Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Strapped for cash?

Strapped for cash?

I had a pretty bazar experience last night that I'm still trying to work out if I enjoyed or not…

I have well and truly broken the bank with all the festivities and present buying this year, but I didn't think I could take looking at my hung-over face in the mirror anymore. The puffy cheeks and blocked pores were starting to get to me.
I then remembered the fairly dodgy nail bar that I frequent has a beauty salon above it. I use the word salon lightly, more like a very small room containing a very small Indian lady. It was a risk, but looking at the prices all common sense went out the window.
I arrived in the evening after work and got the feeling she would have quite liked to have been going home too! There was little chit chat and her manner was very brusque. So much so that when she started exfoliating my face, it felt quite like she was sanding a wall!
Her massage technique was pretty peculiar and not very relaxing, but she did steam and extract which was much needed, and applied various lotions and potions which didn't feel like they were agitate my sensitive skin.
By the end I was ready to had over my cash and bolt for the door never to return. Convinced that my face would be all red a blotchy, and why on earth had I done this before heading home to my family for Christmas?! But she handed me her little mirror and I was surprised to see that my face was clean and glowing!
The day after and my skin still looks great, I think I'm going to treat this place as somewhere to go when needs must, a no pain no gain alternative a nice relaxing spa treatment. Strange but quite handy to have up ones sleeve!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Incognito braces - train tracks for adults!

Incognito braces - train tracks for adults!

In my opinion teeth are very important to ones appearance, crooked and discoloured teeth can be very ageing. Hence the reason just over eight months ago I embarked on the rollercoaster ride that is Incognito Braces.

Incognito braces simplified are train track braces on the inside of your mouth and a relatively new and expensive procedure. The allure is that if like me you are past adolescence and not keen looking like you're not they do the job discreetly but efficiently. The metal which is glued to the back of your teeth is made of gold hence the hefty price tag, the dental geniuses who came up with the idea believe that being one of the most malleable metals it enables the teeth to be pulled into place far quicker than other metals. On paper this all sounds like a dream, beautiful straight teeth using a devise you don't even know is there! This was not quite the case…

Initially it was the sand blasting that set the alarm bells ringing that this might not be the breeze I was anticipating. In order to fix all that they need to into your mouth, they blast your teeth with sand to create a clean non-slip surface. It’s really unpleasant having your mouth filled with sand as I’m sure you can imagine. And next comes the metal…

I have had both the top and bottom braces, having your mouth suddenly turn into what can only be described as a metal cadge was pretty terrible, I didn't know where to place my tongue and had suddenly developed the most horrific lisp, gone was the idea that I wouldn't be mentioning it at work! My whole jaw felt tight and having a headache was the norm.

The thing that caused the most irritation though was getting the back wires short enough, there can only have been the tiniest bit of wire jutting out at the end but in your mouth it feels so much worse, scratching and rubbing on your tongue and gums and despite having little pots of brace wax in every place imaginable I was often caught out with none, and even when I did using it whilst eating it was no help at all. After dozens of appointments back and fourth to my orthodontist we would try and get the wires clipped down to as little as possible without the whole wire slipping out altogether.

Once after having to much to drink I was hell bent on removing the offending article, and much to my Orthadontists dismay decided to take out the bottom wire myself, I cut my hands but managed to keep everything else intact which I think she was actually quite impressed about, never the less generally not recommended!
In the first few weeks I existed on a diet of mashed potato, ice cream and soup! No more anything chewy, at least not until you figure out your new mouth.

Despite all this doom and gloom the thing that spurred me on when my tongue was red raw (aside from my very supportive boyfriend!) was the results were almost instant, I started to take pictures of my lower teeth on a weekly basis to show the effects.

You may wonder why if results are so swift I was required to keep the brace on for so long and it’s a question I asked over and over in search of an alternative answer! Your teeth are mobile, the brace has to stay on for a year or more to train them to stay put, otherwise all the discomfort would be for nothing and your teeth would move back quite rapidly.

So I persevered and gradually began to understand my new mouth a bit better, where to put my tongue, how to annunciate my words (or say as few with "s" as possible!), and how to eat some of the foods I had been missing. I know I do still lisp slightly and it gets worse when I'm tired or I've been chatting a lot, but nothing compared to what was before. I have also been at times a bit over zealous with my food consumption and on occasion swallowed a couple of fixings from behind the teeth -  again not recommended as they have to be specially molded to your teeth in Germany and take about six weeks to be replaced!

It feels like I’ve had them in forever, and no doubt it will take some adjusting to not having them in any more but I am beyond excited about having them removed. To continue to train my teeth to stay where they are I am to have a fixed brace – a small wire that stays permanently behind the back of your teeth, and a retainer that keeps them in place at night.

