Neo Strata – Active Anti Ageing for the over 30’s

Galloping towards 40, 2018 was the year of trying more cosmeceutical type skincare and in the first half of the year I dedicated my routine for three months to cult favourite Neo Strata. I think I am one of the longest standing beauty editors that loves this brand and have always championed it even before I’d ever collaborated with them. Why? Well firstly I saw results. Secondly the price point isn’t too expensive. And finally it was a brand that slotted quite easily into any routine I have ever had. I have dipped in and out of the active range whenever I felt like I needed something a little more expecially when I suffered with dullness or had a special occasion coming up. Lets face it I always have an event or something on and my poor skin gets the brunt of it with make up and alcohol.

The Tri Lift Serum launched in February 2018 to great fanfare. The aim of the serum was to plump and help the appearance of fine lines and generally give a more youthful tone to the skin. Success! At €85, it is average price for a high end serum so I really wanted to test it out and see if it lived up to the hype I has seen about it online.

Honesty is the best policy

I am honest in my reviews and it is very hard for me to say some adds volume to the skin, the serum will defintely enhance clarity and hydration as well as make any fine lines less pronounced. As my skin is still quite taut I didn’t notice any major improvement to my marionette area but to be fair it’s not a really problematic area for me. I don’t believe a serum has the ability to fill or lift, that is a job for dermal fillers in my opinion, but it does help the firmness and that accounts for a lot. It certainly felt active and cleared my skin as there was a gentle exfoliation in the serum, so the clairty of my skin was good. I used it for around eight weeks which gives you a good idea of how it works.

The Intensive Eye Therapy is one of my favourite eyecreams ever. The gel texture is lovely and cooling and offers a depuffing action like no other eye cream I have used. It delivers a nice level of hydration to the crows feet area and there is no tingling or weird sensation. Sometimes the best eye depuffers can be a bit menthol smelling but this one has no scent at all. It has the magic peptides as well which are essential in a good cream. Peptides need anti oxidants and this eye cream has both. They can’t work alone. Peptides can be a great addition to your skincare routine because they can address so many skin concerns. But as with all anti-aging ingredients, the best approach is to products such as moisturisers and serums that use  including antioxidants and skin-restoring substances (plus daily broad-spectrum SPF) to visibly improve the health and appearance of your skin.

This brings me to the next product which was so handy. The Matrix SPF 30 which is a broad spectrum cream that I used for three months, even during that cold snap. It seemed so weird wearing a bobble hat and SPF but this one was nicely hydrating and a great base for make up, which sort of shocked me to be honest. I binned the primer for those months and it was rather liberarting to have something that did all of the jobs.

The Exfoliating face wash is great to keep as part of your double cleanse. You can remove heavy make up and eye products with an effective cleanser and then use the handy foam to clean your skin. If your skin is dry or sensitive it may not love this cleanser, but combination and normal skin types will see some excellent glowy results.

The other product I love is the Glycolic Peel, that does a great job at resurfacing. The Retinol NAG complex is also an incredible purchase. This is hands down my favourite Retinol as you can use it once a week with splendid results. There is nothing nicer that the smoothness obtained from retinol.   Many refer to it as the only proven anti-ageing ingredient and that’s kind of nail on the head. Murad, neatly summarised the action of a retinol as ‘exfoliating, aiding in the production of collagen, and fighting free radicals.’ Those three jointly are a pretty powerful skin overhaul. Retinol causes redness, dryness and even flaking – however this can easily be avoided or minimised by gradually introducing the ingredient into your skincare regime and building a tolerance to the ingredient. You must however be diligent with your use of SPF afterwards. Retinol breaks down in sunlight, which is why most retinol products are held in opaque packaging. Exposure to UV light renders the product less active, which makes the use of it less beneficial. The pump and completely opaque packaging on NAG complex mean the products stays fresh and thus effective

As a brand Neo Strata impresses me and I have repurchased all the items I tried. Ii think the fact it is results driven is what appeals to me most. It is available at Minihans Chemist and Ruth their skincare expert is nice and really helpful.

Huda Cheerleader

Huda landed in Brown Thomas Cork in November and wow what a counter. From the gorgeous space to the incredible eye products I was pretty much instantly hooked. I follow Huda Kattan on social media and love her look. Do what exactly does it offer Irish skin-tones? I guess the lipsticks and eye shadows are very much a personal choice and I think the New Nude is possibly the most neutral of them all.

