Recently I posted a pic on Instagam stories I never thought I would. It was my face. You say – doh-oooh Dani, I see that face of yours a bit too much on stories.
You have a point. But this one was not as it is usually presented. Apart from SPF, it had nothing.
No priming. No foundation. Zero concealer. Not a dusting of concealer in sight. Nothing on my eyes – shadow, liner, mascara. Not even colour on my lips. No filter. Just the morning light that bathes my sitting room.
And for the first time in all these years, I found that it was ok. My skin looked alright. I actually thought it looked…. good? Could it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be that person with great skin. Think severe acne with deep angry red cysts on cysts (on cysts) all over for many years. Now think about the deep scarring it leaves behind. Not the more common pigmentation acne scars that appear once the inflammation heals and frequently fade on their own time.
I am talking sulking scars – ice pick, rolling and atrophic, mainly, pitted marks all over my cheeks, temples and forehead. The kind makeup does not erase. Tone, people told me, not texture, is what you can conceal well. And I knew – a lot of the time even with the most flawless make up all I saw in the mirror were scars.
My face had a huge impact on my mental health, and I have written about it before. In the past years I have learnt to like, dare I say love my skin, finally, after a life long battle to make it be what it never was.
Acceptance (and good, consistent skincare) has made it flourish, if not into “perfect skin”, into one that makes me finally feel good about it. Not all the time, it’s true, but the fact I don’t feel like I have to hide it (with a fringe, and/or 8567554 layers of the thickest product you’ll find), feels amazing.
I feel I really care about it, and no longer want to fight it, and the more dramatic, professional procedures I had in the past couple of years really kick started this change – the 3 sublative and ablative laser treatments I had so expertly delivered and tailored by Dr. Ariel Haus worked as a foundation that has finally surfaced.
I have been wearing less makeup, not just at home but when going out(ish) and although I still think I photograph better with a face of foundation, I am no longer anxious to wear less. I am, in fact, happy.
I always said makeup helped me look outside the way I feel inside. And this is still very much true – wearing less only means the discrepancy is decreasing.
As as a loved one said this week: here’s to growth – and skincare.
Now, where’s that botox at? Hit me up, I am ready for you!
There is nothing better than a smile. Actually, nothing better than a bright smile!
Glo32 has a lovely range of teeth whitening products to help you get that lovely smile even brighter.
I tried the strips, which are very easy and quick to use and come pack of 28, suitable for 14 uses.
The strips come in individual foils of 2, for upper and bottom teeth. The strip are easy to place and once on the teeth, the generous amount of whitening gel of them softens around the teeth.
It contains coconut oil and is enamel safe and peroxide free.
It is very comfortable to wear for the 30 minutes and afterwards I rinse and brush lightly with my beloved electric toothbrush.
You are meant to apply it for 14 days for optimal results but my teeth are not too stained or dark and are quite sensitive.
When I got it, I used 5 days in a row for a first whitening and I noticed a subtle, perhaps one shade+ improvement. Sensitivity was low, but I did feel some. Now I am using every few days/a week to maintain, keep stains away and am very happy with the results.
I had used trays and strips before – trays are good if you get them professionally custom made as I did and have a good source for the gel. The ones you bite into are not as good, so I’d go for strips as they are easy and quick to use at home.
Overall, Glo32 strips are great value for money, at £20 per pack, and even better at 1/2 price at Boots with the rest of the range – whitening pen and toothpaste to boost up the glow.
Plus, on this week’s Boots £10 Tuesdays flash deals (25 August 2020) you can get the Glo32 Teeth Whitening System which contains the strips and the whitening pen for only £10 instead of £30, so now a great time to stock up!
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own.
Ingredients: they fascinate me. There is nothing more exciting than to find out about the actions of ingredients in my products and how they interact with my body, working their wonder.
And magnesium has been a favourite for a very long time. For me, the muscle recovery aspect is key due to my hoop adventures, age and previous injury history – any help I can get, is welcome.
