A “Perk”fect Pout

I once had a friend who described the first impression I make when entering a room as “here comes Melissa’s lips”.  I have stuck with that over the years as I think there are few things that make a bolder statement than a fabulous set of freshly plumped lips.  I know you natural beauty fans are cringing.  But, honestly I don’t believe that genuine natural beauty exists in anyone over the age of 12.  Now put down your torches and pitchforks anyone can be beautiful, but let’s not delude ourselves.  At 46 I need all the help I can get! As we age lips get thinner and all that lovely collagen we took for granted in our 20’s has done a runner.  I, being a big fan of white coats and needles am quite happy to get regular fillers in my race with Father Time.  I am referring to time with a male pronoun not because I am being patriarchal, but because surely only a man would have the audacity to steal your collagen and impose the menopause on you in one swoop.

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But, I know that many of you are looking for a less invasive way of giving the old girl a bit of a boost.  There are some genuinely ingenious ways of getting that pout just right.  I was invited to the multiple award winning clinic Juvea Aesthetics to have a treatment called “Perk” Lips.  This treatment is from the company that brought us the Rolls Royce of facials, Hydrafacial.  Perk is literally a lunchtime lip boost.  Performed by the gorgeous and amazingly talented El If Ay I was in great hands.

Perk involves putting a tingly minty serum over your lips and using what I can only describe as a mini hoover over your lips.  It exfoliates as well so it leaves you with a gorgeous pillowy finish that is perfect if you want to test drive some super lush lips before committing to more invasive treatments.  You take home the peppermint oil and peony extract that lightly plump your pout.  So, you can give your lips a little boost anytime.  This little roller ball of freshness is now a staple in my handbag.

The Perk Lips is an amazing treatment for anyone, but particularly if you are considering lip fillers. Perk will give you a little preview of what you would look like with fuller lips.

There are a whole list of Perk treatments that can be done over a lunchtime without any downtime and the only side effect is fabulousness!

You’re gonna feel a little prick

So, if someone told you they could make the skin on your face and neck instantly look younger by sticking hundreds of needles in it what would you think?  A bit scary right?  Well, when that person is the amazing Milena Lazarova of Dr Joney De Souza Skin and Laser Clinic, what you actually say is wh at time should I be there?

14102600_10154515608085955_3755839774309327548_nDr Joney De Souza’s clinic in the heart of Harley Street has become one of my favourite clinics.  Whether I am there to see Dr Joney for a bit of needle artistry or the always gorgeous Milena Lazarova I am never disappointed.

Micro-needling with the Dermapen or Goldpen has recently become the hot treatment of choice amongst celebrities.  The treatment involves using a device with tiny needles on the end of the pen that make the smallest of punctures in the skin.  This process relies on the skins natural ability to repair itself.  So, these tiny injuries to the skin stimulate collagen growth, reducing the size of your pores and instantly giving you smoother looking and feeling skin.

When a treatment involves needles one would automatically assume there will be an element of pain involved.  But, with the pen in the expert hands of Milena it was more relaxing than anything else.  The “needling” felt a bit like a soft cactus being run over my face.  Even in the most sensitive parts of my face near my eyes I experienced no pain.

14718859_10154736122475955_8509224452825945405_nThe great thing about the Dermapen treatment is that it can be repeated every couple of weeks for maximum results.  But, as a boost for the skin now and then it is certainly a beautiful treat.  The results following the treatment were instant.  My skin was glowing when I left the clinic and in the days following my make-up went on like pure silk.

The Dermapen/Goldpen is a very versatile treatment that not only works for anti-ageing, but also can be used for scar correction, stretch marks, blemishes and is even used to promote hair growth for those suffering from thinning.

 

14045787_10154503926875955_5277541631543853675_nThe results of my treatment were so dramatic that it was recently featured in Woman magazine.

*Like all aesthetic treatments micro-needling should only be performed by trained practitioners.

 

 

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Shot of Sleep, Straight Up

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Before

I’ve heard people talk about something called sleep. I believe it’s something I used to do before children and the weight of the world got the better of me.  I try my best with make-up and what can only be described as industrial grade concealer to hide the stress and lack of sleep that has taken residence under my eyes.  With bags big enough to hold all my luggage and dark circles that would be the envy of most raccoons there is only so much a mere cosmetic can be expected to do.  I have tried all the light reflecting magic, miracle potions out there and don’t get me wrong they can make a difference up to a point.  But, the 24/7 hustle of being a working mum who’s building a brand, writing as well as 9 to 5’ing takes a toll.