Well the foundation range is in fairly impressive if you like full coverage matte finish. The shade range is obviously quite diverse which is something Irish beauty counters use to lack but in recent years that’s changed somewhat. The pharmacy end of budget ranges is still quite poor in my opinion for women that aren’t Caucasian but that’s not for this blog post.

The limited edition lip trio was superb. The liner being waxy enough not to migrate. It smooth enough to look pretty and vibrant. The matte lipstick glided on and offered the perfect one coat finish. My lips are in pretty good condition as I treat them regularly with a good quality balm so I find most matte lip colours especially higher end products work well.

Lastly the lip strobe was to die for. It was so glam and I got so many compliments on it, I dabbed it in the Centre only so as not to disturb the red matte finish as I was out for food and drinks. It survived pizza chicken wings and about ten glasses of fizz and a couple of gin and tonics, I wish my head felt as good as my lips looked but it definitely lasted.

Huda as I range for colour for eyes and lips is age appropriate for anybody really it’s just a matter of preference and whether you like the more chromatic finishes on this and looser pigments and glitter. The finish on the eye shadow is buttery and blendable on the Mattes. I’ll do a more comprehensive post on the eyes and the looks I’ve created in a new post.

Alex Steinherr X Primark

I was delayed writing this review for many reasons but primarily because the utter devastation you all would have felt at reading the reviews and then hot footing it to Primark, only to discover the goodies were our of stock would have ruined your festive season. However I am glad to report that it is back baby and with January being 7584 days long we could all do with some inexpensive retail therapy . Am I right? Yes, of course I am.

Firstly I would like to personally fan girl all over the place about How amazing Alessandra Steiner is. There is no word to describe how warm and full of wisdom this lady is. A proper beauty journalist, not just a standard hack or blogger. This lady is serious about innovation and to be honest I was gobsmacked that she was launching a skincare range with Penney’s. Noy because there is anything wrong with masstige skincare but because it’s Alex Steinherr lover of luxe and wearer of La Mer. Cripes. Now we all know that I am a lover of luxury when it comes to skin. This is because I am old, and my skin is dry. Blessed only with reasonable genes and good cheekbones I decided to road test some of the goods.

Fangirling over Alex
The Look for the Launch

I got to say that I said five Hail Marys and a decade of the Rosary before I went to the launch. Anyway, I need not have fretted. The products are lovely. Sleek packaging that wouldn’t look out of place in Harrods the functional pumps and delivery of the products is a welcome addition to my skincare collection. None of them are scented, which not everyone is going to love. The ethos is simply though, no fragrance means less allergens, thus making it a more mass-market suited product. The price points are decent, €4 to €8. I mean I am also a little late to the party. Vogue have covered these.

Overall I’m impressed with the range. It’s an inexpensive range that’s is a great addition to any skincare regimen. There were a couple of stand out products for me for various reasons.

The Maximum Moisture cleansing gel was a good addition to my gym bag, I don’t shower at the gym I drive home to do so but do like to freshen up. The gel does that perfectly. It’ll remove make up if it’s light textured and you’re not wearing a tonne. You’ll still have to double cleanse though, that’s true for a lot of cleansers especially if like me you’re a long wear lover. I find I ordinarily dislike Micellar products because they can be drying but to be honest there’s little different between this is the more expensive brands like Kiehls.

Find you a girl that loves you like I do lipgloss
Plumping and Glowing

Let us start with Plump and go… a veritable essential before a night out. This serum and sheet mask combo are the Batman and Robin of your pre-going out or before event routine. Priced at €4 it is a perfect pick me up for brightening your skin and making your make up glide on seamlessly and at the same time glow from within. I always associate glowing with something that stings, it doesn’t rest assured. The Plump and Go mask is still my favourite and most purchased in the range. I went to Penney’s the day after we had the launch and bought the whole range of products to test. The serum and sheet mask was the winner though for me. The serum was oozy and spreadable and the sheet mask cool and refreshing so that ahead of a night out is just what you need.

