Wednesday, 28 March 2018

What I Wore On A Spa Day At Matfen Hall To Get My Skin Ready For The Newcastle International Film Festival

yours clothing plus size blogger whatlauraloves

If there's one way I love to unwind, its a spa day.  This March, I headed to Matfen Hall to try out their Elemis Biotec Taster Facial to get my skin ready for the Newcastle International Film Festival.

I'll have a full post up soon reviewing the facial and my thoughts on whether the Radiance Renew treatment lived up to its claims but for now, I thought I'd share the outfit that I choose to wear.

*EDIT: The post is now LIVE... head to my review of the Elemis Biotec Facial in the Aqua Vitae Spa at Matfen Hall.

Yours Clothing Maxi Skirt and Black and White Striped Shirt on WhatLauraLoves Plus Size Blogger

Loose fitting, comfortable clothes are a must for me when I'm going on a spa day.  I like to feel chilled out and relaxed from the moment I get dressed that day until I go to sleep at night and I'm not going to achieve that if I'm going for a spa day in something restrictive.

I picked out my Limited Collection Black and White Striped Shirt from Yours Clothing which I sized up in for a more over sized fit.  I rarely wear shirts but this one is absolutely gorgeous thanks to the soft fabric that feels so comforting against the skin.

Worn tucked into my Yours Clothing Black Maxi Shirt, these two are a monochrome lovers dream!  Generously sized, the full length shirt is uber soft and stretchy thanks to the jersey fabric and elasticated waist.  It even has pockets which is quite unusual for a maxi skirt but a design feature that I think will make many pocket lovers happy out there!

On my feet, I have my River Island espadrilles.  You'll be seeing these a lot on my Instagram over the summer as I've just bought them while I was in London for the Princes Trust Celebrate Success Awards and I just know I'm going to get so much use out of them!

UK Plus Size Swimwear Blogger WhatLauraLoves wearing Simply Be at Matfen Hall

For around the pool, I wore my Beach To Beach Blue Bikini Top and Blue Bikini Shorts from the same range at Simply Be (I've also featured the tropical version of this bikini in this post).

I'm all about plus size bikini body confidence at home as much as I am when I'm abroad.  There's no right or wrong way to have a body and this idea of the perfect, desired bikini body doesn't exist; we all have a bikini body.

Wearing a bikini is ideal when you're going to a spa, especially if you're having a body treatment such as a scrub or a massage because you can leave your bottoms on and either take it off completely, or, if you're having a back massage, the therapist can unhook your bikini top for you so that they can massage your back uninterrupted and do it back up again for you once they're finished.

UK Plus Size Swimwear Blogger WhatLauraLoves wearing Simply Be at Matfen Hall

I love the Beach To Beach line at Simply Be because its so affordable and the fit is spot on.  These pieces are supportive, true to size, wash really well and the styling is gorgeous!  This particular set is also available as a skort, tankini top, blouson top and classic swimsuit.

I'd love to know what you wear for a spa day, let me know in the comments!
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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Springtime At The Seaside with Yours Clothing

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside... Just when its not this freezing! *sings*

Alas, I have obliged, all in the name of blog photography and cute outfits.

Now that the clocks have gone forward, I'm hoping that the weather will start to pick up too.  It was considerably warmer and sunnier today than it was when I took these photographs let me tell you so hopefully that's a sign of things to come. Here's hoping!

Anyway, back to cute outfits.


Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Its unreal how much I'm looking forward to being able to go out wearing only a light coat like the Red Coated Mac With Striped Lined Hood (totally typed MAC there and had to go back to edit it- once a beauty blogger...).

Yours Clothing have created a gem with this coat.  It is such a classic style thats always in practical fashion.  I've never had a coated mac before but I remember seeing lots of people wearing them over the years, yellow ones specifically, and always liking the style.  Especially for seaside walks.

Last summer I moved even closer to the coast but circumstances meant that I didn't have the time to fully enjoy the seaside.  Now that I'll be having a full spring and summer here, I'm really looking forward to getting outside and going for a walk along the riverside and down at the beach.  The North East is full of gorgeous places to visit on a budget and I intend to experience them to the full!


Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger


Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger


Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

There are two colour ways available; black lined with monochrome stripes and red with blue and white stripes which is the one that I have.

I'm trying to embrace more colour in my wardrobe for the spring and this is a great piece for that as it so different to all of the black coats that I have.

Red has never been a colour that I particularly liked but it seems to suit me whenever I wear it and it pairs so well with lots of my navy clothing that I can't not wear it.


Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

This short jacket is cute but functional at the same time.  Its really well made with its sturdy zip, strong poppers, especially on the front pockets, and quality fabric.  This jacket keeps me warm and dry when its raining thanks to the hood and coated fabric overall which makes it thicker and more robust than other short jackets that I have.  I was surprised at how breathable and really comfortable it is to wear.

If you're purchasing this coat or the black version, I'd suggest going for your regular size as it is true to size, unlike the light pink one from the Limited Collection that I tried on in store and found to be very small fitting.


Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

In the last year or so, I've really moved more towards plain clothing rather than the heavily patterned pieces that I've worn in the past.  The Navy Pearl Embellished Top With Split Sleeves that I wore in this outfit is the perfect piece for me as it is in a navy, almost marl effect but with pearl embellishments that add the girly touch that I really love with my outfits.

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

I'm a firm believer that daytime, casual dressing needn't be free from a little sparkle and my wardrobe is well stocked with pretty pieces and my jewellery box even more so.

Many years ago now I decided to make the switch from wearing largely costume jewellery to investing less frequently in higher quality pieces, like the Pandora rings that I'm wearing in this post.

Comfort is key too of course and that's why I've got on my trusty Indigo Blue Pull On Super Stretch Jenny Jeggings from Yours Clothing.  I have countless pairs of these as they look awesome whether I'm dressing them up or down and since they're elasticated and there's no button or zipper to content with, they're uber comfortable too.

Spring Outfit Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves UK Plus Size Blogger

Since my wardrobe doesn't feature too much red, my Michael Kors Bag and Tods esq driving shoes from TK Maxx that were both purchased many moons ago are still in pristine condition and pair beautifully with this outfit.

I wish the shoes had been available in other colours when I bought them as they're seriously lush.  If you see any more like this on your shopping travels that don't cost the earth, gimme a heads up on Twitter, please!


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*Photographer: India Jackson
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Saturday, 24 March 2018

Restoring Skin Health with Methods Including Lasers


There are a lot of ways to restore the health and general appearance of your skin when it is damaged. It doesn't matter if that damage comes from scars, sun exposure, or the natural ageing process. Treatments exist for all of those issues. What does matter is figuring out the treatment that suits you, but that can be quite difficult because of the sheer number of options and all of the different marketing and advertising campaigns that surround them.

The skincare industry is constantly growing and new treatments and services are becoming available all of the time, but some skin treatments have stood the test of time. In todays post, I'm sharing some brief descriptions of some of the best ways to restore skin health, including laser treatment!

Clinical Exfoliation Techniques for Your Skin
One way to restore your skin health is through exfoliation. Exfoliation is a fancy term for removing debris from the outermost layers of your skin. If left there that debris can clog your pores and lead to breakouts, acne and other skin problems. Exfoliation techniques can also include the removal of part of the outer skin layer itself, which is mostly composed of dead or dying cells.  I've always noticed how much brighter my skin looks when I've had a treatment that removes the dead skin cells!

One of the most common clinical exfoliation techniques is a chemical peel.  The peel process involves using a special combination of chemicals to exfoliate the skin.  I had one at Dr Giorgia Ratta's clinic in Harley Street a couple of years ago that I reviewed in this post and I can honestly say that it was the best peel and micro-needling experience that I've ever had as it made such an incredible  difference to my skin.

However if you would prefer to avoid the use of chemicals on your skin, you could try microdermabrasion which would resurface the skin in a far more gentle way without downtime.  This means that you can pop an appointment in your diary without having to plan your life around the skins recovery process.

Microdermabrasion uses a vacuum and micro crystals in a wand that is moved across the skin to slough away dead skin cells.  I've never found it to hurt at all and I've been able to go about my day as usual afterwards.  My skin always looks brighter after a microdermabrasion treatment and my skincare is absorbed so much more effectively into my skin.

