Clear Improvement Mask – Origins UK

The well-known UK-based beauty and skincare brand Origins have added a new skincare-member to their product-family, which I’ve been testing the last few months. Here is what I think of it.

Let me introduce you to the new Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask! 🙂

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This mask is literally everything you could wish for in a mask.

  • It consists of solely organic ingredients, such as honey, charcoal and goldenrod.
  • It smells incredible.
  • It leaves your skin feeling super soft, nourished and cleansed.
  • It’s been made cruelty-free and vegan.
  • The packaging is made of recyclable cardboard

When you apply the mask to your face, you can actually feel the charcoal cleansing your pores. My face usually gets kinda tingly shortly after I put the mask on.

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How to use it:

The Clear Improvement Mask should be used about once a week. Before applying the mask, I would strongly suggest you remove your makeup and cleanse your face thoroughly. Only then will the mask be able to get into your pores and work its magic. For the ultimate results, you could also cover your face with a wet towel (using warm water), before applying the mask, that will open up your pores even more.

Leave the mask on for about 15 to 20 minutes, before taking it off with some warm water. Afterwards, you’d apply some moisturizer and you’re ready to go.

I’ve been using this mask for about half a year now and I honestly couldn’t love it more. It’s such a great product, feels incredibly good on my skin and the results are amazing. To be honest, I personally have never had a big issue with having bad skin and such, but especially a few days before my period is due, I do get some break-outs. And since during this time of the month, I do really focus on pampering and looking after myself, a nice face-mask comes in very handy.

Anyway, I’d definitely recommend this mask to everybody (the mask is suitable for all skin types) and would love to know your thoughts and experiences with this product, so leave a comment down below.

See you soon

Kristina x

Five easy, sustainable swaps

I’ve learnt from my own experience that trying to live a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle can be quite overwhelming at first. What’s important here is to slowly incorporate more and more sustainable option in your day-to-do life, rather than trying to go vegan, be entirely plastic-free and a minimalist all at once. For some of you this radical change will work, but me and maybe a few others rather take it slow. My point being that we should all make changes, in whether way is most suitable for us, as long as we are in for the long run. Veganism, sustainability and consciously living aren’t just trends right now. In order to act against climate change, plastic-pollution and the extinction of various sea-animals and mammals we have to be consistent with our choices, which means that we have to consciously decide ourselves for the plastic-free option every single day.

In this post I’m focusing on reducing plastic-waste with just five easy and affordable swaps that won’t have a huge impact on your personal life, but will make a huge difference for our planet.

Bamboo toothbrushes

More than 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away per year in the US alone, a huge amount of which lands in the ocean, where it endangers turtles, dolphins and many other sea-animals. Plastic toothbrushes are technically undestroyable, since they aren’t biodegradable, cannot be burnt and are hardly ever recycled.

This problem can be solved quite easily, though. Many companies now offer toothbrushes made of bamboo. Those are vegan, cruelty-free and come in 100% recycled and recyclable packaging. The alternative brushes also come in various colors and offer a variety of different bristles.

Packages of two bamboo toothbrushes.
That’s what the packages look like.

At the moment I’m using the Humble Brush from The Humble, a Swedish company that produces eco-friendly and socially responsible toothbrushes, toothpastes, chewing gum and cotton buds. I leave a link for you to check them out here.

Bamboo toothbrushes unpacked.
And those are the brushes (obviously).

Another brand I would highly recommend is Hydrophil. The company is based in Germany and offers vegan, sustainable and water-neutral hygiene products. Here is the link to their website.

Reusable water bottles

We all know the struggle of being out and about and once again having to buy some water in a bottle, which we quickly empty and then dispose in one of those bins on the street (or even throw into landfill).

Not only is that a rather expensive habit, it’s also very dangerous for the environment. Plastic water bottles are usually only used once and since they are mostly thrown away on the go their recycling rate is rather low.

To work against that you could get yourself a pretty reusable water bottle made of stainless steal.

Chilly’s Bottles offers such bottles in various seizes and designs along with coffee-cups and food pots.

My bottle was gifted to me and is from a brand called savedbygrace.

Purple water bottle.
That’s my water bottle.