I also loved the plumping lipgloss becasue you can wear it alone and over lipstick. There is a nice effect from it and for a gloss it holds well and will suit most skin tones. I have actually repurchased it because it is glam on the go. It matches well with Spice by Mac lipliner which if you don’t have you need.

Finally the Sleep Spa range feels nice and silky on the skin. You wake up looking refreshed and it isn’t sticky. One of my pet peeves is sticky night time creams, as I feel they make your hairline greasy and your pillow really sticky. The eye mask is light and non irritating. The face mask leaves your skin hydrated.

There is a whole range for oily skin that would be a great start for a teen with tendancy towards spots and bad habits.

I have shocked myself writing this piece, because you see Primark Skincare and I have never met before now. A self proclained skin care snob I loved their brushes, lip liners and cotton balls, but would often scowl at their masks and bath bombs. No longer shall Primark be my holy grail of just Hoopy earrings. I will now await a further drop of goodies from Alex.

To conclude I won’t be disingenuous and pretend that my whole bathroom shelf is now this range. It isn’t because my skin needs at almost 40 are a little more complex that this range offers. But there are some new favourites in here for me, affordable and a hell of a lot better than many of the slightly more expensive ones. Alessandra Steinherr has debunked the idea that you must use all luxury to have great skin. You can mix and match and find something that works.

If your regular routine is keeping your skin clear and trouble free then supplement it with some of the masks for an extra boost. Remember your skin care should always be aimed at your skin type, but supplementary products like masks can address issues as they arise ,for example dull or dehydrated days.

Skincare isn’t just an investment with money it’s also a commitment with time to self care and take time for you xxxx

Self Love or Self Actualisation?

The most monumental thing I have learned in 2018 was that self care and self love is the most important thing you will ever do for yourself. As a Catholic, although lapsed I was reared in a loving family with the all encompassing Catholic Guilt that each of us in the 1980’s had drilled into us.

If you asked my family about me depending on the one you met, they might all say varying things about me. I guess in recent times I have changed. Not nasty, not cranky but a little less accomodating. Do you remember Anthony from the Royale Family? Poor put upon Anthony who was sent to the shop, did the hoovering, got endless slagging and was always the one that gave up his seat when someone came into the house? I was that kid (the youngest in the family usually is) and you know what I became that adult too. Always volunteering to do things for people and sometimes putting myself out for others. Anyway, something in me stirred in 2018 and I have kind of stopped. I am by default a happy person, a joker and I always have the bright side out.

Last year though the switch kind of dimmed a bit, you know when the light just goes out a bit? There is no one reason I can attribute to this only that in late 2017 I started noticing that I was giving a lot more to people than I was getting. As a result, I was once again Anthony. The one people thought they could treat how they liked and say what they wanted. I am all for being candid but sometimes being candid can be intrusive especially if it is unsolicted advice. One episode with a friend left me reeling. I was hurt beyond belief and that friendship will never be the same again. I slowly started to realise that being this happy go lucky person saw me being kinda crapped on. Ultimately I was going through something personal that I didn’t want to share. I didn’t want to confide in her because she had on occasion shared other peoples confidences with me and this problem was so deep and personal I didn’t relish the thought of it being public. You see really I am a deep person, and most importantly a private person. I met up with her going through the motions and she was too self absorbed to see that there was something really wrong. She took it as indifference and did something which ultimately has severed our friendship.

I left a role that had been making me miserable for a while and started to grow up a bit mentally. Growth though is painful. We cast aside a version of ourselves we ae comfortable with and familiar with and must fit suddenly into this newer version, that is a bit painful, a bit sore and not very easy to adjust to. I mean at almost 40 I evolved and to be truthful it scared the life out of me.

I suddenly became a kind of panicked weirdo. I self-analysed. Was social media making me feel this way? (because let’s face it, it causes people a lot of difficulties and anxieties). It wasn’t. And I couldn’t blame it. It was real life, not the life I live on screen, or the Insta Story I occasionally uploaded, if anything my digital world was a haven, somewhere that ‘I could just “be”, create a version of myself that wasn’t hurt or hurting. The girl pouting out at the camera was just what I looked like and it was the real me. I have always been authentic and real online, and nobody can tell me otherwise. It was I guess the best foot forward version of Glamity, who believe or not is the online me. I can separate them completely. That doesn’t make me fake it just means that if I am having a bad day I won’t come on camera and cry about it.

