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tips and tricks

‘A plant-based diet is any diet that focuses around foods derived from plant sources. This can include fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and meat substitutes such as soy products.’

(Source)

There are many interpretations of what ‘plant-based’ eating looks like. Some practice semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diets, which still include small amounts of animal products such as meat and fish but relies mainly on vegetarian foods. Some only consume fish only, no meat and are called pescatarians. And those who still include animal by products but not the meat of the animal itself are referred to as vegetarian, while those who cut out any animal derived products, including dairy, eggs, and gelatin are vegan.

Plant-based diets, when executed in a healthy way, have high fibre, vitamin and mineral intake. The incorporation of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds as the main staples of your diet includes benefits such as lowered cholesterol and BMI, as well as reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

And while all of these benefits are eye-opening and a huge advantage to switching to a plant-based diet, it can feel like a daunting task in a world so focused on a meat-based diet. The idea of restaurant menus and organising dinner every evening becomes a problem, if we don’t gradually transition from one diet to the other. Going cold turkey – excuse the pun – isn’t necessarily the answer to switching up how you consume food. Below we have tips and tricks for a measured and steady transition to reach reaching your plant-based goals.

Set a goal

With a goal to work towards, our willpower is increased in taking on new challenges. Knowing how great it will feel to achieve that goal can be key in keeping us going and motivating us when it gets tough. Plus, by knowing what you end goal is, you can map your journey for how to get there.

Mindset reset

It’s important not to think of this challenge as a deprivation. If you see yourself as cutting something out of your life, rather than incorporating something new in, you will view these challenges in a negative light. It’s about changing your approach to food, not cutting out the best parts of it.

Pick out meals and foods you actually like

There’s no point in forcing yourself to like kale if you’ve never liked kale. Come up with a plant-based version of your favourite meal instead. Love a burger and fries combo? Learn how to make a black-bean burger with tomato relish, onion, guacamole and lettuce! Craving a curry? Sweet potato, chickpea and Massaman curry is an indulgent and creamy alternative, made with coconut milk and crushed peanuts. Deliciously satisfying all your cravings.

Be sensible

If you never usually eat pork or sausages, why would you want them when you’re actively trying not to eat meat? Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. There’s no point agonizing about what counts and what doesn’t when you’re trying out this diet. If you wouldn’t normally eat it, be realistic. Cut it out of your product list.

Go shopping

You can’t eat it if it’s not there! Do a little research before your next shop, and see what plant-based recipes and meat substitutes jump out at you. That way, when you go to make something after a long day of work, you’ll have all the right ingredients for that yummy recipe you’ve been dying to try out, right at your fingertips!

See how others are doing it

Follow plant-based nutritionists, vegetarian and vegan hashtags. Get inspired, motivated and feel less alone on this journey to a new lifestyle. Seeing others struggles and triumphs can bolster your sense of purpose and reinvigorate your passion for trying something new.

Educate yourself

Consult an expert, either in real life, a cookbook or an expert blog to arm yourself with the best chance possible of succeeding. That can give you the insider tips and knowledge you need to really excel in reaching your goal. Having the knowledge of how to source protein, how to make meals that fill you and how to get the most out of this lifestyle change is the key to making it a change that lasts.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has caused major anxiety for millions around the world. Our mental health will take a serious hit due to self-isolation and social distancing, but one thing that will help is reading.

Studies have found that reading has a positive impact on your mental health. Natalie Phillips, who is an English scholar, teamed up with Stanford neurobiologists and radiologists to look at the benefits reading has on our mental health.

They found that reading increases the blood flow to certain parts of the brain. They asked participants to read a chapter of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park– both leisurely and analytically- as the participants read their brain was scanned by an MRI machine.

The team found that reading “requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions”, meaning reading exercises underworked parts of your brain.

I would never have thought reading an old copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby would keep my anxious thoughts away, but it did. Reading is one of the things that has helped ease my symptoms the most.

Pick up a book and dive into a new world, meet new characters and learn about their lives. Reading is a great way to push the anxiety away. It eases your mind when it is full of doubt and fear.

It is the perfect form of escapism. Pop into your local bookshop or order a book online; whether it’s a classic like Wuthering Heights or the latest Sally Rooney novel.

It may not work for everyone, but something as simple as channelling your inner Matilda may keep those dreaded symptoms at bay.

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If you're looking for a new go-to guide for all your beauty and fashion needs, then look no further than The Fashionista Observer. The lovely Róisín, the face behind the fantastic site, was kind enough to give us a sneak peek into her make-up bag and shared some top tips with us too!