Once you got hold of such a bottle just make sure to always bring it with you. In order to not forget to fill it up before you leave the house you could place it somewhere you’re bound to come across in the morning, for example next to your car-keys, your coffee-machine,…

Keep-cups and thermos bottles

A coffee-to-go is often a life-saver in between meetings or long car-rides. The cups it is served in are one of the trickiest products to recycle. Most coffee-to-go cups are made of some kind of foam or cardboard which is lined with plastic on the inside to prevent the cup from soaking up the liquid. That is obviously convenient, yet impossible to recycle, which means the most sustainable option is to just stop using these cups althogehter. Which of course doesn’t mean you can’t have your coffee-to-go anymore, because that would be really rough. All you need to do is to invest in a biodegradable, reusable keep-cup made of bamboo or glas. Those cups work just as well as the traditional coffee-to-go cups, only you can use them time and time again. And they mostly are dishwasher-save so that’s a plus as well.

Once you got such a cup, e.g. from Chilly’s Bottles or KeepCup, all you have to do is to bring your cup along with your to your preferred coffee-shop and ask the barista to kindly put your order in your reusable cup. Apparently, some coffee-shops in the UK even offer discounts for those who bring their own cup, which allows you to actually save money, while saving the planet. 

Thermos bottle with keep cup.
The keep cup says: Take time for the things that make you happy.

But if you want to take it one step further and save even more money, you could always fill up one of those thermos bottles at home and take it with you. Good thermos bottles will keep your drink warm for up to 12 hours, so that should have you covered as well. You can grab your’s.

Recyclable, unbleached toilet paper and kitchen roll

The production of hygiene-paper requires a lot of chemicals, which cause pollution in water and landfill as well as deforestation in a lot of areas. Therefore, using recycled, recyclable and unbleached hygiene-paper is the more eco-friendly option here. I leave links to brands that offer those brands here for you: Seventhgeneration, Sustainablesupply

Sustainable toilet paper
The toilet paper really isn’t any different to the standard one.

Reusable cutlery

Last but not least, please use reusable cutlery. Many of us need to grab some food on the go and a daily or weekly basis, which is more often than not served with plastic cutlery. You can reduce the plastic-waste caused by that easily by investing in one or two sets of stainless steel or bamboo cutlery, which you carry around with you.

Metal cutlery.
The holes you see here is for keeping them together.

If you like to drink with a straw, please get a metal or bamboo one. Plastic straws are super dangerous for sea-animal and since there are great alternatives, not really necessary.

And then, there are those plastic containers in which take-away food is served in. That waste can be prevented if you simply bring your own, reusable container and ask to put the food in there.

Here are the links where you can get: reusable cutlery, sustainable straws, plastic-free containers.

So there you have it, those are five sustainable swaps for starting your journey into sustainability and consciously living.

Please make sure to not be too hard on yourself. We still live in a world where plastic-consumption is the norm and sometimes a lot more convenient than plastic-free alternatives. It is therefore totally fine to make some mistakes, just don’t beat yourself up about it. Acknowledge the mistake and try to come up with a way to make it better next time. That way you’ll slowly get better and better in reducing your plastic-waste.

I hope you found this post informative and helpful and if you have any recommendations for me please leave them in the comments down below.

Love

Kristina x

How I Got Into Sustainability

Living a sustainable and conscious lifestyle has become big in 2018, hasn’t it? And it was about time as well. When I was still in school we already learned about climate change, ocean plastic and how, if we don’t act soon, our planet will not exist much longer, so it’s amazing to see that people are actively making a difference.

But let me tell you about how I got into sustainability in the first place.

I grew up living in the country-side in Upper-Austria, surrounded by farmers and all their amazing animals. My parents have always been very conscious about our plastic and energy consummation. I therefore learned from a very young age, to turn the light off whenever I’m not actively using it, to never let the tap run while brushing my teeth, and only to use plastic whenever there’s no other option available.

And although we did try to be sustainable the usage of plastic has been very high at my parent’s house, so we weren’t perfect, but I definitely can say that I grew up being very well aware of the fact that a low carbon footprint can make a difference.

As I grew older it became clear to me that we have to do more and start to actively start protecting the environment from our lifestyle. With that I made small changes in my life, nothing really big and I wasn’t really focusing on being plastic-free, until in September 2018 I suddenly found myself buying bamboo-toothbrushes, keep-cups and reusable water bottles.

Also, I started doing a hell lot of research on sustainability and how to achieve that plastic-free lifestyle (which turns out to be way harder than it ought to be).

Since then, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve made mistakes and I still have to sometimes talk myself out of choosing the more convenient plastic-option and go for the sometimes slightly more complicated plastic-free choice.

