Vegan. Once a word most people knew very little about, now fast on the rise, it seems that *everybody* is going vegan. Since trying my best to follow a plant based lifestyle, I can say with confidence that this is only going to continue to grow, which has great implications for the animals, the environment and for our health. You might be vegan, your wellness #inspo might be vegan, you may have even convinced your Mum to try whipping up a vegan take on her classics but… Is your vagina vegan?

tampons

Time to abandon the always?

There are plenty of vegan sanitary products on the market right now. Towels, tampons. Menstrual cups and reusable pads. The truth is, I haven’t actually tried any of the products. This blog post comes from a curiosity more than anything and I wanted to share what I have found with you guys. Since doing this research I have decided that I will be giving some of these products a go so stay tuned as there will be a review coming up over the next few months.

My interest came when I came across TOTM on Instagram, a company making 100% organic, vegan sanitary products. I was intrigued. I have never really thought about what went into making my sanitary towels or my tampons, I just used them. Turns out I was not alone. In a survey done by TOTM, 9 out of 10 women did not no what tampons are made of. I am sure, like me, many of these women chose their sanitary products based upon names they know and trust. When you’re spending a week out of every month bleeding you want to be confident that you are not going to be having any accidents. It seems, however, that a large majority these brands do not provide a full list of ingredients. Surely they would have to? Nope. Sanitary products are regulated and approved a medical devices under the FDA, which means companies are under no obligation to share what goes into them. I had never thought about this before, but all of a sudden I felt very protective over my vagina. I decided this needed a bit more digging. I wanted to know about cotton.

Turns out cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop on the planet when it comes to pesticides and insecticides and a 2015 an independent study by the University of La Plata found 85% of tampons tested contained Glyphosate. What is that I hear you ask? Well, Glyphosate is the active ingredient within weed killers and according to WHO is classified as ‘probably carcinogenic’. Probably carcinogenic? I am going to need a little bit more information before I go putting a possible carcinogen up the most sensitive and absorbent part of my body thank you very much.  And then there’s rayon, a man-made material that’s been used since the 1930’s. If that wasn’t enough to make your legs clench, rayon is a material that has been used since the 1930’s and is produced from cellulose. This is a compound extracted from wood pulp and what happens during the extraction process? Well, it creates hydrocarbon dioxin as a by-product. These dioxins can be pretty harmful, not the mention the potentially harmful chemical additives and finishing agents.

But Jamie, people have used these things for years. Surely they can’t be that bad. Well, in terms of health, it probably isn’t as the amount of ‘bad stuff’ is pretty negligible. As Dr. Nita Landry said, there is no data proving that organic tampons are any safer than regular tampons and the FDA do check them for consumer safety so it might not be a shady as we first thought. However, it is not just our health that should be considered. For most people who go vegan, the decision is based upon a variety of different reasons including animal cruelty and the environment. The company, GladRags, known for their reusable pads have a lot to say on the environmental impact of disposable sanitary products. The average person who menstruates will use between 12,000 and 16,000 pads in their life time, which produces a lot of waste and has a huge environmental footprint. When not disposed of properly, sanitary towels contribute to the main source of UK coastal clutter, Sewage Related Debris.

 

A huge bonus with vegan sanitary products, for me, is the fact that animals are not harmed in the process of making them. These products do not test on animals or have any animal products in them, which is a huge selling point! Mooncup, for example, are approved by the vegan society and were the winners of the 2007 Best Buy Award for Ethical Consumers.  After having a browse, it is safe to say that these products are not cheap. However, many of these companies sell themselves on the fact they are an investment that will save people money in the long run. You only need one Mooncup and apparently that will pay for itself after 6-8 months, after that you’re then saving money. No need to go splashing the cash on always, instead you could throw it into a piggy bank and save up for something nice… like vegan chocolate to get your through the agony that is a period. Similarly, apparently these GladRags can last up to 20 years!