This is a girl who can make up her entire face with just three beauty essentials and knows what lipstick can withstand multiple glasses of wine, so we'd be mad not to listen to what this beauty and fashion-obsessed girl has to say, right?

1. What is your best budget buy?

My best budget buy has to be the age-old Vaseline. With the winter truly setting in, my lips have been living off this stuff. You really can't beat it. 

2. What is your top make-up tip?

It's not so much a make-up tip, but I'm a serious preacher of having the perfect brows. About a year ago, I started going to Elysian Brows on South William Street every six to eight weeks and ever since then my whole face has changed. There's not enough to be said for a good brow threading 

3. Most girls have a much loved lipstick – what's yours? 

For the daytime, mine has to be the simple but timeless Creme Cup by Mac. Then for the evening, you can't beat the Mac lip-pencil in Magenta. It's an incredible pink/purple shade that I use instead of lippy and it stays all night, no matter how many glasses of wine you drink!

4. What was your very first perfume and what are you currently wearing? 

When I was a young missy I was obsessed with Fantasy by Britney Spears. I smelt it recently and can't believe I managed to stick the sickly sweet scent, but I think I was ever so slightly sold by the hot pink diamanté bottle! Now I've traded up and can't seem to put down my Jo Malone Blush Suede and Peony. It costs a little bit more than Britney but it's definitely worth it. 

5. You’re only allowed to use three make-up products for the rest of your life…what are they?

This is a horribly cruel question, and definitely not something I want to experience, but I'd have to pick my Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze to keep me tanned and double as a foundation.

Mac Please Me lipstick which I'd also double as a cream blusher .

Mac False Flash Mascara in brunette which I would also use as a liquid eyeliner.

Not the best made up face in the world but I'd make it work!

See, what we mean? This is a girl who knows a thing or two, so why not check out her blog for more fantastic advice and reviews!

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There is nothing quite as relaxing as a long, hot soak in the tub. It’s the perfect antidote to a stressful, tiring day and we all need to indulge more often!

If you’re more used to a quick shower every morning, then you’re really missing out on this stress-relieving treat.

Why not take some time to prepare a bubble bath for yourself and reap the benefits!

We almost always put more effort into experiences for someone else, than ourselves. So, imagine you’re trying to treat your friend or other half to a relaxing, pampering session, but instead provide yourself with all the lovely treats you’d provide them!

Atmosphere
If the bathroom is cold or all you can hear are creaky pipes above you, then chances are reality won’t live up to expectations.

Make sure your bathroom is nice and toasty before you take the plunge and try to have some relaxing sounds playing in the background. Our personal favourite is a little Enya, but hey, it’s up to you.

Candles
Candles are a really lovely touch when you want to relax and unwind. Dim lighting and strategically placed tea lights will go a long way towards relieving stress or tension and adding to the relaxing atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to create.

Just remember to blow them out once you leave the bathroom in search of your PJ’s!

Bath Cushion
These are a tiny touch that can make all the difference. Placing a small bath cushion, or even a rolled up towel, at the nape of your neck while you recline in your scented bubbles is heavenly.

Just be certain not to drift off and fall asleep!

Treatments
This is not the time for your weekly exfoliation or tan-removing regime, which as we all know is more work than anything else!

By all means, use scented bubble bath and apply some conditioning treatments to your skin allowing them to soak in as your relax, but don’t decide to use your bath-time has an opportunity to rid your feet of corns and calluses!

Towels
If you’re going to be getting out the tub after a luxurious soak only to graze yourself by rubbing at your skin with threadbare towels, then again, the experience won’t live up to much.

Have a small, soft towel laid out for yourself to step on and two fluffy, warm towels ready to wrap yourself in once you’re finally ready to get out.

Girls, why not take some time to treat yourself to an hour-long soak in the tub, then cosy up for the rest of the evening and plan your next pamper session!

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Our beauty blog of the week is the fantastic ChatterBox!

Anita and Gemma, the lovely ladies behind the blog, agreed to share some tips and advice with us so we were thrilled to get a sneak peek into the girl's make-up bags and chat about their current faves and essentials!

From the design of the blog to the honest reviews, from the amazing giveaways to the top tips, this is definitely a site you’ll revisit time and again. With experience in the fashion and beauty industry, these girls are honest, passionate and know what they’re talking about.

And did we mention they have a make-up brush as a curser? Need we say more?

What is your best budget beauty buy? 