As I’ve only recently started this journey and still got so, so much to learn and figure out, I’d like to share my progress and experiences with you.

Hopefully, you’ll find some tips to incorporate in your daily life and if you have any advice for me, please write them in the comments down below.

Best

Kristina x


My Recipe For The Perfect Text

I wrote my first short story when I was about six years old and before that, not being able to properly write yet, I would think of many stories in my head, most of which were about horses and other animals I loved. Writing has always had an extremely relaxing and therapeutic effect on me and my definition of fun was writing essays for classes. And with the encouragement of various teachers my style of writing, as well as my vocabulary, have improved over the years, and though I know that I’m far from being an expert in writing, I thought I’d share with you today a few steps that I’ve established back in High-School. It’s just a strategy that I’ve been following for years and maybe you could make use of those tips as well. So, let’s get started.

1.    WRITE A DRAFT

Write down every single thought that pops into your mind concerning the topic you are writing about. Don’t focus on structure, grammar, and choice of words. This first step is only for gathering your thoughts and opinions on the topic of your text.

 

2.     DO SOME RESEARCH

Nowadays information is accessible at any given time. Google your topic, maybe read some book about it, whatever fits best for you. This step is for getting comfortable and familiar with the topic.

3.    RESEARCH THE TYPE OF YOUR TEXT

There are some differences between Article, Essay, Open Letters, Colum, etc. Especially when it comes to structure and the opinion. Luckily, there usually are tons of examples for each type of text online, so all you have to do is read a few examples and keep in mind, what’s important for your text.

4.    FIGURE OUT YOUR TARGET GROUP

Now, that seems to me a bit of an underestimated step. But it’s actually your target-group that tells you whatever your text should be modern, sophisticated, humorous, … No matter what you are writing about, you want to draw your reader in right from the start. So, a catching headline and subhead are crucial. But the overall style has a great impact on how people are going to receive your text. Let me give you a quick example: Let’s say you are to write an essay concerning drug-abuse for 13- to 16-year-old teenagers. Your style of writing should be easy going and relatable, you may even want to throw the occasional joke in there, but keep your topic in mind, it should still be clear that the subject of your text is of serious nature. Now, you have to write an essay on the same topic of the parents of those teenagers. In that case, your style should be more sophisticated and business-like. You want your reader to see how competent and trustworthy you are.

You got to build a relationship with your reader. If you have trouble doing that, draw an imaginary reader. Write down their hobbies, their living situation, what they love, what they hate and then write the text for that person.

 

5.    STRUCTURE YOUR TEXT

Put your thoughts from Step 1 in order. Keep in mind Step 3.

6.    LET IT REST

I’ve always like to compare writing with baking. First, you mix all the ingredients together until you have a batter. Then you let it rest for a while before you form it and put it in the oven.

Writing is rather similar and in my opinion letting your draft rest is absolutely necessary in order to become an excellent text since it allows you to step back from the topic for a while and most of the time gives you a whole new perspective on the subject. Also, you are more likely to discover typos when you return to your draft.

How long you want your draft to rest is up to you. I like to lay mine down overnight, but when I’m in a hurry I try to get at least an hour in before editing it and putting together the final edition. There are also topics that challenge me more than others, then I sometimes let a text rest for over a week, if there’s enough time. Which brings me straight to the next point.

7.    START EARLY

When you are at school or university you are usually told when you have to hand in a piece of work and believe me when I say that not starting to write a day before the due date will improve your writing immensely. Simply because you can do a way better and thought-through structure, research more and, of course, let it rest. Naturally, that won’t be possible to do every time you have to write something, but the next time your professor tells you to hand in that essay Monday next week, start right on the day they tell you about it. Not only will you be more relaxed because you are on time with your homework, you will also find that you will receive a better mark on that particular text.

8.    DO NOT TRY TO BE PERFECT

Writing needs practice just as everything in life. If you are trying too hard to be perfect and put a lot of pressure on yourself, you are very likely to “over-edit” your text and end up with a decent result, but that’s usually not what you really have in store. The perfect text doesn’t exist, you’ll always find something to change, to edit so it’s important to just let go sometimes. And, as long as you keep on writing you are going to get better anyway. Try to be confident about what you have to say. Your thoughts and opinion matter.

