Category Archives: Health

Managing Eczema

Eczema isn’t fun and certainly isn’t fleeting. Chances are, if you suffer from eczema, you’ve had it for a while. There doesn’t seem to be a permanent cure, so knowing how to manage it is probably your safest bet. Many unfortunate souls first experience eczema in infancy, and for others it appears later in life. A typical eczema sufferer’s skin can be very dry and tight, raw, red, cracked and generally irritated, as well as a strong sensitivity to the majority of skin products on the market, especially those that are scented.

I myself am no stranger to skin conditions. When I was 14, I had a bought of streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) which is pretty common and passes quickly enough. However, when it passed, Psoriasis flared up, which I have suffered with on and off in extreme cases for the past nine years. I have used every topical cream and oinkment, had UVB (ultraviolet) treatment at least once a year for several months until I finally had my tonsils removed in January 2012 and I haven’t had a flare up since. Fingers crossed!
I think my skin must have felt lost with the absence of psoriasis, as it decided that eczema was next. Rats. This proved to be pretty extreme too, with permanent patches for the last year on my forearms, elbow creases, neck and face. But the worst was the end of December 2012 and most of January this year, where I was bed bound and medicated, missing most of the Christmas festivities. So in summation (after all that rambling) skin conditions, at this stage, are a part of who I am.

If you can relate, you will know well how eczema on the face can be hard to cover. It can make you look aged, dull your skin and shake your confidence. Covering it with foundation just makes it look worse, and we don’t want that. After many trial and error cases (testing products that either dried out my skin or simply make it worse) and some serious spending, I finally found the ones that keep my face looking clear and healthy. I hope they can help you in some way too.

Two of my good friends have glowing, gorgeous and enviable skin. I asked them what their routines were, and both didn’t say a lot. They don’t wash their faces every day, and normally only do when they wear makeup. I thought this was bizarre…but was willing to give it a go. It’s safe to say that it  really does make a huge improvement. Although the results were good, I couldn’t abandon the idea completely, so once a week, I exfoliate with the St. Ives Apricot Scrub (sensitive skin). If you’re using this over the sink and not in the shower, it can be hard to remove all of the exfoliating beads. This is where my Clarisonic comes in. A Clarisonic isn’t necessary  but I’ve had it for a couple of years now and it really finishes the job to make my face smooth. I cover my face with Cetaphil*, wet the Clarisonic brush and clean my face. It removes the rest of the apricot scrub, which will dry out your face if not totally removed, so ensure to thoroughly cleanse!

* I also use a small amount of Cetaphil to clean makeup brushes.

Nivea Pure & Natural Cleansing Toner – This product really surprised me, as most Nivea products irritate me and I stay far away from them. This doesn’t dry out the skin because it contains Argan oil. I use this to clean my face every day, and to remove my makeup when needed.

Sephora Super Loaded Age Defy Serum – I realise not everyone has a Sephora in their vicinity, but I mentioned this product because it’s fantastic. I apply it before bed and sometimes in the morning..but within moments of putting this stuff on, your skin tone improves and feels incredibly smooth. Skin looks brighter and feels instantly better. It doesn’t irritate eczema at all and gives you a bright, smooth finish. It’s around €30. I got it before Christmas and I’m still using it, a little goes a long way.

Bigelow Rose Salve – Again, not the most readily available high street  product (sorry!), but if you suffer from dry skin around your eyes, this will remove it as well as moisturise the eyelids in one night. It’s relatively inexpensive and from Bath & Bodyworks, but it’s easy to get online. Vaseline will do the same job too, this is just far quicker, especially if you have a night out planned. It’s great for lips and dry elbows too.


Caudalie Beauty Elixir – There are mixed reviews all over the Internet about this product. It’s about €12 for 30mls, which for me, lasts about three weeks. Although it’s quite expensive, it’s great for refreshing and cooling the skin, and if you feel any sort of irritation coming on, it calms the skin and perks you up. I spray it on my face every morning and it’s great when you’re hungover. I don’t mind spending a little extra on something I know will work, and this definitely soothes sensitive skin. I have to restrict my sprays though, it’s a little addictive. I buy mine on Bath and Unwind, a great site brimming with beautiful products (and a beautiful layout to boot) that’s worth checking out. Free delivery too!

Aveeno Moisturising Lotion – I go through tubes of Aveeno like nothing else. This is the ultimate (and essential) product for eczema. I use it every single day on my body and face, it’s the best out there for skin conditions. If you have particularly itchy or irritating eczema, go for the menthol Aveeno. It soothes as well as hydrates, long after you put it on. It’s very affordable, lasts for at least a month, but varies from price to price depending on where you get it. If you’re from Ireland, McCabes Pharmacy regularly have Aveeno special offers, where a tube costs just under €4.00.