However that’s not all magnesium brings to the table; apart from supporting muscle repair and relaxation, it also helps improve rest and recovery by contributing to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue, electrolyte balance and supports normal energy-yielding metabolism.
If that wasn’t enough, it is also vital to support calcium absorption – especially important for women my age.
I have been using Better You Magnesium products for a while. I had the sports spray oil, now the Muscle Spray and was delighted to try the Magnesium Sleep range which comes with added essential oils to promote relaxation, with some added flakes from the “normal” range.
I use the products in the evening, after showering. The Magnesium Oil Sleep Spray, which is the new name for the photographed, Goodnight (£12.95), with Bergamot and Clary Sage oils (for me, interchangeable with the Muscle spray as they deliver similar quantities) comes out to apply on my “problem” areas (lower back and shoulders) when they feel more tender.
I really enjoy the tingle it causes when your body “needs” that application – the lower back ALWAYS tingles, but it is not uncomfortable and subsides soon after.
The Mineral Sleep lotion (£9.95) is a great full body product – I apply to legs, arms, abdomen for an overall magnesium delivery.
On the mineral bath flakes, I think I don’t need to go on forever; the benefits are widely known and what a delight it is to bathe on those. It is available from £3.95 (250g) but I recommend a 5kg bag for £39.95.
I struggle remembering to capsules and magnesium actually has a very better absorption through the skin so it’s a better way to remineralise. Plus it’s a nice self care ritual – a bath and a welcoming massage on application.
Afterwards, body does feel heavy and seems to sink into the bed for better sleep. To be honest, I am a good sleeper, but usually don’t feel sleepy, so using magnesium works as a lovely relaxing send off, mentally and physically.
In the current climate, it is more important than ever to look after our money. Many of us have lost income and the future seems very uncertain for most people, so how do you even begin to tackle a seemingly impossible task of getting out of debt?
Getting into debt can be pretty easy, but a lot harder to get out of. Quite often, when we find ourselves in any level of debt it is easier to pretend it is not happening, but of course that only aggravates the situation.
We all have different circumstances, especially with the current pandemic, levels of debt and incomes, so it’s hard to say that there is one way to get out of debt; however, here are some things to consider.
If you are really struggling and need some professional help, you could check out places like Creditfix.co.uk, which can help people get out of debt problems.
List everything you owe and everything you earn
It’s hard to make a plan to get out of debt, without knowing precisely what your money situation looks like right now. As painful as it might be, make a list – and I have a monthly spreasheet – of everything you owe and all of your outgoings, no matter how small.
Then make another list of your income. This will help you see the extent of the problem, and also highlight areas that you could really cut down on. For example, do you have subscriptions to a magazine that you never get around to reading? Do you need a big takeout every week, or could you cut it down to every other week? What non-essentials could you space out or even stop for a while?
Don’t let your money get swallowed up
It’s so easy to spend a fiver here, or a tenner there on little bits throughout the day – a coffee, a meal deal, a taxi when you’re feeling a little lazy.
If you’re cutting down on luxuries to save money, put that aside to pay off some debt immediately, otherwise, you’re not actually saving anything – you’re just spending it somewhere else! It might not seem like much, but it all adds up and anything you can pay over the minimum is going to make a huge difference.
Planning ahead is a great tool – I plan meals, shop accordingly and batch cook, take money out weekly to stick to a spending budget, not touching cards, for example.
Can you earn a little more?
Maybe you could take on some overtime hours at work, start a side hustle, or simply sell some of your unwanted belongings and put that money towards paying off your debt.
It’s essential to look after your health (mental and physical!) and not do too much, but any little extras you can make and put into the pot is going to help you reduce your debt quicker.
Recently I finally got round to listing some clothes and accessories I didn’t wear and suddenly I had an extra £100.
