Sunday, 22 April 2018

PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver: An Affordable Way To Maintain Your Ash Blonde Hair

PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Shampoo and Conditioner Review

Let me take you back to last summer when I first took the plunge and finally went full ash blonde with my hair.  Since my hair is naturally a fairly light warm blonde, achieving the ash tone I wanted involved a long trip to top Sunderland hair dressers, Frances Marshall and a fresh supply of toning haircare products to maintain the look back home.

Back then, I opted for the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver range which is the UK's No.1 purple shampoo that can brighten your blonde hair in just one wash!  I've been using it on and off for many years now as an affordable way to maintain the desired tone of my blonde hair, from when I first started to get a full head of highlights to last summer when I went all ash blonde.  Now I've tried out all of these products here and used the last drops so I thought I'd share with you what I thought about them and how I maintained my cool toned look.

The salon visit full head of pre-lightener with protecting Smartbond followed by an ash blonde L'Oréal Professionnel colour and then a toner to neutralise the warmth and a second toner to tone the hair ash and I was ready to leave the salon with the cool toned locks I'd always dreamed of... but that wasn't going to be the end of my ash blonde hair care.

Despite being a natural blonde with relatively fair hair, the ash blonde is classed as a high maintenance colour for me because my hair kicks out so much warmth.  Those warm tones need to be neutralised and usually, or so I found, that meant a return trip to the salon for a second colour and tone as often it could wash up after the first salon visit.  This is to be expected when you're dealing with hair thats been bleached as the cuticles are dramatically raised, making the hair more porous so it doesn't retain the colour that's then applied on top very effectively.  Since the second colour is completed without any bleach, the hair usually grabs onto the colour with much better results.


UK Blogger WhatLauraLoves promoting the TSB Pride Of Britain Awards 2017 in Newcastle in a Mini Cooper
My hair when I first had a full head of pre-lightener and ash blonde from my post with TSB and Pride of Britain
Maintaining the ash blonde tone doesn't stop with a second salon visit as a full aftercare routine is needed at home to keep the brassy, warm tones at bay which is essential when you've spent so long getting your hair to that hair colour.

There are countless products on the market for toning the hair while cleansing and conditioning it and PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver is one of the more well known brands at the affordable end of the spectrum.  I've been using their products on my hair for years, quite possibly longer than I've actually been blogging, as even when I only had highlights, I still loved my hair to be a cooler tone.

I bought my first ever bottle of Touch Of Silver from Boots on the recommendation of countless friends and my hairdresser at the time.  Over the years they've expanded their range which is great to see and while I've tried out other brands, they're definitely one that I'm happy to go back to, especially if I'm feeling the pinch and looking for more affordable hair care.


PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Shampoo and Conditioner Review

The Touch of Silver range can be used on blonde, platinum, white or grey hair to keep it looking bright and salon fresh.  A lot of products that you'll find that neutralise the yellow or brassy tones in hair are purple in colour and Touch Of Silver is no different.  That's because it works with the colour wheel and since violent tones are on the opposite side of the spectrum to the yellow, brassy colours, they neutralise them.

While I'm very familiar with the shampoos and conditioners this time around I used the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Pre-Toning Primer which is designed for very dry, damaged or bleached hair.  While I do always have L'Oreal Smartbond applied when I have my colour done, if you're having bleach applied to your hair, its going to encounter some damage that's for sure so even if it looks healthy, it wont be as healthy as hair that hasn't been chemically treated.

The Pre-Toning Primer is designed to be used as part of a three step routine with the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Brightening Shampoo and the Intensive Conditioner of which it is the first initial step.  Application is simple, just spritz through the hair before shampooing.

It is designed to prepare the hair for the toning treatment that the shampoo and conditioner provides by smoothing the cuticles of the hair.  I do find that the other products work just as well without this step so if you don't want to go to the extra expense then I think that you can skip this product but it does have other uses.

The Pre-Toning Primer can also be used as a leave in conditioner as the last step in your in-shower hair care routine because it has a moisturising and strengthening formula that detangles, protects and locks in intense shine.  It also helps to protect against the formation of split ends from the first use.  I personally see the benefit of this much more as a leave-in conditioner than as a pre-toning treatment.  So my suggestion would be to try it and do whatever works for you!

The PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Brightening Shampoo and Touch Of Silver Intensive Conditioner however do exactly what they say on the bottle.  The shampoo contains violet pigments that do an incredible job at neutralising brassy yellow tones in the hair and literally work from the very first wash.  I would apply this as I would do any shampoo but I'd leave it on my hair for a few minutes, perhaps while doing a body scrub, before washing it out.

The bottle does say that you can leave it on for up to 5 minutes which I have tried before and the effect was a lot more intense and I had some gorgeous silver tones in my hair afterwards but the look that I usually go for is a less silvery grey and more ash blonde.  While the bottle suggests 2 times a week use, this was too much for me and I'd use it on every third wash which is more like once a week or just over for me and that was more than enough to maintain my colour.

The PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Intensive Conditioner is a great follow up to the brightening shampoo because it contains restorative proteins that target dry, damaged and colour treated hair to leave it smoother and more nourished.  It has a nourishing blend of anti-ageing properties, optical brighteners and a keratin complex that aims to rebuild the hair and protect its structure to make it healthier and shinier.  I would leave this conditioner on for far longer than the shampoo, say for 5 to 8 minutes while I shave, and it would leave my hair soft but not weighed down once I'd washed it out.  It isn't a conditioner that is intense enough for me to use alone, I still need to use a hair mask once a week and my Smartbond treatment but it is a great every wash conditioner.

Together, these two would leave my hair looking bright, shiny and super ash blonde!

PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Shampoo and Conditioner Review
For the days when you're not using the other shampoo and conditioner, the brand have developed the daily use PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Colour Care Shampoo to cleanse and care and the Colour Care Conditioner to moisturise and shine.

The shampoo is designed to gently cleanse the hair to keep the colour looking bright and to prevent dulling and colour build-up, ultimately protecting the look achieved with the other shampoo.  It contains anti-oxidants and optical brighteners that boost shine and the formula works to safeguard your hair colour by protecting it against environmental pollution.  The result is clean hair that feels renewed without any stripping feeling whatsoever.

UK Beauty Blogger WhatLauraLoves with ash blonde hair from Sunderland salon Frances Marshall
My ash blonde hair after the second colour and tone in an image from a Yours Clothing outfit post
The PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Colour Care Conditioner is the perfect accompaniment to the shampoo as it moisturises the hair right to the tips which helps with damage by smoothing the texture and leaving it with a silky finish.  This product also contains optical brighteners to boost the shine and vibrancy of the hair colour, further preventing dulling.  After I use this conditioner, my hair feels soft and looks in great condition.

I would use the two together once a week say on every second wash, with the intense shampoo and conditioner on every third and then on the other wash and condition in my rotation, I'd use a really nourishing shampoo and my Smartbond treatment or hair mask.  The cycle of one wash and condition to nourish and treat  for healthy locks, one to remove the brassy tones and give me the colour I love and one to maintain that colour seems to really work for me.

PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Intensive Keratin Treatment Shots

While I'm very well accustomed to the shampoo and conditioner from Touch Of Silver, last summer was my first time trying out something new that I hadn't used from them before; the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Intensive Keratin Treatment Shots.

They come in a pack of three and can be used either as a one-off pick me up or as part of a regular hair routine.  I intended to use these once a week but I found that they didn't work well with my hair so stopped using them after the first shot.

The Intensive Keratin Treatment Shots are designed as an intensive rescue to repair damaged hair leaving it softer, smoother, straighter and easier to style.  However I found that this product did the opposite to my hair and it left it feeling dry and a little brittle which wasn't easier to style.  I find that dryness is indicative of a lot of Keratin treatments so whether they just don't work for me, I don't know but I wouldn't recommend the shots on the back of this.  Plus using the shots is a bit of a faff on as you have to mix the solution with warm water, whereas I do prefer products that are already mixed and ready to go.  However I do think that the shampoos and conditioners are great for toning ash blonde hair on a budget.

If you want to keep your locks more of a cool, ash tone then you really do need a purple/violet/silver (or whatever you want to call it!) shampoo and conditioner and if you're on a budget or not wanting to spend a lot of money on your haircare, especially as salon visits are usually so pricey, then the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver range is a great option to go for.