Where do I sign up? It is safe to say that I am sold and will definitely but giving some of these a try. I have yet to decide which of the products I think would be best for me but the sites have little quizzes and loads of information so you ca see which sanitary product will fit in best with your lifestyle. If you are interested in more vegan sanitary companies, I would recommend checking out CrueltyFreeKitty.com as this site has a fantastic comprehensive guide and loads of posts on different cruelty free products. As always, my sources are down below.

Jamie x

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Sources:

https://gladrags.com/

The Ultimate Guide To Having A Cruelty-Free Period

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a13144732/best-organic-tampons/

Home

Mooncup Menstrual Cup

http://www.thisisinsider.com/are-organic-tampons-safer-better-2017-9

 

Since learning more about the vegan lifestyle I been trying to move towards more vegan, cruelty free beauty products. To help me on my journey the lovely folks at The Pip Box sent me over this month’s subscription box to try out and I am obsessed. For those of you who haven’t heard of The Pip Box, they are a monthly subscription box that deliver at least 5 cruelty-free, vegan beauty products to your door every month. From £13.50 a month, you get products with an average total value of £45 with 50p from every sale being donated to ‘Animal Free Research’.

I have never had a subscription box before. I always worry I am going to get a box full of samples and every month they are going to send over the same stuff that I don’t need in colours that no one else wants. I decided to do a little bit of research about The Pip Box. I knew I loved their cruelty-free ethos, but is it good value for money or did I just get lucky? For starters, The Pip Box ensures every single edit is created bespoke each and every month so no worries about getting the same stuff over and over again. They also promise that every box will contain at least 1 full sized item and will never feature any one-time use sachets. I had a look through some of their previous boxes and, not only are they right on trend for the season, the products in them look fantastic and cover a huge range. For example, here is what was included in the February Pip Box:

Johnny Concert Glamour Amplified Eye shadow (RRP £11.99)

Johnny Concert Glamour Eye shadow brush (RRP £6.50)

Dr. Botanicals Kale Superfood Nourishing Day Moisturisers (RRP £14.90)

Akamuti Chocolate Marshmallow Face Mask (RRP £2.99)

Medusua Makeup Matte Lip Paint (RRP £9.99)

Naissance Argan Virgin Certified Organic Hair Oil (RRP £1.50)

JOMS Fizzy Caramel Snack Pack (RRP £1.25)

Pretty good, huh? Unfortunately, I cannot review these products (JOMS Fizzy Caramel Snack Pack, I’m coming for you…) but I can review the products that were in the March Pip Box. This months box came to a huge £65 worth of goodies, which for £13.50 is madness!

the pip box

Saturated Colour Naked Pink Lipstick (RRP £7)

My favorite product in the box is the Saturated Colour Naked Pink Lipstick (RRP £7). I am a huge lipstick fan and usually go for MAC but, unfortunately, this is not cruelty-free brand. For starters the colour is gorgeous and perfect for spring. It is a soft pink colour and feels really nourishing on your lips. It doesn’t quite have the staying power of MAC but it has such a soft finish. It does not feel thick or like you need a full face of make up to pull it off (today I wore it with some powder and mascara and I was good to go) so it is great for everyday wear. I am a huge fan of this lipstick and the range of colours are fantastic so I will definitely be trying some more of these out.

Make Me Matte Lipstick Mattifier from Saturated Colour (RRP £8)

Next up was the 2016 Beauty Awards shortlisted, Make Me Matte Lipstick Mattifier from Saturated Colour (RRP £8). This product transforms satin or semi gloss lipstick into a sleek, matte finish! I was worried it would feel really dry on my lips but I could hardly feel it and it made my glossy lipstick perfectly matte. My lips did not feel dry at all, which I was really impressed with. I probably wouldn’t buy this product again but not because it isn’t really lovely, but I tend to prefer glossy lipsticks. If you like matte lipsticks then I would seriously recommend this product.

