Friday, 31 March 2017

#ThisGirlCan Be Active & Plus Size In The Gym

Nothing has inspired me more to feel confident working out than This Girl Can.
I'm sure you'll have all seen their fantastic campaigns, motivating imagery and powerful #ThisGirlCan hashtag however if you haven't then get to know because their message is seriously life changing:

"This Girl Can is a celebration of active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets. Funded by The National Lottery and developed by Sport England, we want to help women overcome the fear of judgement that is stopping too many women and girls from joining in.' -This Girl Can

Whether it is in the gym, with a personal trainer, at a class or even generally being more active in my everyday life, I've always felt as though I was supported and almost protected by #ThisGirlCan, ever since I first saw one of their adverts on TV.  It was of a curvier woman running over some hills and it was so empowering to see; if she could get out there and jiggle as she ran then so could I.  What was even more empowering was the fact that she looked determined, focused and kept going even when she got tired, couldn't run any longer and slowed down into a jog; she didn't give up and it didn't matter how fast or slow she was going because the point was that she was STILL going.

I have felt a really strong connection to the hashtag ever since, as I'm sure you'll know because I've been using it for so long.  It isn't just a hashtag, its a movement and a massive source of motivation, especially for myself who had always wanted to be more active but always felt restricted.

Over the last year I've really changed my life by slowly trying to build my strength following an injury and becoming more active.  This Girl Can has played a massive part in inspiring me to do that.

No matter what your shape and size is, if you want to be more active, join in with a class or activity or try something new, then DO IT!  Life is far too short to be wishing you could do something when you could take small steps forward to actually do it.  Try it out and if it makes you happy, go for it.

In recent years, I've really doubted myself and my ability for fear of looking a fool but actually when I started going to the gym, I found that everyone there was too busy focusing on their own goals; no one was focusing on me jiggling around.  People are either supportive or keep themselves to themselves and no one has laughed at me despite my slow pace, very light weight lifting and wobbly body.  There's no shame in asking how to use a piece of equipment and people are far more inclined to help you than to risk you hurting yourself.

Another thing that I've realised is that you don't need all of the best gym gear; its not about LOOKING the part, its about TAKING part.  So if its not having the latest plus size work out clothing that's holding you back, then worry not as no one cares what you look like!

Exercising has far more benefits than I ever imagined and they stretch far beyond how strong I am physically or what I look like.  Being more active has changed my life and helped me to gain some of my confidence in my abilities back tenfold after something happened to me a few years ago that made me lose myself.

Best of all, going to the gym or even just walking that little bit further across the car park does wonders for my mental health as its that little break in the day that reminds my feet to always keep going and my mind to focus on where I'm going; always moving forward.

This Girl Can have inspired me to focus on the positive influence being active has on my life, rather than what anyone else thinks of how well I'm doing; they can 'take me as I am or watch me as I go!'

Head to the This Girl Can website to find out more about how they're celebrating and inspiring active women, just like me and you.

How active are you and would you like to get into fitness more?  What is holding you back or what caused you to doubt yourself in the past?  How has #ThisGirlCan inspired you?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Plus Size Spring Wardrobe Essential from Yours Clothing

Plus Size Spring Wardrobe Essential colour block jumper from Yours Clothing

OMG ladies, this sunshine!  Its got me waking up with a spring in my step and a smile I cannot shake off.  I'm quietly confident that the freezing cold winter days are behind us now and the lighter, longer days are going to become normality once again.

I've been switching up my wardrobe for the season; moving thick and chunky items on to better homes (usually I'd store them ready for next winter but I have a feeling I'll be needing new pieces later this year!) and shopping for more seasonally appropriate items to fill my wardrobe with.

Plus Size Spring Wardrobe Essential colour block jumper from Yours Clothing

Plus Size Spring Wardrobe Essential colour block jumper from Yours Clothing Primark black duffle bag

Black wedge heel ankle boots Evans

One of the latest additions to my wardrobe is the plus size colour block jumper from Yours Clothing which has horizontal bands of light pink, grey and black.