Would I do it again? – I think for a person such as myself who didn’t have particularly bad teeth in the first place I would say no. Unless you have the will power and determination of a saint, (of which I have neither, the tears and tantrums were there to prove it!) this is no easy fix! But for someone whose teeth are an issue, something that is effecting their confidence or causing them pain and discomfort it really is a fantastic advancement in orthodontistry.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Winter Products - London
Hello winter! It's that time of year again, no more bare flesh but big wooly jumpers and wrapping up warm. When it gets colder my beauty routine changes, here are a few things I've started using recently:

Butter London, 'Horse Power' Nail Fertiliser -  It does exactly what it says on the tin! I've tried a fair few nail strengtheners having very weak nails, but this is by far the best. I often use it as a top and base coat.

Aveno Hand Cream – hands are more likely to get dry and sore in the cold, this hand cream sinks in quickly, lasts for 24hours and with no perfume is kind to sensitive skin.

WEI, Jujube Age Control Serum – this anti age serum boasts a potent complex of energising herbs to renew and revitalise your skin, and I am certainly seeing the benefits particularly after and big night out! The price tag is a little off putting but anything to rid myself of fine lines and dark circles is worth the investment in my opinion.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Festival Essentials
Whenever I go away my wash bag tends to take up the majority of my case, but when going to a festival packing takes on a whole new meaning. Once you’ve got your tent, sleeping bag, protection against our changeable English weather and a variety of fun festival outfits there isn’t much space for your toiletries,and you will regret having to lug a load of huge bottles across a field along with everything else – this is what I have come up with over the years, space saving, but keeping you looking beautiful against all the odds.

small Vaseline pot– there is nothing worse than dry flakey lips, this can also be used to smooth eyebrows or as an adhesive for glitter.
hair ties, hairpins, dry shampoo, hairspray – as some point your hair isn't going to look as beautifully blow dried as when you arrived, its good to have these products handy when this happens, you can tie your hair up and out of the way. All available in small sizes.
face or baby wipes – its not as easy to properly wash your face when in a tent, you can use these to take of your make up, clean your hands and get mud off any part of your body!
Stila lip & cheek compact – looks great on lips and cheeks, two in one space saver in a great assortment of summery colours.
Waitrose Baby Bottom Butter – from blisters to insect bites you'll use this for everything!
nail file – nails get easily broken, uncomfortable and not attractive.
Chanel foundation compact – a compact of the liquid foundation I use day to day, great coverage.
Clarins Beauty Flash Balm – really concentrated hydration for weather beaten skin and comes in a handy small tube.
Sure Women Maximum Protection deodorant – great protection all day and night (there aren’t often showers!)
Heliocare SP50 -  it’s best to put a high factor protection on at the start of the day even if the weather isn’t looking to great, you never know what might happen later, being burnt is not a great festival look! This brand comes in a gel so you can put your makeup straight on after.
ear plugs – campsites are notoriously noisy places in order to get enough beauty sleep these are essential.
large mirror – the one thing most people forget, its not easy trying to do your makeup on your tiny little compact mirror, I always bring a larger one so I can see my whole face.

enjoy your festival!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Where to Shellac? - London

The Nail Boutique – Chelsea Farmers Market
Frequented by the older generation and indeed recommend to me by my mother this is the place I first discovered the wonders of shellac. In the fantastic location of Chelsea Farmers Market for me this is a great way to spend an indulgent afternoon with a girlfriend having lunch and getting your nails done. Booking in advance is essential and payment only in cash. The only draw back for me would be that they didn't do my feet and hands at the same time but this no doubt was because it was very busy. They did however do a very thorough job which lasted far longer than I have had anywhere since.
020 7351 1161

Elegance Nails – Battersea Park Rd
When I'm thinking back at all the less than satisfactory qualities of this place I do wonder why I go there at all! And the answer is that it’s cheap and convenient. Despite this I have recently vowed never to return, the final straw came when going to have my shellac removed, shellac they had applied only a week earlier and was already peeling at the edges (they use another cheaper no name alternative to the brand shellac), instead of delicately removing it they set to work with an electric nail buffer the sort that would be probably quite effective on corns or heels. Being frightfully English I kept my mouth shut and winced my way through, handing over a tenner for the pleasure. My nails several months later are still in recovery, very damaged surface and breaking easily. If you are after a quick and inexpensive mani or pedi with normal varnish for a special occasion, why not? Anything else, steer clear.
020 7223 6950

Teamwork Hair & Beauty - Battersea
The place where I have recently started getting my hair cut also does nails so I thought I'd better try it out. My work colleague has had difficulties booking in, but there is only one girl and no doubt she gets booked up quite quickly - I however had no problem. I had on this occasion decided to go for something a bit different and have natural nail, more to protect my damaged nails, the lady suggested a mixture of two of the natural colours one of which was more pearlised and looked really lovely. She did a good job but sadly they did not last as long as I would have liked for the £40 price tag, whether this is down to the chipping showing more on a natural colour I don't know.
020 7622 9034