I am obviously very open minded when it comes to aesthetics and plastics. So, when I learned about the use of fillers to treat Tear Troughs, the area around the eyes, I was more than intrigued.  Now, don’t get me wrong the idea of having a filler, in this case Teosyal injected into the eye socket sounds a bit frightening. However, I was incredibly lucky to have had a Teoxane Trainer carrying out my treatment.

Dr Linea Strachan is trained dentist, but has been doing aesthetics for nearly 10 years.  She is the clinical director of A&L Clinics, which is one of the best and busiest cosmetic clinics in Suffolk. Luckily for me she has recently started running a clinic from Harley Street.  She is the teacher for intermediate and advanced filler techniques for Teoxane UK.  Dr Strachan is an award winning practitioner having won in two categories in facial aesthetics in the Aesthetic Dentistry Awards 2016.

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Before

I met Dr Strachan in Harley Street on the day of the treatment. As a rule of thumb people will often tell you that the best way to judge someone’s aesthetic skill is by looking at them.  Well Dr Strachan is certainly an amazing advert for her work.  She is as brilliant as she is stunning.  Following in intensive consultation and taking a set of before photos she explained that she would be using a new bit of technology for the treatment called a Teosyalpen.  It is basically an electronic dispenser that distributes the filler into the area being treated.  Dr Strachan first put in a small cannula which was then attached to the Teosyalpen.  I have had filler on many occasions and even with a numbing cream there is often a sting.  Not overly painful but usually enough to cause the eyes water a bit.  But, with the pen there was literally nothing.  I did not have any numbing cream and the only thing I felt was the tinniest scratch when the cannula was put in and just a bit of vibration as the teosyal went into the tear trough.  This was hands down the least painful treatment I have ever had.  It took no more than 15 minutes per side and the results were instant.  Because of the technique Dr Strachan uses there was no bruising and I couldn’t even see the entry point from the needle.

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After

Following the procedure you look like you have just come out of a week long nap! I was in awe of the difference.  There was minimal swelling which was pretty much gone within the week.  No down time whatsoever and a result that lasts up to a year.  Seriously, what’s not to love?

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After

Time for a safety lecture and some words of caution about this and all aesthetic treatments. A tear trough should not under any circumstances be administered by a non-medically trained practitioner!  Now I realise there are a number of people who are happy to be injected with any number of things by beauticians, I am not one of them.  Every single one of these procedures have the ability to cause serious and life altering side effects in the wrong hands.  Prior to any procedure an extensive consultation should be carried out to ensure you are suitable and safe to have the treatment. In addition the person injecting you should have the training to deal with complications should they arise.  I know a “bit of filler” seems like no bid deal.  But, if you were to have an allergic reaction to it does that beautician injecting you in the backroom of a salon have the medical training to deal with an anaphylactic shock? Will basic life support even be something he or she is trained in much less the injection of adrenaline in an emergency.   I say this as a nurse not just a blogger. These are things you need to consider when undertaking a “bit of a tweak”.   Beauticians are amazing at their jobs and in no way am I putting down their skills for “beauty treatments”. Injecting chemicals into the skin though done for non-medical reasons are still medical procedures and should be respected as that.   I believe that aesthetic treatments should be regulated in such a way as to make it illegal for anyone other than medically trained professionals to inject them.  With the treatment of your Tear Troughs in particular the experience and education of your practitioner is absolutely your number one priority.

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Date With Dr Victoria

I think it has never been a better time to be “a woman of a certain age”.  From Botox to Butt lifts there is something for every possible age related issue.  The current non-surgical options are endless.  But, when looking into clinics it is important to find a safe practitioner that has had the latest training as well as being someone with the appropriate background.  Personally, although I am aware this can be a grey area I believe that only those with medical backgrounds should be carrying out such procedures.

I realise it is obviously no secret I love a bit of youth in syringe form.  So, you can imagine how excited I was when I received an invitation to visit Aestha Clinic at 25 Upper Wimpole St in London.  Following an extensive consultation with the gorgeous and talented Dr Victoria Virtosu it was decided that I would have some Juvederm in my lips and a bit (well more than a bit) of Botox to rid my face of the previous six months of worry lines I had developed.

Botox being my favourite neurotoxin, smooths out those “road hard and put away wet” areas of the face like nothing else can.

Juvederm is a range of fillers containing injectable hyaluronic acid that when injected by a trained professional can provide nine months to one year of fullness to your lips as well as correct moderate to severe wrinkling on certain areas of the face.

Lip fillers are an instant gratification kind of treatment, which I love!  Botox tends to take roughly five days or so to see the finished result.  When done correctly the forehead should not appear frozen, just noticeable smoother, giving a subtle more plump appearance to the skin.