Ultimately, we are all the creators of our own lives, I haven’t had an especially hard life I don’t think. I have taken various things in my stride, other things like the loss of both my parents in a short time shook me. The miscarriage I had also took the wind from my sails. Ultimately it was a brush a few years ago with an actual stalker (like the series You) that saw me head to a therapist.  Initially I thought oh how very cosmopolitan, but she started a small shift inside me, possible the one that started the evolution ‘I am undergoing now. I have always been strong mentally and well physically.

My problem as is transpires was my inability to switch off from other people’s moods and problems. In the real world that is called being an empath and that will never change however…. What I have now made the grand discovery is extending the same empathy to myself. The same self-care that I tell others about. Saying no when I can’t do something. Calling out people that are nasty or just cutting off people that don’t add value to your life. I sat at a press dinner recently where somebody made a remark about the amount of Botox I have had, I laughed it off but inside I just thought Wow what an insipid bland person you are to think that sort of conversation is appropriate. And I began to realise that much of our daily interaction is a bit like that, mindless and polite, or in this persons case very impolite.

Professionally I have had a great year. I have got to work with some incredibly brands and people. I am so blessed to have so many friends, that I have had for a long time, decades in fact. Those people that I love most are the ones that I see regularly, if I can’t see them then I stay in touch and keep up to date with their lives. Life is hard. People are busy.

And as I head into 40, I realise that putting yourself andyour feelings first isn’t mean, it is essential. It is the greatest act of self-loveand rebellion you will ever perform but you know what? It is the most satisfying.

Garryvoe Hotel- A Pleasure

A winter getaway may be not what you are thinking of right now, knee deep in wrapping paper and possibly short on time and temper, however I can assure you that you will leave The Garryvoe Hotel feeling relaxed and refreshed. Nothing warms your cockles like tucking into a big, hearty meal while the elements rage outside. ’Tis the season for comfort food, and The Garryvoe Hotel excels at it. I recently headed there for a winter break to enjoy one of their theme nights which occur regularly. The beauty of a theme night in Winter is that essentially you don’t have to leave the hotel. Mind you at the risk of sounding like your granny, nothing makes you appreciate the roar of a fire like a good stomp around the winter seaside. Here is a hotel just perfect for a winter sojourn, with an original library bar, cosy nooks and crannies and, of course, a hefty supply of whiskey for hot toddies. You check in and just kick back and relax for your time spent on one of the most beautiful locations in Ireland, don’t just believe me, the property itself is multi award winning and they are specialists in functions and weddings boasting an amazing ballroom and restaurant.

The Location

Garryvoe Beach is located just off the road from Ladysbridge to Shanagarry in County Cork. It is a mixed pebble beach and a great destination for families.  It offers an unspoilt sandy 5 km beach, with incomparably beautiful views of Ballycotton Bay and its lighthouse. The area itself just has the hotel and a small local shop, but in nearby Shanagarry there is shopping and a café as well as the famous Ballymaloe, home of the iconic Allen family and the birthplace of the best relish in Ireland. Its windows offer views of waves crashing ashore while you relax, cosy up in a boutique bedroom, or sip on a hot Port. As you would expect, the seafood is exceptional but more on that later.

The Property

Well where do I start for this? From the outside the hotel looks lovely and not out of place in the scenic beach area. Step inside the lobby and the first thing that has always hot me upon entering is the warmth of the greeting, the staff are all long-term employees and know the area and their business well, something I often find lacking in hotel chains. It’s an independent hotel so the interior which was refurbished recently is quite something. The Library bar has a collection of books and a sense of calm for a G&T that I have yet to experience elsewhere. The rooms ae all decorated to a high standard with plenty of plugs, this may seem like a crazy statement but two females sharing a room with a need for phone chargers, hair tongs and music players can often mean a terse stay. We had a sea view room which overlooked the beach and got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and sunset. The balcony in the room was perfect for selfies and the WiFi is super-fast for the insta- moments. The shower was spacious and the lighting good in the bathroom with a nice big mirror for makeup application. The bed was no word of a lie like sleeping on a cloud. One of the things I admired was the plain white crisp bed linen, with no comforters or cushions. The first thing I always do is remove them from the bed when I am staying in a hotel, I love nothing more than hotel bedsheets.

