The Sass – Where do you Find Yours?

the-sass-blogAs you may know, I’m all for hot looking mamas over 40 strutting their stuff and being strong, powerful women in the workplace and at home. I totally love glamour and beauty but, as I age, I realise it’s not all about the looks – it’s more about The Sass.

What is The Sass?

The Sass…it’s knowing you wake up with crumply eyelids and a line from your pillow on your cheek that makes you look like you’ve had a run in with a gangland criminal. But you apply your kick ass mascara and glossy lips anyway – you can see through the crinkles to the beauty beyond.

The Sass…it’s pulling on your skinny jeans and failing to contain that bulge of flappy, apron-like skin that refuses to be shoved down beneath the waistline and hidden from view. But you stride out of the house and go about your day with a laugh and a ‘who gives a f***’ flick of the hair anyway.

The Sass…it’s about rocking that leopard print shirt or your pleather leggings with a flourish, despite that little voice in your head saying ‘isn’t it about time you packed away those items of clothing with your ra-ra skirt and Disney t-shirts?’ Balls. No!

The Sass…it’s about looking at your young daughters and their friends with their smooth skin, flat tummies and clothes-friendly bodies and telling them “Don’t ever worry about growing older and losing your looks because looks aren’t everything. But whatever you do, just don’t lose your SASS!”

The Sass comes in all shapes and sizes and knows no age limits and my message to you is that, even if some days you feel that your sass has deserted you – it hasn’t. If you look hard enough, you might just see it glinting back at you. Perhaps it’s tucked underneath those red cowboy boots that you’ve given up wearing for fear of looking like mutton – or maybe it’s hidden in your makeup bag among the safe beige and brown eyeshadows?

And if you still can’t find it, I’ll let you into a secret. Sass never fails to turn up around a table where you sit with a bottle of bubbly and some fabulous friends!

Here’s to Your Sass…wherever you may find it – don’t let it go!

Red Carpet Fire and Ice Treatment – Review

FireIce_CMYK_300dpi[1]-2I’ve been aware of iS Clinical as a top quality, scientifically respected, cosmeceutical brand for a few years now – ever since I became interested in high-end, results driven skincare. Basically, it hit my beauty radar round about the time I realised that my wrinkles were laughing at my half-hearted, twice daily regime of slapping on a generic moisturiser! I hadn’t yet got round to trying any products in the range, but, I’d heard good things and so when I was invited to try out their new, just-about-to-be-launched clinic treatment, I couldn’t wait!Miss SherinaI went along to the recently opened S-Thetics Medical Aesthetics Clinic in the pretty Old Town of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire and was met by Medical Director, Miss Sherina Balaratnam (above) whose credentials as a surgeon with extensive training in plastic surgery and medical aesthetics were very impressive and made me feel that I was definitely in the hands of a safe and trusted professional. The clinic itself was immaculate – just as I imagined a clinic under Miss Sherina’s charge would be. It had a stylish interior of wooden floors, misty grey walls, white leather chairs and chrome fittings and the silver and blue bottles of skincare were presented just-so on glass shelving. On the wall, a flat-screen TV showed videos of state-of-the-art face and body treatments and products that were available to purchase. In my opinion, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a higher calibre of aesthetic clinic – it knocks spots off some of those I’ve visited in Harley Street!

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glass shelve S-theticsAfter the friendly and professional welcome I was given by Miss Sherina and her team – Louise (clinic administrator) and Lindsay (medical aesthetician) – I hoped the treatment I was having would live up to the glossy façade.

Before the treatment, I filled in a detailed questionnaire and my skin was analysed by a high tech 3D digital imaging system called VISIA which looks at all the layers of the skin. I’m happy to report that my skin was way above average for my age and skin tone for thickness (well, Stressed Husband is always saying I’m thick skinned!) and this hopefully bodes well for wrinkles. But it wasn’t as good on the congestion side of things. Rather than a slap-dash cleansing regime, I put that down to the dust I’ve been living in over the past year of the house building work!

