Happy In My Skin

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Skincare 101

Hello again, I hope you are well! Grab a cup of tea and take 20 minutes to enjoy my latest post. The UK is currently back in a nationwide lockdown which in consequence means I have had to close the doors to my business for the third time. I have been trying to use my time whilst not working in the studio wisely and whilst walking on day 1 in lockdown 3.0, I reflected on my previous few months of business and tried to see if there were any gaps I could be working on to enhance it further. One thing that stood out prominently was sharing my skincare regime with my clients. When in the studio I am asked on a daily basis what I use on my skin to keep it healthy and glowy in appearance. If you know me or are a client of mine you will already know that unless it is a very special occasion I actually wear barely any makeup daily. A touch of brow mascara, brow gel and mascara completes my day to day makeup! There are three reasons why I choose not to wear very much makeup daily: -Firstly, I hate the way it feels on my skin! Now don’t get me wrong I love makeup, I love products and adore testing them out. For someone who hardly wears it my collection is obscene! It is definitely more a psychological thing I would say, which leads me nicely onto reason two... -I am terrified of it clogging my skin and giving me spots. If you have followed my blog for a while you will know that I suffered bad hormonal acne when I was 20. Really bad. Going makeup free then was absolutely not an option as I was so conscious of my acne. Roll on a few years, my acne clearing and my skin settling, my skin definitely favours being makeup free now and I love it! -Lastly I prioritise my skincare regime over applying makeup in the morning. I have a two year old and anyone else with little people or who has had little people will know that time for yourself is minimal when little people are in tow. Therefore I prioritise a good cleanse and nice products in the morning over applying a face of makeup! Your probably gathering by now that my skincare gives me life and I want you to be able to enjoy your skin the same. You may love wearing makeup and it may be part of your identity and that is amazing but just to have the confidence to leave the house makeup free and feel confident if it was desired would be lovely wouldn’t it? I have shared my routine with clients so often but with it being rather extensive it can get confusing. To simplify matters I decide to create an igtv series over on my Instagram (link below) and this blog post that includes all of the same information with added product benefits and details. Let’s get into it! AM Skincare Routine In all honesty I haven’t always cleansed morning and evening. I used to only cleanse at night! However, in lockdown 1.0 I fell in love with skipping workouts. I loved them that much that they have become a staple part of my daily routine Monday-Friday. I may do a weekday morning routine soon thinking about it as that is also something I get regular questions about. Anyway I am getting sidetracked! With the addition of a thirty minute high intensity workout daily into my morning routine, and being a sweaty mess by the end of said workout, a hot shower and thorough cleanse needed to be introduced into my morning as there was no way I could have gone about my day without. Hence my morning skin care routine was born! Around the time a new routine was born I was also reading the Caroline Hirons Skincare book (highly highly recommended to all). I took a lot of guidance and tips from this and that gives me a good starting point for my routine... Post workout I shower. Lots of people would wash their faces in the shower however a tip I took home for Caroline’s book was never to do this! The water will be to hot and damaging for your facial skin so keep that face out of the water, wash that bod, hop out and get in a big snuggly towel to cleanse. I use The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser (£13.90 150ml) to cleanse both AM and PM. Squeeze a pea sized amount onto your finger tip, you will notice it is like a gel to begin with, rub it between your finger tips and it melts into a gorgeous oil like consistency. Massage into the face, concentrating on any congested areas and also any tight muscles! I clench my teeth in my sleep so often wake with a very tight jaw - a good massage helps ease this. Once you are satisfied you have thoroughly cleansed it is time to remove.
