Happy Blogiversary toooo meeee!

A year ago today I embarked on my Bella Green journey and published my first ever blog post.

To mark to the occasion I’d like to take some writing space to thank those who have supported, followed and inspired me to continue. At times it has been tough. Making time to research and write whilst juggling a job, the gym, learning German and a social life (aka beer and binge watching Netflix) hasn’t always been easy. But your kind words have jeered me along.

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Photo credit: Taken by Fiona (sister) – Recycled business cards Moo  –  Fairtrade and organic cotton Christmas jumper ‘Bah Humbug’ Twisted Twee

Since starting the blog I have changed how I consume ALOT.

  • I no longer buy stuff I don’t need
  • Only buy cruelty free and natural beauty products
  • Think about packaging and plastic ALL THE TIME
  • The majority of clothes I buy are either locally made, vintage, second hand or ethically made
  • And I buy organic, fairtrade and package free food where possible.

Keeping a blog reminds me to think, who made this, where has it come from, what are it’s effects, how was it made?

My five favourite posts this past year have been:

They were the most interesting to research and satisfying to write.

Next year will definitely be a different one for me. Full of changes. I will be moving in with my parents for a few months and have a HUGE, exciting adventure up my sleeve. The blog may morph as time goes on, but always at the heart of it will be sustainability.

If you would like to work with me or put forward a topic for me to cover, please let me know!

I’m now about to have a ‘Fake Christmas Day’ with my family. Lots of food and Secret Santa presents await. I hope you have a great Sunday.

Love Anna x

p.s it amazingly is a WHITE CHRISTMAS!

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Lush Colour Supplement

99% of the year I use make-up that is the palest shade. However sometimes, on those very odd occasions when my skin meets sunshine, I need something a little darker. But because it’s only a small portion of the year that I need a darker shade I begrudge buying a new product.

This is where Lush’s Colour Supplements are little pots of brilliance. Add a smidgen to your moisturiser, foundation or sun cream and you’re sorted!

They come in seven different shades, from Jackie Oates to Dark Brown. If you’re unsure which shade would suit you best, just head into a store and they would be more than happy to match a pot for you.

I’m currently using the Light Pink pot (3rd along), adding a tiny bit to my moisturiser every morning for work and to my foundation when I go out.

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INGREDIENTS: ROSE PETAL (below), SOYA OIL (below), TITANIUM DIOXIDE, RICE BRAN OIL, STEARIC ACID, TALC, GLYCERINE, TRIETHANOLAMINE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, METHYLPARABEN, PROPYLPARABEN

As always from Lush, the product is not tested on animals and is handmade (thanks Judo) which is great. It’s also light and natural on your skin, doesn’t feel oily or clog your pores. The only negative I would say is that the colour range is not massively inclusive for those with darker skin as the dark brown is not really that dark.

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I’m hoping we get some more sunshine in England so that I can keep using this product, otherwise it will be going back in the make-up bag until the sun reappears next year! Come on British summer!

Natural Shampoo

Converting to a natural shampoo that does not recommend the use of a conditioner around the time of dying my hair made me very nervous. Very nervous indeed.

But I really needn’t of been.

Odylique’s Gentle Herb Shampoo is great!

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It is 100% natural and 70% organic. It is free from animal testing, sulfates, fragrance, artificial preservatives and salt and it comes in a 100% recycled UK-made bottle.

To get the best out of the shampoo I put a couple of pumps in my hands and lather onto my hair and scalp, leave to soak for about 2-3 minutes, then rinse. Leaving the shampoo in gives the hair a chance to absorb the active ingredients. This is what takes away the need for a conditioner and still works on sensitive scalps and dyed hair.

Please be aware that because this shampoo is sulfate free, it does not lather as much as a ‘normal’ shampoo, this does not mean you haven’t used enough.

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INGREDIENTS: ALOE VERA JUICE, COCONUT AND CORN GLUCOSE, COCONUT OIL, CHAMOMILE, NETTLE, HORSETAIL, ROSEMARY, SUNFLOWER, SUGAR CANE, PLANT STABILISERS

My hair is in great condition at the moment, I find a wash now lasts two days instead of one and I’m saving money/creating less waste on not using a conditioner.

Cheers Odylique!

Weekly Dose of Avocado

At least once a week I have avocado. Absolutely love the stuff. I have it in many shapes and forms. For breakfast, dinner or tea. Sometimes in a smoothie, with eggs on toast, in a wrap, with chili con carne or even just to dip some crisps.

Did you know…?

