Thursday, 8 May 2014

Laser Hair Removal with Sk:n Clinic Newcastle.

So...this is kind of embarrassing to blog about, but I know I'm not the only one out there who's suffered or is suffering with embarrassing facial hair as a woman!

Since I was around 12 and the hormones kicked in I started to get a bit of a hairy face, and as my colouring is quite fair skin with dark hair, it was obvious in some places, especially above my upper lip. I tried everything to remove the hair or make it less obvious and nothing really worked for me. Waxing and threading hurt like hell! hair removal creams burned my skin and bleach didn't really help the problem too much, and those twirly, springy, stick things are just torture implements. Around a year ago, I also started to notice more hair on my chin, and around 6 months go, my jawline. 

Lucky for me, I did also discover last year that I have polycystic ovaries. Side effects of PCOS can include, but are not limited to; irregular periods, weight gain, fertility problems, oily and acne prone skin, and yep, you guessed it! excessive hair growth, to all the areas as women we don't want it (body, face, etc) and hair loss from areas we do want it, like our heads! PCOS is a condition that is best treated with weight loss, but it also makes it harder to lose weight, so I am working on that, but from what I've read, issues such as the body hair or hirsutism as it may be called, don't tend to lessen with weight loss as much as other symptoms. I am quite lucky that I only really suffer with hair I would call excessive on my upper lip, chin and jawline, as some women really struggle with it on areas such as their backs, bellies, bum, and even the chest.

I'd toyed with the idea of laser hair removal since I knew it existed. I've thought about those home devices but never really felt they could be as good as getting it done in a clinic (I just don't think they'd let you keep a powerful laser at home!) and I decided to go for it! around a week ago, I had my first appointment. I'm not planning to post up pictures of my treatment as I go, it's one thing to talk about my hairy man face, but another to show you all it! However, I will be sharing the before and after photos when my treatments are over, and probably some as I go along too. I have booked a course of 8, which will take place every 4 weeks. I considered all the options but decided to go with Sk:n Clinic, after all they are the leading clinic in the UK for non surgical treatments and started out offering laser hair removal before adding in other treatments. Now, I'm not going to lie, laser hair removal is a very, very expensive treatment! and prices and more information about how laser hair removal works, and how it's different to IPL can be found here. Sk:n do offer various special offers throughout the year so if you're looking into having this treatment, do have a look around and see if you can find a deal.

So, there is my ultra embarrassing post on laser hair removal and why I'm getting it. Look out for my review of treatment one and my first impressions! I'm sorry about the lack of my own photos, but I really don't like the idea of sharing my hairy man face with you all!

All images found from google. 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Adopting a dog with Guide Dogs for the Blind.

So this is a completely different post to what you're used to with me, but I've actually had quite a lot of questions online and in person when I let people know that my newest pack member, Ziggy, is a dog we've adopted, and not from a kennels. 

Some of you might know that myself and my Mum have been volunteers for Guide Dogs for 4 years now. We have walked one puppy from being 7 weeks old until he qualified as a Guide Dog and we've finished two other dogs off, which took between 6-8 months each (one didn't make it through and was re-homed, and one is currently at training!). We also board puppies for friends who have guide dog puppies when they go away, and dogs that our supervisor asks us to look after to correct a behavioural issue. It's not hard work, but it's a lot of work, and a cause we really do believe in. 

After an almost constant flow of dogs and two long-term puppies (Gabby and Abbey) we found that we really did have a labrador x retriever shaped hole in our lives. We'd long discussed having a second dog to our Cocker Spaniel but had always had one reason or another to say no. In December of 2013, my Mum and I decided that it was time, and we were getting another dog. 

We spent an awful lot of time deciding how we were going to get another dog. We considered buying a puppy from a breeder, as there is something very special about being your dogs first and only Mumma, but there's also the issue of all the training that comes with it, and all of the additional costs.  We also considered rescuing a dog, both my Mum and I had always wanted to rescue a dog, but after our experiences with the breed through guide dogs, we both knew that in our heart of hearts, we wanted a labrador x retriever. So this is how we ended up deciding to adopt from Guide Dogs.

Dogs are a bit like people, in that not all jobs are for everyone. Some dogs don't have the confidence to lead, or find something very anxiety provoking, or some of them just don't want to do it! Sometimes other jobs are more suitable for them, failed guide dogs sometimes go into the Police, the Army, Border Security, Hearing Dogs or other similar things. Others don't find that to be suitable for them either, or sometimes even the best bread dogs can have medical issues, and are withdrawn from working life. Dogs also retire, dogs aged between 6-9 years old often retire from working and go to homes where they can live out their lives as pets. 