Dr. Botanicals Tropical Invigorating Cream (RRP £44)

Next up is the most expensive product in the box, retailing at £44! The Dr. Botanicals Tropical Invigorating Cream is lovely and smells like elderflower, which is delicious (although maybe you shouldn’t eat it…) not to mention the packaging is beautiful! I did a little patch test of this over night and it was really soothing. The next night I used it all over and really like it. It did not leave my skin feeling greasy at all, just soft and nourished. Again, this is not a product I would buy again but not because I don’t love it! I think it is fantastic and I am really glad this was part of my box as usually I would never be able to afford a product like this. I guess this is a great reason to subscribe to The Pip Box – you get to try products you normally might not be able to afford or wouldn’t risk spending that much money on in case you didn’t like it.

RawGanic Aloe Vera and Green Tea Facial Wipes (RRP £2.99)

The next product, however, I would definitely buy again! The RawGanic Aloe Vera, Green Tea facial wipes have 2% natural moisturizer in them and so felt fab on my skin (RRP £2.99). With no added fragrance or Parabens, they cleanse, tone, moisturize and are super refreshing. They also smell like marzipan somehow (again, maybe don’t eat them but they do smell delicious!). You get 25 wipes so they are super affordable if you wanted to buy them separately from the Pip Box as well. They are also perfect for to throw into your gym bag for after a sweaty HIIT session.

Okko Natural Foot Balm (RRP £3)

Last up is the Okko Natural Foot Balm, which kind of smells like mint and eucalyptus. It is the trial balm (kind of like a mini lip balm) and sells for £3. Being honest, this is probably my least favorite in the Pip Box just because I had no idea how to use it! A footbalm? What’s a footbalm? I did a bit of a Google and gave it a go. My feet felt soft afterwards to be fair and I do think it would be great for sandal season. What I really like about the box is that they tailor the products based on the season!

Overall, I am really satisfied with the quality of this box and I love the ethos of the company – plus, it is super cute to have a little box delivered to your door all perfectly wrapped. It is like a gift from past you to present you! You can also get it for someone as a gift, do this would be a great non-chocolate Easter present. I will definitely be subscribing to this box in the future as I think this is a really great and affordable way to try out new cruelty-free, vegan products.

Thank you ‘The Pip Box’.

Jamie x 

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I want to talk about Vaginas. I write about health, fitness and beauty. I write about mental health and well being. I even write about periods. But today, my lovely readers, today I want to talk about vaginas. First things first, let’s get it out of your system. VAGINA. V-A-G-I-N-A. Had you’re little awkward giggle like you’re still in year 7? Good, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. As someone who writes a lot about body positivity, I neglect the poor vagina and so I have decided it’s time for that to change. It’s a part of my body after all and I am sure it is part of a lot of your bodies as well and it’s time it got a bit of love. 

I want to talk about a few Vagina related topics today. 1) The stigma surrounding the vagina. 2) Unrealistic expectations and 3) Looking after your vagina. So sit back and enjoy.

vaginas

Butterfly cakes or vagina cakes?! 

The Stigma Surrounding the Vagina. 

Vagina is not a dirty word. Your vagina is just a part of your body and yet society use it in an array of derogatory ways. First up, an alternative name for a vagina is probably one of the most offensive words in the english language – so bad, I have never and will never say it. The use of that word is arguably the worst offensive you can hurl at someone and if you’re not using that the other alternative, pussy, is not a lot better. Yes, yes, I know that dick isn’t exactly great but pussy, really? The connotations are of weakness and it is commonly used to put a man down. Putting a man down by likening him to a women and implying a passivity, something that is common amongst other offensive slurs. From the off, vaginas are a term of offence you do not want to be associated with – not a good start. Let me go on. As if it wasn’t bad enough that your vagina is used as a term of offence and weakness, you better make sure that thing is hair free because heaven forbid a fully grown person has pubic hair. I mean, it’s not like the male genitalia is hairy, right? Oh wait, it is. Would I expect a man to shave for me? Nope. And yet I shave my vagina just to make sure it isn’t offensive to anyone. You have hair on your vagina for a reason. It protects your private parts and if you don’t want to shave that off then bloody don’t. Lastly, what’s the issue with masturbation? It might surprise people to hear but, just like a penis does not require a vagina for pleasure, a vagina doesn’t require a penis. In fact, studies show that it can do a lot better without them. VAGINAS ARE NOT WEAK. VAGINAS HAVE HAIR. PEOPLE WITH VAGINAS MASTURBATE.