  • They’re are a fruit, and where most fruit is high in sugar, avocado is high in healthy fats (aka monounsaturated oleic acid)
  • They hold a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals
  • They contain more potassium than a banana!

Tonight I’m having my weekly dose in the form of guacamole with poached eggs on toast.

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Here is the guac recipe courtesy of Rob!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe large avocado
  • 1/4 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 beef tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 red chili, finely diced
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Mash the avocado up with a fork
  • Add the onion, tomatoes, coriander and chili then mix
  • Season with salt and lime juice, and voila! Done.

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Easy, healthy and scrummy! If you want some more avo-inspo head to @bestofavocado on Instagram.

Summer Essentials

In the UK summer tends to just pop up unexpectedly. Our wardrobes, skin and nasal passages are never fully ready for the sun to shine and pollen to flourish. This year I tried to make sure I was prepared for that odd heat wave and this weekend is the perfect chance to try and test those summer essentials.

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Jason Suncream SPF30

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INGREDIENTS: ZINC OXIDE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, JOJOBA SEED OIL, ALOE LEAF JUICE, CALENDULA FLOWER EXTRACT, CAMELLIA LEAF EXTRACT and CHAMOMILLA FLOWER EXTRACT, WATER, CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, DIMETHICONE, ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, SORITAN SESQUIOLEATE, GLYCERIN, GLYCERYL ISOSTEARATE, SHEA BUTTER, POLYGLYCERYL3 RICINOLEATE, ALCOHOL, MAGNESIUM SULPHATE, SILICA, SODIUM CHLORIDE, PHENOXYETHANOL, POLYHYDROSTEARIC ACID

Paraben free, no animal testing and containing 6 organic ingredients this spf30 suncream is waterproof and great for sensitive skin. I catch the sun very easily and today I’ve been on a 12km walk in direct sunlight and haven’t burnt one bit. It applies quite thickly but soon soaks in. One gripe I have with this suncream is that is isn’t scented so it doesn’t give off that nostalgic suncream summer smell.

John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender

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INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC CASTOR SEED OIL, SHEA BUTTER, VANILLA FRUIT OIL, ORANGE FLOWER OIL, TANGERINE PEEL OIL, GRAPEFRUIT PEEL OIL, ROSEMARY LEAF EXTRACT AND SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, GLYCERIN, SORBITOL, PANTHENOL, PHYTIC ACID

I’m a very lazy person when it comes to my hair. I like it easy to do and messy. This sea salt spray is great to get that ‘straight out the sea’ – ‘surfer’ look. All you have to do is spray it on nearly dry/dry hair and scrunch. It gives a natural wave with texture. And it smells amazing! The bottles are made from recycled materials, 9 organic ingredients are used and it is paraben and animal testing free.

Weleda Hayfever Remedies

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Hayfever relief oral spray – This vegan oral spray is homeopathic and helps with hayfever symptoms.

Rhinodoron nasal spray – Made from 100% natural ingredients of aloe vera and saline solution rhinodoron works to break down nasal congestion.

These natural medicines both help alleviate the symptoms of hayfever, but only to a certain extent. If you get a mild case of the allergy then these will be great. However if like me you really do suffer, more chemical methods would be recommended.

Fair Squared Razor

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For the majority of the year my legs are unseen, and so therefore untouched by a razor, it can be a hectic moment when it comes to wearing dresses and shorts. The first glimmer of sun I decided to invest in a new pack of razors. Fair Squared produce a range of fairtrade products from shampoo, to razors, to body lotion all in a carbon neutral factory in Germany. I used this razor for the first time this morning before donning a pair of dungarees for the walk. It moisturised and I didn’t butcher myself. Result!

People Tree Summer Staples

Earlier this year I had a massive clear out of my wardrobe, only keeping what I actually wear. Then as soon as the sun came out I realised I didn’t have any tops to go with my summery bottoms.

Red brenton top – made from 100% organic fairtrade cotton at Fusion Clothing in India who create well-made clothing that uses the planet’s resources intelligently, provides safe working conditions, and gives back to communities that manufacture the garments.

Black t-shirt – made from 95% organic cotton at Rajlakshmi Cottom Mills in India who are pioneers in organic garment manufacturing combining high quality tailoring with a fair deal for farmers and workers, whilst supporting local environmental and social projects.

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Today in Derbyshire the sun is certainly shining. It’s my Granda’s birthday so as soon as this blog post is sent I’ll be off out into the garden for a few beers to celebrate. Hope you all enjoy the sunny weather… while it lasts! x

The Beauty of Simplicity

About a week ago I was well excited to receive my first ever monthly delivery from The Natural Beauty Box.