This is how we got Ziggy. Ziggy was a puppy that had actually made it all the way through training and seemed completely cut out to be a guide dog. Once they put her harness on, ready to work, she became very nervous and very, very, worried about other dogs when she was working. She has and had no issues with other dogs when she wasn't working, but when she was they made her really anxious. Ziggy wasn't just any puppy either, she was a sponsor puppy. When you give a very large gift of £5000 to Guide Dogs, they offer you a very special puppy. You get to name this puppy and you'll get to see them, spend time with them and watch them go from tiny babies to working dogs. Ziggy was one of these puppies. Ziggy has a sad story attached too, she was named by a couple who's young son had been killed, and his nickname at home had always been Ziggy. When Ziggy didn't make it as a guide dog, they adopted her, but their young grandson developed a terrible allergy to dogs, and unfortunately, Ziggy had to go. 

In January, we received a phone call, letting us know that our application to rehome a withdrawn dog had been approved, and that as we were puppy walkers already, they would not need to vet the house as we have their youngest puppies coming and going all the time! We were excited by this point as we knew it meant there would be a dog soon...little did we know that she meant we would get the dog in just two days time! On January 31st, 2014 a pretty, plump and cuddling dog arrived at our house. I still call her my puppy, even if she is 3 this May. Ziggy arrived to us weighing 38.1kg (5st.9lb) which was pretty overweight! She was gorgeous none the less. 

Since we got Ziggy, we're all much happier! and she seems to love it here. Since we got her she's lost almost 5kg and is weighing a much healthier weight! she's going out twice a day everyday and goes to her special doggy swimming lesson once a week! She's slotted into our lives like she never wasn't there! and even now, less than three months after we got her, people comment on the fantastic bond we have with her, and we feel like she was never not here.

Adopting a dog from Guide Dogs is something many people don't know about. It's an option that's really great if you would like an older dog or want to re-home a dog. It's a more expensive option than other adoptions, costing £300, but it's great for you and great for them! 

This post was just to sum up our experience of adopting through guide dogs, and to talk about the wonderful dog we adopted, who has brought joy to our lives like nothing else! 

Do you have a dog? and if you do, please tell me the story of how you got your doggie! 

Monday, 24 March 2014

My New Favourite Fragrance

For the first Christmas my boyfriend and I spent together, buying presents for each other was quite difficult! We'd set a budget of about £50 and I spent forever trying to put together a little hamper of presents for James, as he's a man who tends to buy what he wants when he wants it, rather than waiting for his Birthday or Christmas. James is also one who struggles for gifts, he often resorts to vouchers but he wanted to get me something physical as it was our first Christmas together. On Christmas Eve 2011 I was presented with a perfectly wrapped little Chanel box, containing a 30ml bottle of Coco Mademoiselle. I love this fragrance! over two years later I still have some left and I still use it often. Until the Christmas just gone, this little Chanel bottle was the only fragrance I owned! This year for Christmas, I was spoiled and after the festive season was over, I found myself with 5 perfumes! 

Now, moving on from that anecdote, here's another little story. I got to university in the centre of Newcastle, which leads to dangerous money being spent on nice food and all too many strolls through beauty halls. A very close friend of mine and I were wasting some time in our Friday break wondering Fenwicks beauty hall and found ourselves in Jo Malone. I'd only ever been in a few times before, once for my Mum's Birthday where we had their hand an arm massages (Amazing!). I saw a little bottle on the top shelf named 'Earl Grey and Cucumber' and Sarah and I just looked at one another. Sarah loves Earl Grey, and this fragrance was 100% her! After we umm'd and ahh'd for a little while it become an 'I will if you will situation' and Sarah and I left the shop with two beautifully wrapped boxes and posh little bags, and purses £39.50 lighter! 

I spent quite some time choosing my fragrance, I'd always lusted after the cologne intense range offered by Jo Malone but found the price tag off-putting and I decided I wanted a 30ml bottle. After much deliberation, I decided to go with Jo Malone's signature cologne, Lime Basil and Mandarin. This cologne smells like nothing I own, it's fresh, citrusy and light. Jo Malone describe the fragrance as 'Peppery basil and aromatic white thyme bring an unexpected twist to the scent of limes on a Caribbean breeze'. It's difficult to describe this scent, it's fresh and reminds me of spring and summer. If you have a Jo Malone near by, I urge you to go and take a sniff! 

Two things had always put me off Jo Malone, one being the price (£39.50 for 30ml!) and the other being the staying power of a cologne rather than an eau de parfum as I have issues with fragrance lastings on me. I need not have worried though, this probably lasts on me better than Chanel or Dior does! Most fragrances only last me between 2-3 hours, but this can last on me for closer to 4-5 hours and clings to my clothes really well, so even if it's not on my skin I can still smell it. The issue of price I've managed to justify, as really the price for 30ml is around that of most high end fragrances such as Dior, Chanel and Guerlain. The uniqueness of this fragrance also makes it worth the price to me, as with the Jo Malone colognes it's easy to mix them and blend them to give a very unique and personal scent. 

