Understanding Birth Control Options And What They Mean For You

The birth control options available to us today have come a long way from where they first began. These choices help us take our contraceptive health back into our own hands. But there’s a lot of them to choose from. And they can have side effects you might not be willing to put up with.

But the first step in taking your health into your own hands is understanding the options. There are quite a few to get our teeth into, so let’s get into it.

The Natural Method

The oldest form of contraceptive out there; family planning. This method doesn’t use any device or medication. Instead, it simply means either abstaining from sex altogether. Or tracking your cycle to understand when you are or aren’t fertile. That way, you can decide when you engage in sexual activity based on whether you want to get pregnant or not. 

Obviously, this way can lead to pregnancy even if you try your hardest to avoid it. But it is about 80% effective if done perfectly. And as a bonus, you get to understand your cycle more. You’ll know when to expect your period and have more info on your mood changes over the cycle. It’s always important to remember, though, that going down this route doesn’t protect you from STI’s. So get yourself and your partner checked before you decide on the family planning method to ensure you’re as safe as you can be.

The Barrier Method

Probably the most widely known form of contraception, the barrier method involves using a device that stops pregnancy. And there is a massive variety of them. You can choose from both male and female condoms, the diaphragm, or the cervical cap. Condoms come with the added benefit of giving you protection from STI’s, but diaphragms and caps don’t. They sit around the ’80s when it comes to their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.

The great thing about barrier methods is that they’re widely available, don’t mess with hormones, and can be used in conjunction with other contraceptive methods (like the pill) for added protection. The only downside is that you need to remember to use them. And in the throes of passion, they can easily be forgotten. 

The Hormonal Method

The most commonly known hormonal contraception has to be the pill. Taken by women, it uses a synthetic version of female hormones and comes in two forms; the combined pill of estrogen and progesterone and the mini pill containing only progestogen. Put simply, the medication works by keeping the egg and sperm apart. And that’s by either thickening cervical mucus, thinning the uterus lining, or just stopping an egg from being released altogether. It can also make all of those things happen at once. Depending on which pill you’re taking. 

They’re around 99% effective with perfect use, and they can help reduce period symptoms or stop them altogether. But they don’t protect against STI’s. And they come with a long list of side effects. That includes an increased chance of blood clots. Because of this, they’re not given lightly. You’ll need a consultation with a GP, and you’ll need to visit regularly to make sure they’re still right for you.

With them being hormone-based, the biggest effects, however, can be to your mood. Many people on the pill struggle with anxiety, depression, headaches, and general mood changes. For some people, the side effects are too much to deal with. So if you try the pill and these side effects don’t settle in a couple of months, go back to your GP and weigh up your other options. 

The pill isn’t the only hormonal method available. You can get 3 monthly injections of progesterone which have the benefit of not having to remember a tablet every day. There’s also an IUD (intrauterine device), also known as the coil. This also uses progesterone, but it does come in the non-hormonal form of copper. That works because copper is a spermicide. You can also get a transdermal patch which will need changing every 3 weeks. This is like the combined pill because it uses the two artificial female hormones. Or there’s the implant, which is progesterone only and is put just under the skin of your upper arm. 

Choosing the right hormonal contraception can be a minefield. There are a lot of side effects to take into account. Make sure to select the one that’s really right for you. And if you’re not happy with the one you’ve chosen, you can change it.

Final Thoughts

While we’ve come a long way to have this many birth control methods at our fingertips, it can often take a while to get the right fit for you. And the onus is put in the court of the woman to figure it out. It’s difficult. Especially as the long-term options can have serious side effects, you’d rather not have to deal with. 

There’s always the permanent option of sterilisation for men and women if you’re sure children aren’t for you. For men, there is a possibility to reverse this. If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal, visit dereklok.com.au for professional advice. No matter what option you go for, it should always be your choice. Because it’s your body.