Until reading Caroline’s book I only ever removed cleanser using my hands under a hot tap. Not any more! I now use a fresh flannel daily. Use one flannel per day and then launder to prevent spot causing dirt and bacteria build up. It is also worth noting that Caroline says to be careful what you wash your flannel in to be kind to your skin. Run your water until it is hot and then saturate the flannel, squeezing before you gently remove your cleanser and wash your face. The benefits from doing this include being gentler to the skin, the heat will open your pores and the flannel's material will give a gentle exfoliation. It is also worth noting then that I don’t dry my face on a towel after using my flannel. The air will dry it very quickly. Let your skin soak up that extra water! Once I am all cleansed I tone my skin. In the morning I use the Aldi Lacura Healthy Glow Toner (£3.99) It doesn’t come in very often so when it does I always stock up! I would have never thought a few years ago that I would be raving about the Aldi’s skincare products but here I am - I feature my faves in this post. They are all dupes of big name products that work equally as well believe it or not. I pop a few drops onto a cotton pad and wipe all over my face, even under and around my eyes, on my neck, décolleté, behind my neck and then to finish I wipe any excess toner left on my pads on my hands. Your hands are one of the first places to show signs of ageing so the glycolic acid within this toner will help refine the skin giving it that youthful glow. You may notice that I bring my toner right around my eyes. Another Queen Caroline hack! Products that contain an acid have to by law state “do not use on delicate eye area” this will be to cover there back. However these type of products can benefit these areas by gently exfoliating the skin, refining the appearance of pores and stimulating cell renewal to help the skin look brighter and clearer. Once my toner has absorbed and feels dry to touch I go in with my Forever Awakening Eye Creme (£17.72). Again, the forever products took me by surprise as I didn’t have high hopes for them but actually a few of the products have become firm staples in my routine. I only use a tiny half pea size amount of product for my two eyes and massage the gel like formula into the area surrounding my eye socket bone. If I have any excess product left on my finger tips after doing this I wipe this over my lips. The skin on our lips is similar to our delicate eye area so your lips will thank you! The creme uses peptide technology, collagen and other powerful ingredients. It gorgeously smooths and firms delicate under-eye skin to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness. Next up is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (£8.90 60ml). This high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula would be one of the first things on my dessert island list! I can’t even remember how I stumbled across The Ordinary skincare but I am so glad I did! “Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.” “Independent studies suggest Niacinamide is also an effective ingredient for brightening skin tone.” I pop three drops onto my fingertips and apply all over my face and neck morning and evening. Due to its active ingredients this product can tingle on application - all a good sign it is getting to work! I let this product totally absorb whilst I brush my hair and pop my deodorant on.
Once my skin feels completely dry it’s oil time! In the morning I use The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived Squalane (£5.50 30ml). I use 8 drops onto my finger tips and apply this to my neck and face, again massaging in well. “Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that is found naturally in the skin. It has very high emollience, is an exceptional hydrator and can prevent ongoing loss of hydration that impairs dermal suppleness. Squalane is non-comedogenic and is suitable for use on all skin types. It can also be applied to hair to increase heat protection, add shine and reduce breakage potential.”
Whilst my oil is absorbing I tend to get dressed for the day and make the beds. I like each product to have time to absorb as if you don’t let this process happen you wouldn’t benefit from each product. Once dressed and the oil has absorbed well I apply my moisturiser. For my AM moisturiser I use the Liz Earle Skin Repair Gel (£24). Don’t forget your neck again! I love the gel texture of this product, it’s super lightweight and fast absorbing so will soak in quickly - the perfect pre-makeup moisturiser! The gel is enriched with a blend of moisturising borage oil, avocado oil to smooth and soften, soothing echinacea, toning hops and natural source vitamin E. Now most days this would conclude my morning skincare. However, if for any reason I’m still feeling a little dull, I do have an extra product that gives a magic glow and even a hue of colour with the right choice of the product. The By Terry Cellularose CC Serum is rather an investment at £61 but it is just beautiful to use. It can be used alone on makeup free days or as a primer underneath your foundation to boost your glow and/ or your colour. “Enriched with White Rose Stem Cells and antioxidant Vitamin E, the lightweight, quick-absorbing formula enhances luminosity and provides long-lasting protection for a lit-from-within finish. Innovative light-reflecting technology effectively minimises the appearance of fine lines and imperfections, whilst promoting a radiant glow and a smooth, even skin tone. Blends seamlessly onto lack-lustre skin to leave your complexion looking bright, flawless and refined.” I personally use apricot glow in winter, this one smoothes and illuminates light to medium skin. In summer I use Sunny Flash which gives a bronze hue and sun kissed glow to darker skins. PM Skincare Routine Very similar to my morning routine, I start my PM routine with a hot shower. Again the rule applies - no face under the water! Once I am showered I wrap myself in a big towel to dry and move onto my skincare. If I have worn mascara or any facial makeup I douse two wet cotton pads in Garnier Skin Soothing Make-up Remover and use to remove any makeup. The oil in cleansing water solution breaks down makeup so quickly! I then cleanse using exactly the same product, method and removal as my morning routine below states. Let your face air dry again at this point whilst you prep your toner. My evening toner of choice is The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (£6.80). Another dessert island must have! I apply this using a cotton pad all over my face - remember the tip below, even under and around your eyes. Include the neck, décolleté, back of neck and wipe any excess over your hands again. Glycolic acid is an AHA that exfoliates the skin. This toner offers a mild exfoliation for skin radiance and clarity. The toner will also improve the texture of the skin when continually used every evening. Ideally keep this product to evening use as it will get to work on the skin whilst you rest and sleep. The use of direct acids on the skin can increase the skin's sensitive to the sun so an SPF the following daytime is recommended. If you are new to acids a patch test would be advised before commencing use.
