look at what these lessons meant. It made me work even harder on myself, to live a life without caring about other people's opinions. Even theirs.





Not so long ago, someone on my Facebook put up a status saying, 'Some girls watch Love Island, some girls read books...' which was one of many judgemental posts they were putting up whilst the reality TV show was being broadcast. I was quick to reply that 'Maybe, some girls do both...
I no longer allow other people to judge my lifestyle choices, I am secure within myself. I am happy with the person I am. 

I'm a good person. I'm there for my friends. I empower people on a daily basis. I work hard for my boys. I work hard on my business. I work hard on my mindset. I'm really into personal development; I love learning about positive psychology, I love reading books, articles, listening to podcasts and audiobooks. I have a bit of a spiritual side; I'm into crystal healing, moon energy and trusting the process of the Universe. I get a buzz meeting my favourite celebrities. I live for road trips with my friends. I love a few cocktails. And I also love watching reality TV shows, it's my guilty pleasure, my chance to almost 'switch my mind off'. I love people watching, learning about other people's lives and I find the social experiment behind a lot of reality TV really interesting! 

In the words of a song from one of my favourite films... THIS IS ME!

Fortunately, I don't feel the need to justify the way I live my life or change myself anymore because I'm comfortable within myself and other peoples opinions don't matter.

Our true selves are who we really are behind closed doors when we let go of all the labels, stories and judgements we have placed upon ourselves or have allowed others to. It is who we are without the mask. And believe me, life is SO much better when you take that mask off and just BE YOU!





Are you guilty of 'faking' your way through life? 
Do you believe that if you allow people to get to know the real you that they won't like you? 
Do you think that if people knew what you really thought about something, that they'd lose respect for you?

Put Yourself First

You don't need to be accepted by others, you need to accept yourself.

Allowing someone else's opinion of you to cloud your own perception of yourself gives them power in your life. STOP! Only you get to have the power. You know yourself best and if you are happy with the person that you are, stop allowing others judgement to take priority. 
People will always have an opinion, and of course, they're entitled to it. Trust yourself. Working on your own self-esteem and confidence is the first step. Work on the areas of yourself that YOU want to change or are not happy with and move past the fear of being judged. 


Big Up Your Damn Self

Now I'm not saying bring out an arrogant, 'I'm better than everyone else' kinda self, (because that ain't pretty!) but recognise what you are good at, own your good qualities. As well as know your vulnerabilities too. 

When you become fully aware of your positive and negative points, other people's impressions will become irrelevant. 

But it's not easy, especially if you've always lived a life in fear of being judged, and don't' put pressure on yourself to change overnight. Be kind to yourself. Set yourself a goal to take off the mask and be more authentic. I promise you, it'll change EVERYTHING!!


If you want to post that selfie, post it. If you want to read that book, read it. If you want to watch that programme, watch it. If you want to wear those clothes, wear them. 





Be you. Do you. For you.





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Friday, 7 September 2018

5 Hair Care Tips for Dry Hair

I have naturally dry hair that I've pretty much struggled with for most of my life. It has taken me YEARS to find a way to look after my hair well; keeping it feeling soft, smooth and healthy and find hair products to help keep my dry hair in it's best condition. 

I wanted to share my FIVE top tips with you...


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs



TIP #1
WASH HAIR LESS

Just as water can dry out the skin, it can do the same to your hair. 
Over-shampooing can make dry hair much drier. Plus, when the natural oils produced by the scalp (sebum) aren't given chance to nourish the hair, this can leave the hair feeling dry, frizzy and more prone to damage. Plus, over washing away the sebum can cause it to overproduce, leaving your scalp feeling greasy. 

If you can, train your hair to be washed less! I now wash my hair just ONCE A WEEK! 
It may feel greasy or uncomfortable, to begin with, but it'll balance itself out within a couple of weeks, and it's nothing a bit of Dry Shampoo can't fix! (my fave Dry Shampoo smells Ah-may-zing, contains collagen and is tinted so can hide those pesky grey hairs that keep appearing - WINNING!

