April Habits + Monthly Review

Hi Everyone!

Welcome back to another monthly review post 🙂 It’s been a busy month and I have a lot to share with you. In this post, I’ll update you on all things running, show you some of my favourite snacks, as well as my new favourite superfood, and let you in on one of my top tips for staying organized!

Monthly Catch Up

In case you’ve missed any of this months blog posts, you can catch up here. Personally, I think this has been one of my top months for blogging ever, as I’m so happy with the posts I’ve published, and you guys seem to have loved them. We’re also super close to 100 followers on the blog which is CRAZY!!!

Clean Beauty – the guide to what it is, what to buy, and how it works

3 Eateries in London You Have To Try This Spring

Being The New Kid – How to deal with moving

What are we doing to the Earth? – Earth Day 2018

Running Update

So as you guys will know, if you read my blog or Instagram regularly, I run competitively for a Cross Country team during the winter, and in the spring I run for a Track & Field team.(I wrote about my love for running a while back) I love running because even though it’s tough, it’s so rewarding! I train roughly six times a week during season time, and to say the least, it’s tiring. In April I went to one of my biggest competitions yet for Track, in Oman and it was a great experience. I’m happy with the way I performed, but more importantly than that, it was just so eye-opening to see all the competition and to meet with other people who also love running as much as I do. It makes me want to work even harder to be able to go back next year, and hopefully run even faster!

That was my last competition of the season, and I’m done with competitively training for the rest of the year. It was so lovely to have a week off after I came back from Oman where I didn’t run one day because I was exhausted. But now I’ve started to train by myself around 3 times a week, and just to do fun workouts that I enjoy. At the moment my routine is waking up around 5:30 on weekdays and doing a quick workout. I’ve done a swim workout, which was so fun! And some other workouts based around plyometrics, as I wanted to switch it up a bit. I love this routine at the moment, as it just puts me in such a good mood for the rest of the day, and I don’t have to stress about fitting in a workout after school. But I am allowing myself to take it easy, and while I’m still working hard, I’m definitely not reaching my maximum training scale.

 

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The competition in Oman was also my first time competing in spikes!

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A photo from one of our family runs during Spring Break

 

What I’ve been eating – some snack ideas

Recently I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen and been meddling around with different ingredients. As I’m no longer running every day I don’t have to worry about consuming the right amount of carbs and proteins every day, and I’m a bit freer. I’ve also been making my water a bit more interesting, as I don’t have to worry about drinking a certain amount throughout the day, and I’ve been adding mint to the water I take to school. It’s a really nice change! We actually grow mint in our garden at home, so every morning before school I pick a few leaves, wash them, and put them into my water. Let me know what you put in your water to make it more interesting!

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I’ve also found a new favourite after-school snack, which you might have already seen on my Instagram. I am a huge snacker, and I’m pretty much constantly hungry, so I do my best to find snacks that fill me up for a long time. Avocados have been my lifesaver, they’re a healthy fat and keep me full for ages, so I’ve tried my best to incorporate them into my afternoon snack. I’ve created a little avocado dip, I guess it’s like guacamole, and I made my own chips to eat with it. So in this avocado dip, I have half an avocado, lemon, salt, coriander, a mix of sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. I mix it all together in a bowl, and grab some pita bread, cut it into triangles, and toast it until it’s crispy. (I guess you could also use regular chips) Then I can enjoy this snack while I’m studying, and it keeps me quite full for a long time!

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I’ve also been loving a new superfood, and I’m obsessed with it at the moment. It’s bee pollen! I know, might sound a little weird right? But trust me it’s amazing. As you might know, another one of my go-to snacks is a bowl of yogurt, granola, and berries (you can read more about my snacks here), and I’ve recently been adding bee pollen to this mix. I got mine from Daylesford Farms, and bee pollen are these tiny yellow spheres that taste a bit like honey, but not as sweet. I really like topping my yogurt with them because it adds that extra sweetness, without me feeling too guilty, and they have a really nice undertone. Bee pollen is also super good for you, it reduces inflammation, it’s an antioxidant, protects your liver, boosts your immune system, can be used as a supplement (because it’s full of vitamins), helps relieve stress, and promotes healing. Let me know if you’ve tried it!

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How I’ve Been Staying Organized

My last tip to share with you in this post has honestly been a lifesaver. As the school year is getting busier, with meetings and exams, there has been a lot for me to remember. And maybe I’m totally behind everyone else, but to remind myself of everything I used to just write it in my planner and hope I remembered it throughout the day. But I’ve started using the reminders app, and I’m in love. Like I said, maybe I’m really behind everyone and I’m the only person who isn’t using it, but I just discovered it and it’s so useful! It’s the regular reminders app you can get on an iPhone, and you can write yourself reminders that pop up on your phone at different times of the day, or when you reach a specific location, and they don’t go away until you complete them. This app has helped take a lot of stress off me, as I don’t have to remember everything anymore. Do you use it?