Lindsay ran through what the treatment entailed and I was happy to lie back and begin the Fire & Ice journey…

PART ONE

After a th0rough cleanse and the application of the first masque, I got the ‘fire’ message as my skin began to get warmer and tingly (and a bit itchy) and there was a lovely waft of aniseed. Lindsay explained that the Intensive Resurfacing Masque is formulated with 18% glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, vitamin B3, retinol and powerful antioxidants. This removes debris and the top loose layers of the epidermis, causing superficial trauma to the skin, which in turn revs up the skin’s healing mode, boosting collagen production. The aniseed smell was actually cinnamon – very autumnal! Lindsay made sure I felt comfortable and, after about 5 minutes, whisked off the masque with a special neutraliser before beginning the second part of the process.

PART TWO

The ingredients in the second ‘ice’ masque were a rejuvenating, intensely hydrating blend of hyaluronic acid and extracts of Japanese green tea, grape, soothing rosemary and liquorish which, although made my skin tingle again, felt cooling and refreshing.

While I nodded off at this part, Lindsay carried out the same double masque process on my décolletage and hands, before delivering a therapeutic massage to my neck, arms and hands, which put me into an even deeper slumber!

Once I awoke (I hoped I hadn’t frightened Lindsay with my snoring and dribbling) my treatment was finished off with a final cleanse and a healthy application of moisturising serum and a high SPF.

Fire and Ice Press Release Balaratnam

VERDICT

Incorporating the chest and hands into the treatment and adding a delicious massage was the new twist; the ‘Red Carpet’ extra which has been added to the regular Fire & Ice Treatment. I am lucky to have been one of the first journalists to try this new and improved treatment which is only just launching in the UK. The fact that it’s popular with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Halle Berry and is the best selling treatment at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills – dahling – was an added bonus for me!

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But, what about my skin? Before leaving the clinic I was given an after care kit containing various iS Clinical products to help keep up the good work that the treatment had started. Looking in the mirror (and seeing past the ‘Pepper Pig’ flush) I noticed the surface of my skin was much smoother in texture and fine lines had dramatically diminished. Over the next few days, my friends (and Stressed Husband) remarked on the glow of my complexion. Put it this way, a week or so before having the treatment, I was considering Botox – and now I’m not!

The 75 minute Red Carpet Fire & Ice Treatment costs £175 but Miss Sherina is kindly offering Glowology readers the treatment for £125. To take advantage of this offer, call the clinic on 01494 670990 to book before October 31st and treatments can be taken until November 30th 2015. 

Find out more about S-Thetics Clinic and the treatments they offer here and for more information on iS Clinical Skincare you can click here.

Walking for Fitness, Fun and Charity

women running

I am a massive advocate of walking. Apart from the fact that scientists have discovered a daily brisk walk can delay the ageing process by 12 years, it’s a great weight-bearing exercise so perfect for keeping bones healthy. And – if you do it fast enough – it helps keep the wobble under control. There are even more fabulous benefits: For me, walking every day means I keep my fitness levels fairly constant, my dog gets his exercise and I can guarantee that if I leave the house feeling under the weather, I’ll return after a walk (rain or shine) feeling much brighter. It’s a natural, free happiness booster and as I mentioned here in my last post, I want to bring more of them our way!

Team SOLE Shine Walk training
Team SOLE Shine Walk training

The social aspect of walking is always a bonus – unlike jogging and running, you can hold a conversation with your friends without panting and having to stop mid-goss to get your breath back! That’s why this year, I wanted to take my usual choice of charity walk/run up a notch. So instead of the 5k Race For Life, I’m pleased to be joining a team of great women (including my gorgeous daughter, Aimee, below) to take part in the Cancer Research Shine Night Walk. I’ve opted for the 13 mile walk through London at night rather than the full marathon 26 miles because…well…because I’m a scaredy cat!

Me and Aimee at Race for Life
Me and Aimee at Race for Life

I’m really looking forward to the walk, as well as catching up with the team, but I just hope I’ve trained enough and that my niggly hip doesn’t cause me too much trouble.