A lightweight knit is an essential for this season when its not quite warm and reliable enough to head out in just a top but its also too warm to be wearing a thick jumper and a coat.  This one is perfect because its thin enough to keep you cool but it is still soft and warm too.  It makes a great layering piece as it doesn't add any bulk under a jacket and a cami slips underneath it easily on days when theres still a chill in the air.

Plus Size Spring Wardrobe Essential colour block jumper from Yours Clothing

The light pink and grey shades are perfect for spring and the black at the bottom is classic, flattering and ideal as you can pair it with anything underneath, or go bare legged if you like your items short.

I'm 5ft 5" in height and have a wide tummy which tends to pull items up and this jumper is still ideal for wearing with my plus size leggings because it is long enough to cover my bottom and hits me mid thigh.

I've paired it with my wedge ankle boots and my Primark duffle bag which I think looks far more expensive than the £7 I paid for it.  I'd intended for it to be used for the gym but I've found myself reaching for it on the daily!  I really like the casual, off duty look that the bag gives the outfit but I could have easily paired a clutch with it for daytime drinks with the girls or flats and a tote for work, running errands or shopping.

I've really been focusing on having items in my wardrobe that I can mix and match with one another and wear in multiple ways and this is definitely one such piece.  The silver zips on the shoulders are a great detail but also enable you to wear the jumper more open and slouched off one shoulder for a relaxed look or totally off the shoulder if you'd like a more bardot style.

Plus Size Spring Wardrobe Essential colour block jumper from Yours Clothing

Plus Size Spring Wardrobe Essential colour block jumper from Yours Clothing

Love the look of this jumper?  Shop it on Yours Clothing with the product code 103018 and click through on the images left and right below to see alternatives.

They have this jumper in a t shirt style with lilac too and I'm SO tempted to get it!

Have fun updating your wardrobe girlies!


What are your wardrobe essentials for spring?

Sunday, 26 March 2017

EXCLUSIVE QVC OFFER: Decléor 4 Piece Skin in Bloom Hydrating Collection

Exclusive QVC offer: Decléor 4 Piece Skin in Bloom Hydrating Collection

Decléor is up there as one of my favourite skincare brands of all time.  I've been having their facials and using their skincare products since I was in the last years of secondary school.  It was their expert blend of essential oils and high quality, natural ingredients that first drew me to Decléor when I was looking for products that would be gentle but effective on my young skin and I've used many items from their range ever since.

With such high performing products comes a price and Decléor skincare is certainly more luxurious than many skincare brands out there but they're also much better quality and more effective too, which makes their cost more than justified.  If theres one area of beauty that is worth investing in, its your skin, especially as you get older which is why I've always prioritised superb quality skincare over makeup.  The great thing that I've found with Decléor is that little goes a long way with everything that I've bought, so I find myself getting really good value for money too as I'm not rushing out to repurchase my products every month.

Exclusive QVC offer: Decléor 4 Piece Skin in Bloom Hydrating Collection

The Decléor spa that I go to is the fabulous Pure Bliss in Sunderland and I like to check out their promotions on the skincare range while I'm there but I've never seen a deal as amazing as one that's on QVC today, Mothers Day.

For 24 hours ONLY, QVC are offering the Decléor 4 Piece Skin in Bloom Hydrating Collection, which includes the Micellar Oil, NEW Aromessence Néroli, Hydra Floral Rich Cream and a choice of either the Moisturising Body Milk or the Gradual Glow, for a jaw dropping price of £59.98!!

Exclusive QVC offer: Decléor 4 Piece Skin in Bloom Hydrating Collection

The only choice that you have to make is whether you're going to go for the Gradual Glow Option or the Moisturising Option as it is only the one body product that differs between each set.

Aroma Confort Moisturising Body Milk (RRP £35) is a moisturiser that I have been using for many years.  You can even check out a throwback review post here.  The fragrance of this body moisturiser instantly relaxes me as it soothes and hydrates my skin with its formula enriched with coconut oil, vitamin E and meadowfoam oil.

The Aroma Confort Gradual Glow Hydrating Body Milk (RRP £35) is a new addition to my routine but so far I'm loving it because it gives the hydration of the original body milk but with a beautiful, streak free, mediterranean glow.  I can already tell that this is going to be my product of the summer this year!