If you're looking to compare purple/silver shampoos and want to check out some of my other reviews, then let me point you in the direction of the following:


If the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver range takes your fancy then you can shop it online and instore at Superdrug and Boots.

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What are your favourite haircare products?  Do you maintain the tone of your hair at home? I'd love to know what you use!
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

5 Steps To Enjoy A Spring Morning

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

Finally, the clocks have gone forward and the lighter mornings are here to stay... for now!

There's something about the spring and summer AM that has me waking up with more energy and an even greater zest for life.

I am by no means a morning person but when the sun is in the sky and I'm not rushing around, I certainly have a far more relaxed, enjoyable morning before I have to head out the door to work and you can too with these 5 steps to enjoy a spring morning...

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

1. WAKE UP EARLY

All great mornings start the night before with an early night, after prepping your bag and clothes for the morning, doing your skincare and setting an alarm.

I like to use my Lumie Bodyclock because it gradually gets lighter half an hour before my alarm is due to go off which helps to wake me up much more naturally.

In the dead of winter, I'm rarely up early but in the warmer months, I love to seize the day and get up a good hour or two before I actually need to leave the house.  This means that I can get what I need to done and I'm not rushing around, especially if I'm going to work as I find that if I start my morning more relaxed then I'm more prepared for work by the time that I get there.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ SPF 30 and Unifant Tinted Moisturiser

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ SPF 30 and Unifant Tinted Moisturiser

2.  GET REFRESHED

I enjoy my mornings  most when I have time for a refreshing shower and a little pamper.  I tie my hair up, jump in and use a minty or citrus shower gel to start to pull me around into reality.  After using my mintiest toothpaste to really wake me up, I move onto my skincare.

Setting aside time to do my skincare is one of my favourite ways to start my day.  Pampering my skin is so enjoyable; I cleanse (currently using this Elemental Herbology cleanser), tone, apply my serum and then moisturise.

Right now, its a choice between two lightweight bases and they're both from La Roche-Posay.

First up, theres the daytime moisturiser that I go when I'm going to be wearing make up for the day and that's the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ SPF 30 which is great for correcting imperfections while giving you some sun protection too.  If you're wanting to correct skin imperfections then you need to be concerned about the sun too as daily UV exposure can lead to hyper pigmentation and premature skin ageing!

This moisturiser is ideal for oily skin like mine or for those who have blemish prone skin as it helps to clear blocked pores to reduce blackheads.  It feels really lightweight on the skin, doesn't clog the pores and it is free from parabens.  There's Niacinamide in the formula which purifies the skin, an LHA solution that exfoliates and Salicylic Acid which helps to draw out impurities and repair damaged cells on the surface of the skin.  I like to wear this moisturiser on days when I'm going to be wearing makeup because it leaves my skin looking and feeling soft, shine free and makeup sits really nicely on top of it.


How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

On days when I'm not wanting to wear makeup, which is A LOT of the time, then I like to wear the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Unifant Tinted Moisturiser which is available in light and medium of which I use the latter when I've got a little bit of a tan.  I wish they'd bring out a dark shade for the darker skinned beauties out there as I'm sure so many girls would love it!

Essentially, its a tinted version of the other one that I use but without the SPF in it so I make sure to layer it up with a separate one.  Think of it as treatment for the skin with coverage.  Of course you can layer it up with foundation and the rest of your daily makeup but the beauty of using this one is that I don't need to.  It leaves my skin with a hint of tint and perfecting coverage which is all I need for no makeup days, especially when my brows are already tinted and shaped and I've got my Essential Beauty lash extensions on.

It makes the perfect lightweight base, leaves my skin looking perfected and hydrated and doesn't clog my pores.  I couldn't ask for more!

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

3. BREAKFAST

The third step to enjoying a spring morning is without a doubt, found in the tummy.  Whether you go out for breakfast or dine in, enjoying a tasty meal washed down with a good ol' cup of coffee like Organo Gold is certainly a great way to start the day.

I have a balcony on my apartment so when the days are sunny and the weathers warm, I like to cook up a toasted bagel, bacon and smashed avocado and head out to sit on there in my dressing gown because no, I really don't care what other people think!  