Unrealistic expectations 

‘Popping your cherry’. Something I was terrified about for years. I was terrified about ‘losing’ my virginity, as if it was what kept me honourable and to give it away was to give away a part of me. This wasn’t even just the media that told me this, SCIENCE told me this and what a load of rubbish it was. Bloody hell, I was terrified when I lost my virginity I was going to be in crippling agony, bleed all over the place and never feel the same again. I can in fact reveal, none of the above happened – unrealistic expectation number 1. The next unrealistic expectation is that all vaginas are neat and pretty and look the same. Just like penis’s, we are all different and that is absolutely fine. Let’s be honest, it’s not like penis’s are exactly a tidy work of art so who cares if your labia are a little longer than you expected? Your vagina is not there to please other people or be aesthetic. Whatever your vagina looks like, love and respect it just as you would any other part of your body. So how so we do this?

Looking after your Vagina 

Because of all the stigma surrounding the vagina, it can be difficult to know how to look after it properly. Let me tell you, it does not include the new vag makeup that is on the market – why would you want highlighted labia anyway? Here are just a few little tips to help you look after the land down under.

First up, ditch the douch (in every sense of the word, if you know what I mean) . Your vagina is actually able to clean itself. Yes, it might not come with it’s only built in cotton candy scent but I’ve got news for you. Intravaginal hygiene products can actually put you at increased risk of infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and STDs.

Okay, now the next thing might not sound all that romantic but bear with me – order your sex life. Because what says sexy more than whipping out the evening agenda mid thrust? I know, I know. It’s actually really important for lots of reasons. First up, lubrication. You dry vagina during sex is not going to be pleasurable for one but it can sometimes cause abrasions. That agenda is sounding a lot sexier now, right? Also, if your sex life also involved anal, make sure that you are changing the condom if going from anal to vaginal sex. The condom can hold a lot of bacteria and cause some pretty nasty infections. Not exactly a turn on…

It wouldn’t be a Jamie Lee Jenkins Fitness post without a bit of fitness in there and actually, fitness can be really helpful for your vagina. Well, more specifically your pelvic floor but still… Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is absolutely crucial for anyone with a vagina. Strong pelvic muscles are crucial for bladder control and, according to Women’s Health, mind-blowing orgasms. Who knew? 

Last from me today and something that you have probably seen a lot of on social media in the form of the smear campaign, make sure you’re going for frequent check ups. It’s really important and if you are over 25 you can get a smear test. Also, if you’re worried about anything or have any questions, don’t be embarrassed. Speak up.

So there you have it. My little exploration of the land down under. Vaginas are nothing to be ashamed of and ending the stigma I hope will lead more people to feel they can seek help if it is needed without any shame or embarrassment. Ending vagina shaming could save lives. Anyway, I’ve off to the gym to do some hip thrusts, for bladder control… obviously. 

Jamie x 

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Hey guys and gals! Valentines days is on the horizon and whether you’re spending it with your significant other, your gal pals or snuggled up on the sofa with the ever reliable Ben and Jerry’s, it’s an excuse to treat yourself to a new outfit, right? (Yeah, I know I’m supposed to be saving money Mother but a girl can dream!). So, without further delay, here are some of the outfits I’m lusting over this month. Basically this blog is an excuse for me to internet shop and use Valentine’s Day as a justification when, in reality, I will definitely be doing dissertation work with a packet of Oreos… Humour me please people! 

First up, for all my ladies heading out for a fancy meal with the other half. Picking one outfit for this was HARD, so you’re getting a few! First up it the little red dress. Always a yes from me. I love red and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for it. This MissGuided number is £12 and would look fab with a red lippy and some black heels, plus it’s pretty simple so you could easily wear it again. If you don’t fancy a dress, Pretty Little Things has got some fab coords in at the minute in loads of different colours. This grey one is an absolute beauty (I’m also a big fan of the nude one but with my pale skin I reckon I would look like I’d rocked up naked… not exactly the Valentines look I am going forOr is it?) 