With either option, you actually receive the supersize 400ml bottles making this collection even better value for money.

Exclusive QVC offer: Decléor 4 Piece Skin in Bloom Hydrating Collection

The skincare products that are included within the set are a real treat and will have your skin feeling INCREDIBLE.  It gives you a ready made skincare routine that will have your skin looking and feeling nourished and hydrated all year round.

To start your skincare routine, there's the Decléor Micellar Oil (RRP £26) which I've been used many times before.  It has the micellar technology that we all love from our cleansing waters but in the form of a luxurious oil, infused with sweet almond and olive essential oils.  It breaks down makeup and removes dirt and excess oil perfectly well from the skin but because it smells so heavenly, it makes the chore of removing makeup feel like a real treat too.

You're also going to receive a bottle of the NEW Decléor Aromessence Neroli Oil Serum (RRP £46).  You may have heard of this oil before but they've actually reformulated it to make it even better, which I didn't think would be possible but oh yes, they've done it!  The Decléor essential oil serums are absolutely incredible for sandwiching underneath your moisturiser and I've used many from the range over the years, including the ultra soothing, Aromessence Rose D'Orient (review here) which literally saved my skin after a bad reaction to a very stripping toner from another brand.

Aromessence Neroli Oil is absolutely ideal for all skin types as it helps to plump out dehydration lines, brighten dull and discoloured areas and give the skin a smoother look which I'm sure we could all benefit from, from time to time!  The formula is enriched with neroli essential oil as well as parsley, hazelnut and sweet orange essential oils.

To complete your skincare routine, there's the Decléor Hydra Floral 24 Hour Hydrating Rich Cream (RRP £41), which contains neroli essential oil, as well as rosehip, avocado and soy plant oils.  Again, this is another Decléor product that I have been using for years and always felt the benefit of.

For my oily skin, this moisturiser is best suited to my skin at nighttime as the last step in my skincare routine and on days when I'm going makeup free, it is perfect for morning application too.  If you have a drier skin type, you'll benefit from applying it morning and night, as it really gives your skin a boost of moisturisation and leaves it feeling super soft and nourished.

Exclusive QVC offer: Decléor 4 Piece Skin in Bloom Hydrating Collection

I couldn't believe my eyes when they got in touch to tell me about the cost of this collection and I had to get this post up to share the offer with you because I've never seen prices like this from Decléor before.

It is an incredible opportunity to try out their skincare for the first time or to repurchase your favourites at a fraction of the cost.  The set itself is worth £148 but will be on offer for £59.98, saving you a whopping £88.  After the 24 hours, the price will go up to £82, which will still be giving you a saving of £66!

Shop this AMAZING offer here to get your skin feeling pampered, moisturised and nourished.  Make sure you're shopping on 26th March 2017 to get the best savings and thereafter for a still incredible saving through QVC!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

When you have lived with something you're not 100% comfortable with for 28 years, the prospect of changing it is both exciting and extremely daunting and that's exactly how I felt about my teeth.  Exciting because there was the potential to achieve the smile that I had always dreamed of but extremely daunting at the same time too because there was the risk that I wouldn't like the results.

When you undergo cosmetic or corrective dentistry, you're not just changing your teeth.  You're enhancing your smile, your face and, as I now know, your sense of self.  The impact has the potential to be life changing which is why it is so incredibly important that you choose the right dentist and treatment when you're having any work done.

If you read my previous post on my journey to a confident smile so far then you'll know that I lived with very wonky teeth for a long time before straightening them with a train track brace which gave me the straight teeth that I'd wanted but with lots of gaps between them.  I'd looked into Invisalign clear braces and traditional veneers but I hadn't got to a place where I felt confident enough to go ahead with treatment for many reasons from the advice given and my understanding and faith in the treatment options to the cost implications.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Towards the end of last year, that all changed when I discovered the revolutionary new service called Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care, near Newcastle.  Suddenly, there was the very real possibility that I could transform my smile from one that I felt content with to one that I loved and since Smile Design consultations are currently offered for free, without any obligation, I had nothing to lose.