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

4. SPEED SPRING CLEANING

This might come as a bit of a surprise to you but my next step to enjoying a spring morning is with a spot of cleaning.  I'm not suggesting getting the marigolds out and bleaching the house from top to bottom but if you've been up early and have time before you need to leave the house, then pick up some of the things you've had lying around and tidy them away.

I pop on some music and tend to challenge myself to tidy up while one or two songs are on.  I always feel so much better about my space when its tidier and having done a little bit of speed cleaning, I feel as though I've already got my day off to a productive start.  This does wonders for my positivity and the productive approach tends to filter through my day too!

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

5. GO OUTDOORS

The last step to enjoying a spring morning is to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine.  Whether its taking a stroll on the treehouse bridges at The Alnwick Garden like I am here wearing my Yours Clothing casual wear or power walking along the coast, get outside, get your heart pumping and enjoy the world around you.  Even if you're on your way to work, maybe take a different route, go a little earlier and walk around near to wear your office is or take a change of clothes with you and find one of those outdoor gyms.

Whatever you do, its all about getting your blood pumping, clearing your mind and enjoying the start to your day!

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What are your steps to enjoy a spring morning?  What skincare do you like to use?  Whats your favourite brekkie?
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Monday, 16 April 2018

Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions

Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions, wellbeing and fashion inspiration post by UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

When was the last time you put yourself first?

For the vast majority of us modern day women, we live in a world of responsibility, be it at work or at home.  Whether that be as mothers, girl bosses, managers, girlfriends, you name it, we've got the schedules, the to-do lists, the responsibilities and the accountability for it all and don't even get me started on the guilt.

Have I done this right?  Does this look correct?  What if this happens?  Should I have done this differently?  What if I don't have enough time?  Is this my fault?


Hipster Sunnies in St Tropez on UK Fashion Blogger WhatLauraLoves

I'm sure we've all been there and got the t-shirt at some point in our adult lives.  We spend so much time during the day revolving around other people and what they're doing that its often easy to forget about what we're doing, how we feel and what we want to make happen in our own lives.

Its natural that we're going to prioritise thinking about the needs of those we love but what about our needs, loving ourselves and prioritising ME?

Sure, we all need to get our work done, take care of others and all the rest of it but we need to look after ourselves too both mentally and physically.  Sometimes that means prioritising your happiness because yes ladies, you are allowed to be happy!


Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions, wellbeing and fashion inspiration post by UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

I realised in recent years that I had given up a lot of my happiness in order to please other people and while that might be the kind or right thing to do in some circumstances, if you apply it to everything in life you can end up feeling really unfulfilled and can lose a sense of who you are.

Life is hard and it throws things at us that makes it easy to become stressed, anxious or to feel as though we cannot cope or are unhappy and if we don't do anything about it then it can lead us down a slippery slope.

The truth is; no one is going to wave a magic wand, give you the life you want and make you truly happy.

The only person who can do that is you.

Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions, wellbeing and fashion inspiration post by UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

Its time to reclaim your life.

I've written a lot about topics such as what to do when you're feeling overwhelmed with life  and how to add positive steps into your daily routine but today I wanted to talk about making decisions about you and your life.  Specifically the decisions that feel selfish but actually aren't.

Sometimes self care and finding your happiness  its all about taking a step back, looking at where you're at in your life and where you want to be.  Finding out what will make you happy and how you can put it into action.  You need to make the decision for you and only you because prioritising your wellbeing is essential, not selfish.

Perhaps its that you'd like to say no to a project you really feel as though you should say yes to.  Maybe you really want to go travelling but you know there'll be people you'll leave behind who will be worried and miss you.  It could even be that you'd like to take up a new hobby but it'll involve taking a little money away from the family disposable income, not to mention the time away from home and routine.


Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions, wellbeing and fashion inspiration post by UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

The decisions that affect those we love as well as ourselves can be the hardest to make but its important to remember that if you're making them with a good heart, the best intentions and based on something that will really make you happy then the people in your life should support you because you deserve to be happy just as much as those you love do.

Loving and caring for others, doesn't mean that you can't love and care for yourself too.  In fact, those you love will benefit from you finding your happiness.  Energy is so powerful; if you're feeling positive and happy, it has the power to lift others around you but at the same time, if you're feeling negative and sad, it can zap the energy from even the happiest of people.
Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions, wellbeing and fashion inspiration post by UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

Don't give up your happiness all of the time just to make others happy.  YOU matter and your happiness is important too.