Jeans and a nice top. The go to outfit when you don’t want to look like you’ve made too much effort but actually it took a ridiculous amount of effort because who actually know what to wear when someone days the dress code is jeans and a nice top? I’ll be honest, I hit up MissGuided and their new ‘jeans and a nice top section’ and I was left very disappointed for a multitude of reasons. 1) The tops were not nice. Some were pretty hideous to be honest (sorry if you found your dream top on this section of the website… awkward.) 2) They didn’t style them with jeans. Are they missing something? 3) The ones that were nice were definitely not for people with tiny little boobies like myself or with bigger boobies as there would definitely be nip slips going on. Anyway, I had to expand my search a little… I hit up Zara, which has never let me down. Ever. I love Zara with all my heart and soul. I found this adorable blouse with lace details in the sale and I love it. Teamed with some pale jeans and some cute little strappy heels and you’ve got yourself an outfit! If you fancied something a little less colourful, I’m also kind of obsessing on this poplin top with frilled sleeves. And it’s £10!! This would look wicked with some white jeans which, I am pleased to inform you, MissGuided did deliver on. These high waisted, cropped jeans get a yes from me. I could go on and on in this section but I promise this is the last one. Lipstick Boutique do some really glam bits and pieces and I am a huge fan of this off the shoulder lace top.

A night with the gal pals deserves a bit of sparkle and this Motel Rocks sequin dress has had me drooling for months! These guys do some gorgeous going out dresses (you’ve probably seen them all over the gram) and this sequin dress comes in loads of different colours. I like the black opal one the best I think but, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t say no to any of them!

Next up is my dream Valentine’s night, a snuggle on the sofa. The most important part of any relationship, making sure you’re on the same page when it comes to Harry Potter houses. You could even wear this cute little Slytherin PJ top whilst watching Harry Potter – the dream! Fancy something a bit more ohlala? I found these super cute sets on a site called Shein. I have’t seen it before but these and super sweet and affordable. You might be a bit nippy but it’ll be worth it, if you know what I mean… (ps. Ann Summers have a up to 50% sale on and their underwear is so pretty, plus super sexy!! They also have the same sale on their sex toys and bondage… hey, 50 shades might have inspired some of you!) 

And finally, any of you heading out on a first date, start as you mean to go on and avoid any Johnny’s (did his name have a H in it?) with a top that subtly implies I AM A FEMINIST and I do not date people who are not 🙂 Or if you want to save that for date number 2, Zara have some adorable floral numbers, perfect for a coffee date or brunch.

zara

A cute little Zara dress I wore on my last date night x

So there you have it, some outfit inspo for your Valentines Day plans. Or any day really. Basically, just a few bits and pieces that I am loving at the moment. I will be doing more fashion posts over the next few months as I transform my wardrobe from winter to summer and so make sure you give the blog a follow to keep up with all my fashion updates. 

Jamie x 

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I love trying out new make up but there are some products that I know I can always rely on. These are my ‘Oldies but Goldies’…

all

First up my go to foundation has got to be MAC studio sculpt foundation. I wear NC15 and it suits my skin perfectly. This product feels super light on the skin but still gives a good coverage. For everyday wear, one layer is more than enough but it is easy to build up for a more flawless finish if you like heavier coverage. It has a nice dewy finish without making my skin look greasy and lasts for ages (even longer if you finish with some MAC Prep and Prime – another one of my go to MAC products).

foundation

Next up, this was the very first contouring kit I ever bought and I still swear by it. ‘Sleek Face Form Contour and Blush Palette’ (I wear Medium 374) is a fab kit and really good value for money. The contour powder has a really nice matte finish and is so easy to blend in. If you like a little bit of glitter, the blusher/bronzer has a pretty sparkle to it and is great for the summer months when you’ve got a little bit of colour. Finally, although not the most ‘in your face’ highlighter on the market, the illuminating highlighter in the set has a lovely shimmery finish and you can easily build it up. I tend to where this highlight on a day to day basis as it isn’t too in your face. Having all three in one palette is also super practical and, at £9.99, this product is a steal!