And while women take on a lot of responsibility for sorting contraception, and some of the options leave you with complex side effects, the point is that we have choices. And those get better and better with every year. Not only that, but our understanding of sexual health, particularly women’s health, gets better with each passing year. And that’s something to celebrate. 

TestCard – Making Diagnosing UTI’s Bearable #Ad

TestCard* asked me to review their innovative product designed to make diagnosing UTI’s bearable from home. Like many women, I’ve had several UTI’s over the years. Especially during my pregnancies where I had them repeatedly and know how miserable it can be. An at-home test kit to diagnose UTI’s sounds like a great idea that will help sufferers and health care professionals.

TestCard Urine Self-test kit

What is a UTI?

A UTI or Urinary Tract Infection is an infection within your urinary system. The Urinary system includes the kidneys, bladder, ureter and urethra. UTI’s can make life miserable for many. An estimated half of all UK women will have a UTI at least once throughout their lifetime. This because women have a shorter urethra allowing bacteria to enter the bladder quicker. Pregnancy also raises the risk of UTI’s due to the increased hormones relaxing the bladder muscles. This makes the urinary tract more susceptible to bacterial infections.

Myths About UTI’s

There are so many myths surrounding UTI’s! The biggest of them all is to drink cranberry juice to flush out a UTI. Cranberry Juice contains an active ingredient that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall, but doesn’t contain enough. Other myths include taking probiotics to help cure a UTI. Again, you would need so many of the RIGHT type of probiotics for it to be effective. Most people would recommend avoiding bubble baths and tampons which do not cause UTI’s. In fact, having a UTI is rarely an indicator of bad hygiene or use of products. Many believe you can only have a UTI if you are sexually active but again, this is completely untrue. Anybody can have a UTI and your GP can prescribe effective medication to help.


Combining a urine self-test kit embedded into a postcard, with a smartphone app, the TestCard test kit acts like a dipstick. Simply dip the UTI Test Strips into your urine sample then use the smartphone app to scan your results. The TestCard App is available on Google Play Store and IOS. This is a quick and easy way to detect a urinary tract infection (UTI). The app immediately shows you results which you can choose to share with your GP. This may help speed up the diagnosis and treatment of any UTI.Testcard is an affordable, easy to use test which is especially useful for those that suffer recurring UTI’s. If you regularly suffer UTI’s this TestCard will make you feel more in control of your health, enabling you to test when needed, You can do this with ease in your own home without needing to book an appointment until you have results.

Overall, I think TestCard will make things so much easier for many UTI sufferers and help ease the strain on healthcare professionals. Time spent doing these tests could free up a lot more time allowing faster treatment and peace of mind.

Use my code EMBER10 at the checkout to get 10% off your order

Exfoliating With Procoal Face Scrub

I’ve been exfoliating with Procoal activated charcoal face scrub over the last few weeks. I received a full sample to review. Procoal have created an ethical-made range of skin care products. Procoal is against animal testing and most ingredients used are naturally derived such as charcoal and essential oils.

Exfoliating With Procoal


Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the top later of your skin. We naturally shed dead skin cells every 30 days so new skin cells can take their place. Whilst the majority of dead skin cells will fall off naturally, some don’t shed perfectly from the skin. This can leave dry, flaky patches on your skin which can clog your pores too. Exfoliating helps prevent this and should be an important part of your skincare routine.

Procoal Activated Charcoal Face Scrub

The Procoal activated charcoal face scrub is expertly developed in the UK. This exfoliating face scrub uses specially selected active constituents to remove impurities, oxidised sebum and contaminants. This gives a purified, cleansed and invigorated complexion. This face scrub uses Allantoin which encourages natural skin exfoliation. Calendula oil, recognised for restoring the skin’s natural water balance is also used. The activated Charcoal helps to clear deep-seated pores, removing pollutants to purify your complexion.

My Thoughts

Anyone that knows me will know my skin is awful! I’ve tried loads of different face scrubs, washes, creams and masks over the years to try and tame my face. Unfortunately, due to having eczema, a lot of products really irritate my skin. I am pleasantly surprised that the Procoal face scrub doesn’t irritate my skin at all!