Sometimes you need to regroup, look after number one and be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

Newcastle Upon Tyne Photograph by India Jackson on WhatLauraLoves UK Blog

The best thing that you can do for yourself and subsequently your loved ones, is to be as happy in mind, body and spirit as you can be, in whatever way that looks like for you.  If that means taking a little bit of time out for you, then so be it.  Feeling over worked, stressed, anxious and exhausted can have a terrible impact on your physical and mental health.

I know that whenever I'm feeling that way, it tends to be when I'm burning the candle at both ends trying to keep going and going, my immune system is low and then I end up with a raging sore throat and a full blown cold for a week which isn't going to benefit me or anyone around me and only adds to my stress levels and feeling like I cannot cope.

This is a viscous circle and the only way to break it is by looking after yourself first thats why making decisions that will impact your happiness isn't selfish, its a necessity!

Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions, wellbeing and fashion inspiration post by UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

We all need good rest so that we can enjoy the beautiful moments in life and we all need personal development so that we can learn and grow as people.  Realising this has led me down a path that I am very excited about.

I recently made a decision that’s going to fling me head first into a personal journey of self discovery! It’ll challenge me and push me so far out of my comfort zone but while I’m nervous about it, I’m so excited!  This is the first time that I've made a decision like this, a purely unselfish, selfish decision about my life, my happiness and my future and it feels AMAZING!


Putting Yourself First & Making Unselfish Selfish Decisions, wellbeing and fashion inspiration post by UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

I'll be sharing a bit about my journey next month as it all kicks off on 1st May...

So go ahead, make those decisions girls!  Break barriers, live your life & love it!

Here’s to being strong, confident, independent women.

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When was the last time you made a decision to make yourself feel happy?


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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Mental Health Matters: It's #TimeToInvest With The Prince's Trust


Have you ever felt pressured, stressed, lost or hopeless?


Throughout my life, I have struggled with my mental health.  For all I can put a brave face on it in on social media, the reality has, at times, been far from rosy.  I feel like I've battled with my emotions for a lot of my life, I've felt pressure coming at me from all angles and the stress and worry has been unbearable at times.  Whether its about school or my career, family, friendships, health or relationships, I've worried and stressed about it all.

As I've grown up, I've learnt techniques to help me to cope but its not been easy and it still isn't now.  I find that its often hard to access adequate support but it is even harder to decipher what support is needed in the first place.



One of the biggest worries in my life that I'm sure many of you can relate to has been my career.  From tests at school to choosing and studying for A Levels and my degree to going for interviews, getting a job and progressing in my career, the whole lot signals pressure, stress, unease and worry for me.  My confidence has often held me back as at times, I've known what I was doing and how to do something but I've not had the confidence to do it which has held me back from reaching for the next step and going for interviews to progress.

I found it especially hard in my adult life when I had an accident that really affected me physically and mentally which really knocked my confidence in my own ability.  Its taken me a long time to get to where I am today and I haven't felt adequately supported; at times, I've been so lost that I thought I'd never get through things that have happened to me.  Overcoming obstacles has built my self esteem and given me more confidence in my ability and I want to inspire others to feel that way too which is one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about being a Digital Ambassador for The Prince's Trust.

The Prince's Trust have launched the second phase of their Youth Index report which explores the views of 16 to 25 year olds in the UK.  It found that the happiness of young people was being affected because they weren't confident in what the future would hold for them.

The results paint a worrying picture of a pressured generation who feel their ability to shape their future is slipping away from them and I can certainly empathise with how they feel and have experienced many of the findings myself as I have grown up.

Over 2000 young people across the UK were surveyed and the results are worrying but as someone who isn't too far away from that age bracket, not entirely unpredictable.

WHAT ARE THE KEY FINDINGS?
  • 61% of young people regularly feel stressed
  • More than 25% of young people say they regularly feel hopeless
  • Young people’s happiness and confidence in their emotional health have dropped to the lowest levels ever recorded
  • 25% of working young people feel trapped in a cycle of jobs they don’t want
  • 59% of working young people feel they need opportunities to develop their skills before they can think about career options
  • 54% of all young people believe a lack of self-confidence holds them back

In light of the findings, The Prince's Trust are going to call on the government and employers to promote positive mental wellbeing and support young people into fulfilling, sustainable careers.

