Thursday, 28 July 2011

Never Was I so Nautical

Before we get started let me just tell you that words like 'sea' and 'sail' are annoyingly short and make for crappy, stumpy titles that look rubbish. This post was very nearly titled 'Not Another Nautical Header'.

Despite the fact I will probably be on a sail boat for approximately one of fourteen days this holiday I'm not letting that stop me from putting together a natty little nautical clothing selection. A growing addiction to breton stripes is causing me to run the risk of being mistaken for someone taking the piss out of French people. Maybe time to lose the string of garlic? Stripes + boatneck meant this little baby from New Look didn't stand a chance. The white shorts and sandals were both Matalan bargains. The striped maxi dress is from Ted Baker courtesy of Bicester Village designer outlet village (and more specifically my boyfriend). J actually picked it out saying, 'Maybe something like this for in the evenings on holiday?' before buying it for me! No need to explain how fond I am of him. This dress is the comfiest thing in the world but also makes you feel glam and swishy. My new favourite.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Review: Lisa Shepherd London

Last week I finally got round to using my Groupon voucher for half head highlights and a cut and blowdry at Lisa Shepherd's London salon. It's no exaggeration to say I've not had my hair coloured in over a year. My ancient old highlights were grown out and yellowed, while the roots were my usual strawberry blonde hue. Not a pretty combination. As I've mentioned before, my hair's been steadily growing back since my RA drugs caused it to thin a couple of years ago. I've had it trimmed regularly but it was definitely looking spindly, dry and overly long. The Groupon voucher cost £54 and the value is said to be £172.

When I arrived I was able to help myself to coffee and drinks while snapping up the best magazines. My stylist Reena then came to fetch me and we had a chat about what cut and colour I wanted. I had photos on my phone depicting beachy blonde colour and a blunt cut. She suggested I needed about 2.5 inches off the length and I told her to go for it (my hair grows like a weed). She also recommended I have a semi-permanent gloss treatment to tone in the rest of my hair with the new highlights. This cost £20 extra but I wanted the best result, plus didn't mind paying as the Groupon voucher had been a birthday present.

Unlike in a lot of salons, Reena was to do both my cut and my colour. I felt happy with this as I figured all of the stylists at Lisa Shepherd would be trained to a high standard. Reena mixed three colours for my hair – a baby blonde, a warmer caramel shade and a high-lift toner. We had a chat as she applied the colour and I found her warm and funny.

As my colour developed I sat in the 'chill out' area where they have macbooks for you to use the internet, drinks and magazines. After my colour was finished it was straight on to the haircut. I'm not able to have anything wild done to my hair while it grows back as I still have lots of 'new' hair and it's generally a bit crap! Reena blunt cut my ends and then asked if she'd taken enough off. I said 'whatever you think'. She replied 'I like you!' and proceeded to cut off another half inch or so. I should probably say at this point that I don't actually like my hair this short but I'm more concerned with it looking healthy and thicker.

As the picture I'd brought with me showed blunt hair with lots of volume Reena wanted to use thickening powder on my hair to create volume and texture. I have to say she went a little nuts with it – I didn't mind but it made my hair feel vile until I washed it. Not great to have that much product in your hair when you're getting a facial afterwards either... helloooo Edward Scissorhands.

This photo shows the colour more accurately.
The colour turned out really well – it looks natural and I doubt anyone would suspect my real hair colour is actually quite a bit darker and redder! I can't really notice the semi-permanent gloss but then again my hair was wet when it was put on so I don't know how it would have looked without it. Overall I felt like I was treated the same as a customer paying full price; given a good haircut and great highlights. I couldn't fault Lisa Shepherd London or my lovely stylist Reena. I was even given a card for a 30 per cent discount, another for a 15 per cent discount valid on every appointment until December (not to be used together) and some free product samples. In return I promised Reena I wouldn't leave it a year before my next colour! 

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Pistol Panties versus PPQ

I ordered this blue Pistol Panties 'Marilyn' bikini from ASOS yesterday with free next day delivery. It's reduced from £139 to £30 in the sale. Although it's a lovely flattering shape, unfortunately the cups are a little too low-cut for my liking! Nip-slip risk alert! Instead I've ordered this little red number from Figleaves... I'll let you know how I get on.