One thing I can be sure of though, is that my feet should be comfortable because our team have been sponsored by SOLE whose unique orthopaedic footbeds and footwear adapt to the body to offer optimal support. They have sent our team a range of footbeds, the softest, bounciest socks I’ve ever worn (can socks be bouncy?) and some fab flip flops which look great with my tanned toes!

silver flip flops sole

Shine Walk Bits

Of course, walking to raise money for the Cancer Research charity is the main point of the Shine Walk and I’m delighted to be part of the hundreds of walkers who are going to do our best to help kick cancer’s butt!

If you’d like to donate, it would be much appreciated and you can click on mine and Aimee’s page here.

Thank you everyone and wish us luck! xx 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Get Happy with The Sunshine Vitamin D3

embracing-the-sunWay back in February I wrote a post about how to make yourself feel good when you’re feeling a bit down (click here) and I often write about how the dark, cold days of winter leave me feeling blah as well (click here). You have every right to think I’m a bit of a moany madam, but it’s really just the winter that does it to me…oh and living in a perpetual building site!

But I wanted to let you know about my favourite feel good find – and I’m so pleased it’s come my way just as the days are getting shorter – and wetter! It’s a handy little Vitamin D3 spray from Natural Health Practice that was sent to me, along with the staggering results of research by the Scientific Advisory Committee, that found a huge 60% of the UK population are deficient in Vitamin D!

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So, why do we need Vitamin D? Apart from boosting your mood, Vitamin D helps the body to absorb phosphorous and calcium, which are essential to bone growth and inadequate levels of it can lead to insufficient bone density, fatigue, and muscle aches.

Most dermatologists will tell you to wear sunscreen daily – so this, plus the fact that we have low levels of sunlight in the winter can lead to lack of Vitamin D, BUT that doesn’t mean you should throw away the sunscreen – No Siree – your wrinkles won’t thank you for that! But getting outside for 10 minutes without sunscreen is all you need. In just a few minutes, your skin is unlikely to suffer and you’ll be filling up your Vitamin D quota.

Vitamin-D-Foods

Don’t forget to eat the right foods as well – eggs, mushrooms, fatty fish, meat and fortified cereals all help, but if you’re suffering with the winter blues, fatigue and general lethargy more than usual, it’s a good idea to ask your GP for a blood test. You may just be deficient and not even realise it.

I’ll be writing about Ways to Get Happy a lot more over the coming months, as happiness is something we just can’t get enough of! In the meantime, you might want to invest in your own little Vitamin D spray of sunshine, which you can find here at £10.97.

The Easy Breezy Way to Refreshed Skin with the Skinbreeze Orbital Facial

The treatment being carried out (not on me).
The treatment being carried out (not on me).

Working from home, aka the building site, amidst the dust and drilling of a team of tradesmen, any invitation that comes my way that will get me out of the hell hole house is usually met with me shouting ‘yes please! Yes please!’ in the high pitched, over excited manner of a school girl being asked if she’d like to be the lead in the school play. So, when I was kindly invited to try a new facial at the Soho based Premier Laser Clinic, I was out of the door in a puff of dust…really.

On arrival at the pristine clinic, I met skin specialist, Ellie, whose years of experience belied her youthful looks and who assured me that the recently launched Skinbreeze Orbital Facial would soon put pay to my tired, stressed skin.

I laid back – trying to ignore the weird vertigo that I’ve suddenly acquired which makes me feel as if I’m about to fall off the bed everytime I turn my head – and got ready to be pampered.

I’ve had microdermabrasion before and admit, even though my skin often looks great once the redness has subsided, it’s not particularly relaxing as I find the exfoliating crystals quite scratchy. However, the special thing about the new technology in this facial, is that it has specially designed rotating tips of various levels of coarseness – we started with the least abrasive as it was my first time. There’s also a wide choice of speed settings and I was pleased that the exfoliating tip actually felt quite tickly, and not at all uncomfortable, as it vibrated and massaged my face, cleaning and refining pores.