I've really enjoyed using this fragrance and I'm now completely besotted with the brand! I already have my eye on a few other fragrances for my Birthday, I think that Wild Fig and Cassis, White Jasmine and Mint, and Vanilla Anise are topping my list, but I don't think there's one I can say I don't want! 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Hello! + Haul.

Hello there everyone!

After a massive blogging break, I'm back with a little haul today. I apologise for the massive gap, with university starting and getting into the swing of it, then Christmas, exams, a few bouts of tonsillitis! (the suckers are coming out in May! Yay!) I'm finally finding myself with time to blog, so I thought why not come back with a haul.

My haul, unboxed! (Sans Lip balm, which had already made it's way into my handbag.

Did you know that some big M&S's have a beauty section? it's full of brands like REN, Nuxe and Murad, but also carries smaller  brands I'd never even heard of! It's given my quite a list of brands I want to try out. As my lovely Mum is an M&S Premium Club member she gets vouchers and promotions quite often, and she had received a 20% voucher. We had intended to just pop into M&S and get the things we were after, and pop into Boots (sick Simone requires lemsips!) and head home. I had gone with the idea in mind of picking up a new bottle of REN's ClearClam Clay Cleanser and REN's micro polish cleanser.  When I got there, I discovered there were none the REN Clay Cleanser left! Of course, like any beauty addict, rather than go home and buy it online, I had to have a look around. I stopped to look at Murad, a brand  I had used one product of a long time ago on Holiday in Florida to clear up the skin on my arms (I tend to suffer with blocked hair follicles) and it worked really well. It was a spur of the moment purchase from Sephora and I used it in the shower and thought nothing of it, I was on holiday! Anyway, I decided to have a look at some of their products and found they sold some pretty decent sized try me kits, and that all Murad products were buy one, get one half price, and I could still use my of course, I got two!

Each set contains four products and I look forward to trying them out! I'd wanted to try their products since my boyfriend took me away to Rockliffe Hall (which was amazing) and I had a good look at their products there as it's what they use for facials.  I had intended to get a facial there, but as we only had an over night stay and had other treatments booked, I didn't get time to fit it in! We are planning to go back in April for my Birthday, so maybe I'll get to have one then if I like the products. 

Murad Ban Blemishes starter kit, price £29.50 at Marks and Spencers

First, the 'Ban Belmishes Starter Kit' this contains for products; their Clarifying Cleanser, Exfoliating Blemish Treatment Gel, a moisturiser known as Skin Perfecting Lotion, and a Blemish Spot Treatment. The products are of course not full size, but are generously sized so I should be able to get a good idea of how my skin likes or dislikes these.

Above - Murad Ban Blemishes Starter Kit.
Below - Murad Sun Undone Starter Kit, Priced £29.50 at Marks and Spencers

The second set I bought is their 'Sun Undone' Starter kit. Now, I don't have sun damaged skin, I've only been sunburned once (honestly! live in Saudi Arabia for 10 years = no sunburn, go on holiday to Spain once = Lobster child!) so I didn't buy this for that reason. The reason I chose this one was the fact this one is their 'revel radiance' line. It reminds me a lot of REN in terms of the packaging, it's the same orange shade. This set contains a cleanser as well, this time it's their 'Essential C-Cleanser', a serum called 'Advanced Active Radiance Serum', a moisturiser 'Essential C Day Moisture with SPF 30' and the matching eye cream, with SPF 15. Once again the sizes are generous and should allow me to get a good mix of products to see what suits my skin. The only worry I have with Murad is that some of their prices are not very student purse friendly, but if a product works I'm happy to pay for it. 

Above - Murad Sun Undone Starter Kit
Below - REN Radiance Micro Polish Cleanser, Priced £20 at Marks and Spencers

I also bought the REN Cleanser. I really bought into the idea of chemical exfoliation, however after getting a sample size of this, I realised my skin really does love a gentle, physical exfoliation. This one smells really nice and fresh (The whole radiance line from REN smells fresh and citrusy) and has little, tiny beads that exfoliate, and also contains glycolic and lactic acid. It's gentle and packs a good punch!

NUXE Lip Balm, Priced £6 at Marks and Spencers

I also bought this lip balm from NUXE. Now, everyone in my family has this! I have a pot, my mum is onto her second, my brother has one, and my boyfriend steals mine! Once you use this, it's very difficult to go back to anything else, and I wanted the stick to carry around in my handbag. Nothing else will cut it!

Marks and Spencers isn't really a place I tend to associate with beauty, normally I go there for good food and basics like socks, underwear and tights, but they've really impressed me! Their clothes are actually looking really good too! Next time you're in a big store, check if they have a beauty section, if you're in the North East, I know that M&S Newcastle has one (second floor, where the ladies wear is) and so does the Metrocentre. The staff are really helpful and really know the brands too. 

Have you hauled much lately?