My journey to a confident smile was not over, in fact it was only really beginning and that's what I want to share with you all in this post.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Smile Design offers the most sophisticated dental technology currently on the market.  Gone are the days of guess work and risks as with Smile Design, Ewan Bramley Dental Care are able to scan your mouth, producing a 3D model and scan of your current teeth and smile.  From there, they can then suggest a range of treatment options that will enable you to achieve the smile that you have always wanted.

At many dental practices, if a dentist wants to take an impression of your teeth, perhaps for a brace or mouth guard, then they'll use a tray with a plasticine or Play-Doh style putty inside that feels really unpleasant, not to mention freezing cold.  The results are not as accurate as they could be and when you're considering altering your smile, this is not something that you want to risk.

By comparison, Smile Design at Ewan Bramley scans all of your teeth inside your mouth using a specialist pen that records the characteristics of every single tooth.  It is completely painless and very quick which makes it a comfortable experience and the results are exceptionally accurate.

The Smile Design consultation is split over two appointments.  I booked the first over the telephone as I shared in my last post and I was really impressed with how efficient the service was with both email and text reminders.  When you're as busy and often forgetful as I am, these are a total godsend.

The dental practice itself is spacious, light and airy.  It has a sense of calm about it and a very welcoming, friendly atmosphere, even from your first step through the door.  What attracted me to my previous private dentist, before they changed hands and became a little too clinical feeling, was the sense of family homeliness and individuality which would really put me at ease before my appointments.  I love that Ewan Bramley Dental care provides all of the things that I loved about my previous dentist and more, alongside that the latest technology within their specialist treatment rooms and of course, the option of Smile Design which really sets themselves apart from other dentists in the region.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

My first appointment was around 20 minutes long and involved a thorough consultation before the scan of my mouth took place.  Dentist, Ewan Bramley, took the time to ask me about the history of my teeth and the problems that I've had and he really listened and acknowledged what I was saying when I told him how I felt about my current smile and what I hoped to achieve from potential treatment.

I explained that I wasn't concerned so much about my bottom row of teeth and that my focus was on the top, with how spaced out the teeth are and the gaps either side of my two front teeth, largely caused by the teeth either side being on the small side.

What I had explained to him during the consultation was recorded within my notes which mean that when I went back for my second appointment, I wasn't having to repeat myself and my dentist could refresh and recall what I had explained.

Ewan fully explained what Smile Design was, how it works and how it would benefit me.  His unparalleled knowledge was evident from the outset and his approachable, friendly manner put me at ease from the start.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

As part of the Smile Design consultation, Ewan took photographs of my smile overall and my teeth closed together and held apart, up close to be able to see their shape, how they sit together, my bite, etc.

Now these don't make for particularly attractive photographs (nor can I believe that I'm putting them on the internet!) but they're great for showing you the point that I started from at my first consultation and my areas of concern regarding my teeth.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Following the photographs, Ewan then scanned my mouth using the pen like scanner.  This is completely painless and I simply relaxed in the chair during the short treatment.  It certainly made a change from those cold Play-Doh gum shields used to take impressions that I had experienced when I had my brace on many moons ago!  I think even those who are worried or nervous about going to the dentist will feel at ease with Smile Design as there is literally no reason to feel otherwise.

Once the scans were taken, I was shown back to reception to book my follow up session which is the actual Smile Design appointment.  The time in between the two appointments gives the dentist and Smile Designer time to use the photographs and scan to produce a 3D model and scan of your current smile from which they are then able to look at the process and impact of a range of treatment options on your teeth.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

My second appointment quickly came around and I couldn't wait to find out what treatment options were available to me.  The appointment was very thorough, with Ewan showing me on the computer exactly what my smile and teeth were like at that point and how treatment would effect them.

Ewan gave me the choice of 3 treatment options that would enable me to achieve the look of fewer gaps and straight teeth that I had always wanted.

The first option was to close the gaps in my teeth using clear aligners which would open up space between my back teeth and close the gaps between the teeth at the front that can be seen when I smile.  They would be the most affordable option available to me to achieve my desired smile.

