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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Unbotched

1235099_10151916503800955_1325535349_nIt seems at the moment we are saturated with headlines and television shows all about the horrors of plastic surgery and aesthetics gone wrong.  Now don’t get me wrong I love a bit of reality television.  My own massive physical transformation was the result of participating in  reality/documentary television.  But, I have been thinking lately that the emphasis seems to have shifted from the “feel good”, albeit cheesy style of the ugly duckling that in the end becomes a beautiful swan to the disasters.  Because if you unpick the whole aesthetic and plastics industry you will find that for every botched boob job or filler fiasco there are thousands and thousands of very happy patients whose lives have been changed for the better following their procedures.  I do love a fairy tale! But, what this is really about is celebrating the amazing work of those who do get it right the first time. 

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Before reconstruction

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After

My own experience could not be further from the “Woman’s implant explodes on the school run” horror stories that get so much attention.    Following a huge weight loss I had a disfigured body.  Even the biggest body confidence cheerleaders could not possibly argue that the body I had following weight loss was nothing less than a train wreck.  Masses of loose skin that hung from every bone on my body, which even the most vigorous boot camp, would not be able to shift.  In addition to the unpleasant aesthetic, the skin was a health hazard that only served as a dark reminder of what decades of obesity had done to me.  It was a dark cloud that hung over the success of my weight loss.

 But, I was offered the holy grail!   My loose skin was removed under the most professional and expert conditions.  Mr Paul Baguley is nothing short of amazing!  He, like the many other professionals registered with The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS – Ya I know!) that do amazing work.  These are in fact the very people often left with the task of putting humpty dumpty back together again following a fall off a dodgy surgeons table.  But, sadly what we see most of the time are the disasters.  These are often the ones that will be discussed on internet forums for what is seen as “stupidity in the name of vanity”.  Putting aside that at some point there was probably a really good reason they wanted the surgery in the first place.  One should never be punished for the desire to improve how they look or correct something that is not quite right.

IMG_20140227_110505Yes, as a matter of fact I am trying to recapture my lost youth, what is wrong with that?  Sadly when I was in my 20’s the world was not ready for the 300 pound pin up.  Keep in mind this was a pre-Beth Ditto/Tess Holiday world.  As glamourous as I tried to be I was never going to be anyone’s pin up girl.  Unfortunately I was relegated to the fat heap with the rest of the retro rejects.  I am not in any way condoning that but, it was what it was.  As a result I never enjoyed the body freedom that I wished for.

The fact remains that plastics along with the non-surgical options such as Botox, fillers, thread lifts, etc give those that choose it a much needed boost some times.  It is not about making you look like someone else, but about looking like a better version of yourself.  I understand the politics and this essay is not about that.  I will save that for another time.  But, what I am talking about is focusing on the safe and talented professionals out there that are making people’s lives better.  I for one am grateful for every nip/tuck and syringe I have had.  It has allowed me to be the person I didn’t get to be at 18.

**There are of course situations when things do go wrong and luckily there is help out there when that happens.  The Safety in Beauty Campaign is an initiative that supports those who have had less than satisfactory results.  They use their position to educate the public about safe practice and advise those who in extremes are left disfigured by poor practice.

DeVirgination Part 2

11266633_10153383653705955_1719984422_oWith my foray into botox still fresh in my mind I started thinking about all the interventions available to make you feel and look younger.  What is the thing that makes a particular face look younger?

Obviously, with my collagen banks becoming ever increasingly deficient I went to work in accessing all of the procedures that can make a face look more youthful.  Okay, I hear you!!  Why can’t she accept the aging process as it as and just grow old gracefully?  Just accept who you are and move on…What on earth does all this have to do with the weight loss journey?  Yes, I have heard them all.  But, I do have an answer to this, which may or may not satisfy the curiosity of those who do not understand why the aesthetics side of my journey is so important to me.

I have been fat my whole life, I spent all of the years that any normal young person would have been out having fun inside feeling sorry for myself, feeling sorry for the life I was somehow not entitled to lead because I was so big.  So, having finally reclaimed the body I always wanted is it not ok to long for the youth I was denied by trapping myself under the ultimate fat suit?

So, no I will not be growing old gracefully.  If there are interventions whether nutritional, pharmaceutical, injectable or surgical I will try them.  I will of course share the results with everyone here.  Because, I have a huge amount of time to make up for!

11281107_10153383664275955_880154184_oNow that my relationship with Botox had turned into a full-fledged love affair it was only natural that I was thinking about experimenting with other injectables.  Dr Joney De Souza being the amazing practitioner that he is had done the most spectacular job with my face.  Although the botox was in three areas, his approach ensured that my face was youthful, but also very natural.  This is what you want to achieve, a face that still has some movement. Something you can only get from someone that is a genuine expert in the field.

When I saw him again I expressed that I felt my lips had lost some of their youthful volume in recent years and I would like to have a sexier pout in general. He explained that by using a filler to enhance them I could achieve not just a more youthful look, but it would also give me that full symmetrical set of lips that would enhance my profile as well.

11281577_10153383655690955_125182373_oSo, once again I would be on the receiving side of Dr De Souza’s expert needle.  Like all of us I have seen the aftermath of those who have sadly ended up with the dreaded “trout pout”.  Anytime you discuss having a lip enhancement inevitably you get the usual comments about looking like Pete Burns.  But, this is where finding a good injector is vital.  You need to trust the person implicitly with your face.  Unfortunately, if it is done poorly and without care you will have to live with the consequences.