Not only that, but they have so many of their own programmes that support young people with their confidence, wellbeing, life and work skills to help give them a brighter future.

The programmes really are fantastic; I got to sit in on an Enterprise course at the new The Prince's Trust Cheryl's Trust Centre in Newcastle and I loved the straightforward, helpful and nurturing environment.  It really is a place where everyone can thrive no matter their ability.  I'm a firm believer that no matter the socio-economic background, everyone should have access to resources and support to help them to achieve their goals and succeed in life and that's exactly what The Prince's Trust are providing.


Do you know a young person aged between 11 and 30 years old in the UK who could benefit from one of the Princes Trust programmes?

Perhaps you're struggling with your own mental health, struggling to get back into work or education following a hard time or just generally in need of some assistance, then The Prince's Trust FREE programmes can support you.  Theres a range of online and in person courses that can help to build skills, confidence and self esteem so check them out on their website.

You can find out all about how The Prince's Trust are helping young people everyday on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages and if you use and search the hashtag #TimeToInvest you'll be able to join in the chat!

What do you think about the statistics?
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Sunday, 8 April 2018

My Journey To Plus Size Bikini Body Confidence

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

Since launching the #TakeThePledge campaign and posting plus size bikini photos from my trip to Costa Rica, I have been overwhelmed by the number of women who have contacted me to say that they've felt inspired to buy a bikini to wear on holiday for the first time.

I wanted to write this post to let you all know that I've been there too, girls!  My road to wearing a bikini and feeling body confident has been a long and rocky one but also realistic and I want to share it with you.  I'd love to say that I came singing and dancing out of the womb wearing a two piece but thats just not the case and while I'm so confident in a bikini now, I haven't always felt this way.

I hope that my words come across in the way that I intend them to, with no offence or upset intended; this is simply my journey, how I've felt along the way, what I've learned and how I feel now.

It took me until the age of 28 before I ever wore a bikini and while I don't like to live life with regrets, I wish I'd worn one sooner.  I've discovered that bikinis fit me far better than any swimwear ever has because I'm so long in the body, thanks to my low hanging tummy.  Plus, I'm far more cool around the pool when I wear one and I get the most awesome tan.  Its a win-win situation all round!


Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

I had my first experience of wearing a bikini last January when I was taking a much needed social media break in the Maldives.  I was staying in a water bungalow facing out to the Indian Ocean and I was determined to return uber relaxed and with the most incredible tan.

When holiday shopping around Christmas 2016, I decided to take the plunge and order a bikini.  Generally speaking, I buy the vast majority of my swimwear from Simply Be; they have the best range of plus size swimwear in a multitude of sizes, styles and designs and over the years, I've always been able to find something for myself on there.  When it came to ordering my first ever bikini, Simply Be was naturally my first point of call.

Trying on my first proper bikini was an exhilarating experience; I'd never worn one before, not even as a child, and I'd always thought that I wasn't the right shape for a bikini and that I would find more confidence wearing a swimsuit around the pool.  Feeling restricted to swimsuits didn't stop me from enjoying my holidays.  I'd just find one that I loved the pattern, colours or style of and that covered my tummy and then I'd head on out and have an awesome time.

I've never been someone who felt like they had to keep their clothes on around the pool because I've always been able to appear outwardly confident which has meant that I've always been quite happy to lie around in a swimming costume  catching the rays and loving life.  My size has never stopped me from enjoying a holiday in that way.  I liked how my swimming costumes looked and I was confident that they were the best fit that I was ever going to get from what was available to me online.

However now I know that there isn't a "right shape" for a bikini or any garment for that matter, its all about finding something that you love and feel great in, then that item is right for you.

When my bikinis arrived from Simply Be, I popped them on and stood looking at myself amazed in the mirror.  I'd chosen styles, colours and patterns that I felt would suit me and ordered several different sizes in each piece to give me the best chance of getting an accurate fit, in just the same way as I have done in the past with swimming costumes and tankinis and low and behold, they did suit me.  In fact, they were a better fit!  Not only that but I felt absolutely incredible  in them and I remember dancing around my bedroom feeling absolutely elated!