The Hospitality

The four-star family hotel is magical to anyone that enters, you go there as a guest and leave as a friend always vowing to return. I am not known for my cheesy reviews but honestly, I felt sad checking out. Each member of staff we met there was so intent on making our stay memorable. We had a good laugh at breakfast with Ronan, a young student who was able to give us some recommendations for a good spot for a bag of Chips for Ballycotton which our next destination was. The team are more than willing to help you with any local questions to about what to do and where to go. They are heavily involved with the locality so they know everything that goes on there.

The Food

Locally sourced, fresh produce was to be honest what I was expecting and believe me when I tell you that is what we got. From the themed night meal to breakfast each mouthful was delectable and with no unnecessary frills. I say this because I am quite an ordinary eater, I like good food cooked and presented well but I don’t see the need to overcomplicate it.  I suppose really, I don’t like to guess at what is coming out at me, but rather feel secure that a sirloin of beef is just that, with not bone marrow or belly busting accompaniments. The nature of the dining for this night was a fantastic idea, the food came on large sharing platters and one person at the table was elected to carve the beef, and they donned an apron and it was very jovial indeed. The side dishes were cooked perfectly, and with a great selection. I am all too familiar with soggy spuds and limp veg and I can tell you hotels are dire for this.  Perhaps it is the fact that the restaurant Samphire is successful as a fine dining establishment for the ordinary eater or the fact that the chefs are just incredible either way, I had no complaints about anything. Honey roast carrots, tender asparagus and potato gratin all served hot with lashings of gravy. In all honesty I am possibly doing the meal a disservice with my description, but it is the best roast beef I have every eaten in my life.  Pink and tender it was just perfection. There was nothing mediocre or carvery like about this roast. Not for the faint-hearted, this one was a serious belt-loosening main that left me feeling wholly satisfied. I felt like a roman at a feast. Desert was to die for. There was nothing standard about the selection with warm churros and sticky meringue. Homemade vanilla ice cream to accompany with fruit tartlets and lemon posset. All the desserts and coulis are made in house therefore wonderfully rustic with exquisite presentation. All my fellow diners seemed to enjoy the evening as much as we did. The idea that the food is served to the table to share makes the experience more social and fun, everyone there has come in groups of four or more and the information on the wine was delivered in a casual yet informative way with a heckler from Australia among one group who had quite the knowledge of wine. Afterwards some of us retired to the gorgeous library bar which is warm, welcoming and serves a great selection of spirits and beers.

The Wine

The wines were quite simply amazing. I have researched each of them after tasting and I have to say they were easy to drink and resulted in zero hangover despite the volume served. I treat wine like perfume and examine it in a similar way, from the top to the middle and then the base or finishing point. Reading my wine review may cause you to believe that there was eating and drinking in it, but they were so flavoursome and enchanting that they deserve a whole section. I am not a wine expert by any stretch of the imagination and after this experience I will be far more open to trying different wines. I tend to be an aimless ordering type of person who always opts for the safe wines which is possible why I have never met one I didn’t like!

The White: A big walloping wave of disappointment hit me when I didn’t recognise the type of wine that was on the list (I am a Sauv Blanc girl), but grudgingly I had a glass. Finca Montepedroso Verdejo 2017 Rueda, Spain was the listed wine and luckily for me it is one loved by SB drinkers in general. Clean aromatic ensemble, with high intensity. The notes of apricot, peach, fennel, green almond shell, aniseed, fresh fruits (lychee, grapefruit, green apple) show up. Recalls to fresh cut hay, and light smoke touches. For me I felt the apricot peachy notes were perfect to accompany the starter. It was light and refreshing but with a nice bit a bite.

The Red: Alejandro Fernandez Dehesa la Granja 2011 Castilla y Leon, Spain. Garnet red in colour with good, intense aromas of leather and liquorice and hints of spice and stewed black fruits. This wine twirled well and looked to be the perfect partner to our beefy main. The palate is ripe and meaty, with round tannins and a lengthy finish. Black pepper, nutmeg and cherry liqueur notes make for a complex nose. For me the cherry was the most prominent. The palate is very smooth and has a good overall balance leaving your sense with an impression of bursting fruity smoothness. A long and multi-faceted finish, filled with clove and other sweet spices, coconut and a salivating salty caramel feel. Now if that doesn’t make you want to try that red, I have not done my job properly.