We would definitely have to say Rimmel's Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation and Stay Matte Powder. Both work together to give a full coverage, flawless complexion that stays shine-free all day long. One of the best budget brands on the market in our eyes. 

What is your top make-up tip? 

For a specific make-up tip we would have to say apply your foundation a small bit at a time. It's better to apply it in light layers as it will look more natural and last longer. Also in general, a good tip is that there are no rules in make-up so be creative, have fun and experiment loads. We love to try out new products and create new looks. Even if something goes wrong and it doesn't look so good it's not the end of the world, it can always be washed off.

Most girls have a much-loved lipstick – what's yours?  

We both have very different taste when it comes to lippies. Gemma likes a bright lip and her favourite would have to be Girl about Town by Mac while Anita's favourite would have to be Charlotte Tilbury's Nude Kate K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick. Both of which have been reviewed on our blog in the past!

What was your very first perfume and what are you currently wearing? 

Back in the day we were both big fans of So….? perfumes, but we are currently trying out lots of lovely fragrances and change our scents regularly. One we are both smitten over at the minute is Liz Earle's Botanical Essence Eau De Parfum in No 100. This is such a sophisticated yet fun scent that we think can work for both day and night.

You're only allowed to use three make-up products for the rest of your life… what are they? 

We would have to say Mac's studio fix powder foundation as it gives extra coverage, sets make-up beautifully and keeps dreaded shine at bay throughout the day.

We also adore Mac Pro longwear concealer. This product lasts so well, a little bit goes a long way and it can be doubled up as a foundation, if we are only allowed three products we need multi-use ones to get the most out of them!

Our final product would have to be a mascara. Gemma's favourite is Max Factors False Lash Effect in the Waterproof version and Anita's would have to be Lancome Grandoise Mascara in Black. Both give extra volume and length to your lashes, while holding a curl in place all day long.

Are you sure we can only pick three? Our list is endless. We are beauty lovers after all! 
 

To hear more from these lovely ladies, why not check out ChatterBox now!

 

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We’re all guilty of ‘forgetting’ to have our Shellac professionally removed or deciding to paint over chipped polish without properly removing the old one, right? We forget to give our nails time to breathe and we load chemicals onto them frequently; is it any wonder they sometimes need emergency care?

If your nails are crying out for some TLC, but you can’t afford a professional treatment, don’t panic! Nail care can be done really well from home. All you need to do is familiarise yourself with the various steps that guarantee the perfect ten.

Five simple stages, girls…

Daily Treatment
Incorporating a 10 second nail and cuticle massage into your nightly beauty routine will do wonders for your nails. Using cuticle oil will repair any dryness or damage and gives your nails a healthy, solid base on which to apply products.

Moisturise
Place some moisturiser by your bathroom sink so that every time you wash your hands, you’ll be reminded to moisturise. Doing this will become second nature and you’ll see the difference in your hands and nails in no time!

Weekly treatment
Push back your cuticles once a week after a bath or shower when they will be at their softest. It doesn’t take long, you can use the edge of a towel if you don’t have a cuticle stick and doing so is vital for nail upkeep.

Emery board
Invest in a good quality emery board. Remember not to saw back and forth at your nail as this approach causes them to split and actually does more harm than good. Slowly shape your nails, taking care to smooth rough edges.

Fortnightly treatment
Having included all the above in your nail care routine, it’s now time for a DIY hot-oil treatment. You need to fill one bowl with oil and a larger bowl with a little hot water. Place the smaller bowl inside the bigger bowl and immerse your hands in the oil for about fifteen minutes. The result? Oh, so soft and smooth!

By doing all of the above, your nails will be in perfect condition for a Shellac or polish in the salon, but really girls, after sticking to this routine for a while and seeing the results, you may actually want to stay au naturel!

 

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When it comes to our daily beauty routines, many of us would be hard pressed to go without our mascara, right?

We might be able to sacrifice our bronzer or reluctantly go bare-lipped for a few days, but most girls will admit that without their mascara they can look tired or drained. So we do really appreciate that extra boost around our peepers.

To really maximise your look and make the most of your favourite mascara, be sure to follow these tips and tricks and get all you can out of this beauty essential.

Work from the inside out!
Did you know that conditioning your lashes is just as important as conditioning your hair? Give your lashes the TLC they deserve by investing in a lash conditioner which will nourish the lashes and in turn create a smooth surface on which to apply your mascara.

Use that curler!
Do you use an eyelash curler on the daily, or is it more of a special occasion thing? Try to incorporate the curler into your daily regime and see the difference immediately! Always remember to apply the curler to bare lashes and if the curler can be warmed up by a quick blast from your hair dryer, all the better!