While away on holiday, I chose to wear my new bikinis over my swimming costumes around 80% of the time and I felt so fantastic for it.  I was able to chill out and relax in the sun, get an awesome tan (safely thanks to my favourite Clarins SPF) and keep cooler than I would in a swimming costume.  

Such a great experience gave me the confidence to try bikinis on future holidays and believe it or not, IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE.  I know, shock horror!

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

When I ventured to Bali that summer to stay at the incredible Bliss Sanctuary For Women and then to Crete on a much needed girly holiday, I looked at the bikinis I had, what I loved and didn't like about each one and then I sought to improve my choices for those trips to enable me to feel even more bikini confident.

In Bali, I was at a retreat with a small number of women and I was wearing the most fabulous sarongs over the top of my bikini while I was walking around.  One day, I got up off the sun lounger, thought oh to hell with it, and walked to my room without putting the sarong on and do you know what happened? NOTHING.  Not a single bloody thing.

By the time I got to Crete with my friend I was strutting around the pool as happy as an orca released from Sea World without a care in the world and finally I thought, I'm living.


Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger


I'd suddenly got over myself and realised that people were far too busy enjoying their own holidays around the pool to pay any attention to what I was wearing and if there was anyone out there that was bothered about what I looked like in anything I was wearing, around the pool or on social media for that matter, then they really needed to focus on improving their own happiness rather than trying to destroy mine.

It wasn't a realisation about wearing a bikini, it was about wearing anything be it a swimsuit, bikini, polo neck, jumpsuit, mini skirt or whatever.  I should wear whatever I choose to wear as long as I feel good in it and others should feel free to do the same.  There is no right or wrong way to look in your body or the clothes that you choose to dress it in.

By the time I went to Lanzarote last November and Costa Rica in January, I was hooked.  I placed an order online for more bikinis and low and behold, I felt fabulous in them, just like this black one from the Beach to Beach range at Simply Be.

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

Choosing the right swimwear is all about selecting pieces that you love the look of and love how they make you feel when you wear them. No one has the right to tell you what that should and shouldn’t be. There’s so many places to draw inspiration from and you can take that inspo and adapt it to work for you.

For me, black is a classic colour and therefore a fail safe swimwear option as it looks so stylish whether I'm tanned or pale.  This particular range from Simply Be has plenty of options so you can try it whether you're a bikini, tankini or swimsuit gal!

I'm a bikini girl now and the bottoms I'm wearing here are the Beach to Beach Bikini Short in Black.  They're comfortable, fit nicely and I can mix and match them with so many different tops.  Plus the sizing is spot on which makes shopping online so much easier.

I love high waisted styles for bikini bottoms simply because I feel as though they look the best on my body and that gives me an added confidence boost.  I'm really long in the body and my tummy tends to pull everything down so if I opt for more of a brief style, the chances are they'll either sit under my tummy or roll down which tends to make me feel more self conscious so high waisted is the best way forward for me.


However it is the Beach to Beach Bikini Top that I love the most from this pairing.  It is cut beautifully; I find that it enhances my chest which I love as I’m actually quite small busted for my body size, and it sits high under the arms so it keeps me in place!  While I'm not adverse to showing the flabby bit underneath my arms (hey, its a part of me and I love it just as much as the rest!), if I can smooth it over then that's my preference and this bikini does that perfectly.  Its all about what makes you feel confident and beautiful on the inside and out!

Its hard to believe that in the space of a year, I went from feeling restricted in my swimwear to feeling body confident and able to wear whatever I want (and rightly so!).

I'm living proof that EVERYONE has a bikini body.  I love my body in a bikini and its ok for you to love your body in yours too.

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How confident do you feel in your swimwear?  What do you love to wear around the pool?
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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

When you're jetting off on holiday, the last thing you want is to land looking and feeling like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards and in serious need of a good nights sleep and a strong Starbucks.  We spend so much of our lives working that our opportunities to travel should be fully enjoyed, lived to the full and appreciated.

Fear not, for if you are jumping on a plane for sunnier climes this summer, then theres the perfect travel kit all ready to pop in your hand luggage.

The Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique set is your first step to ensuring you'll disembark your flight looking as fresh as an A Lister!