Lower your interest
When paying towards debt and most of the money is taken up by interest, it can feel as though there is no end in sight. By moving your debt onto an interest-free credit card, you will be making more of a dent in the debt with each payment.
A money transfer can sometimes cost a percentage of the amount you’re moving, even if the card is 0% interest, so factor that in, and these are often promotional rates so they won’t last forever.
I got myself a “cash card” where I transfer the spending money for certain events (drinks, picnics, weekly extra food), so I don’t spend unexpectedly.
Of course, there are many other practical ways to start – and all success stories of people getting out of debt are peppered with some change in behaviour and re-assessment of priorities. They all show a shift in focus and lots of determination.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, take the first steps, as small as they may feel and keep your end goal in mind.
This piece was written in collaboration with CreditFix.
From all the detoxes, I think a hair one is probably one I could take and for two weeks I went organic with Innersense. I used their shampoo, hair mask, styling spray and dry shampoo and nothing else on my hair.
I really like that every instruction for use comes with a calming ritual – seemed a bit odd when I first read, but actually makes the simple act of caring for your hair a little self care, self-centering routine, and I am there for it.
The most used product was the shampoo which is probably my favourite. The Color Awakening Hairbath (£26/ smells fresh, lathers well and leaves hair feeling clean and fresh.
It contains coconut and rice bran, shea butter, pumpkin seed oil and rooibos tea extract for that extra antioxidant punch and a little goes a long way.
Sadly I didn’t get a conditioner so ended up treating myself to using the Hydrating Hair Masque (£28) as one to really get into those drier ends. And I very much enjoyed it.
The mask delivers a great hydration, hair feels soft and nourised – not a surprise when it packs flaxseed, shea butter, monoi coconut and tamanu oils, as well as quinoa and sage + vanilla essential oils.
The Refresh Dry Shampoo (£22) is – lo and behold – not dry. It has a foam consistency that
During lockdown I’ve been washing my hair less and have really tested this one, mainly for those last minute video calls (or that time I had space buns and had to get my hair into profesh mode to interview someone).
I used a couple pumps massaged to roots, then let it dry and brushed. I found that it really refreshes hair and makes it look presentable but it doesn’t quite soak up all the grease, like powder ones, as expected.
However, that also means there is no horrible scalp build up, so I find an ok trade, especially if you don’t have oily hair. Oh, and it does not have that “odour neutralising” small that most powder sprays do – if you know what I mean (or is it just me?).
I rarely style my hair – when I do, it is mermaid waves with little or most of the times no product. I did get the I Create Finish hair spray (£24) and found it, overall, a good hair spray. Now, I don’t use hair sprays in general (more a mousse person for extra flexible waves) but can say the hold was better than I though, although I did find it a bit crunchy.
If hair sprays are your thing, this contains aloe vera, rooibos, honey and lavender. It smells lovely!
At the end of the two weeks my hair felt strong, shiny, overall quite happy, pretty much as their 14-day detox tells you it should, restored from artificial build ups.
I’ll definitely put the shampoo on the rotation, keep using the mask once a week on rotation too and use the dry shampoo to refresh maybe a day old hair, but not longer – I know I should really wash 3 times a week at least as my hair is fine and prone to oily roots.
Oh, and btw, that in the pic is my real hair – no extensions shown: a first for this blog!
Since I started the blog, I have spoken extensively and quite frequently about my relationship with my skin and acne.
What I haven’t written a lot about is what’s left behind, regardless of having active spots or not: the scarring, which is deeper in many ways.
Not only they are a reminder of all the tough times I had with acne, but they also make me feel very conscious of how my skin looks like – as if all the acne wasn’t enough to do that.
I am now long into the journey of loving a skin I hated most of my life and these improvements only came way after I decided to accept the skin I am – it is, after all, the only one I have this lifetime, so I have to love it. And love it I did and started to caring for it as the problematic child it is. Then it finally started to love me back.