Comb it out!
You could be wearing the most expensive or luxurious mascara on the market, but it won’t do your lashes any justice if they’re clumping together like spider legs. Ew. Investing in a lash comb is a smart move if you really want a set of beguiling lashes!

Grab a spoon!
Hold a spoon underneath your eye when applying mascara to your bottom lashes. This will stop inconvenient mascara smears on the skin and will give you a better chance to coat each individual bottom lash.

Powder up!
Allow each layer of mascara to dry before applying the next layer. If you’re looking for some extra oomph around your eyes, then dust a little translucent powder on your lashes between applications. This will guarantee a plumped up, voluminous look that false lashes just can’t provide!

If you follow these tips and tricks for each and every mascara application, you'll be able to scratch false lashes off your beauty shopping list for good!

 

 

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Ok so, nothing has changed, as such. There aren’t any arguments, you’re still really happy to see each other, but maybe you think that the little bit of sparkle which previously made you The Most Glorious Couple On The Planet has somehow disappeared. We've all been there.

Here are just five ways to get it back!

Be appreciative
Remember the way he’d text you a ‘good morning’ message every day or how he’d put a hot water bottle on your side of the bed and your heart would swell?

If he still does all those sweet things, then chances are you’re starting to take them for granted. Don’t. Make a conscious effort to appreciate them and watch your relationship improve.

Get each other small treats
We know there’s a lot of present buying in relationships between Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s and anniversaries, but we’re not talking about bringing out the big guns.

What about stationary for his desk in work because he can’t stand that Alan from Accounts constantly nicks his stuff? Inexpensive, but thoughtful gifts or notes which show you listen to each other will go a long way towards strengthening your bond.

Spend time together, TV and internet- free
When was the last time you sat down together without the distraction of TV’s, laptops or iPhones? Make an effort to chill out without the aid of technology and remind yourself why you’re together in the first place.

Can anyone else make him laugh so hard he almost falls off the couch? Isn’t he the only person that realises doing impressions of his work mates while massaging your feet is the perfect combo?

Communicate
If you acknowledge that you have a habit of stewing over an argument or miscommunication instead of just getting it out in the open, then you’re well on the way to improving your relationship. Once you’ve established that honest communication is the key to a happy relationship, life will be a lot easier.

Encourage your boyfriend to do the same. Agreeing to leave past arguments in the past, where they belong, will give your relationship a major boost.

Allow each other ‘me time’
If you’re seeing too much of each other, then chances are the relationship may be turning a little sour. It’s not a reflection on the quality of your relationship because even the most devoted couple need some time apart. Our grandmothers were right when they told us that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Choosing to spend just ONE night together at the weekend, or if you’re already living together, deciding to have a girls or lad’s night once a week will do wonders for you both. After a night out with your respective crews, you’ll be only dying for an evening together to share the latest.

 

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We all know how important sleep is for keeping us looking our very best. Unfortunately, with the busy lives we all lead, there just never seems to be enough hours in the day to get it. Thankfully, you can always fake it…

Try these tricks and no one will ever know you had a late one last night!

Eye cream
Eye cream is your best friend! Dab a little over the dark circles for instant de-puffiness.

Mascara
Open your eyes by applying a light coat of mascara. Don’t apply too much, otherwise it just gets clumpy and your eyes will look too heavy.

White eyeliner
White eyeliner can be a little scary but sometimes it is definitely needed! Apply a little on your lower eye rim from left to right.

Blusher
Lack of sleep can leave you looking withdrawn so pop a little blusher to make you look a little brighter.

Eyebrows
Make sure your eyebrows are plucked and defined so fill those brows in.

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You need to be aware of these four beauty hacks:

Cat flick the easy way
Always seem to get the shakes when it comes to creating your cat eye look? Arm yourself with a spoon and you are set. Use the handle to create the straight line and the actual spoon to create the curve. Simply fill in with your liner.

Heat your curler with a hairdryer
Curlers are great for creating the ultimate lash look. The most effective time to use it is when it is hot so blast some heat onto your hair curler using the hair dryer to make it easier to curl your lashes.

No curler, no problem
Using your trusty spoon you can achieve to same look an eyelash curler would create. Blast ith with some heat and then place the back of the spoon against your eyelid and press your lashes on using your finger.

Fix broken powders
To fix your broken blush, compressed powder or eyeshadow simply add a teeny drop of water and squash it down together with a spoon. Let it dry before you use it though.

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