Lasers for Exfoliation and Other Restorative Processes
Lasers can also be used for exfoliation. If you undergo a laser procedure as a cosmetic treatment for surface skin imperfections it is likely that the treatment will be a laser peel.  Laser peels strip away debris just as microdermabrasion and chemical peels do.  However, they use light and heat instead of chemicals or abrasive techniques.

Lasers can also be used to restore your skin in many other ways. Some lasers are even capable of treating every layer of your skin instead of just the part you can see. They do that by heating up cells and causing skin strengthening collagen molecules to gravitate towards each other. Simultaneously they encourage additional collagen production. The eventual effect can make your skin look tighter, more youthful or give it a healthier glow.


Topical Treatments to Restore the Skin
Of course, I can't be forgetting topical treatments that can be used to restore the skin, aka skincare!  Topical treatments for skin health include facial masks, scrubs, oils and serums, lotions and creams and in my opinion, they're best used together as part of a skincare routine.  Any laser, microdermabrasion, peel or other skin treatment will only work so far as you will need a good skincare regime at home to maintain the effects and to bring about even more improvements to your skin.

While some will have immediate effects, I find that skincare products are best used continuously over time to be able to appreciate the full results and have the biggest impact on your skin.  There's tonnes of skincare reviews on my blog as its an area of beauty that I'm so passionate about.

Restoring Skin Health Through Surgical Intervention
Surgery is certainly a popular way to restore skin health in some circles, but popularity doesn't make it the best option. I'm a big believer in each to their own and doing what makes you truly happy in life, so if someone wanted to have surgery such as a face lift then that choice is down to them and them alone.  However I think that it would be a shame to go to such severe lengths without exploring the other treatment options available first.  There are so many ways to improve the appearance of the skin that don't have the health risks, preparation and recovery time and cost implications that come with surgery.

*Editorial
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Friday, 23 March 2018

How To Make Your Airport Experience Less Stressful


My feet weren't meant to stay on the ground for too long.  I work so hard and save up so that I can go on holiday regularly and really experience life rather than be surrounded by lots of stuff.  There's nothing I love more than to travel the world, see new sights and learn about other places and people.

Travelling is second nature for me as I've jumped on a plane to jet off all over the world in my adult life but when I go to the airport I always seen couples and families stressed to hell with the airport experience.

To make your pre-holiday and airport experience smooth and straightforward, I'm putting together my top tips for stress free travel!


STORAGE
Always keep your passport and photocopy, travel insurance documents (if you have annual cover), airport lounge passes, EHIC, spare travel money and any other paperwork that you always take with you when you travel together in a folder in a designated drawer so that you always know where it is.  When you book a trip, print out the tickets, boarding passes and any other information as soon as its available and store it with these items then everything is together and you'll not be hunting around for it when you're packing your cases.

When storing suitcases, keep the corresponding luggage bags, tags and padlocks with their keys and combination reminders (I write the digits on a bit of paper, keep them with the padlock and then leave the paper at home when I go away) inside the respective suitcases.  I also keep the items that I only use on holiday such as my Tempur travel pillow, my eye mask and electrical plug adaptors in one of my hand luggage cases too.  Effective storage in between trips makes packing so much easier!

Bikini from Simply Be

SHOPPING & WASHING
Since I travel quite often throughout the year, I've usually got enough weather appropriate clothes for each trip without having to go out to buy more but if that's not the case for you, make sure you do your shopping in advance; don't leave it until a couple of days before your holiday to go out to buy your swimwear.  Give yourself enough time and wash and iron everything in advance too so that its hung up or folded up ready to just be put into your case when you're packing a couple of days before.

My favourite SPF from Clarins
I always save my travel and sample sized beauty products in separate drawers for hair, face and body so that when I'm packing my toiletries, I can just shop my stash and since I use Clarins and Lancaster SPF, I replenish my stocks at the airport anyway because its cheaper in duty free.

I know some people who pack a week in advance of their trip but its just not necessary for me because everything is stored effectively and good to go.  A day or two before my flight is all that's needed for me.

TRAVEL MONEY
I tend to order my travel money online because that's where the better rates tend to be.  I'd recommend doing this at least one week before your flight so that you have time for it to be delivered to your home.