So that wraps up my April in review post, it’s been a busy month, but those are some of the important things I wanted to share with you! As always, let me know what you think in the comments, and if you try any of my recipes or tips!

See you next week

Little Miss Expat 

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Clean Beauty – the guide to what it is, what to buy, and how it works

Hey guys!

Today’s post focuses on something that’s very important to me and something that I could honestly talk about for ages. As a science geek, I’ve always found it interesting to know what I’m using, for example, I find it so exciting when I look at my moisturizer bottle, and I can identify what the ingredients are and what they do for my skin. I’m also a bit of a nature nerd, as I’ve mentioned before I love the outdoors and any plants and flowers, and I find it so fascinating that these everyday plants can be crushed or squeezed in a specific way, that can cure you of your acne, or leave you with super soft skin. Every time I talk about this kind of stuff, I get so excited, and honestly, I know its a bit sad but I love spending my time researching the natural healing powers of specific plants and looking at the latest natural beauty products.

So that is why in today’s post, I want to pass on a bit of my passion for all things natural to you guys and share with you a change that I’ve made in this past year. To rewind a bit, from the time I hit age 13 I started to suffer from teenage acne, and this could of been for a variety of reasons: hormones, stress, or the products that I used on my skin, but I didn’t really know what I should be doing to cure this acne. I started covering it up with makeup every day, and I live in Dubai so I was sweating in this makeup all day long, and my skin really did not appreciate it. To just add onto this whole mess of things, I have really really sensitive skin, so my skin reacts to pretty much anything I use, and I have to be very careful. It’s been almost three years since I first started getting acne, and like most teens I’ve pretty much grown out of it. I still get some breakouts, but my skin has improved a lot because of the changes I’ve made in the past year. Not only have my breakouts reduced, but I’ve also found my skin overall looking more ‘glowy’ and healthy.

I made the switch to using clean beauty products this year, and being more aware of what I’m putting on my skin and my body. I realised that I make such an effort to fill my body with nutritious and healthy food, when I cover it with products full of toxins and all kinds of chemicals, which is kind of hypocritical. And I know, clean beauty seems like it’s all the rage right now, with more and more brands claiming to be ‘organic’ or ‘natural’, but if you find real clean beauty products, you will soon realise this whole clean beauty regime is not a fad, it really truly does work.

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So what is clean beauty?

There is no exact definition, but clean beauty encompasses a range of things. One being that the products are completely transparent about what’s inside them, and they are safe for people to use. It means that the quality is not compromised, and the main goal of the company is not to just, sell more, but to create products that genuinely work and benefit the user. Another aspect of clean beauty is that from production to usage, these products are safe to everyone, this means no animal testing, or anything that will affect the environment negatively.

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Why should I use clean beauty products?

As I mentioned before I have seen great benefits from using clean beauty products on myself, not only in clearing up my acne, but also contributing to my overall wellbeing. I don’t feel like I’m slapping on chemicals onto my skin and drying it out, I feel like I’m really taking care of myself and not compromising my health at the cost of the products I’m using. Also looking at the more environmental side to the argument, clean beauty products are much more sustainable. And yes, they are a little more pricey, but trust me with clean beauty less is more. Most products are of such good quality that you don’t need to buy heaps of cosmetics, and remember you’re spending money to improve your wellbeing. That being said, don’t just go out and buy anything that says it’s a clean beauty product, personally I spend ages choosing what products to buy and what they will do for me. I spent a really long time trying to find a clean beauty vendor that’s accessible to me, and looking at what options they have. Once I chose the products that I wanted to try, I read heaps of reviews to see if they actually worked, and if they were compatible with my skin type.

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Where do I buy my products?

I think buying products from a clean beauty specific vendor, is easier than looking at stores individually. I also read a lot of other reviews of clean beauty products so that I’m always finding more. If you live in the U.S. you can take a look at companies such as ‘Credo Beauty’ or ‘The Detox Market’ who gather a selection of clean beauty products which they curate themselves. These companies aren’t as accessible for me, so I looked for something in Dubai, but sadly I haven’t found anything yet, please let me know if you know of somewhere that sells clean beauty products in Dubai! So I checked out clean beauty stores in the U.K, and decided on ‘Content Beauty & Wellbeing’. It curates the products it sells, making sure they don’t contain harmful chemicals, while still delivering high end results. I also sometimes visit ‘Space NK’ if I’m looking for something specific. But always be sure to look into the products you want to buy before purchasing them, to be sure they fit all the criteria you want.

 

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I found this really helpful guide from Today, (I don’t take credit for making it) but it lets you see what the little icons on your cosmetics mean.