Applying Procoal Face Scrub

As you apply the face scrub, you can see the charcoal breaking down as you can see above. (Apologies for the quality, it was late at night!) After rinsing it off you can genuinely feel a difference. Unlike other scrubs I’ve used, my face felt really clean and soft, no tightness afterwards which I usually have.


After a few weeks of trying out Procoal 1 to 3 times per week, my skin is slowly looking much healthier! Procoal’s site does state it can take 6-8 weeks to see a real difference though. By now I have usually given up due to poor results but I can see me finishing this tube. It is on the pricier side for me but the results are undeniable so I probably would buy this again. I’m quite lazy with my skincare routine, however, I’ve managed to remember every few days to use the face scrub. I have been doing this as part of my self-care routine. Overall I am pleased with the Procoal exfoliating face scrub and definitely recommend giving it a go.

Do you use exfoliating face scrubs?

Microblading – What You Need To Know

Thinking of Getting Microblading? Here’s What You Need to Know.

*This is a guest post*

Full, thick brows are all the rage right now and if you’re feeling jealous of Cara Delevingne’s statement eyebrows, you might be thinking about having a microblading treatment done. Microblading is a form of semi-permanent tattoo which fills in any gaps in your brows leaving them looking thick, full and perfectly formed every day. Microblading is certainly worth it if you feel like you’re spending more time than you’d like every morning pencilling in your brows. But, is it safe? As with any procedure, there are certain risks to be aware of and precautions that you should take to make sure that you minimize the risk of any complications.

#1. Choosing a Salon:

Bear in mind that if your brows aren’t done properly by a reputable professional, you will need to have them redone. It’s likely that you’ll need to wait around eight to twelve months before you can rework them, depending on what went wrong. So, it’s a wise idea to spend some time doing your research before you make a decision on who you’re trusting with your brows. Go by recommendations from people that you trust, or if you don’t know anybody who’s had microblading done, look for strong online reviews on social media and third-party review sites. It’s also advisable to visit prospective salons before you decide to learn more about the process and ask about the materials that they use. A reputable professional will always use top-grade eyebrow microblading supplies from companies such as Ink Defined, and they will be happy to share more information about them with you. The Ink Defined website also has plenty of useful articles that can be worth reading before going ahead with microblading treatment, such as where to find the top studios and essential aftercare tips, which leads us onto our next point.

#2. Be Ready for Aftercare:

Microblading is getting more popular, but don’t forget that it’s still a tattoo. Because of this, there is no guarantee that you can 100% remove brows that go wrong. And, severe reactions are possible. To keep your risks low, you should care for your new microbladed brows in the same way that you would any wound. Use antiseptic ointments to minimize the risk of infection. Speak to the beauty therapist if you have a history of allergies to previous tattoos or hair dyes, as it may not be advisable for you to have microblading done if this is the case.

#3. You’ll Need Touch Ups:

Micro-blading may be a tattoo, but you won’t have the same results as you did at the beginning forever. After you’ve healed from your first procedure, it’s likely that you’ll need to go back to the salon for a touch up in a few months’ time. Many salons will include a touch-up in their initial fee, but some don’t. So along with budgeting for the procedure itself, don’t forget to put some money aside for your touch-up too. Prices range from around $200-500.

#4. It’s Not an Overnight Fix:

Lastly, don’t expect to walk out of the salon with perfect brows. You’ll likely experience some swelling and redness, and your skin may be flaky for the first few days or weeks afterwards. And, your brows will look unflatteringly dark and thick right after the procedure, but this will eventually fade. So, if you’re planning to get microblading done for a special occasion, it’s wise to have it done a few weeks before to allow yourself to heal.

Microblading can be a great way to get the brows you’ve always wanted, but it’s important to keep the risks in mind before you go ahead.