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!

Rapunzel Me!

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer hair
Here baby, there mama
everywhere daddy daddy

You get the idea!! Hair is probably something those who have it in abundance take for granted.  There was a time many, many years ago I had thick hair.  So, thick in fact my mum would cut it short because it was so unmanageable.  I cannot pinpoint the exact time in my life that my hair started thinning.  But, as someone who was diagnosed with Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome in my twenties I think it’s probably likely that is when it all went south.  One of the unfortunate side effects of PCOS as it is known is hormone imbalance which in part causes a higher level of testosterone which sadly means thinning of hair where you want it and more hair where you don’t.  Enter ladybeard! But, that’s another story altogether. As I got older my hair gradually got thinner with the last straw being massive weight loss.  Having lost so much weight over such a short amount of meant that I unintentionally left myself vulnerable to vitamin deficiencies.  I am the first one to admit I was not as vigilant as I should have been in taking my supplements.

There are lots excellent aesthetic treatments such as PRP and Mesotherapy to treat thinning hair.  The science behind them is impressive and in a later blog I will discuss my own results with Mesotherapy.  However, I have a very short attention span and want instant gratification!

How do you create a head of hair out of nothing?  Well extensions of course.  This was something I had thought about a lot.  I had an increasing number of followers asking me my opinion on hair extensions.  I recall a wonderful article written by Dr Miriam Stoppard about all the reasons women over 40 should consider extensions.  Not the least of which is, that long flowing hair is associated with being carefree and youthful.

So, mission directive established I was off to get hair.  An exercise that was surely completely straightforward and simple, right? Actually, not so much! There is clip in, glue in, weaves, wefts, wigs, falls, Brazilian, Indian, Russian, micro loop, human hair synthetic and a multitude of other options to choose from.  Clearly, I would need to find a true expert.

dendelenIn looking at the different types of extensions one of the first things I learned is that there are few things that will kill your look quicker than a dodgy set of extensions.In order to maintain the integrity of your natural hair you need expert advice!  This is not something I would ever recommend as a diy project.  The pages and pages of hideous pictures of matted half bald scalps following a bad weave were endless.

I researched and researched the best and the brightest and was incredibly lucky that it just so happened that the cream of the crop Den Delen Owner/Director and generally amazing Wonder Woman entrepreneur and expert Hair Extension practitioner was right on my door step in SE London.  Her salon Showoff Hair Extensions had an excellent reputation and so off I went to see the lady herself to get properly Rapunzel’ed.   She did a consultation explaining exactly what type of hair I would need to achieve a natural look.  I was colour matched and advised that a combination of Nano and Micro loop Russian hair extensions would be used.  The tiny nano were placed at the sides in order to wear my hair up and not see any of the tiny bits that were looped into my own hair at the base. The extensions took roughly  two-three hours to put in. Watching her work was amazing as to me all these little bits look so fiddly, but in expert hands there was a rhythm of looping and clamping that was beyond impressive.  It was easy to see why Showoff had such a great reputation.  It is a beautiful tranquil environment that offers a number of aesthetic and beauty treatments as well as hair.

Once the hair was placed I got the big reveal!  I almost cried it was so beautiful! The hair was perfectly matched and looked 100% all mine.  I couldn’t stop touching it.  In the days that followed as I grew accustomed to this amazing mane I loved it more each day.  Den was careful to explain all the necessary information to keep the hair perfect. Rules around the way you wash, brush and generally everything you could possibly need to know to make sure it always looks its best.

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This was my first event with the new hair.  What can I say? Awesome!!

 

I must digress slightly here though.  I normally do not comment about specific customer service issues when reviewing a treatment.  But, whilst I was at Showoff something so amazing and extraordinary happened I think it would be remiss of me if I did not mention it.  There was a young woman in the salon who was crying and so distressed.  It unfolded that she was due to be married on the following Saturday and the company that she had paid to provide pretty much everything for her wedding had gone into administration that afternoon and she had just been informed that her day was basically ruined.  Den and the girls stopped everything that they were doing to help this girl.  The issues she was having had nothing to do with the services they offered. But, they went above and beyond to calm her down and helped her arrange new equipment, etc.  So, I can honestly say that with Showoff Hair Extensions customer service is Queen!

They are truly an amazing team of very talented women.  So much so they have been nominated for the Perrys Exceptional Customer Service Award.  They truly deserve it and if you would like to take a moment and vote for the amazing girls of Showoff please email exceptionalawards@pmwcom.co.uk writing Showoff Hair Extensions in the subject line!