Give it a go!! Your hair will thank you for it!!



TIP #2
FIND HAIR PRODUCTS THAT SUIT YOUR HAIR

It has taken me SOOOO long to find hair products that suit. But I ADORE the products I use now and re-purchase over and over.

Look for a gentle moisturising shampoo aimed at dry hair. Shampoos that contain natural oils are fantastic for dry hair. Avoid silicone based products when possible, as these can coat the hair shaft stopping the natural oils from doing it's job, but if you do decide to (now you're only washing once a week anyway, right? ;) ) use a clarifying shampoo regularly alongside too. 

And choose a super nourishing conditioner plus an indulgent Conditioning Mask for an extra treat every couple of weeks.

I'm currently loving L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Shampoo & Conditioner (£2.99 each/Boots); it has a luxurious, oil-rich formula that makes my hair look and feel really soft. One size doesn't fit all of course, as with skincare products, what works for one may not work for another; find products that work well for you and are aimed at your hair type. Every couple of weeks, I treat my hair to a deep conditioning mask. Now, this stuff is my MOST-FAVOURITE-EVER-HAIR-PRODUCT-IN-THE-ENTIRE-WORLD!! I've used many conditioning masks over the years, but this stuff, for me, is HEAVEN! ActiLabs Capill-Hair Conditioning Mask (£9.00) is designed to gently nourish hair, without adding weight. The silky soft formula is both sulfate-free and packed with the essential vitamins and nutrients your hair needs to stay soft, smooth and grow healthily. Packed with keratin and collagen to help with structure, shea butter to replenish moisture and wheat protein which is known to help thicken and add natural volume to hair, add shine and repair damaged hair, it makes my hair feel BLOODY AMAZING!! I honestly cannot stop touching my hair afterwards, it's definitely a holy-grail kinda product!!


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs, conditioning mask



TIP #3
TREAT WITH EXTRA CARE

Dry hair is fragile and prone to damage, so needs a bit of extra care!
Handle gently; being rough can lead to breakage and split ends.

Gently pull shampoo through the hair from scalp to ends rather than scrubbing, applying conditioner from mid-length to ends and using a comb or brush that is designed specifically for use on wet hair will minimise damage. Rinse with warm water rather than hot and sealing the cuticle with a blast of cold water after conditioning. Squeeze water out gently and pat dry with a towel rather than rubbing. All of these things will help keep hair soft and smooth.  


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs


TIP #4
USE LESS HEAT

While it helps hair look shinier, heat is damaging to hair and is one of the main causes of dryness. If you can, let hair dry naturally. If not, choose a warm setting rather than hot and hold a few inches away from your head. Minimise heat damage by using heat protection.

As I only wash once a week, I give it a quick blow dry and then run through with my straighteners. I tend not to use any more heat throughout the week unless I'm feeling a few curls or loose waves. I use ActiLabs Capill-Hair 'Leave It' Conditioning Styling Lotion (£7.50) for a loose light-weight, soft hold. A leave-in conditioner that helps to protect hair strands, not only keeping it in place but helping it stay nourished and shiny all day long. It has a triple-action formula that is perfect if you want to style without a strong hold or the look of heavily-styled hair.


hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs



TIP #5
DON'T OVER STYLE

Regular pulling of hair from the root can be damaging to any hair. If you can, leave it down to flow naturally as much as possible. If you have to wear it up, use hair ties that are less likely to rip or dent hair like Popbands; they look super cute on the wrist too ;) 

I try to wear my hair down as much as I can. If I slightly curl my hair at the beginning of the week, I can usually get away with wearing my hair naturally throughout the week. 
I spray my hair daily with Superdrug Argan Hair Therapy Spray (£3.99) which is a multi-purpose spray formulated with Argan Oil and Tahitian Monoi Coconut Oil extracts to condition and protect hair. I use it on wet hair, dry hair and every day to spritz through and run my fingers through my hair to detangle, keep it feeling soft, moisturised, reduce frizz and protect against environmental stress. I love it!!