Andrew Quady Elysium Black Muscat 2016 Madera, California.  Dessert wine is something I rarely order and never have at home so imagine my delight at tasting this beauty.

This wine opens with aromas of honeyed plums and dried peaches and a supple fruity, sweet, medium-to-full body and crisp, spiced pear and honeycomb finish, this is a suitable companion to many sweet courses, including the ones on the menu. Black Muscat, another underappreciated Muscat variety, is known in Europe as a table grape variety.  When well ripened, it attains a rose-like aroma and lychee like flavour.  I found it most similar in taste to a cassis and would have loved to try it with something fizzy, like a good Cava to see it’s other uses. Next time that is on the list.

The Breakfast

There was a wedding on the same night as our stay in Garryvoe so service at breakfast was busy but very efficiently handled. The usual suspects were available for continental with a selection of breads, fruits pastries cereals and yoghurt.  The juices were fresh and plentiful with a pancake machine for the kids to self-serve their own pancakes which proved very popular. The breads and preserves were great quality with local honey fresh from a honeycomb.  I indulged in a full Irish, with a perfectly cooked egg and some outstanding sausages. Sausages in my humble opinion are the real test in a hotel, I loved that the main part is cooked to order and not a buffet. The coffee was great too and helped wake me up after a late night.

There is an amazing leisure centre in the hotel too with a gorgeous pool and gym, so even if the weather isn’t the best or you are travelling with kids or a fitness fanatic you can let off some steam. Have you got a few days of leave left? Take a Monday off and book a Sunday night break. You can be sure the long weekend means you’ll be relaxed before you even check in.

Meraki Brows

Nobody likes crap eyebrows let’s face it .. I mean they frame your face and they also play a vital part in expression … how else are you going to look shocked when your credit card bill comes?

They play an essential part for me in looking awake and also in creating balanced because I love a strong lash and a nice dose of eye make up.

My brow gal Katie moved to a new salon in Glanmire called Meraki which opened its doors in July. Meraki is owned by Sarah Jane Curtis a well known therapist best known for her nails and she had a thriving business that needed a new premises and a bigger team.

The salon itself is super cute and perfect for the ‘gram. The recurring theme is floral design with plenty of the rose gold accents.

I attended the launch and was treated to some beautiful candy floss cocktails and Palmento Pizza.

Once Katie settled I followed her there for my brows. Priced at €14 for a tint and wax it’s good value for money. These aren’t mates rates either so I’m told the price is just that for everyone for the signature brow. I was kinda surprised really given the level of detail that Katie puts into her brow work, and the going rate for brows seems to be around €25ish in a lot of places.

I didn’t want to just post this straight after the brow work as I wanted to see how the ting etc would last and everything was perfect. You can see that my brows clearly need the ting and shape, otherwise they resemble a wild gorse type scenario and let’s face it… I need good brows.

Overall I knew that Katie’s work was impeccable and now I know her new workplace is too.

You can find the gals on social media and be sure to give them a like.

They do a loyalty card too with every treatment you get a stamp. I’ve collected two already which is so handy. I live little rewards when I spend money in a salon.

I also had a Dibi Milano facial there which was gorgeous. I’ll need to try the aftercare before I can comment on that. The facial itself was hydrating and relaxing. The use of the skin scanner to assess hydration levels was a nice touch too.

Eden Medical my journey to a better face

We all have small insecurities about ourselves things we would rather not have to look at everyday and for me working in the industry I do it means that I’m sometimes in the spotlight a little. Most notably with various events etc I have to attend. I’m no stranger to a little tweak, a ml of filler or anything that’ll help me look good. I have this theory about how looking good makes you feel good. It gives you confidence to go out there and be comfortable in your own skin.

Let’s set the record straight here… I’m not suggesting anybody head out and start getting jabbed with needles for the sake of it ( and believe me I’ve had some offers ) but if you feel in your heart you’d like to make some minor improvements then it’s worth it. You are worth it. I’m not suggesting for a minute that we head on the reality TV bandwagon of just getting our faces injected. What I’m suggesting is realizing the best version of yourself.