The skin on your lips in particular over the life span is constantly moisturised from within by hyaluronic acid which is a naturally occurring sugar. However, as your skin ages you lose hyaluronic acid causing lines to appear and the thinning of the lips.

Having a bit of filler when done correctly can dramatically improve the appearance of the lips.  Obviously, it is up to the individual in consultation with an aesthetic professional how plump you want them.

Dr Victoria was very conscious of making sure that my results were balanced and symmetrical.  Some of the biggest complaints I hear is around asymmetry which is why it is so important to see an experienced professional. Ultimately, it is up to you how big you want your lips.  There are a lot of arguments online about this and honestly it all comes down to personal yet INFORMED choice.

Knowledge is power people!!

A Clockwork Orange Peel

Cellulite!!  Ugh!  It is not even a pretty word.  A bit like moist, every time I hear it I just cringe!  First of all everyone has a bit of cellulite at one point or another.  But, unfortunately I have it all the time.  Primarily because I spent the majority of my life morbidly obese, cellulite is the price I have to pay for my years of gluttony. Although I have lost a huge amount of weight and have had reconstructive surgery for loose skin, the cellulite in one form or another remains.

I have tried lotions, potions and various notions.  Short of voodoo I have yet to find a miracle.  Now I am sure you have heard of the various anti-cellulite tights and leggings.  There are several companies that make them, all with very ambitious claims about “impregnated” fabric and that they sacrifice a live chicken in the factory to ensure your positive results.  Ok, I made that last bit up!! But, you see where I am going.  There are some very grand claims out there for what is often a very mediocre product.   As some of these products are very expensive, the last thing you want is to spend £200 on what ends being a pair of lazy pants you wear on the school run.

I am very much a believer in finding those special treasures in places you would not normally look.  I love the idea of trying something from a lesser known company as often they have something super special, but perhaps the world hasn’t discovered them yet.  I met this amazing and very inspiring entrepreneur Fabia Santos at a plastic surgery conference.  Her company called Yoga Compression Garments was not one I had heard of before, but her belief and dedication to her products hooked me right in.  I wasn’t sure why at the time, but she was definitely someone I wanted to know better.  There was the added bonus I suppose because it is a Brazilian company I thought if anyone in the world is going to know how to make your ass look good, it’s going to be them!

Over the course of researching the products what I learned was that in addition to the leggings which I will get to later, Fabia has dedicated herself to helping women going through reconstructive surgeries.  She attends hospitals herself to ensure post surgical garments are fitted properly and educates medical staff on the importance of garment fitting in the healing process.  I suppose this resonated with me because I have been in the position of trying to get myself into post surgery garments that in retrospect did more harm than good.  One very ill-fitting corset I had following abdominoplasty  I referred to as “the juicer”.  The second I put it on my clothes were soaked with the excess drainage.  So, the work she does is an integral part of the healing process for women that are already feeling quite vulnerable following life changing operations that are not always cosmetic.  As a professional Fabia is someone who really “walks the talk”.

The leggings are called The Yoga Emana.  They absorb heat from the body and return in the form of “long infrared rays”.  The rays are then absorbed into the skin and stimulate circulation and cellular metabolism.  The leggings contain bio-active crystals and so these properties are not lost when they are washed.  Amongst the many benefits that are purported:

Increased cellular metabolism
Increased skin elasticity
Reducing the appearance of cellulite
Thermal equilibrium
Reduction of muscle fatigue

So, with my magic leggings in hand I was off to try them myself in hopes of conquering these beastly dimples! Putting aside that they are meant to benefit you by wearing them, as a product they are beautiful and really flattering.  The instructions are that you are to wear them 12 hours a day.  I must say this was easy as they go with everything and really give you a beautiful shape.  They are so comfortable, yet hold everything in as well as pushing that excess junk in the trunk up perfectly.

The initial trial is meant to show results within weeks.  As I have particularly bad cellulite I took before pictures over six weeks.  The results were everything that was promised.  There was a marked difference in the smoothness of the skin and I definitely found the dimpling in my upper thighs in particular to have reduced.

Although I was primarily trialling them in order to ascertain the anti-cellulite properties I did actually find that there was a marked difference in how my legs felt following a run when wearing them.  So, there is definitely something too the claims about reducing fatigue.  From day one I was able to pack more punch into a workout wearing my Emana’s.  All in all the trial was extremely successful.  I can’t recommend them enough.  They retail for £95, which is a reasonable price for leggings that deliver the goods.  They remain in my normal rotation as my go to workout wear as well as sneaking them under other garments as a much more comfortable option to your standard “suck in your gut” pants.  An all around great product from a fabulous company.