I came a long way from the excessively long fringe that was always on my cheeks, never having my hair up and caking it with the most unsuitable (for lack of choice at the time) makeup.
Before I go into talking about the latest treatment I tried to help tackle acne scarring, I want to thank Dr. Ariel Haus, who has been brilliant and given me the chance to try something I always want to do but never found the confidence in a professional (and the income) to. So, thank you for inviting me.
Sublative laser is one of the suitable treatments offered at Dr. Haus’ clinic that will not only help with scarring, but is also brilliant for signs of ageing. But I’ll get to that…
As I underwent treatment for texture scars, Dr. Haus increased the power of the laser on each of the 3 sessions.
As as treatments at Haus Dermatoglogy are bespoke, my laser sessions consisted of 3 steps: a salicylic acid peel, that acts as a drying and antibacterial agent on the skin, the laser application on the whole face and finally, a gorgeous peel of mandelic acid and tretinoin, to maximise skin renewal.
Sublative laser is a process that makes microscopic holes in the outer layer of skin (dermis) to target damaged cells deep in the dermal layer, thus being more appropriate for my old, deeper scars, which are hard to tackle.
Worth mentioning that before the treatment, there is a patch test and a form, with a psychological evaluation as it is very important for Dr. Haus that people have realistic expectations of their results, especially when something that affects them as much as my scars do.
The peels do not hurt, at all. The laser, on the other hand, is another story. It is nothing unbearable and numbing cream is applied beforehand, but each zap is not a very pleasant experience. Having said that, they are well worthy it.
Depending on how many treatments you had, you can stay with the last peel for longer. On my 3rd treatment, I left it overnight and washed in the morning. After each treatment, when you wash you face for the first time, you can a smell burnt skin a little bit. Fear not, this is normal, but weird.
In all cases, about 2 days after the treatment, my skin started peeling. And by day 3-4, it was like my face was falling off. Overall, I had 3 days of heavy peeling and things started looking more normal again and I could use light makeup.
During the treatment, professionalism and care are second to none at the clinic – not just from Dr. Ariel Haus, which is sympathetic, caring, gentle and thorough in his methods and explanations, but from his staff, especially his clinical practitioner (and sweetest professional ever) and his front of the house staff.
And after you leave, you feel reassured not only by the comprehensive after care instructions and products provided, but the knowledge you’ll be supported should you have any questions or concerns post-treatment.
In terms of results, obviously there are no miracles when it comes to acne scarring. I did however, noticed an improvement in texture; some shallower scars have disappeared, some deeper seem shallower. Make up sits better and overall condition improved and even my active, hormonal acne has decreased a bit.
As for anti ageing, I noticed superior contour on my face – not even joking: my cheekbones are higher and fuller, the under eye area is slightly plumper and lighter.
Some may say it is a small improvement for a relatively high investment but when you have lived with something that affects you so much psychologically, any visible improvement has a huge impact on mental wellbeing and perception of self, so I highly recommend if you can pursue.
The last session was completed well over a year ago (and I miss Dr. Haus), but this wasn’t the last measure in my quest to leaving the effects of acne behind and searching for my true skin.
It might feel such a long time ago to talk about now, but for these procedures I feel we can only talk about results at least 6 months after it is done as skin takes time to regenerate and the results are meant to be long lasting, as long as the source of the scarring does not come back to create new ones.
Plus, I find the actual writing about my skin takes a lot from me emotionally and it is always a hard subject to approach. So here it is – expected, long last results with some bonuses thrown in for good measure.
You can get more information on Dr. Haus’ impressive aesthetic medicine credentials, awards (yep, I said it) and multitude of cutting edge treatments on their website.
They are based on Harley Street and have a fantastic clinical and support team to deliver truly tailored, solution based, tech-forward treatments that are build especially to your needs for optimal results, be it medical or aesthetic for face and body.