TRANSPORT
Plan your journey ahead of time, especially if you're travelling to an airport that you've not flown from before.  Plenty of airports have local and national bus and rail services going to them or of course you could arrange a lift from a friend or relative or book a taxi.

I tend to drive to the airport when I travel because I like being in control of how and when I'll get there, I like the ease of being able to put all of my things into the car before I have to leave and I like to be able to get home quickly when I arrive back from my trip.  I always book my parking online at least 2 weeks before I travel, unless its literally a last minute trip, as I find that's when I'll get the best deals.

When you're searching online, you can find the parking services and information for all of the major airports which makes things so much easier and then there's usually a form to fill in and they'll give you a price on screen within seconds.  For example, if I were flying from Birmingham Airport, I'd go onto birminghamparking.com and then prebook the best parking from whatever terminal I'm flying from.  Once booked, all of the parking information like where to find the carpark and the process for checking your car in is all emailed to you with a confirmation number so there's no panicking on the day about trying to find a space!

CHECKING IN
If your airline allows you to, check in online and fill out all of the API (advanced passenger information) on the travel companies website too.  It makes the whole process so much more speedy as you can print your boarding passes out at home and just drop your cases off at the bag drop before your flight.  Some airlines even allow you to drop your bags the night before which is ideal if you're staying in an airport hotel over night... which, you've guessed it, I would book online in advance too!

I'd also recommend downloading the travel app associated with your airline as these usually have plenty of useful features on them.

SPECIAL ASSISTANCE
If you or someone you're travelling with will require special assistance at the airport, such as early or priority boarding or a wheel chair, then call the relevant number for your airline before your trip, giving them as much notice as they can so that they're able to make arrangements for you.  That way, you can focus on packing without stressing and worrying about what will happen when you get to the airport.  When you drop your bags off at the check in desk, you can go straight to the special assistance desk afterwards and its all plain sailing from there!

Bikini from Simply Be

SECURITY
Make going through security a breeze by checking online to see the current restrictions, dos and don'ts.  As a general guide, make sure that all of your liquids are under 100ml in size and kept in a clear plastic bag (I have one that I reuse for each trip and keep it in my suitcase when storing it) and that all of your electrical tech items such as your laptop, iPad, mobile phone, etc are within easy reach in your bag as these need to be removed and put through the scanners in a separate tray rather than inside your bag.

AIRPORT LOUNGE
Its a good idea to book yourself into the airport lounge in advance too so that you can ensure you'll get a spot.  There's usually free food, drinks and reading materials on offer so once you've dropped your bags off, headed through security and done a spot of duty free shopping, you can make your way there to relax before your flight.  Stress free and excited for takeoff!

What are your top tips to make going on holiday less stressful?
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection!

#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

On chilly days in early spring, I often catch myself daydreaming of two of the things I'm most passionate about in life; number one, holidays in hot, sunny climates and two, the clothes that I'd wear there.  Nothing makes me smile more than exploring somewhere new in the sunshine!

Fashion and vacays go hand in hand like bikinis and swimming pools, so when I heard that not only had Curvissa launched their happiest summer collection yet but that they were also running a competition for one of their one lucky fashionistas to win £1000 of TUI holiday vouchers, I knew I had to tell you all about it!

Curvissa's new #EMBRACINGME competition invites entrants to celebrate what they're most proud of about themselves.


#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Perhaps you've got the promotion you've worked so hard for or maybe you're an awesome mam who can juggle packed lunches, after school clubs and homework with your eyes shut.  Maybe you're loving the hobby you never thought you'd try out, have a fantastic talent or that you've passed a test you've been studying for.

You could be loving your curves in the new outfit you've built the confidence to wear or you could have raised money for a charitable cause.  It could be anything in your life, as long as it fills you with confidence and leaves you bursting with pride!


#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

WHAT AM I MOST PROUD OF?

Well, you're reading it; my blog.


By #EMBRACINGME, I am able to inspire others to embrace themselves too!


#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

Many years ago now, I realised that I had lived much of my life feeling like a second class citizen because of my weight.  Rather than genuinely loving myself for who I am, I inwardly judged myself and focused on my insecurities relating to my clothing size, weight and my body shape.  My life was flying by so quickly but rather than truly living it, I was spending my years putting on a massive front, trying to deflect attention away from my tummy and doing my best to avoid jibes from others around me.