 

Fatty

love a bit of cakeI have been thinking lately about why my relationship with food is so bad.  I think that for much of my life food has been my method of self-harm.  Instead of cutting myself I have chosen to fill the cracks in my psyche with fat.  Sadly, there is little sympathy for those with my particular method of self-destruction.   If I were jones’in for a line or syringe of something a bit more rock and roll I believe there would be so much more help available.  I wish it didn’t hold so much power over me.  To a certain degree I think that had so much of my journey not been public I probably would have gained it all back by now.  It kills me that I struggle to see myself as I am and not as the little fat girl that everyone hated so much (or at least that’s how I felt).

I cannot pinpoint the exact point it started.  But, I can still vividly remember being bullied to the point of peeing myself so a teacher would send me home.  I must have been around 9 or 10.  An older girl pushed me to the ground and got right in my face.  She said you make me sick fatty!  This was one of many, many episodes that sadly dominated my most formative years.  I would do literally anything to stay home from school.  Throwing myself into a ditch, riding my bike into a wall, anything I could to cause enough damage to warrant a pass from school.  Finally, when I was 11 my mum finally relented and I was home schooled from that point.  I look back and wonder if by doing that I allowed the bullies to win.  But, I suppose nobody knows what to do in that situation.  All I craved was respite from the daily cruelty and abuse.

szwet4rh7yjtrtdgmqrmBut, by leaving school I am not sure the outcome left me any better.  I had very few friends and I soon learned adults could be just as cruel as children.  I suppose this is part of the reason I crave some of that youth I missed out on.  I have the body I so desperately wanted at 18 and feel like I need to recapture the many, many moments I missed out on.  Is trying to cheat Mother Nature a little really the worst thing in the world?  Surely not…   There was so much pubescent loneliness.  I remember hearing about the various dances and school events I missed.  I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter, that I didn’t care.  But, I did and I do know I can’t get those things back.

I realise there will never be an opportunity to go to the prom.  Although if anyone should be interested in a slightly over the hill prom date I probably wouldn’t say no.

The Anti-Ageing Matrix

20999_954452254605038_1864708531383285239_nOk, so I am the first to admit I am really rubbish with skin regimes.  I do use moisturisers, eye creams, serums, etc.  But, I am a terrible cheat and have a difficult time sticking to one product line.  I am a bit of a “player” in the realm of skin care.  I may use an Estee Lauder eye cream with a Lidl moisturiser or a tub of Astral with a super posh tube of retinol.  You know what it’s like right?  Busy Mum skin care and all that?  It is about convenience and what I have to hand at times.  My priorities aren’t about me.  So, sadly my skin ends up being a bit of a mash up of products.  But, I decided as a middle aged woman my skin needed something a bit more intense.  Following a conversation with the Super Skincare Diva that is Lorna Bowes of Aesthetic Source, I would make a commitment to follow a specific regime and see if it truly made a difference in my skin.  Lorna recommended Neo Strata’s “Skin Active” Intensive Eye Therapy, Bionic Skin Cream, “Restore” Matrix Support Moisturiser and Facial Cleanser.

I used the Intensive Eye Therapy and Bionic Skin Cream at night and the Matrix Support which has an SPF of 30 during the day.  Both the Bionic and Matrix Support had a beautiful creamy texture that absorbed into my skin beautifully.  The first thing I noticed using the day products is that my need for a make-up primer quickly became unnecessary.  The Matrix Moisturiser was enough to make my foundation go on smoothly, whilst at the same time not leaving my face feeling like an oil slick.  It is so difficult in your 40’s as with many products they make the assumption that you are a dried up old prune that needs to be slathered in oil. But, that is absolutely not the case.  In fact I am still prone to the occasional breakout with the wrong combination of products.

The Bionic Skin Cream left my skin feeling so smooth at night and I never woke up with that icky product residue that you get with other night creams.  I love the Intensive Eye Cream.  It absorbed quickly and never irritated my skin.  The best part was the reduction in those tiny lines (I am not saying crows-feet).   Luckily Neo Strata knows what women need on their skin!  This combination left my skin dewy and I have noticed a marked difference in my lines. Oh God did I actually refer to my lines again?  Oh the humanity!!  But, in all seriousness my forehead in particular is looking much better and I am seriously past my Botox’s expiration date.  So, the change cannot be put down to a needle!   My skin as a whole from keeping on this regime for three solid months is amazing.  I am definitely a convert to using a proper skin care routine.

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Neo Strata are certainly on the cutting edge of anti-ageing skin care.  They are nominated in several categories in the My Face, My Body Awards and The Aesthetic Awards 2015 It is not difficult to see why.  I am looking forward to trying their Skin Active Triple Lifting Neck cream next!