Clear aligners are virtually invisible, clear retainer style braces.  Invisalign is one of the brand names for them which you may have heard of but Ewan Bramley Dental Care actually have the technology, expertise and equipment to create their own.  This means that they tend to work out to be far more affordable than going to another dentist who will outsource and send away to a larger company, such as Invisalign, to have the clear aligners made.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

My dentist was able to show me the exact benefits of treatment, where my teeth would move to and what they would look like following the treatment.  He advised me of the process involved, i.e. wearing them all day, everyday, and that it would take a short amount of time at around 3 months to achieve the desired results.  He also discussed how teeth whitening would enhance my smile further.

I liked that Ewan left no stone unturned and explained the aftercare and what would be expected of me, namely that I'd need to wear the final set of clear aligners on my teeth every night at bedtime forever, in order to ensure that my teeth remained where they should be following treatment.  While this is perfectly fine for the majority of people, I knew that to me, this would be a downside of opting for this course of treatment as I knew that the chances of me wearing the clear brace every night were slim to none.

The second option was to move my teeth with the clear aligner as before and to whiten my teeth but to also build up one tooth either side of my two front teeth using white composite which would make them look bigger and they would take up more room in the space, thus closing some of the more noticeable gaps between my teeth.  While still a quick, virtually painless and affordable way to achieve results, it would still mean that I would need to wear the retainer every night.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

My third and final option was veneers.  I could see on screen how my teeth would look if I were to have 10 or the new, almost prep-less veneers fitted and the results looked absolutely beautiful; it was as though I was looking at someone elses teeth!

The great thing about Smile Design is that you are quite literally designing your own smile, so if you want to see the impact of even the most subtle changes or treatments, you can do and if there are any changes that you'd like to be made then they can do that too, if it is possible.

With Smile Design, you're able to work with your dentist to produce a mock up of exactly what your teeth and smile will look like following treatment and gain realistic expectations over timescale and the financial cost.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

However what I wasn't prepared for was being able to actually see what I would look like myself following treatment and that as a game changer for me.  Usually, when you have a consultation for cosmetic or corrective dentistry, you can gather a vague idea of what the results will be but to be able to see exactly what you will look like with your new smile in your own mouth is absolutely incredible and something that can be achieved with Smile Design.

A gum shield style mould of how your teeth would look following treatment, created from the 3D image produced and designed with the Smile Designer, is held in place over your teeth for around 5 minutes.  It has a white solution in it that sets onto your teeth.  It isn't painful or uncomfortable in the slightest.  The dentist then removes the mould from your teeth to reveal your new smile; AMAZING!

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

This gives you a temporary look at exactly how your teeth and smile will look following treatment and that is precisely why Smile Design is so incredibly powerful.  It takes the guess work out of treatment as not only are you sat with a highly trained professional who can give you the best recommendations and advice but you're also seeing the results for yourself.

The temporary teeth are painlessly removed from the teeth and you're able to discuss any changes that you'd like to make, if any, with the dentist and smile designer so that you can ensure that you're completely happy with the results that you will achieve.  I couldn't stop looking at my smile in the mirror while I was sitting with the temporaries on and felt so emotional seeing the results.

For me, this enabled me to make my mind up immediately.  Although I'm currently saving up to buy a house and the veneers were by far the more expensive option, theres no denying how incredible I felt seeing the smile that I have longed for for 28 years right there in my own mouth.  I can't begin to tell you how powerful that is to see.  Sure, I could have opted for the clear aligners or the invisible brace with the composite filling and saved myself a considerable amount of money but nothing would be able to erase what I had seen my teeth look like, I would have only ever longed for the veneers and ended up getting them done in the future anyway.  I'd been saving for a long time to have veneers so it was worth cutting back on my spending for a couple of months and booking my appointment to get them done.

Smile Confidently with Smile Design at Ewan Bramley Dental Care Newcastle

Smile Design really is completely revolutionary and I am so impressed with how professional, bespoke and powerful the quick process is.  It took the risk, apprehension and doubt away from my decision for treatment which is so significant as I am someone who worries and gets stressed out.