The Natural Beauty Box is a monthly subscription box of natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare and beauty products. It’s a great way to try out new things and discover different brands.

Box subscription is only £24.95 per month (which is a bargain as boxes have an actual value of £50) and for every box sold there is a 50p charity donation. Also, with my promo code “BELLA3” you can get £3 off your very own subscription.

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May’s box “the beauty of simplicity” contains six super products which I’ve tried and tested over the past week.

Balm Balm Coconut Cleanser

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC COCONUT OIL

I’m already a lover of coconut oil and have found this spray cleanser is great for a deep facial cleanse and to remove eye make up. To use it as an eye make up remover all you have to do is spray a couple of squirts into the palms of your hand, rub onto your closed eyes and let it soak for 30 seconds. Then use a warm, wet cotton pad or muslin cloth and the make up just slides off. Unlike other eye make up removers using coconut oil does not sting and leaves the eye area nice and moisturised.

Balm Balm Little Miracle Rosehip Serum

INGREDIENTS: ALL ORGANIC – ROSEHIP, JOJOBA, BORAGE, FRANKINCENSE, ROSE GERANIUM, PALMAROSA, JUNIPER BERRY, MANDARIN

This serum smells amazing, just look at the ingredients, is there really any wonder?! I’ve been using a couple of drops of this every other night before bed on my face. It’s a little oily, so maybe not great for people with oily skin, but after a few days of sunshine the past week this deep moisturising serum has been perfect.

Alchemy Oils Grapefruit Hair Remedy

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC CASTOIR OIL, COCONUT OIL, ORGANIC AVOCADO OIL, SWEET ALMOND OIL, GRAPEFRUIT WHITE ESSENTIAL OIL

Again, like the serum, this smells great. Fruity and fresh. I’ve only used this once as my hair tends to get greasy with too much product, but it was a lovely treatment. Using a couple of drops to massage into the scalp and through to the ends, then leave in over night. The next day my hair didn’t just feel in better condition but also cleaner.

Kathy Sue-Ann’s Organic Lip Scrub

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC PALM SUGAR, COCONUT OIL, SWEET ALMOND OIL, VITAMIN E

This little pot is brilliant. Not only does it really work on removing dry skin from lips, but the little pot will last forever as all you need is a tiny dab to do the job. Basically all you do is get a smidgen of it onto your finger and massage onto your lips for about a minute, wash it off and put on some lip balm. Super soft.

Skin Elixir Frankincense and May Chang Moisturiser

INGREDIENTS: ALL ORGANIC – SWEET ALMOND OIL, SHEA BUTTER, BLACK SEED, FRANKINCENSE, MAY CHANG, VITAMIN E

I’ve been alternating this moisturiser with the rosehip serum on an evening as a face cream, but it can also be used on your hands and body. It smells exotic and a little goes a long way. You wake up with your skin feeling totally refreshed.

Indigenous Beauty Uplifting Natural Deodorant Cream

INGREDIENTS: BICARBONATE OF SODA, ARROWROOT, COCONUT OIL, SHEA BUTTER, VITAMIN E

I’m not yet fully convinced on natural deodorant. I do a fair bit of sports and with hotter weather on it’s way I’m not entirely confident that it works. I feel I need to be able to do some more research into natural deodorants to be able to form an opinion on this product. Possibly a future blog post on the horizon…

If you’re thinking of transitioning your beauty regime to more natural and ethical products then The Natural Beauty Box is a great way to start (don’t forget with my promo code “BELLA3” you can get £3 off your very own subscription).

Personally I’m already looking forward to the June delivery, thanks TNBB! x

Bring Back the Bees – Burt’s Bees

Since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have observed a dramatic decline in bees.

Bees make more than honey. They are key to food production because they pollinate crops, a third of the food that we eat depends on pollinating insects.

The main reasons for global bee decline:

  • loss of biodiversity and destruction of habitats
  • increase in pesticides and insecticides
  • climate change

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Burt’s Bees, along with making delicious lipsticks, are dedicated to help prevent the bee decline by donating 10% of all purchases to the British Beekeepers Association. On top of this at the moment they have a limited edition lip balm. Where every balm bought, 5,000 bee friendly wildflower seeds are planted.

The balm is coconut and pear flavour made from beeswax and shea butter. I’ve always been a fan of Burt’s Bees, and this one might actually be a new favourite.

At £3.99, go grab one! #bringbackthebees