Next up is another Aldi steal. The Lacura Glycolic Pads. These haven’t been in store for a while now so when/if they will be back in is anyone’s guess. The pads are actually the supermarket's very cleverly done version of the Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads, just a fraction of the original brands price. I’d still absolutely recommend the Nip & Fab pads if you can’t get Aldi’s one anymore. The pads come pre-soaked in resurfacing Glycolic Acid, soothing Witch Hazel and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid and will help improve the skins texture, eliminate dead skin, impurities and brighten the skin. The same product and routine comes next for my eye cream followed also by the same The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% formula! Again let these soak in before moving onto the next step. For my evening oil, if my skin is feeling pretty good and hydrated I use the same oil mentioned below, The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived Squalane. If I am feeling rather dry or in need of a treat I use the Lacura Healthy Glow Rose Oil (£7.98 for a pack of two). Rose oil is intensely moisturising and suitable for sensitive skin. I apply this in exactly the same way as the Squalane oil.
To conclude my night time routine, once my oil has had time to absorb, I go in with the Infinite By Forever Restoring Creme (£56.33). This gel like formula contains over fifteen skin conditioning ingredients, absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling so soft without feeling greasy or heavy. This product also contains squalene so will support the oil you have just used! Weekly Skin Treat Once a week I treat my skin to a peel. I got into skin peels around five years ago and that is when my love of direct acids started! I am currently using The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30).
AHA’s exfoliate the skin’s topmost surface for a brighter and smoother appearance. BHA’s also exfoliate the topmost layers as well having the extended function to clear pore congestion. “This combined 32% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines with continued use.” “Note: This formula contains a very high concentration of free acids. We recommend use only if you are an experienced user of acid exfoliation and your skin is not sensitive. Contraindications: This formula should not be used on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin. Please refer to additional sun protection note and other warnings in provided Directions.” I use this product only once a week for no longer than 10 minutes. It fits into your evening routine straight after your cleanse and before your toning solution. Remove with the same flannel you used to cleanse (obviously rinsed in fresh warm water.) The peeling solution does tingle on the skin - this is a sign the free acids are at work! I hope this post will further help and enhance your skincare routines! For any more information or any questions either contact me via email or through my socials. Love Beth xoxo
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Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Is this normal? Microblading 101

Hello! Long time no speak! Life became VERY busy after my last post on here when my littlest was only very young. He's now 27 months old and I now run my own semi permanent makeup and beauty business which feels like a dream come true. I've decided to use my platform on Blogger to deliver some of my knowledge as an artist/ therapist now aswell as other posts that take my fancy. I have been a beauty therapist for nine years and wanted to advance my skills this year as I feel the industry is wanting more and more higher level, results driven aesthetic treatments. I qualified as a semi permanent makeup artist (spmu for short) earlier this year with KB Pro. So what's the reason for this post? Well, I currently specialise in mircoblading and I have noticed a reoccuring question being asked post procedure for my ladies - Is this normal? What i am refering to is the healing process of microblading in particular. In this post I would like to break down the healing process for my current and future clients as well as people considering microblading or those that have had the treatment and are asking this very question. In this post i am going to include as much information as possible, with my clients as case study images, regarding the healing process of microblading from immeditaley after the treatment right upto your topup around six weeks later. I will also break down what microblading is, who it is suitable for and what to expect from a microbalding service at my studio - Beauty By B.