I felt completely at ease and excited for my future appointments and having now completed treatment, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Ewan Bramley Dental Care to any of you who are considering cosmetic or corrective dentistry.

If you'd like to book in, give them a call on 0191 3037875.

I cannot wait to share the results with you all in my next posts!

What do you think about Smile Design?  Isn't being able to see the results before committing to treatment amazing?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Dear Rose Nymphessence Fragrance Review

Dear Rose Nymphessence Fragrance Review Image

Unique perfume meets individual design with the new Nymphessence fragrance from Dear Rose.

Launched at the end of 2016, this is the latest addition to The Song Collection and one that is sure to captivate many.  Inspired by a nymph in an enchanted forest,  Nymphessence is a woody floral fragrance, illuminated by a spicy green freshness and a touch of pink pepper.

Dear Rose Nymphessence Fragrance Review Image

Dear Rose Nymphessence Fragrance Review Image

You'll find top notes of bergamot, mandarin, pink pepper and green accords, a heart of magnolia, freesia and orange blossom and a base of amber woods and my fave, musk.

The result is light, unique and fresh.  Crisp and clear, despite the musk base, and therefore perfect for daytime but unusual enough for evening wear too.  This isn't a scent that is too overpowering or will play havoc with your date's senses over dinner.  It is an effortlessly beautiful perfume that any woman can feel confident wearing; it will enhance and enchant rather than take over.

Dear Rose Nymphessence Fragrance Review Image

Dear Rose Nymphessence Fragrance Review Image

Nymphessence is certainly a unique but wearable fragrance which are qualities that I have come to expect from Dear Rose; they never disappoint!  The individuality is even depicted in the stunning packaging, designed and decorated by French artist, Christophe Brunnquell, with those highly covetable rose gold tones.  This is certainly a perfume that will stand out on the shelves.

Fragrances from Dear Rose, Nymphessence included, are created alongside longstanding perfumer, Fabrice Pellegrin who is the creative nose behind some of the most loved Diptyque and Jo Malone perfumes.

Dear Rose are still a relatively new brand but they're one that you should certainly get to know if you're into your luxury fragrances.  Launched three years ago by founders Chantal Roos who is most well known for her work with YSL and help in creating JPG's Le Mâle and Issey Miyake, L'Eau D'Issey, and her daughter, musician Alexandra Roos, Dear Rose are to the nose what a beautiful song is to the ears.

Dear Rose Nymphessence Fragrance Review Image

Nymphessence is available to buy direct from the Dear Rose online store, as well as from Liberty London.  You can find other fragrances at Selfridges and Harrods.


What is your favourite Dear Rose Fragrance?  What do you think of Nymphessence?  Does perfume packaging influence you when making a purchase?

Sunday, 19 March 2017

How Bio Oil Helped To Fade My Scars & Stretch Marks

How Bio-Oil Helped To Fade My Scars & Stretch Marks, Scar Care Kit Review Image

One of my favourite beauty products of all time is Bio-Oil.  I've been using it since my teens and credit it as the sole product that has enabled me to get rid of the lumpy scar left by my BCG Tuberculosis vaccination and the nasty scars left on my legs and arms after being bitten by mosquitos.  I'm allergic so they tend to blister badly and scar when they eventually go; anyway, the point is, its not pretty and Bio-Oil has saved my skin from being left with those scars for life.  I'm eternally grateful for that.

With its natural plant oils and clinically proven formula, Bio-Oil can be used for a multitude of different purposes; I pop a drizzle in my bath water when I'm looking for a lazy way to moisturise and I use it to rehydrate and soften my skin after a day in the sun.  However mostly, I use it as a body oil to fade and diminish the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

How Bio-Oil Helped To Fade My Scars & Stretch Marks, Scar Care Kit Review Image

I recently went out to celebrate one of my best friends birthdays and when we got back to her house, we were all chatting as many women do about growing older, pregnancy, weight gain and loss and our secret weapons for feeling confident in our clothes, such as the huge sucky in knickers that one of my friends who has just had a baby was wearing.