contour

Now for my going out highlighter. ‘Becca Shimmering Pressed Skin Perfector’ in Opal is highlight heaven. Super sparkly with a golden glow, this highlighter is my favourite for a night out. I only have a baby one at the minute (I will be getting a full sized one when this runs out!) but I also have a little ‘Becca Shimmering Skin Protector Spotlight’. The same colour as the pressed powder highlight, this is a liquid consistency with a precision applicator (a little bit like a lip gloss). I was a little bit sceptical at first as it feels quite ‘wet’ but it drys super quickly and leaves a gorgeous, lasting glow. A lot of liquid highlighters I have used in the past tend to go a bit ‘bitty’ and peel off but this doesn’t move! The precise tip also means it’s great for highlighting any awkward places.

highlight highlight liquid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is my daily mascara. I’ll be honest, after trying Benefit’s ‘They’re Real’ I wasn’t too keen on trying out ‘Roller Lash’ as I really wasn’t a fan. However, I’d read some really good reviews and was struggling to find a decent mascara that worked for me so I thought I would give it a go and I’ve never looked back (cringe). Unlike ‘They’re Real’, which I found stayed ‘wet’ and left a lot of residue under my eye, ‘Roller Lash’ is a nice balance between setting and not drying out your lashes. It’s really easy to build and gives an almost false lash effect after a few coats. It does seem to run out quite quickly and isn’t cheap but it’s definitely worth giving a go if you’re still looking for that perfect mascara.

mascara

I am an absolute sucker for lipsticks and these are 2 of my absolute favourite brands! I couldn’t pick a favourite colour so I thought I would show you guys 2 contrasting colours I have in my make up bag depending on my mood.

First up is ‘NYX soft matte lip cream’ in London. NYX have such an amazing colour range at really affordable prices! They don’t last ages and have a bit of a reputation for drying out your lips, however, out of the matte lipsticks I have tried this is one of the best. I used to be a red lipstick girl everyday and so braving the world of nude was a big step for me and I found it really difficult to find a shade that suited me. With these lip creams, there is a colour to suit everyone! They have a flat applicator so are super easy to apply and, at less than half the price of a MAC lipstick, these are great if you are experimenting with a new shade (plus, you don’t feel quite as bad if they fall out of your bag on a night out…)

nude

A bit of a different colour, next is MAC ‘Creamsheen lipstick’ in Hang-Up. Again, MAC have loads of different colours and they lipsticks have amazing staying power! I can be wearing it all day and hardly have to retouch it which is great, especially for darker lipsticks which can be a real pain. Hang-Up is one of the darker shades (although it comes out more pinky on my lips!) but they also do some gorgeous nudes. If you’re more into a matte finish there’s still plenty to choose from. They are pretty expensive at £16.50 but worth treating yourself! If you’re worried a colour won’t suit you, just ask to try it out.

dark

Last but not least (I swear I’m not repping for MAC or anything!), is my MAC eyeshadow palette in warm neutral. This palette is so wearable, with a nice mix of different neutral shades (matte and shimmery). There’s 15 shades in the palette and, although I do have my favourites, there isn’t one I wouldn’t use which is unusual. Getting yourself a pre-made MAC palette is way more affordable than buying them individually (think this was around £50 as opposed to £100+) so it’s worth taking a look at them and seeing if any take your fancy. They aren’t all super pigmented but are easy to build up and seem to go on forever! Below are just a few of my favourite shades.

pallete

So there you have it, some of my ‘Oldies but Goldies’. It was really difficult to choose because I have so much in my make up bag I really couldn’t do without (maybe you’ll be seeing an ‘Oldies but Goldies 2.0’ at some point in the future!). What would be on your list?

Jamie x