Being bullied as a child can do that to you and going into adulthood I'd often find myself apologising, excusing or justifying myself when really it wasn't necessary.  Childhood can be cruel but you cant spend the rest of your life thinking that everyone will judge you or pick on you because of your size.  I was fed up of being held back by what I perceived was the opinion of others, when really, the only opinion that mattered was my own.

I decided that I had two choices; to live the rest of my life in a shell or to embrace who I am, stand up and be counted.  I chose the latter.


#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

I quit with the negative self talk, embraced who I am and learned to love every inch of myself from the inside out.  When I stopped caring about what others thought about me and focused my mindset on caring for myself, my life really began.  Truly understanding that I have just as much right to love the skin that I'm in as anyone else does really changed my life for the better.  I love my body now and through my blog, I'm inspiring others to love theirs too.

My content has very much grown with me over the years and if you've been reading or following me on Instagram for a long time then I'm sure you'll have seen some of that journey towards body confidence and loving myself, exactly as I am in this moment.  I'm happier than I've ever been and its always amazing to me when people who follow me can see that and acknowledge it.  Sure its amazing to work with so many incredible brands and inspiring people but what fills me with the most pride is to hear from those who have joined me on my journey and how my blog or social media have helped them in some way.


#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

This year, I started posting bikini and underwear photos and I struggle to put into words how incredible it feels to have women message me to say they've bought their first bikini because they were inspired by my Instagram.

I love sharing snaps from my travels and when women message me to ask questions about travelling as a plus size person, I always take the time to be as helpful in my reply as I can because I know how it feels to lie awake at night sick at the thought of something that should be so exciting, just because of my size.  Over the years, women have messaged me with images from their holiday and told me about how my reply to them really helped them to feel so much more at ease and confident about going on holiday.  One lady was even dreading going on her honeymoon before we chatted and that's when I really understood the importance of sharing my story online.  Regardless of whether or not you're a blogger, I think as women we should be collectively supporting and inspiring one another.

We're all on this planet to live girls and thats exactly what we should do!

#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

By #embracingme, I have been able to live a life that's happier and more fulfilled than I ever could when I didn't love myself.  I'm so passionate about sharing that incredible feeling and I'm really proud that my blog can help others to embrace who they are too.  

The thought of other women going on holiday this year and feeling awesome in their swimwear around the pool, inspired in some way by my content, is best feeling in the world.

I love how fashion because of how it makes me feel.  The right outfit can have a significant impact on your mood, confidence and how you go about your day.  I'm a big believer in being the best version of yourself and choosing clothes that not only enable you to feel confident and put together but comfortable and relaxed too.  The outfit that I'm wearing from the new summer collection at Curvissa is a great example of that.

The Sheego Printed Floral Trousers together with the Sheego Frill Hem Long Top coordinate with each other so well thanks to the dark blue colour that runs through both of them.  The floral trousers are made from a stretchy jersey material with an elasticated waistband which makes them incredibly comfortable  to move about in while the slim fit style ensures that they create a great shape and silhouette.  The longline top is equally as comfortable to wear and just as stylish as the trousers with the little design features like the detail on the short sleeves and the frilled hem.  Together, they make the perfect spring summer outfit whether you're having fun at a fair, going for coffee with friends or shopping in a village at home or on holiday.

Perhaps one of the women reading my blog will have a helping hand towards their summer holiday this year if they were to enter and win Curvissa's competition!
#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger


HOW TO ENTER


If you want to be in with a chance of winning £1000 of TUI holiday vouchers, all your have to do is to tell Curvissa what you are proud of and how you are #embracingme.

Enter on the Curvissa Facebook Page using the form or post about what you're embracing or post on your own Instagram or Twitter account and include @Curvissa and the competition hashtags #EMBRACINGME and #FEELGOOD within the caption.

The competition runs until 30th June 2018 and full terms and conditions can be found on the Curvissa competition page.

Throughout the competition, Curvissa are also going to be selecting some of their favourite entries to go into a gallery on their website to showcase all of the amazing women who are embracing themselves!