We got on talking about me and where I have noticed my shape changing the most as I've been losing body fat and one of the girls commented on how faint the stretch marks are on my body.  I have A LOT of them I must admit, but what she said did make me realise that they are quite fine and lightly coloured.  The only thing that I could put it down to is the fact that I've gradually put on weight over the years so perhaps that stops them from being quite so dark (rather than increasing by several clothing sizes in a matter of months) and the fact that I've used Bio-Oil since I was in school.

I remember being in my very early teens and noticing stretch marks appearing on my body, as they do for many people of the same age, although I didn't realise this at the time as I didn't have the confidence to chat to anyone about it.  I asked my mam for a bottle of Bio-Oil as I had seen it advertised on TV and I've used it ever since.  With continued use, I've seen the marks on my body become less prominent, all while my skin has become more even in tone and nourished.

How Bio-Oil Helped To Fade My Scars & Stretch Marks, Scar Care Kit Review Image

I am by no means upset or ashamed of my body or my stretch marks, they're part of who I am and I really value and appreciate my body for all that it has done for me in life so far.  Stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of, many of us have them and whether they're light or dark, they're nothing to be hated.  The same goes for scars; from battle wounds and surgery scars to small bumps and scrapes, most of us will have at least a scar or two that give us a glimpse into our past.

However in just the same way that there's nothing wrong with having scars or stretch marks, theres nothing wrong with wanting to care for them either.  I really do have to credit Bio-Oil for the help that it has given my skin over the years to literally get rid of the lump on some of my hypertrophic scars (you can read about the BCG one in this very old blog post), to diminish the appearance of my stretch marks and to leave the skin on my body looking noticeably even in tone and nourished.

Bio-Oil is definitely the one beauty product that I will always have in my cupboard; I've been using and seeing its benefits for far too many years to ever let it go.  Even now when I damage my skin, it is the first and only product that I think to turn to help my skin to heel, repair and look its best.

How Bio-Oil Helped To Fade My Scars & Stretch Marks, Scar Care Kit Review Image

Now that Bio-Oil have released their Limited Edition Scar Care Kit, taking care of my skin will be even easier.  Inside the box is a 60ml bottle of their much loved body oil as well as a professional massage roller to enable the product to penetrate into the scar area and increase the blood circulation in that area too which will help to speed up the skins natural regeneration process.

The kit is really easy to use, regardless of whether you've used Bio-Oil before.  Simply apply the oil directly to the skin to nourish it and reduce redness and itching and then use the massage roller in circular motions for up to three minutes until the oil has absorbed into the skin.  This will help to soften and hydrate the scar tissue and hopefully accelerate the healing process.

The active ingredients, vitamins A and B will then get to work on regenerating the skin by helping to increase its elasticity and by stimulating collagen production, both of which are important elements of repairing scar tissue.  For maximum impact, Bio-Oil recommend doing this twice a day for three months.

Since I use Bio-Oil already, I continue with my daily full body application but target my scars using the massage roller and then repeat that direct application a second time later in the day rather than applying Bio-Oil all over again.  Simply because it is so nourishing that only one application day for skin nourishment is necessary for me!

The Bio-Oil Scar Care Kit is available from Boots online and in store but it is a limited edition and does keep selling out as far as I can see so if you do go online to purchase it and find that it is out of stock, keep checking back for when it is back in stock and check the availability in your local store too.

Bio-Oil itself is widely available online and in pharmacy/beauty stores on the high street too.  I've popped lots of shopping links below to make grabbing yourself a bottle even easier.


How do you feel about your scars or stretch marks? Have you tried Bio-Oil?  How did it work for you?

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Being A Plus Size Teenager & The Rise of Plus Size Fashion

Plus Size Fashion as a teenager. Yours Clothing for women and BadRhino for big and tall men review
SHOP Navy Jersey Shirt // SHOP Rose Print Trousers
Let's take a trip down memory lane...

Back to Sunderland in 2002.

Thinking back, this was one of the last years that I ever remember going into town shopping with my friends as a school teen.  I was in my second year of big school and all the girls around me were really starting to discover their style.  Well, as much as you could when over plucked brows and frosty pink lips were in fashion.