I have always worked off the principle that if you’re going to have any procedure done you should rely on experts. So like any good beauty hack I went off and had some consultations and then basically made a decision. Firstly I’d had quite a negative experience in another clinic , but that’s for another blog post. Secondly I used to work in a clinic before so I knew what to look out for.

Let’s start with what you categorically don’t want :

A salesperson ; this is the kind of person that tries to convince you that you need everything filled and frozen and will offer you a package deal … sort of like a multipack of crisps at the supermarket. You need 3 areas of Botox and your cheeks , and lips filled. While I’m at it do you want some lower face Botox you’re looking kinda big in your jaw area..Here is the consent form … woah back up buddy what? No.

A drill and fill : this is the type of doctor that approaches it in a partially agricultural way. Load up the filler and away we go

A backstreet clinic : this is your person that flies in and does the injectables without telling you whether they are FDA approved. You’ll find these people will typically be only present in the premises part time so if you come back there’s nobody to rectify your problem. Once there is a medic ( Dr or Nurse) on hand at all times you’re good. Loads of salons have visiting doctors and that’s perfectly acceptable too. Many doctors travel to inject a list and then leave and come back a few weeks later and revisit. That’s fairly common practice especially in rural areas where demand mightn’t be that much.

Just so you know too … Clinic’s are required to have EPI pens and first aid supplies in case something goes wrong.

Anyway with Eden I have found them to be friendly and warm in their approach and Dr. Emma is kind and caring. She is really honest about expectation and results and will never ” sell” you a service that won’t make you look your best.

I have had anti aging injections ( Botox) lip fillers and Profhilo all carried out over the course of the last year.

My frown lines were zapped and my brow lifted. My lips filled ( twice ) and I’ve had two Profhilo skin treatments which helps with laxity of the skin, to be honest I had been contemplating getting filler in my marionettes ( these are the ones from the corner of your face to your chin) but Profhilo has given the result I wanted.

Let’s discuss the brow lift first … Botox is injected between the brows and just over them to give a little lift. This takes effect 7-10 days post treatment. You then attend for a review and if you need more it is at this point you get a second injection. With anti ageing injections Doctors tend to be ginger in their approach and add. Although not permanent the effects last typically 12-14 weeks so it’s much better to be cautious with a dosage rather than go full throttle.

The lip filler is done with a topical numbing cream to ensure minimal pain. The area is injected then and the filler takes about 24/48 hours to adjust to your body temperature after that it feels no different from your own lips. It’s offers plumping and slighter larger lips. You can only go to a certain size to keep it looking natural. I had recently suggested more filler in my lips but Dr Emma thought it would change the balance of my face too dramatically. As I respect her opinion as a Dr I took her advice.

Make up free

Profhilo is a skin treatment whereby HA is injected into 5 different points on the face to offer a smooth finish. This is a smoothing as opposed to plumping treatment.

I loved the results of Profhilo as it’s an overall treatment that helps you look youthful. For me the over 35’s will love this and I must admit to feeling more confident to going make up free since having it done. This one is more for a fresh face healthy glow look that a filler look. You don’t need to be an injectables person to have this done as its all about giving you a natural refreshed look.

Dr Emma

For me the measure of what I’ve had done is that I feel good about how I look. There’s nothing wrong or vain about wanting to look good. It’s a big part of my identity and truth be told I’ve always been diligent with my skin, except perhaps with sun exposure in my youth. Another big factor for me is knowing that people that follow my website or social media have gone to Eden and been satisfied. I hate to recommend anywhere that’s not up to scratch especially for injectables.

This isn’t a sponsored or paid by Eden Medical in anyway. I am happy to continue going there as I feel they know my face.

I’m not chasing perfection but I’m chasing feeling good and looking good. Eden does that in a non pushy way that feels natural to me.

You can contact them by calling 021 2067768

Going full length…..

You may have noticed I am dipping my toe cautiously into fashion blogging. The reason being that although I’m not by any means an amazing representative for being a certain body type. I am proof that you can be plus size and embrace your look. I welcome all commentary on this of course just like I do on my skincare and make up posts. I was sooooo nervous though starting out and normally not one to shy away from my comfort zone I tested the waters on my insta stories first and the response was pretty amazing to be frank. Hundreds of women send me DMs saying that there was a gap in the market for someone that was confidently happy in their own skin to make a break for it. We are all different and we are all prepared to celebrate diversity in every way. So yes the toned look is great. But also there are women going about their daily lives that want to see how something looks on someone like them.