And very soon I will also talk about the big one: ablative laser…
I was invited to receive the treatments prescribed by Dr. Haus after consultation, with no obligation to post.
Looks the park is going to be my new “gym” for a while longer and I have been adding plenty of flamboyant gym gear to my, erm always expanding flamboyant gym gear collection.
Mighty Solo is a Swedish brand from Stockholm, with garments designed by women for women to make for comfortable, supportive workout gear.
I got the Midnight Palm set (wearing S (size 6), PR sample) and it got delivered super fast. The packaging was great – compact, recyclable box, a travel bag and a lovely heritage touch: a traditional Dala horse doll.
The set is lovely – great, vidi colours, resilient fabric that shapes you and is comfortable, which for me is a must for circus workouts.
Stitching and seams are well finished and the cut is flattering, I was quite impressed.
Both pieces are polyester and spandex mix, and the four-way stretch fabric is moisture-wicking and quick drying. The steady elastic bands do not dig into your sides.
Leggings are squat (or pike/straddle inversions, in my case) proof, so it does not go see through. Win.
The sports bra has removable pads and offers a decent support, although I am quite small on the breast department so cannot comment on support that much!
Right, retinol. What is not to like. Ladies (and gents) of a certain age (cough), hang on to it. If you are not with it, get with it.
And the NIP+FAB Retinol Fix range can meet all your retinol needs and some.
From the vitamin A family, the ingredient is used to fight pigmentation and age spots plus fine lines and wrinkles; it exfoliates skin and helps speeds cell turnover, also helping to boost collagen production. So overall a good egg.
I have been using the retinol fix range for over six weeks now and can confidently say that my skin is more even and I haven’t yet presented my dreaded seasonal melasma, even though sun exposure (with plenty of SPF, of course) has been high (weather has been glorious).
I find every item in this range a great addition to any routine for a retinol introduction of boost.
These have been my night time heroes.
My favourite has to be the Retinol Fix Booster Extreme (£10 on sale now) as it is so versatile – you can put under your routine for an overnight refresh once or twice a week.
Apart from 0.3% retinol, it contains aloe vera for soothing and the NIP+FAB special skin replenishing complex.
My love for eye creams continues here – the Retinol Fix Eye Treatment (£19.95) is a gem.
Light on the eye area, it contains 0.1% retinol, a blend of butter for conditioning and moisturising and anti-puffing, dark circle fighting ingredients.
Sheet masks (£5 on sale): I have all the time for you. And this is no different: feels so supple, loaded with a low concentration retinol, coconut water and edelweiss flower extract, an antioxidant.
Skin feels refreshed and calm after use.
Also big props to the Retinol Fix Overnight treatment (£29.95), which has sold out but worth mentioning. A rich (but not cloggy) cream that applies and absorbs like a dream, really overhauling skin at night.
It contains 0.1% retinol, matrixyl 300 to estimulate collagen production and hyaluronic acid, the sweetheart ingredient for hydration.
And the pump packaging is great!!!
The Serum Extreme (£15, on sale) and the Glow Tonic Extreme (£10, on sale) have also been permanent features.
I usually use the serum a couple days a week, in between the Booster usages and not gonna lie I’ve been a little bit addicted to the toner!!! The really boost any routine.
Also, the whole range smells amazing and I love packaging on these.
When using retinol products, make sure you listen to your skin. It is an exfoliant after all, so wear sunscreen (you should anyway) and interrupt use if redness and flakiness become irritable or persistent.
My skin is resilient and I had some lip dryness after constant use, so gave it some days break and all was back to normal and I am back reaping the benefits of this lovely range.
You can get all from the NIP+FAB website – some of the items are in for £10!!! Bargain of the year!
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were GIFTED, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own.
Last week I talked about how I am only just managing to keep my head above water when it comes to COVID-19 and my mental health. And face masks came in as one of the little things I have been doing to help me to find some headspace – and get bettr skin as a bonus.