 

What do I use?

Finally! For the most exciting part of this post, what products I use!!! I’m more of a ‘natural look girl’ I hardly wear makeup, and when I do, I like to make sure that it doesn’t look heavy. So most of the products that I use cater to this, and to my skincare needs. Some of these products I’ve been using for a while, and some are fairly new, but all the products I share in this post, I’m confident to say that I genuinely like.

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Skincare + Bodywash

Tata Harper Skincare – I talked about it a while back, but I have been using Tata Harper products on my skin for almost a year now, and this is where I’ve seen incredible improvements. All the skincare products I use on my face are from this brand, from my cleanser & moisturiser, to my toner.

Evolve Beauty – I have recently started using a body wash from evolve beauty, and I really like it. I’ve tried a few different clean body washes, but this is the first one that I can fully say is perfect! It doesn’t dry out my skin at all, and it smells soooo good. Evolve beauty was kind enough to send me some samples, so you will definitely be seeing a post about them soon, and what other products I like from their collection.

Isla Apothecary – I really like using roll on essential oils as an alternative to perfume, and Isla Apothecary has a really nice one that I’ve been using.

Neal’s Yard Remedies – I also use an essential oil rollable from Neal’s Yard, in the scent ‘energy’ which is amazing.

Odacite – I am soooo excited to try more products from them, but for now I only have a serum for my face, leaves me with super soft skin.

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Beauty

Lilah Beauty – This is the first clean beauty makeup brand that I started using, and I haven’t yet found anything that compares. I use the concealer, powder, as well as an eyeshadow palette from Lilah.b and it blends into my skin so well, and it creates a really nice natural look on my skin, that I haven’t found from anyone else.

ILIA Beauty – I use a lipstick and an illuminator from here, and I really like their products, you can still look amazing, while benefitting your health!

Lily Lolo Mineral Cosmetics – I recently brought a mascara and a blush from Lily Lolo, and I’ve really liked them so far, I look forward to trying a few more of their products.

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I really hope you found this post interesting, I had so much fun writing it! As always, please let me know if you liked it. Also let me know in the comments if you use clean beauty products, and if you want to make the change. Also, if you have any recommendations for clean beauty products for me to try, let me know! And if you’re a brand that wants me to try your products, you can find all my information about collaborations here.

Little Miss Expat

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January In Review – What I’ve been loving, doing, and my favourites!

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe that January is already over, that went really quickly! This month has been a very busy one, with new years resolutions, starting school again, the end of one semester, and being well into the Cross Country Season. In this post, I’m going to share with you what products I’ve been using a lot this month, and what I’m loving. And I’ll also share what’s been going on in my life, and what’s coming in February. I hope you enjoy!

What Have I Been Loving?

Over the Winter Break, I made a conscious effort to start using more natural products on my skin, as I have really sensitive skin and I see a lot of benefits when I simplify what I use on my skin and use natural products. I already use natural make-up and cleansers (I wrote about them in this post if you’re interested) but I picked out a natural body wash and toothpaste, and I’ve been absolutely loving them!

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I wanted to make the change to a natural toothpaste because I realized how silly I was being, I care so much about what I eat and if it’s good for me, yet I was putting chemicals and artificial flavours into my mouth twice a day without really registering it. I was worried that this toothpaste would taste weird, but I’ve actually really been enjoying it and it doesn’t taste too bad.

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I also wanted to simplify the kind of body wash I use on my skin, and I’ve been noticing really good things since I started using this one. I usually get very dry skin during the winter, but this soap doesn’t seem to dry out my skin as much. And it smells amazing!! I did buy a natural shampoo and conditioner (from a different brand), but it was making my hair dry and coarse, does anyone have any recommendations?

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I started using a toner on my face and it’s been helping my skin a lot. It acts as an extra cleanse, and it helps reduce your pore size before you put on any makeup or moisturizer, which makes sure less bacteria gets into your skin. I still don’t have completely clear skin, but I have been noticing a huge difference since I started using a toner. I got this one from Clarins, and it’s the special one for sensitive skin, but they have lots of different options for different skin types. Do any of you use a toner, and if so do you see a difference?

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Another thing that I’ve been using a lot this month is my sleep mask and spray. I had never worn a sleep mask before this year because I always thought they were such a hassle, and I didn’t understand why someone would wear one in their own house? But let me tell you if you have a struggle falling asleep you need to invest in one of these. I’m a really sensitive sleeper, so once I see some light shining through my curtains, I’m immediately awake. During the week that’s okay because when I wake up, the sun isn’t really up yet. But on the weekends it’s very annoying because I can hardly ever sleep in past 7am because I find it too sunny. This sleep mask has been a lifesaver! Not only has it been allowing me to sleep for longer, but also I fall asleep much quicker now because once I put on my mask, my body knows that it’s time to fall asleep. I also got a new sleep spray over the break, which is meant to calm and relax you before you turn off the lights and go to sleep. I’ve been using a spray for a few years now, and I really recommend them, they create a nice environment and help you fall asleep more easily.