Let's see whats inside...

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Feel Unique have got you covered with plenty of the essentials that you'd need for a thorough but not excessive, in-flight beauty routine.

First up is the blue nail file.  Compact but with plenty of space for filing away uneven nails to leave your nails looking perfected by the time you land.  A nail file is an essential for me when I travel as I always find myself snagging a nail be it in flight or while I'm away and in times when I've forgotten to take mine, I've been left seriously frustrated until I've managed to smooth over that edge. Its so annoying when the catch on everything!!

For your locks, theres the mini hair brush.  Great for smoothing over your hair, getting rid of little knots and helping you to smooth it up into a high pony for a slicked back look.  The Popband hair ties in the kit are awesome too as they enable you to tie your hair back mid flight without leaving a kink in it should you wish to take your hair out when you arrive at your destination.

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

I've been using bobbles like this for years and they're so handy, especially as I like to tie my hair up when working at the computer but take it down before going out.  That'll sound crazy to some people but I'm sure some of you may know where I'm coming from here!

I remember watching Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events on DVD a couple of years ago and Violet Baudelaire would always tie her hair up when she was thinking hard; tell me I'm not the only one who could totally relate to that?!

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Once you've tied your hair up and sorted out those talons, its time for skincare before settling down to watch a movie, at least if you're flying long haul.

This kit contains two awesome essentials for hydrating your skin during the flight and they're great for combining with your existing skincare routine as they're perfect for all skin types.

There's the one product does it all saviour in this kit in the form of the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream.  Apply it to chapped lips, burns, cuts, sores, and cuticles to soothe and intensely hydrate.  The tube may only be small but a tiny bit of this beauty goes A LONG way!

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Air conditioning is a nightmare for drying out the skin when on an aeroplane so having a spritz like the First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist to refresh your complexion and bring your skin back to life is essential.

Spritz the light mist over your face throughout the flight for added hydration, even if you've still got your makeup on on a short haul trip as it'll freshen it up and keep it from looking dry or cakey.

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

While this kit doesn't have ALL the essentials one could ever need, it has the basics that would be suitable for most people, then you can add in a few extras that you feel you might need for your particular skin and lifestyle.  For me, I always take a hand sanitiser, a pack of face wipes and sample sachets of premium skincare such as a multipurpose oil, face moisturiser and eye cream, sometimes even a clear face mask.  Then I can complete my skincare routine thoroughly alongside using the other essentials in the kit.

Now I know there might be alarm bells ringing for you when I say face wipes but I don't think they're all bad in certain circumstances like flights.  I always look out for ones that are ultra hydrating (very wet towels as opposed to dry sheets that drag the skin), have no or little alcohol in them and I use them to freshen over my skin before I apply my moisturiser.  I don't wear makeup when I fly so I don't need to worry about removing that but if I were to have it on, I'd take a little bottle of micellar water and cotton pads as I think they clean my skin more thoroughly than wipes do.

Another essential that I'll add into this kit in addition to its already awesome contents are a pair of ear plugs to block out the noise from the plane.  Then, once I've sorted my hair out, applied my skin care and checked myself in the handy blue mirror inside the kit, I pull down the Jetsetter Eye Mask and knock out some serious Z's.  The key to looking and feeling refreshed before you step off a plane is getting sleep and this eye mask certainly helps as it feels soft and comfortable against the skin and blocks out the light.  With some ear plugs in, I feel shut off from the world and I'm able to relax, chill out and rest!

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

All of the essentials in this kit are packaged up in a gorgeous little blue pouch.  Its buttery soft and deceptively spacious.  Just remember to take a clear plastic bag with you for your liquids when going through security and make sure all of your liquids are under 100ml, just like the ones in this kit.

If you want to get your hands on the Travel Essentials Powered By Feel Unique kit then you can bag yours with 30% off online.  There's also the Everyday Essentials Powered By Feel Unique set too which comes in a pink bag and is filled with all of those handbag essentials that we tend to need throughout the week but often forget to pop in our bag!

I think that this kit in particular would be ideal for keeping in your uni or work bag or car door and you could always add extras to it such as a powder and lipstick for touch ups.  Now wouldn't that be the height of organised, girls?

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What would your on the go essentials be for travelling?  What about day to day essentials?
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