Another plus point about having various speeds and levels of abrasiveness means that, unlike usual crystal microdermabrasion – which is kind of a one-size-fits-all affair – this treatment can be tailor-made to suit the individual’s skin type and requirements.

While the skin resurfacing is taking place, a red LED light is shined onto my skin, and this is said to help promote cell renewal, stimulate collagen and boost circulation.

The next phase of the facial was what excited me the most as I’d read about the skin plumping and line filling benefits of oxygen on the skin and I couldn’t wait to see it for myself. Ellie used what looked like a small power washer to deliver an infusion of Skinbreeze serum, containing powerful ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid and Seaweed Extract, along with O2, into the deeper layers of the skin. The feeling was wonderful! These little puffs of cool spray made my skin feel very revived and refreshed.

Once my skin was polished and tingly, Ellie placed a super-hydrating sheet mask over my face and as she tried to lay it so that the holes for the nose, mouth and eyes were in the right place, she asked whether I was claustrophobic. ‘Nope’ I replied confidently as the mask came down and it all went black. Of course, my mind then immediately went into self-sabotage mode and mocked me: “what do you mean you’re not claustrophobic? Don’t you remember how hard you find it to breathe when you’re in a lift – or when it takes too long to get a jumper over your head?” Great. Thankfully, just as I was about to embarrass myself and hyperventilate, the mask fell into place and all was well. Phew. I felt calm and relaxed while my skin drank up the softening, nourishing moisturisers.

While the mask was on, Ellie used an ebrasor – a hand held massaging piece of equipment – to smooth and lift the skin and stimulate the muscles of the face in order to drain excess fluid and dissipate puffiness.

My Verdict: What a treat! My skin felt smoother, looked so much brighter and had a restored glow in the cheeks that seemed to have been missing in action lately!

Skinbreeze-Orbital-Facial
Sorry about the no makeup! But skin looks fresh 🙂

A course of Skinbreeze facials is usually required to maintain the results but a one off is the perfect precursor to a night on the tiles. Or in my case, it’s the perfect remedy to bat away the skin spoiling effects of the building debris until the next time!

The Skinbreeze Orbital Microdermabrasion Facial costs from £150 at the London Premier Laser Clinic. Click here to find out more about this and other Skinbreeze treatments.

Here’s the Skinny on Skinade

Skinade-collagen-drink

Have you heard about Skinade? If you’re in the health and beauty industry, or you’re interested in reading about nutrition and all things body beautiful, you’ve probably seen or heard the buzz about this ‘liquid beauty drink’. When I received a parcel of the ubiquitous white plastic bottles with their stylish and simple black font – enough for a 30 day trial – I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to find out what the fuss was about…

My first thought was that it was probably a bit of a fad – but the brand definitely had an amazing sales team because I began to see Instagram images and blogs about these little white bottles of the ‘elixir of youth’ everywhere! I mean, how can one drink a day improve the skin – could it really improve my skin any more than my usual routine of slapping on an SPF, moisturising and regular facials?

But then I started thinking about it and, actually, nutrition plays a huge part in how our skin looks and ages, and we all know somebody who swears supplements are helping them with their skin, nails, hair or creaky joints, so why shouldn’t a drink help?

Credit: Skinade Instagram
Credit: Skinade Instagram

As I twisted the lid off my first bottle and took a long glug, I closed my eyes and prayed that 1, it worked and 2, that I would have the stomach to down one of these nasty tasting drinks every day. I really wasn’t taken with the taste from the start, no matter how many eye-catching images I saw on Instagram of pretty girls sipping their Skinade on the beach, dressing it up in a tall glass with lots of ice and a cocktail umbrella. Nope. The only thing that made it a little more palatable for me was to make sure it was icy cold and to hold my nose while drinking it as quickly as I could! 

So did I persevere with it? I certainly did! It took about 10 days before I started seeing a difference in my skin and there was definitely a big improvement in  hydration and plumpness. When a friend commented that she’d dismissed buying it because of the £90 price tag but, after seeing the effects on my skin, was having second thoughts, I had to fess up. Yes, I think the drink was somewhat responsible for my glowiness of late, but I’d also had a couple of really good facials during my Skinade trial – so I’m sure they also had a positive impact.