Here I am 🙂

Why?

The more I scrolled through my Instagram feed the more I was seeing a particular body type. I thought back to myself as a teen / young adult and how the waif look has been in. I used to choose to read books over magazines because I didn’t feel like I fit the typical pretty look. I grew up feeling very mediocre in my appearance but it actually never bothered me to to be honest. I’ve never been about my looks ever… which is just as well with a big nose and a belly. I will admit to making the best of myself though, and I have this theory … I’m not a head turner but I’m not a stomach turner either and that attitude has served me well.

Fat is something that when you carry extra weight you will be referred to as. People will offer you advice about dropping weight. People will tell you stories of how their friends and family members lost weight. They’ll chime in on how they lost weight. People will give you exercise DVDs ( true story ) in an attempt to ” motivate you” . People will ask you when you are going to hit the gym. People think they are being helpful. Let me explain something … it doesn’t work. At all. You end up making the person feel bad and isolating then from you because they are worried that you will keep returning to an uncomfortable subject. Leave it. Please.

Here’s the thing. I can lose weight quickly if I want to. I know the Educogym way works. The guys that work there will help you shift body fat quickly and it does stay off provided you maintain healthy eating and exercise. I like the shape it gives me in terms of toned legs and arms. It’s also increased my bum size a bit to make it higher.

Every human is different. But just remember that. Behind the weight is a human. Don’t feel sorry for them or offer unsolicited advice.

I am really lucky to be confident. I don’t really fit into anyone’s idea of an ideal body. I’m Apple shaped and have all of my fat bits on my middle. So let’s face it there isn’t a fashion brand in the world that finds that aspirational. That’s ok.

The other thing is beauty brands are less likely to repost pictures of things like legs or arms that are tanned with their product if your thighs are chunky. That’s a fact.

But I still want to look good? I still want to be somewhat stylish ? Yes on both counts. Apart from the need to wear clothing for decency we also need to wear clothes because they make us feel good.

I remember being at a conference in London last year and someone telling me that men only chatted me up because I looked like a tramp… inferring somehow that a person offering to buy me a drink was only doing so to get me to bed. This was after numerous comments regarding my weight and appearance.

Another thing that will stick out in my mind was shopping for bridesmaid dresses and how only one in the whole shop flattered my shape. One dress in a warehouse full of them. The dress was beautiful but not really what the bride wanted.

So here goes nothing … like everything I do I’ll enter the fashion world as I did the beauty world … at my own pace and with my own rules.

I’m still working on my angles … I’m not sure of how to pose because I haven’t ever really had to so all Tips are gratefully received.

Just to be clear I’m not worried about critique at all if something isn’t nice on me or whatever but just remember this before you comment on anyone’s posts .. if it’s something that can’t be changed instantly .. then just leave it. By instantly I mean a dress , a lipstick or a pair of hideous shoes 🙂

Lipsticks

Lipstick is something that I love since getting enhanced lips. I must own over a hundred of them at this stage. I do tend to stick to nudes or reds ( I mean talk about the sublime to the ridiculous ) . And I do really love a good quality matte one. Firstly I’d like to say that I keep my lips hydrated and in good condition.

As a brand Note is freely available in pharmacies and is a really accessible price point which I think is important when you are trying a new brand. They are under two years in Ireland but are now well established and a favourite of many a blogger and beauty editor.

The lip cream were the ones I loved opaque and king wearing they passed both the coffee test and the wine test. You do need to let the cream settle on the lip and if you’re over 25 , a liner is essential, Note do have full range of lip pencils too which is handy. On a side note I feel that lip pencils are really versatile and you only need a couple of them in your collection. I like a traditional style one that you have to sharpen as opposed to an automatic one as they are slightly more precise

The mineral lip creams are easy to apply and contain a sponge like applicator,

If you prefer a more traditional lipstick then I took this shot for Instagram and one of my favourite pinky nudes in the matte moist lipstick in the colour Miss Kiss which is really good at making your teeth look whiter.

You can purchase Note in Sam McCauley from €5 and the colour payoff and wearability on the full range is incredible