The key to keeping your skin healthy and irritation free without becoming a creepy hermit is to use something that doesn’t cake your face, filling it with troublesome products, sure to cause an explosive aftermath. If you want your skin to look it’s best, Origins VitaZing is the secret. I don’t know how this stuff works, but the results are amazing….no need for heavy foundation or powder anymore. None of that stuff.
Squeeze a pea sized amount of this stuff on your fingers (it comes out white with a blueish sheen) and spread all over your face like moisturiser. The result is glowing, tinted healthy looking skin. This product won’t irritate you, even if your skin is highly sensitive. It’s about €30.00 (£27.00) but invaluable for eczema sufferers. Think of it as buying a bottle of foundation. It’s around the same price, but it’s good for your skin, while making it look it’s best with minimal effort. A little goes a long way.

The reason Boing by Benefit features in this picture is because it’s a creamy and durable  concealer. I use it under my eyes, and it’s the only product that doesn’t irritate my eczema. It’s the only additional coverage I use along with Origins Vitazing.

Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 17.45.18

(Wearing only Origins VitaZing, Boing concealer underneath my eyes and a cream blusher)

My final recommendation is a product for those who are a little skeptical about investing in Origins Vitazing and feel more confident with additional coverage. No problem. This product is Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer. The reason this product is so great for eczema sufferers is due to it’s consistency. A small pot like the one pictured costs €40.00, but will last for what seems like forever. If you put a speck of this stuff on your hand, mixed with a small blob of your favourite moisturiser (Aveeno!) you have essentially just made your own brand of foundation which will cover your entire face, with what seems like an airbrushed effect, which will stay put all night. A long sentence, fitting for a long-wear product. I bought mine at the Space NK concession at Harvey Nichols Dundrum. Aucoin products are also available on Amazon.

Although the prices range greatly between my featured products, I find these work incredibly well for particularly bad eczema. My other tips to manage eczema are simply to drink more water, apply vaseline to the skin to the spots where you usually apply perfume if you don’t want to spray it on your clothing (this will minimalise blotchy patches . If you’re drinking alcohol (eczema’s enemy!)  carry moisturiser in your bag. Apply to neck, arms, legs and hands in the bathroom if you get the chance – it will stop a flare up from happening the next day.

Although not medically certified, I have plenty of personal experience in this area. If you have any questions regarding eczema or psoriasis, feel free to email me. I would be more than happy to help.

If you have tried any of the products mentioned, I’d love to know how they worked for you.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

♥ ♥ ♥



Havana Tapas Bar is a great spot in Dublin, where they serve a huge range of hot and cold tapas, wine, cocktails (perfect mojitos!) and beers. Even though every street in Salamanca is lined with traditional and trendy bars which serve a huge range of interesting tapas all day long, the atmosphere and range of fresh recipes in Havanas on Georges Street can’t be beat. It’s the sort of place you can start on a long night out without feeling too full to function. However, it can add up rather quickly and end up on the pricey side of things depending on how many various tapas dishes you order…but sharing a portion of their tortilla chips and a selection of dips is a must.

The tortilla chips come with three dips: homemade pesto, hummus and olive tapenade; which is actually a French dish, usually eaten as a starter on toasted bread.

I haven’t experienced any kind of tapenade in Salamanca so far, and I’ve been living in the city for nearly 6 months. So I decided to make my own…although it’s not a perfect replica of Havana’s popular dip, it still tastes really summery and fresh. I omitted capers, a popular tapenade ingredient as they weren’t easy to find, but the rest resembles a traditional tapenade, originating from the sunny South of France.



1 can of black pitted olives. (Most cans are 200-250g)
1 large garlic clove (I used two, but ignore the image, it was far too acidic!)
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 anchovy
2 tablespoons of olive oil




Toss everything into a food processor. Blend until the ingredients form a paste with a gritty-looking texture.

Serve on focaccia or toasted baguette or as a tortilla or crudités dip.

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Immune boosting, detoxifying juice


A few years ago, I purchased a smoothie maker on a whim. It turned out to be a great buy – I used it either every day, or every other day. I saved a lot of money, money I would spend far too regularly at a well-known (but very expensive) smoothie franchise near the office where I worked. Once I found the right frozen yoghurt, there was no difference at all in the taste from those I ordered so regularly and it became a quick and healthy breakfast every morning. Supposedly.

I figured a whisked concoction of fruit every morning couldn’t be anything but healthy. However, consuming all that fruit in one go is high in sugar, acidic (which is damaging to tooth enamel) and once fruit is processed with other ingredients including honey or frozen yoghurt, it loses a lot of nutrients and vitamins, so a piece or two of fruit consumed on their own is a wiser choice. Very sad news indeed for smoothie fiends! I needed an alternative, so I gave juicing a go. Not just plain jane orange or grapefruit juicing  – juices loaded with vegetables too.

There are so many variations and recipes for juices depending on what ails you, but this one – an ‘immune boosting detox juice’ seemed fairly popular. It’s obviously no smoothie in terms of taste, but it’s tangy, wholesome and easy to finish all the same. As for the benefits – my eyes seem brighter and I have more energy. The juices also take longer to consume and are really filling…but I’m easing myself into a life of juicing. Old habits die hard.

 Immune boosting, detoxifying juice

1 apple (remove core)

Half a lime (remove skin)

Half a lemon (remove skin)

Matchbox size piece of fresh ginger

2 celery stalks

2 carrots, peeled

A juicer is essential, unless you don’t mind lumps of crunchy goo!

The finished product will look a little something like this:


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