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One of my new years resolutions was to stress less and to start practicing meditation. And I’m proud to say that I have been sticking to the meditation part! No matter how stressed I’ve been getting during the day, before I go to bed, I make sure that I do a little bit of meditation so that I can relax and unwind. Insight Timer is a free app, and I have to say it’s my favourite meditation app out of all the ones I’ve tried. It’s kind of like a meditation Spotify, you can browse through hundreds of guided meditations for different amounts of time, and for specific things such as stress, or compassion, and pick which one you like. You can also freely meditate with a timer for as long as you want. I know meditation doesn’t sound like the coolest way to be spending your evening, but it really only takes 5 minutes, and it’s really helpful to me.

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Another really big part of my year so far has been my planner. I know I’m a nerd. But I love being organized! I make endless lists, plan out every hour of my day, and every day of my week. Before I got my planner, I did this on sticky notes and it was a bit annoying because I didn’t have them all in one place, and I didn’t have enough space to make notes. So I did a LOT of research to find the PERFECT PLANNER, one with a monthly view, and a page for each day where you can plan out your day by the hour, as well as a daily quote, and a place to write your daily goals and gratitude. I have literally been living through my planner, and it’s been taking a lot of stress off me because I don’t have to remember everything anymore. I got my planner from The Day Designer and I can not tell you how much I love it! Be sure to look at theirs if you need one for 2018.

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Lastly, because, of course, I need to include a little bit of food in this post. My favourite snack this month has been dates. I know, kind of random right? But in Dubai, we have dates everywhere, and they’re a really nice small sweet snack. I’ve been loving having them because they’re also really good for you, and I’ve been seeing great improvements in my digestion. I usually need something sweet after I eat dinner, and instead of eating a chocolate, eating a date is so much healthier!

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What Else Has Happened This Month?

Running:

If you’re one of my regular readers, you will know that at the beginning of this month I found out I had a stress injury. If you want to know more about this, I wrote a whole blog post explaining my injury in detail, you can find it here. But I’m not going to lie, that really put me off track for the start of the new year. I really love running, and not being able to run made me really sad and upset. I was also scared that all my hard work training would just go down the drain because I had to take so much time off. I was a miserable blob for a good few weeks, and I felt so useless and sorry for myself. But it taught me that in life you just have to accept that sometimes there are things that are out of your control. There was nothing I could do to be able to run, all I could do was work on recovering quickly.

One of my friends also told me something that really helped me stop feeling sorry for myself. Some of my best friends are on the Cross Country team with me, and we all support each other with whatever we’re going through. And my friend who has been injured for a while told me that it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself, but after a while, you have to stop because it just makes it worse. You can have one day to cry and feel bad about whatever is going on, but after that, you need to accept that there’s nothing you can do, and you need to be strong again. And that has really helped me this month , because if I didn’t stop thinking about it, it would have taken over my whole month.

I’ve been working hard ever since I was allowed to run again, and I was selected for the MESAC competition (Middle East, South Asia, Conference), basically a big Cross Country competition. And wow am I nervous! I am so happy and grateful that I was selected, but it’s next weekend and I’m starting to get very nervous. This year I’ve been pretty good at not letting my nerves take over before Cross Country competitions, but this is the biggest one I’ve ever had to compete in, and I’m already feeling nervous. Does anyone have any tips on how to deal with nerves? And how to fuel up before a big race? I would love to hear them!

Semester 1 of School Is Over!

In other news, I’ve officially finished Semester 1 of my Sophomore year, and wow was that intense! Ever since I came back from Winter Break, it has been GO GO GO! With so many things happening, it was kind of overwhelming and challenging, but I’ve had this long weekend to relax and prepare for the next semester. I wrote a long post about it on my Instagram (@Little.Miss.Expat) yesterday, so take a look at that if you’re interested.

60 Followers On The Blog!

This month I hit 60 followers on my blog which is crazy!! I’m so grateful for each and every one of you that reads my posts and supports me. It’s amazing to think that I started this all from scratch almost 7 months ago, and it’s come this far. I love writing for you guys, and I hope you enjoy my content! I’m almost at 300 followers on my Instagram too, so hopefully when you read my February in Review post, I’ll be celebrating 300 Instagram followers!

And that wraps up my January in Review blog post! I hope you enjoyed reading about what I’ve been using, and what’s been going on with me. Did you like this post? And do you want to see monthly posts like this one? Please let me know!

See you soon!

Little Miss Expat

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