And regular trims will help stay on top of those dead ends and keep it in good condition.



So there we have it.
The basic rules of keeping dry hair soft and healthy are to wash less, treat it well and add more moisture!


Do you have dry hair? What are your tips?

hair, dry hair, hair tips, actilabs, Pinterest







For more information on the featured ActiLabs products 
and to find out how I can get you 10% off, give me a shout! 
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Sunday, 26 August 2018

A Letter to You on Your 4th Birthday

4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family


Dear Taylor,


Today you turned 4.

Many people are shocked that you're 4 already, whilst others can't quite believe you're only 4 as we can't remember life without you... plus you like to think and act like you're a lot older than you are! ;) 

Today was a crazy busy day, but hearing you repeatedly shout, 'This is the BEST birthday EVER!' and tell me that you 'wish every day could be like today' before you closed your eyes to sleep tonight, makes my heart burst with happiness and I'm glad I did you proud today. You deserve it.

You fell asleep straight away, you were exhausted. As am I! 

I stayed with you until you fell asleep, then got into my PJs, took off my makeup and got the laptop out to work, the same routine every evening knowing that when I wake up tomorrow, you'll be there next to me after climbing into my bed during the night, as you do every night without fail. But I wouldn't change it for the world...  this is our life.

So, your 4th year... 

You started school part-time, and you absolutely love it. I was so proud of how you adapted to your new adventure. You've made lots of new friends and you've learnt so much! 
You've definitely come into your own this year. You've gained a little attitude, probably compliments of your teenage brother. And you challenge me every single day. 
Strong willed, shall we say. I hope you don't lose that; that focus, that drive, that 'knowing what you want'. I mean, I don't appreciate the attitude, the lack of patience and respect, but we'll continue to work on that! ;)


4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family


I'm proud of how far you've come this year. 

I was so so sad for you when your Daddy and I split up. But now I realise what's best for you, for all of us and I hope you'll be proud of me one day for the life I'm working hard to provide for you and your big brother and the way I'm striving to bring you both up.

I love when you tell me what you're grateful for in the mornings. I hope you grow up practising gratitude and realising how lucky you are for everything you have. 

I love how proud you are of yourself when you learn something new or get something right you've been working on. Seeing you learn to write your name and read new words at 3 years old was amazing. I'm so proud of you, baby. I hope you continue to enjoy learning and feel proud of yourself when you succeed at something new. 

I'm so glad you enjoyed your birthday.

The way your eyes lit up when you walked in the lounge and saw your presents made the 3 hours I was sat building that wooden kitchen until midnight last night all worth it ;) 
You loved your party and seeing all your school friends. I've loved playing with all your new toys with you. You love role play, using your imagination. You wanted a play kitchen, even a pushchair and a little boy baby (who you've named Zac after your favourite The Greatest Showman actor), watching you create your own scenarios and use your imagination to imitate real life play is beautiful.  


4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family


Next week you start full-time school. You're excited and I hope that continues. I can't wait to see you grow and learn this year. I hope it calms you down a little, as your behaviour has been 'challenging' lately. Getting back into a routine will help. We've had lots of fun this Summer and I'll miss you lots once you're in full-time school. But I'll make sure the time we do spend together will be full of fun and cuddles. You're growing so fast and I want to treasure every moment. 

I love you with every heartbeat, I'm so grateful for you! 

You make me the person I am, you help me grow and you teach me something new every single day. I will forever keep doing my best to make you proud, be the best Mummy I can possibly be and fulfil my aim of bringing you and your brother up to be decent young men that treat people with respect. You call me Wonder Woman, and that, my beautiful boy, is exactly what I'll strive to be.


Let's see what your 5th year brings...


I love you, Taylor. 
All the stars in the world. 


Love, Mummy xxx






4th birthday, birthday boy, son, family

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