9.    BY ALL MEANS, AVOID WORD-REVISIONS

Honestly, there’s hardly anything more upsetting than reading a text that uses the same word over and over again. Obviously, there are certain exceptions, but most vocabs have at least one synonym that you could write instead. Really focus on that the next time you write something. Your text will freshen up a damn lot if you try to use different words.

Also, there’s an awesome app for searching synonyms available for iOS and Android. It’s called “Thesaurus” and basically provides you with synonyms for English vocabulary.

10.  READ, READ, READ

There’s nothing I could tell you that improves your writing as much as reading. I haven’t really got anything to say about that one apart from: You get loads of new vocabs; find out about the different structures of a sentence; grow confident in the use of grammar.

That concludes my recipe for the perfect text. I know that my texts are far from perfect, but maybe that list here will help you write your next homework.

The Pleasure Of The Mountains

“Although I deeply love oceans, deserts, and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty.” – Victoria Erikson

Every mountaineer will probably be able to relate to this quote. There’s something so unique and fulfilling in the tranquillity and silent majesty of the mountains, that once you’ve been lucky enough to taste it, you only want more.

Growing up in a small village in Upper Austria, surrounded by mountains and hills, I’ve come to take mountains for granted when I was a teenager. Although I loved hiking as a child, over the years I lost the pleasure in conquering a mountain and couldn’t understand why people would voluntarily sweat like sh*t in the blazing sun just to be able to say they have climbed an enormous pile of rocks.

Hiking for me was an activity you do with other people, never alone. God knows where I got that idea from, but so it was. The idea of going on a hike on my own never even occurred to me since I was like 18 years old. And there actually lies the reason of why I quit hiking as a teenager –> I didn’t want to spend more time than absolutely necessary in the company of other people. Also, I didn’t want to be seen with a sweaty, tomato-red head and a pumping chest. In case, you are wondering, yes I did suffer from social anxiety, though I believe it was a very low form of that illness, nevertheless, it got in my way. Anyway, I simply couldn’t bring myself to go on a hike with my family and rejected them so long they eventually stopped asking me to accompany them. Years went by and I started my therapy and after a few months in I started to read “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. ( In case you are interested in my Review click here). And in the midst of reading, I thought I want to have that feeling as well. I want to be in the mountains, completely by myself and only surrounded by trees, without any permission to interact with my fellow human beings. So, I bought myself a pair of proper hiking-shoes and went on my first ever solo-hike. I conquered the “Kleinen Sonnstein” in the middle of Salzkammergut, where after an hour of a rather steep ascent the hiker gets rewarded with a breathtaking view of lake Traunsee, the mountain Traunstein and Gmunden.

Kleiner Sonnstein

That’s a small portion of the view you get on the top of Kleiner Sonnstein.

Thus commenced my love for hiking and the mountains. After Sonnstein, I tackled “GrĂĽnberg” and a few others, at this time already in the company of my beloved Australian Shepherd Hercules.

Hercules

Meet Hercules. He loves hiking, playing in the snow and cuddles. Lots and lots of cuddles.

Anyway, that’s the Story of how I got into hiking and spending time in the mountains.

But, doing it more frequently now than ever before, I started to ask myself why exactly so many people are drawn to the beauty of the mountains and want to stand on top of one. Of course, there’s always the glorious view, but could that be the only reason hundreds of people in the world set out every day to climb a mountain? I believe not. Hence, you’ll find a list of some of the advantages of hiking below.

  1. Freedom –> There’s hardly anything that makes you feel so free than standing on top of a mountain
  2. A challenge completed and the sense of achievement that comes with it –> the feeling of success and having made it is quite unbeatable and something everybody needs to experience every now and then
  3. According to Health Positive hiking has helped provide so many new benefits to mental health that experts now prescribe it as a supplementary for ADHD and chronic depression. How astonishing is that? And how wonderful?
  4. There’s no better way to get away from the every-day stress and to unwind. All you gotta do is put your phone in your Rucksack and try to take not too many Pictures. Hiking provides you one of the best opportunities for escaping your stress and the constant pressure of today’s Society.
  5. You get a nice workout in. It may be a bit more time-consuming, but therefore there’s hardly an exercise you could do at home or in the gym that works your core, your cardio and your strength at the same time.

To put it all in a nutshell, spending time in nature and seeing the beauty of your home country is worth, sweating (and peeling yourself out of your sports-bra afterwards ;)) and getting dirty. Those five benefits are only the peak of the iceberg if you will when it comes to hiking.