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So, what’s in Skinade? The bumf describes it as:  a peach and mangosteen anti ageing collagen drink containing a patent pending formulation of active ingredients that boosts your body’s natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. Hmmm maybe it’s the mangosteen that I found hard to stomach? But I do know that collagen and hyaluronic acid are skin goodies, so that makes sense. By drinking it, rather than using it topically, Skinade says its formulation of low molecular weight collagen and essential micro-nutrients ensures rapid absorption and nourishes skin from the inside. 

My verdict: £90 is a lot to pay if you already fork out for high quality skincare and, I admit, I haven’t put my hand in my pocket to buy it since I’ve run out of my press samples. However, my skin’s hydration definitely improved – possibly helped with the combination of facials too and once my bank account is safely back in the black, another supply of Skinade is top on my list of beauty buys.

Have you tried Skinade yet? 

The Instagram World of Glowology

I do love a bit of Instagram, don’t you? It’s a wonderful rose-tinted version of life as we know it with softly filtered pictures that somehow manage to make something quite ordinary, such as a cup of coffee and bunch of flowers, a simple lipstick or – in my case – a glass of fizzy, into a masterpiece. So, here’s my Instagram life lately…and the reality behind it!Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 16.16.03 My gorgeous, leggy friend (let’s just call her Elle ;-)) is setting up an online accessories business called Barewith Accessories. She very kindly treated me to lunch as I helped start her off on the wonderful world of Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Although she said it made her head ache as there was so much to learn, I know she’ll soon be a dab hand at it and her business will be flourishing – especially with a  little bit of blogging and social media love from moi! Although Barewith Accessories hasn’t officially launched yet, it would be lovely if you could reach out to her and say ‘hi’ on Twitter @LoveBareWith or on Instagram @barewithaccessories and Facebook.Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 16.17.02Grooming isn’t all about the girls, is it? Here’s my lovely Stressed Husband getting splattered and soapy, making sure our precious black lab, Troy, gets his shine on! Loving the pinny – and it seems as if it’s inspired him to don one in the kitchen as he’s been cooking up a storm lately…who knew? Stressed Husband no more perhaps?

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 16.17.59Last weekend I attended the evening reception of the prettiest, quirkiest wedding I’ve ever been to! The young lovers partied the night away in a barn-cum-circus with all manner of fabulous ice- cream coloured, sparkly decor catching my eye. Despite the torrential rain, it was a truly breathtaking display of originality and, apart from the full size merry-go-round, my favourite thing was the bucket of pretty pink flip-flops adorned with a touch of pearl and glitter that the bride cleverly set aside for us girls. By the end of the night, those of us high in heel and wild on dance floor were very thankful to kick off the shoes and carry on boogying the night away in these!

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 16.12.50Yep, flip-flops and rain again. Seems to be a theme going on! Here I am on a journey with Stressed Husband after just having visited the salon. My pedi was fresh and sassy and there was no way I was going to allow a little rain get in the way of showing it off! Oh, and as an aside, to the guys who keep liking and commenting on pictures of my feet on Instagram – I do NOT want you to regram the pictures on your account and NO, I will not allow you to do anything else with them either! Go. Away.Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 16.11.55

I like to update my social media with the odd positive message – and on a Monday, I sometimes find it’s essential to get my head in the game (as Zac Efron so beautifully put it in  High School Musical…remember? Swooooon). This was a particularly fine, kick-ass quote I thought.

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And finally….although this picture was taken on a Sunday, it wouldn’t be Friday without a glass of fizzy would it? Scrolling through my Instagram and Twitter feeds, I think a glass of bubbles is possibly my signature post and I guess, it’s the perfect symbol for the way I’d always like my life to be…fizzy, fun and intoxicating 🙂

Have a lovely weekend and long may it be flip-flop, fizzy drinking weather!