#EMBRACINGME With Curvissa & Their New Plus Size Summer Collection! WhatLauraLoves Blogger

SHOP MY CURVISSA OUTFIT


How are you #EMBRACINGME? Don't forget to enter the Curvissa competition on social media!


*This post has been sponsored by Curvissa. All opinions are my own.
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Monday, 19 March 2018

Lee Stafford Bleach BLEAch BLondes Hair Care Review

Lee Stafford Bleach BLEAch BLondes Hair Care Review

When I was in comprehensive school, the hair care brand that I lusted after was always Lee Stafford.   From its very first launch, the bright, bold, pink packaging on the shelves reeled me in.  I bought my first bottles with my pocket money when I was about 13/14 and I've been using it on and off ever since.

Lee Stafford are the brand that I've bought products from for the longest time and I love that they constantly deliver fabulous results after every wash.

Lee Stafford Bleach BLEAch BLondes Hair Care Review WhatLauraLoves UK Beauty Blogger

My hair is naturally a mid blonde but it is warm toned whereas I prefer my hair to be a cooler blonde.  I've gone for a variety of different cool blonde looks over the last couple of years since I've been going to the incredible Loreal Pro salon, Frances Marshall in Sunderland.

Up until last month, I was getting a full head of pre lightener (the none scary name for bleach) with the L’Oreal Metallics Ash Blonde Colour (INCREDIBLE- 3 parts tone to one part colour) with my Smartbond treatment in.  From my last visit, I've started to have a darker ash blonde colour applied throughout my hair with just a few highlights across the top section, followed by a toner and of course, the L'Oreal Smartbond treatment.  Frances Marshall use Smartbond in EVERY colour to keep the hair bonds as healthy and strong as they can be when you're having colour treatments!  These salon professional colour and toning products neutralise the warmth in my hair and give my hair the ash blonde colour and tone that I love but maintaining that at home is really important so that I can enjoy my colour for longer.

Since my hair naturally kicks out a lot of warmth, I've really had to try lots of different silver/purple shampoos and conditioners over the years to see what works for me.  There are plenty of posts on my blog on shampoo and conditioner recommendations for ash blonde hair and today I'm going to share with you another that I've used for a good couple of years now, ever since I saw Mikhila talk about it on Twitter and Youtube and thats the Lee Stafford BLEAch BLondes range from Boots.


Lee Stafford Bleach BLEAch BLondes Hair Care Review WhatLauraLoves UK Beauty Blogger

Since going to the salon is a luxury, in between visits I use a range of products to keep my hair looking and feeling its best; generally thats a colour toning product once a week with nourishing hair care in between.

The Lee Stafford BLEAch BLondes hair care range is absolutely fantastic for prolonging my colour and never fails to make my hair look beautifully ash blonde.

The BLEAch BLondes Shampoo and Conditioner is a genius range that was created especially for hair that is bleached whether that's a full head, highlights or a fashion colour.  It promises no more brassiness, fade or breakage, just beautiful blonde hair that dazzles and shines.


Lee Stafford Bleach BLEAch BLondes Hair Care Review WhatLauraLoves UK Beauty Blogger

The BLEAch BLonde Shampoo is a moisturising shampoo that lightly tones, refreshes and restores my blonde hair to the beautiful pure ash salon colour I love.  I use it as I would any other shampoo; massage through wet hair and rinse.  Sometimes, if my hair is looking particularly warm, perhaps if I've been out in the sun on holiday, then I'll leave it on for a couple of minutes but not any longer.

Usually when you leave blonde shampoos on longer than you directed, you get temporary violet tones, however, I found out by mistake that with these products you get a temporary pink tone to your hair. In all fairness, I actually really liked the effect this gave to my hair and it was perfect for a week or so before it washed out during the summer, but to combat this make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Lee Stafford are hair experts and know what they are talking about!

This shampoo contains purple pigment that prevents blonde hair turning brassy, or canary yellow. The combination of Lee Stafford's Pro-Blonde complex of panthenol, chamomile and moringa seed extract, are a fusion of multi-tasking ingredients that help keep hair squeaky clean, while encouraging natural shine to truly glow so that it doesn't feel stripped or dry after use like some toning hair care ranges can. This shampoo offers 21st century colour protection, which promises to help stop your hair colour from fading with heat styling, sunlight and damaged caused by UV.