Karmala – mobile beauty
I have written about the wonder that is Karmala my lovely mobile beauty lady, before but I though it important to mention that myself, and a few others think that she has really gone off in the nail department.
I had her round the other evening for a pre holiday session, waxing, threading, nails, the works! The waxing and the threading was swift and seamless, but the nails went on forever! My nails are admittedly very short at the moment but she seemed to be filling them down to the wick as well as cutting cuticles that did not need to by cut which was all very uncomfortable. The painting was not much better, I had a shellac on my nails and normal paint on my feet, both were done right up to the cuticle with far to much paint which clogged and looked very messy. As someone who has been painting her own nails for years it took all my strength not to grab the brush and show her how it should be done! It’s with great sadness and regret that I will no longer be calling on her for nails.

Las Vegas Nails – Fulham High Street
After the failed attempt at home beauty I decided to rectify the situation by trying a new nail bar close to home. Its the sort of place you can book in advance but you'll invariably end up waiting at bit anyway, there are rows of nail stations and chairs with several Orientals beavering away all looking pretty unimpressed. I had however come prepared for the lack of chatting with my technician and plugged myself into my ipod so I was quite happy to sit back and relax while they did their stuff. I was pleased to see they delicately removed my disastrous shellac using the removal solution on small squares of cotton wool and left them to soak wrapping my fingers in tinfoil, meanwhile another lady got to work on my feet bathing, exfoliating and scraping, generally doing a great job! The whole experience took no longer than 40 minutes, and was beautifully done.
020 7736 6555

Friday, 4 May 2012

Daily SPF - London

I feel like this is a slightly strange choice of blog as the weather is so rubbish at the moment but an important one never the less and depressingly "We ain't getting any younger"! In order to prevent the ageing process ravishing our beauty there millions of products, treatments and procedures around to try, but I think we need to take a step back, go to the source and think again about our UV protection. The suns rays are a primary culprit, just a few minutes of exposure each day can cause noticeable changes to your skin, and not just whilst you're on your summer holidays, on an every day basis.

The majority of face creams now have SPF 15 in them but once you reach a certain age lets be honest this isn't really enough. I have looked into two products that are stronger and that I hope will help prevent skin cancer as well as keep me young!

Clinique Super City Block Daily Face Protector SPF40

In a handy little handbag sized tube this cream looks on application like it might have a hint of tinted moisturiser in, and Clinique do recommend use alone or as an invisible makeup primer. I had very high hopes for this cream as having sensitive skin Clinique normally comes up trumps for no fragrance and no irritation, however the prime area I'm wanting to target is around my eyes where those little fine lines are beginning to show, sadly when I applied it there my eyes began to stream and it was bye bye eyemake up! I reread the blurb on the packaging and saw "apply to cheeks, forehead, nose and chin" no mention of around the eyes  which I think is integral for sun protection on your face.

Heliocare SPF50 Gel
Heliocare do produce a cream version SPF50 but in light of my Clinque disappointment I thought it might be better to try a gel in the hopes that this is less likely to aggravate my eye area. The lack of oil in it means that it sinks into your skin straight away leaving you able to use whatever face cream or makeup you like on top. No watering of eyes and I don't feel like I have layers and layers of stuff on my face.So far so good lets hope it is protecting me from all those harmful rays too!

As a foot note there have recently been some new laws brought out on branding of sun creams so be wary of anything you buy that does not adhere to these rules.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Magical cream - London

There is one cream that has served me well for a long time. Thankfully it’s not up there with the Creme de la Mer’s or other equally as financially crippling potions that are on the market these days. There is of course a place for luxury products, but the cream that has been a constant to me for as many years as I can remember you can buy in your local supermarket. Never fear I’m not asking you to skip on down to Asda there is still some sense of the elite here – introducing Waitrose 'Baby Bottom Butter'. 

As you can see the consistency is more of a balm than a cream it’s very thick in the pot but when applied it doesn’t give the feeling of being to heavy or clogging up ones pores.However I wouldn’t recommend this for all over your face unless you have abnormally dry skin this is really for use on problem dry patches, on lips or to be applied around the eyes before bed for a bit of a moisture injection.

I recently got a random patch of very dry skin on my chin; I have pretty sensitive skin so this kind of thing is no surprise to me. But it made me remember all the colds the constant nose blowing or dry eyes, and patches of eczema that needed soothing, all I need do was reach for my faithful Bottom Butter. The one pot used wherever necessary and seemingly sparingly has kept me going for quite some time, the label fell off long ago! Sensitive enough to use on babies’ bottoms this wonder formula should be a staple in anyone’s cupboard. 

Things to be wary of:
Nothing! I can't fault this product! There is also an offer on at Waitrose at the moment, buy it now!