FCUK tops were very much on trend and I remember standing in their changing rooms, desperately get trying to squeeze myself into a top adorned with three repetitions of 'Bristol cities'.  I'll leave you to make your own mind up on that one but needless to say, I walked away from the store with less self esteem than I went in with and a top that I would later resign to the charity bag in the hope that it would be loved by someone else who could get it over their own Bristol cities.

Growing up as a plus size girl was hard.  I couldn't shop in any of the stores that my friends did and by my mid teens I had reached the point where getting dressed on a morning was a choice between which black tent to wear next.  With the best will in the world, it is very difficult to find your style when your local highstreet offers two plus size concessions, both of which were as drab as the other, and the internet hadn't really advanced much further than eBay.
Fast-forward to college and my first chance to treat my dad with tickets to see The Pogues in Manchester, using money I'd earned from a Saturday job.  Little did I know that travelling across the country at Christmastime for a gig would be music to my ears in more ways than one.

Taking a leisurely stroll through the Arndale Centre prompted a chance encounter with Yours Clothing.  At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me; was this really a shop with clothes suitable for those younger than 65, in sizes that would actually fit me?!

Within seconds, I was trying on half the shop; ridiculously excited at how beautiful the clothes were and overwhelmed that they were in my size.  We may not have been in New York but this was certainly my Fairytale!

Fashion plays a large part in finding and expressing your identity which is particularly important when you're growing up.  I felt as though I didn't fit in at school and it was so hard to follow the latest trends when all I had access to was Evans and Etam, the former of which seemingly designed exclusively for the elderly and the latter closed its plus size section faster than it opened.

When I found Yours Clothing, I no longer felt restricted; I could walk into a shop, be treated with kindness and respect and have more choice to choose from than I'd ever imagined.

From that day on, I searched for any excuse to travel to Manchester.  Pass Plus Driving Test, Manchester!  Girls weekend away?  You guessed it, Manchester!

I even recall doing a tour of three stores in the Yorkshire area while on our way to a caravan holiday.  We arrived several hours late, with my now husband almost completely losing the will to live but even then, he couldn't deny that it had all been worth it when he saw how amazing and confident I felt in my new outfits that weekend!

Plus Size Fashion as a teenager. Yours Clothing for women and BadRhino for big and tall men review
SHOP Navy Jersey Shirt // SHOP Rose Print Trousers
Thankfully, these days I don't need to travel far to get my Yours Clothing fix.  They're at the click of a button right from the comfort of my own home and in the three shopping centres closest to me.  Seeing their expansion from a market stall to a nationwide retailer and beyond fills me with so much happiness. With the huge choice online and the superb service in store, as well as the launch of curve ranges from some of my other favourite brands, plus size teens can now grow up feeling as stylish as their friends and women no longer need to be confined to the bland choices of the not too distant past.

Yours Clothing even have a mens brand now called BadRhino which specialise in big and tall mens fashion in sizes L to 8XL.  While women's plus size fashion has come a long way in recent years, mens still has a long way to go and I feel as though they're largely underrepresented on the high street.  There are so many guys out there that struggle to find great looking clothes that fit them and when they do, they're usually ridiculously overpriced.  Its really not fair to have to pay over the odds just because you're taller or larger than others.

I'm so impressed with the BadRhino range because its stylish yet practical and perfect for all occasions, day or night.  All of their menswear is realistically priced too; I'm talking £14 for a polo shirt unlike the £100+ that I've seen in some stores!  Plus its easy to be able to get an idea of what the item will look like in real life as BadRhino use models in a range of sizes.  You might even recognise some famous faces on their site from football legend Razor Ruddock to Game of Thrones star Kristian Nairn and Ben Whit, the UK's first big & tall male model.

I've linked some of my favourite pieces from BadRhino below if you're a man reading this, or shopping for one, as well as the pieces from Yours above that I'm wearing.  I love how easy to wear the jersey shirt and printed trousers are; definitely a staple for spring!


How did you find fashion growing up as a teen?  Have you ever felt uninspired or restricted when shopping?
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