Its amazing how much your hair colour can fade even from just straightening it as the heat causes havoc so even if you're not wanting to be ash blonde like me, if you hair is coloured then you really need to be using hair care that prevents colour fade.

After the shampoo, I apply the the BLEAch BLonde Conditioner which helps to ensure the hair colour is locked in and stays moisturised, sleek and silky soft. Using this as part of the BLEAch BLonde regime helps to ensure your hair looks healthy, glossy, sleek and smooth.  I love the way my hair feels after using this conditioner as it leaves it feeling so soft without weighing it down and causing my oily hair to become greasy more quickly!

There's also the Lee Stafford Moisturising Treatment from this brand to use once a week if you feel as though you're wanting a deep hair treatment for extra moisturise and repair.  I haven't used it before but I've been told great things from a fellow ash blondie!


Lee Stafford Bleach BLEAch BLondes Hair Care Review WhatLauraLoves UK Beauty Blogger

In addition to the shampoo and conditioner, there’s also the Lee Stafford BLEAch BLonde Tone Correcting Conditioning Spray.  You simply spray the lightweight mist onto damp hair after every other wash and comb through which is easy to do as it feels quite conditioning and almost detangling in the hair.

This spray contains violet pigments that are designed to combat the brassy yellow tones that I don't love and it just leave a much more icy, cool look on platinum and ash blonde hair.  It isn't strong enough to use on its own without a toning shampoo and conditioner but really boosts the effect of these and the appearance of the hair when used as part of a colour protecting and toning hair care routine.

I absolutely love Lee Stafford products and the BLEAch BLonde range is one of the best, super strength ones out there in the shops and the one that I consistently go back to.  It never fails to make my hair look beautifully ash blonde!

The full Lee Stafford range is available at Boots and they often have 3 for 2 offers on, so you can get the full routine for less.

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

How To Set Goals To Improve Your Life & What Works For Me // with Plus Size Spring Outfit Inspiration

Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

When I first drafted this post, the new year was fast approaching and if you are anything like me, then you'd have been looking ahead to your goals for 2018.  Not everyone thinks upon a new year as a fresh start but I like to.  January 1st marks the first page of a 365 day book for me and in 2018, I fully intended to seize everyday.

Now we're into March and I'm chuckling to myself because life really does have a funny way of working out for the best if you work at it; sometimes its about being a little selfish and sticking to your guns.  Despite some awesome highs, January was a massive let down for me and it saw the things I wanted to achieve, especially around my stress levels, anxiety and well-being becoming heightened rather than improved however I kept my focus in my career and private life, looked to the positives and low and behold, by the end of February, I was singing my way into March a much happier, more fulfilled me.


Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

While I don't want to speak too soon, I really feel as though things in my life are looking up for me and I'm the happiest I've been in a really long time across the board.

I've had my eyes opened to those who don't have my best interests at heart and have streamlined my inner circle of trust, been freed from work that was holding me back and causing more stress than it was benefitting me financially and I've finally taken a day off.  Life feels great!


Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

The key really is to set specific goals for the aspects of your life that you want to work on, track and monitor them closely and to never lose sight of what you really want. 

Its so easy to get carried away with setting too many goals and making so many resolutions that they become unrealistic.  A couple of years ago, I decided to scrap all of the lists of resolutions I'd tried and failed at and made the resolution to NEVER make another bloody new years resolution again.

Instead, I set one very clear goal and smashed it.  Keeping focused on that one goal enabled me to change my life for the better over the last two years and although I've faced some of the toughest challenges of my life so far, I really believe that I'm living my best life now.  Perhaps one day I'll write all about it on my blog but for now, I'm continuing on my journey with my next goals which all feed into my overall aim in life; to be happy.

At the moment I'm focusing on creating a work/life balance and a big thing that will enable me to achieve that is being stable financially.  I work so much that I finished last year really craving just one day off where I could wake up without my alarm and I really wanted to experience the feeling of being bored because to be quite honest, I can't remember the last time I actually was bored and didn't have anything to do, worry about or think about!


Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

From what I've learnt, when choosing your goal for the year ahead, I'd really suggest focusing on your life now and what you want to do to improve your life for your future happiness.  Instant gratification is all well and good but how do you guarantee that happiness in the years to come?


Striking a balance between living and enjoying your life now and continuing to love it in the future is key.


Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

Once you've decided on what it is that you really want and need in your life, then you need to look at the steps that you can take to achieve that goal and when, realistically, you'll be able to achieve it by.

Don't set yourself up to fail by giving yourself too short a timespan to achieve your target.  If, for example, you want to learn a new language then think about it this way; you didn't learn English overnight so you're not going to become completely fluent in a new language after one class either.  Anything that you really want in life requires hard work, dedication and focus.  Stick at it because in the end, you'll thank yourself for it.

Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

Being knowledgeable about whatever it is that you want to achieve is really important because it'll enable you to make more informed choices and plan the steps towards your goal more effectively because you'll know exactly whats involved in achieving it.

Take it slow and do your research.  For example, if you're trying to eat more healthily or perhaps you're wanting to save money by eating or preparing food at home rather than going out, have a look online and consult others for the best way to do things.  For me, I used to spend a lot of money eating out so when I needed to rein that spending in, I started researching the best meals to make at nighttime for dinner that I could then enjoy cold on the move or reheat the next day for my lunch, then I looked at the Tupperware that would be the best option to carry it in but for the best price so that I could keep my spending to a minimum and not sabotage my financial goals.  Its generally not a good idea to ruin one goal while trying to achieve another!

Another example was when I was doing my first big food shop for my apartment.  The first one is always more costly and far larger than you expect it to be because if you're starting from scratch then you need all of the essentials that you wouldn't necessarily buy every week like sea salt, cooking oil, herbs and spices.

My focus was on creating healthy, delicious meals that were dairy free while sticking to a budget so that I could achieve my financial goals.  To help me, I decided that if I was starting fresh then I would buy only the things that I really needed to create the meals that I would usually make, rather than buying a jar of a random spice that I'll only use once before it'll sit unused in the cupboard for the rest of eternity!

Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

Visualising your goals really helps too whether thats with a vision board with images of what your life will be like when you've reached your goal, how you'll feel and what your goal will look like to you, a chart if you're more of an analytical person or a spreadsheet; use whatever works best for you.

The great thing about having something visual is that you can see at a glance where you're up to and how far you've got to go.  If saving money is your aim then even simply drawing a piggy bank divided up into different milestones that you can colour in when you reach each one can be a great motivator.

Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

When you've broken your goal down into the steps that you need to take to achieve it, you need to make sure that each of these mini goals is tangible and timely.  That is to say, they need to be something that you can track and measure so that you know whether you're on course to completing them on time.

More importantly still, you need to be able to see if you're not getting to where you want to be so that you can reassess your goals and get back on track.


Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

I find that setting smaller goals as part of a bigger objective actually motivates me even more because I feel increasingly successful with each little goal I hit.  The more successful I feel, the more I'm spurred on to achieve the next goal.  Its all about mindset!

Don't forget to reward yourself when you achieve your mini goals but make sure its not counterproductive to your end goal.  For example, if like me you're trying to become more financially secure, don't reward yourself by splashing the cash on an expensive handbag just because you've hit your savings goal!  Positive reinforcement is great but don't lose sight of what you want to achieve overall!

Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves
When I used to make resolutions, I found that they'd become a ticklist for the things that I was going to fail at in the first week of January and by March, well I'd have usually punished myself with negative self talk and would be in an even worse place than I was before the year had even begun.

Don't make the same mistakes as I did in the past.  If your 2018 hasn't got off to the best of starts, draw a line under it and focus on the future; its yours for the taking!!


Goal setting and plus size spring fashion by whatlauraloves

Streamline your goals, focus on whatever you want to achieve this year and SMASH IT!

Let me know how you get on :)  Oh and if you love my springtime outfit, you'll find all of the links below.

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What are your goals for 2018? How are you getting on with them so far?  What spring outfits are you most looking forward to wearing?


*Photographs taken by Mark Dawson at the beautiful The Alnwick Garden
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