Update: YUCK! 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The SPF Factor

So far, so chic
The past few weeks I've been merrily researching potential holiday destinations and getting excited at the prospect of guaranteed sunshine (plus my first ever holiday with a boy!). After much deliberation we eventually chose Sicily and booked flights for September. Part of the fun of going abroad is the preparation (excluding packing – we're flying Ryanair and only paid for 15KGs of hold luggage each) and I'm already starting to think about what products to take. Sunscreen is probably the most crucial product to get right, both in terms of preventing skin cancer and premature ageing, and wanting to avoid sand-stuck limbs and a greasy, white face! I asked my Twitter beauty blogger pals for their favourites and got some advice from a PR who has experienced for herself the consequences of insufficient sun protection. 

Linda Evans is an ex sunbather (now serious sun protector) who has always lived by the sea and loves to sail and ski. She's PR for salon professional product company, TIGI. 

'Twelve years ago I got skin cancers – six in total – and sought advice from Cancer Research and Ambre Solaire. Both told me the same thing: always use UVA and UVB and look for the UK 5 star rating, which you see under the UVA/B sign. It indicates maximum protection. Apply 15 minutes before going into the sun and use as much as your skin will absorb. Reapply every 45 minutes or so. At midday you can burn in 1015 minutes. No matter how many times you reapply you are only protected for the SPF factor x the number of minutes you take to burn. 

People also need to remember to wear sunscreen on dull days. I sail and it's really noticeable out on the sea (or the beach) that people get just as burned on overcast days. Same goes for skiing. And I'll tell you what  having not sunbathed ever, since the day I found out I had a melanoma, most people think I'm much younger than I am!'

The Sunscreens Beauty Bloggers Love
Peonies and Lilies
'Chanel UV Essentiel is my all time favourite for face, but L'Oreal Solar Expertise Matte Fluid Protection is a good high street alternative.'

Simone Loves Makeup

'Clinique Super City Block sinks into skin and feels like you've nothing on. It's also slightly tinted so on holiday I wear it on its own.'

Get Lippie

'Lancaster Sun Age Control for face, and Piz Buin Allergy for body. I find a lot of facial sunscreens far too heavy; the Lancaster is lighter, so it suits me.'

Amina's Bazaar

'Love Biotherm for face – it never breaks me out. Body  Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect. You just have to be careful when applying as you can't see it!'

London MakeUp Girl

'Clinique for body. Soap & Glory Feel Good Factor is surprisingly good. It's an SPF 25 everyday facial moisture lotion but I wouldn't rely on it for being out in the sun all day.'

The 6 Inch Stilettos

'I'm using Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+. No dodgy white streaks and skin stays hydrated. I can't complain!'

Strawberry Blonde Beauty Blog

'Ultrasun and La Roche-Posay are both excellent for sensitive skin. I'm just back from Croatia and didn't burn at all. Love the once daily application [of Ultrasun], but must admit am in love with La Roche-Posay's texture! Wanted something that works well under makeup, which both do.'

Judy Johnson

'I'm a major sun allergy sufferer so @britbeautyblog recommended Institut Esthederm, expensive but nice!'

Katie's Beauty Blog

'I'm using Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15 for oily skin. It hasn't given me spots and I'm still pale! But you can only buy it online.'


'La Roche-Posay Anthelios is good for skin easily clogged by SPF.'

Le Salon de Beaute

'Institut Esthederm! Best sunscreen ever.'

Thanks for all your help ladies. I'll let you know what sunscreens I end up getting and what I think of them! First up: La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF50+ Melt-In Cream and Fluide Extreme Face.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Moody Tuesdays

I've noticed I'm often in a foul grump on Tuesdays and I have no idea why. Could it be some kind of alcohol-related comedown as a result of drinking on Friday or Saturday night? But I don't go out every weekend... honest. I know that by the time Wednesday morning rolls around I will be myself again but in the meantime I feel like I'm walking around with a cartoon 'sad face' on, incapable of raising a smile.

Am I just a mardy bitch or do other women feel this way a few days a month? And not PMT-related? Do any of you have any suggestions on how to get out of these low moods? If I was at home I'd take the dog out for a walk with my ipod on loud, but even this has only a temporary effect; once the endorphins wear off I'm back to my charming day-long depression. Sometimes I hate being a woman!

I'd like to dedicate this post to my friend Julia Rulia, who was once in such a bad mood she warned me, 'Don't even look in the direction of my house'. Love you Jules.