A good injector is not going unload massive amounts of filler into your lips.  They should inject your lips with a conservative amount of filler in the initial appointment as you will have swelling right after 11281517_10153383654450955_1100907017_oso will not be able to get an accurate view of the enhancement for a couple of days.  In the following weeks they should have you return for any tweaks you may want.  After my first appointment I was floored by the results.  It was subtle yet dramatic at the same time.  Truly finished off the amazing work he had already done using botox.  I am incredibly pleased with the results and would definitely consider myself a convert to injectable aesthetic procedures.   The results that can be achieved are amazing and if you are looking for a procedure that will give you a great result that have lower financial and physical investment injectable treatments are absolutely the way forward.  I could not be more pleased with Dr De Souza’s amazing work.

For more information about the brilliant work of Dr De Souza visit his website http://www.drjoneydesouza.com/

50 Shades of Botox

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Virgin Face

I guess you can call me a late bloomer. I like to think I am adventurous, but there was still one area yet to be explored. As I sat in the perfectly lit room on the sofa waiting I was nervous.  You see at nearly 45 years old I was still a virgin.  I know it’s shocking in this day and age.  But, I guess you could say I never found the right person. I am not the type of woman to give it up to just anyone and maybe that makes me a bit old fashioned.  But, I needed someone I could fully and completely trust. In time I found him. After lots of quiet contemplation I made the decision he was going to the one.  The perfect person to allow in. His reputation was amazing and I knew the second we met he would in fact be “the one”.

So, yes today was going to be the day!  He came into the room and asked me exactly what I was looking for, my hopes for our encounter and my expectations for the future.  We talked though what was going to happen.  As it was my first time he wanted to ensure I was ready and that I left completely satisfied.  This was it, no going back as he drew closer to me with his needle in his hand, I was about to have BOTOX® for the first time!  So, finally with the first puncture into my skin, my journey began.

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Virgin Face

Dr Joney De Souza, my chosen one talked me through the procedure.  He would be injecting Botulinum toxin into three areas around my face.  My forehead which I felt particularly gave away my age.  My Bunny lines, which no matter what cute cuddly animal the word bunny conjured up I needed him to make them disappear before they had a chance to start reproducing. Finally, he injected the area around my eyes that evokes a slightly less cuddly animal, my crowsfeet.

The needle itself is so fine you can barely feel it. The exquisite pain as I have come to refer to it of that first injection was well below that of an eyebrow threading. I was able to chat through the entire procedure.  Dr De Souza made sure I had a hand mirror to see the areas he was injecting and explain each part of the procedure and how his goal was to give me the most natural appearance.  He would use the lower amount of Botox on my forehead as he explained this area is particularly susceptible to the effects of the toxin.  It is always better to be conservative in order to prevent that stunned/frozen look we have grown so accustomed to seeing.  The procedure took no more than 20 minutes and following Dr De Souza’s instructions of no vigorous exercise or alcohol for four hours I was on my way, with the promise of a two week follow-up for tweaks and top-ups if needed.

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Devirginized

Dr De Souza said it would take about a week to see the full effect of the botox.  However, I noticed a big difference by mid-week.  Those bunnies were tamer than last week and my crowsfeet where definitely not flying as high.  By the following weekend my forehead was smoother than it had been in at least 10-15 years.  Friends noticed a marked improvement in my face.  I looked fresh and smooth without looking “overdone”.  My make-up went on better and I just felt more confident.  I think a bit of that magic encased in the little syringe did as much for my insides as it did for the outside. By two weeks “postox” the effects were amazing.  I still had room for more injections around my forehead.  Dr De Souza worked his magic a bit more.  At the end of the follow-up we discussed other areas I had concerns about.  He gave me further advice on other treatments that would enhance the work he already done.  Totally satisfied and very happy with my results, I was on my way again. Would I be seeing him again?  Well yes, 11124837_10153275603980955_2082728750_nbecause although I was no longer a botox virgin, I was yet to have my fill…

Part Two coming soon!!

Un-ageing Gracefully

In the run up to my 45th birthday I thought it only right to look at some of the ways to beat back the hand of time. This is the first article in a series about women and ageing.  More accurately the lengths at which I intend to go to in order to look the way I feel.  I suppose it is all part of the bigger transformation.  As a young woman I was so overweight I didn’t have any self esteem.  I don’t think I was ever able to fully experience the luxury of “youth”.  I spent the years I should have been having fun and being carefree stuck inside wallowing in my relative fatness.

So, call it a mid-life crisis or perhaps just complete unadulterated insanity, but I want my youth back, now that I can fully enjoy it!  The fact is I don’t feel old.  I have young children, I am active and love all things trendy.  I don’t see the point of letting father time win.  So, I have made a decision that I am going to opt out of the ageing process or at least fight it kicking and screaming.

Having relatively decent skin for a pre-geriatric I have gone on a quest to find out the most advantageous ways to un-age gracefully.  Over the course of the next couple of months I will be undergoing treatments involving needles, infra-red probes, heat, electricity, more needles, exercise and just plain old good nutrition.   So, with the help of some of best Aesthetic Professionals in the world the clock stops here!