Escape from Hormone Hell

mbHave you ever woke up and realised pretty much every aspect of your life is toxic?  I cannot think of any time this would be remotely pleasant.  But, 45 it is particularly distressing.  A serious detox was definitely in order!

It seems that stress has overwhelmed me in every possible way.  My ongoing and most tragic relationship with food seems the obvious place to start.  In addition the perimenopause appears to have become the wolf at the door, his knocking becoming louder by the minute.

Putting it into a classically catholic analogy the perimenopause is a state of feminine “limbo” not quite menopause, but not very fertile Myrtle either.  Peri-pause is pretty much all the fun of period and cramps along with the added bonus of hormone hell and hot flushes.  Seriously universe, I only manage to get a kind of normal body and you hand me this?  We need a chat for sure!

Enter the amazing Jenny Adams of The Meadow Clinic.  I have spoken of her before in an article called “Freezing Myself Thin”.  She is an amazing aesthetic practitioner and did some miraculous things with my various fat pockets.  But, in addition to her beauty talent she iPerimenopause_doctors_Chicago_0s a Nutritional Therapist who practices Metabolic Balance at the clinic.  Now of course I am always looking to shift the same 10 pounds I lose and gain each month permanently.  So, following a very intensive consultation about my health goals I decided to go for it.  Now I say health goals because Metabolic Balance is not necessarily about weight loss.  Jenny’s work is about the whole person and looking at how to heal the body’s frailties with the right foods rather than drugs.  In particular Jenny looks at how our hormones can be balanced, thus alleviating the symptoms that women of a certain experience.

I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about nutrition.  But, Jenny is an encyclopaedia of information about the healing properties of every possible food combination.  The plan itself sounds complicated initially.  Basically, the idea is that Metabolic Balance aims to re-boot your hormones, insulin levels and metabolism to help your body maintain it’s ideal or natural weight.  It is not about getting to a certain BMI  but, more about your bodies comfort zone.

Following an extensive consultation you have a blood test to determine what areas of your body need what nutrient.  My results showed that I had an iron deficiency as well as a sluggish thyroid.  In addition I had various deficiencies in vitamins and nutrients.  All of this as explained by Jenny meant that not only did these issues make further weight loss more difficult it also meant that my perimenopause symptoms were much worse than they needed to be.  Hot flushes and night sweats in particular were a huge issue.  I would regularly wake up in a Melissa shaped wet spot from a night of hormone hell.

The first week is tough, but having Jenny on the other end of the phone was a godsend.  The plan itself is not difficult to follow once you get your head around it.  The first two days involve a strict cleanse phase. The first part involves drinking a preparation of Epsom salts to give you good old colon cleanse.  The first couple of days are tough but, totally doable.  Following the cleanse there is a strict adjustment phase.  This sounds very complicated, but it really wasn’t and again Jenny was there to give me recipe ideas and tips to make it easier.  It is so important to have a knowledgeable guide in this journey and Jenny is top notch.  This plan has the potential to change your life with the right guidance.  It is definitely not something I could have attempted alone nor would I recommend attempting this plan without an expert.  The adjustment phase lasts at least two weeks.

After the first two weeks I had started losing weight.  However, as much as I was loving the weight loss it became secondary to the lack of night sweats.  I was literally in shock at the difference a change in diet made to my hormone hell.  Two weeks in and I was flushless and the night sweats had gone.  There was also a marked difference in energy.  My feeling at this point was if I felt this good at two weeks, how would I feel after a couple of months.  There was certainly incentive to keep going.  Plus Jenny is an awesome cheerleader and is always there to spur me on.

Metabolic Balance involves some strict rules that in order to be successful you must follow.  This is why expert guidance is so important.  But, once it is explained by someone who knows their stuff like Jenny you will sail.  The food is clean and delicious.  The really fabulous thing was getting a list of foods I could eat rather than the obligatory forbidden list which is pretty much a guarantee I will cheat!  The plan is based on hard science and the bottom line is it works.  I lost 15.5 pounds in the initial eight weeks of doing the plan.  If I didn’t need further proof that it worked magic on my hormones I had a week that for various reasons I went off plan, my sweats literally came back instantly.  Needless to say I went straight back on plan and ta da!!  No sweats!!  Bottom line this isn’t gimmicky and it’s about proper food and using it to make your body work more efficiently.  It works and I can’t argue with results!

For more information contact the amazing power house that is Jenny Adams at The Meadow Clinic in Leamington Spa.  Keep in my mind it is about finding the right person.  Location is irrelevant.  Jenny conducted the majority of our sessions over the phone and it was rarely necessary to be in clinic.  Needless to say this not so much a plan as a complete change in lifestyle and definitely a keeper.