Bubu skincare has a great selection of face masks to work their magic.
My favourite is hands down the #tspot Blemish busting sheet mask, and not only because it is glittery and so cool, but because it is hard to find masks to tackle blemishes and acne.
Especially now. I’ve been under a lot of stress mainly brought my anxiety and my hormones are all over the place. Result: my already problematic skin is suffering.
This glittery thermo sensitive hydrogel sheet mask contains niacinamide, vitamin B5, natural actives ingredients (including many algae extracts) and their potent secret serum.
It feels great on the skin and I particularly like the 2 part mask. The serum is well absorbed on the skin and it feels nice after. I did notice my breakouts started to calm down a few days after use and felt more settled.
I also tried the exfoliating sheet mask, #stripitoff and we all know I love an exfoliation – be it chemical or physical.
This fibrous mask base has charcoal, kaolin clay and AHA to buff away dead skin cells and purify.
Now, this is a more traditional sheet mask but I must confess I just LOVED the thick layer of clay this mask comes with.
Skin fells clean and clear after – this was also a delight to use, very different from the blemish mask, but I could not put one as better than the other: they both fulfil their brief so well.
Wearing a sheet mask is usually a mindfulness ritual for me. I usually read or have it when I am having a bath, resting on my bath pillow with plenty of salts to soothe my tired muscles.
Who can resist a lip mask? Exactly? My lips are always sooo dry that the #youpucker lip plumping mask was a god send!
Pretty in lip shape and shimmery, this lip mask contains botox (yes, that botox), which is as a topical ingredient, exclusive to Bubu, and hyaluronic acid.
It does tingle you plump and hydrated. Lips feel supple asoft after use. Love it!
Overall I was impressed with the quality of the Bubu masks and at £7 each for the face masks and £5 for the lip mask is great value for money. Plus they are cruelty free and environmentally friendly – even the sparkles.
You can get the lovely Bubu masks above on the Bubu site, together with their other products, and also on PrettyLittleThing – I say a lovely extra to any outfit!
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were GIFTED, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own.
Confession time: for a long time I resisted getting back pack. However in recent year the designs have evolved and you are not stuck with the “back to school”, “sporty” models. My Gaston Luga Clässy is the perfect example. And damn, they are handy!
Of course I am stuck inside but I can see how useful my Clässy will be: the sleeve in the back is a great size for my laptops (13′) and I am left with plenty of space for my other necessities: phone, purse, keys, headset, pen and notebook for work, a power bank and cables, some makeup and maybe a small makeup bag , comfortably. I am sold.
Also means weight is evenly distributed across my back, so healthier than lugging multiple shoulder bags around.
The straps are made of PU leather and adjustable to a good range and feel comfortable on the shoulders.
The body is made of durable canvas and it has a lovely branded lining, with a padded laptop sleeve (for 11′ – 13′ laptops) and a couple inner pockets (compact, perfect for phone, keys, lipstick) and their signature back pocket, big enough to fit a passport, a phone in a safe, but accessible place.
It has a PU leather tie through eyelets to close and a flap with a magnetic clasp to keep belongings secure! All hardware is golden.
I really like the details on this – the back pocket being the star, but then the little hook, the finishing is impeccable, and padding is really soft… even though the canvas is a tough material, the attention to details makes this a somewhat delicate backpack.
Gaston Luga is a Swedish company and they have a great range of accessories – all falling within the “fashion with function” category: clean lines, modern designs but with plenty of space (mine is 13l) and useful features. Gaston Luga is a carbon neutral company and use cotton canvas and vegan leather (which feels amazing, btw) on their bags and accessories (purses, travel bags, luggage tags, passport holders).
The lovely Clässy comes in three colours (mine, black, plus pink and black and navy and brown) and costs £89 with free delivery and returns – I was VERY impressed on how fast it arrived, even during the health crisis, lovingly packaged and in a dustbag.