What is microblading? Microblading is a method used to create realistic hair strokes that can mimic lost hairs or give fullness to exisiting brows. It involves using a disposable hand tool with super fine needles to deposit pigment within the upper dermis layer of this skin. The semi permanent procedure is suitable for all skin tones. The perfect client for microblading at Beauty By B is one who is experiencing hair loss, has thinning eyebrows or a cleint who has over plucked when the trend was minimal brows. However the service is also suitable for those simply wanting to enhance and define their current brows and those that are unhappy with their natural shape and/or need positional correction.
What is the difference between microblading and traditional tattooing? The purpose of microblading is to enhance the natural features of a client. Microblading is soft and subtle – it is meant to look much more natural. Microblading uses pigments rather than ink which is used during traditional tattoos. The pigments are designed and meant to gently fade over time. Fading is not considered a bad thing since it allows the artist and client to make changes to colour and shape over the years as natural colouration and facial changes occur. Pigments during microblading are not as tight and densely packed into the skin as a traditional tattoo. This allows for healed results of very fine, thin, and crisp hair lines. Because the pigment is not as dense it does not last as long but it also does not fade to an unnatural undertone. A colour boost/touch up is usually required between 18-24 months. Touch-ups may be required sooner for oily-skinned clients, those who tan often, or or often expose brow area to certain chemicals (facial peels, chlorine, anti-aging products, etc.). Pigment retention varies depending on skin type, age, aftercare, immune system, medications, certain chemicals, and the type of pigment used.
What to expect from a microblading treatment at Beauty By B. A pre-treatment consultation is the very first step of your journey to perfect brows. I either arrange posting this to your house along with a patch test or book you in to visit me in the studio. The pre-treatment form will cover contra-indications that may mean the treatment is not suitable for yourself at the present moment. It is important to declare any contra- indications as failure to do so could be detrimental to your health or the results of your treatment. *Please note patch tests must be carried out 24 hours before the treatment begins. On the day of your first treatment you will arrive at the studio and I will take your before photographs and then ask you to fill out a treatment consultation form whilst I apply your pre-numb cream and triple check your pre-treat consult form. Once all forms are filled out, we have had a good chat and I have gained a good understanding of your desired outcome we will mive onto the next stage. The next stage is deisgning your new brow shape and finding your perfect pigment. These credentials are completely tailored pto you! Using a brow pencil I will design a template of your new brows and only when you are completely happy and confident will microblading proceed. Artistry photographs will be taken before we begin. To create your new brow template in the skin I will make my "first pass". This can be the most uncomfortable part of the treatment as it is done only with the pre-numb. The feeling is often referred to as "scratchy" but nothing horrendous rest assured! Once the first pass is complete and the skin has been broken I will apply aneasthetic gel to numb the area whilst i begin on the opposite brow. I then repeat this process of working on a brow, numbing that brow and then working on the oppoiste brow until tge desired result is acheived! Following the treatment I will take after photographs and go through a thorough aftercare with you to ensure your healing journey will be as effective as possible. The treatment cost includes the initial treatment and a "perfection appointment" around six later. The perfection appointment is essential as in part of the healing process of the first treatment the body can push out a couple of hair strokes so the top up will reinforce the brow and fill in any areas necessary. It also completes the treatment to maximum potential. Please do not worry if your brows dont heal perfectly after your first appointment. Pigment fades 20-40% once healed so we can always go darker or tweak your shape when you return. Some clients may require a third top up to really reinforce the strokes in the skin - this will be charged accordingly.
What should I not do pre treatment? Preparing for your microblading appointment is the very first step to acheiving your perfect brows: -Do not work out on the day of your treatment. -Do not tint, wax or pluck your eyebrow hairs in the two week window before your treatment. -Do not take any blood thinners including Fish Oil, Gingko, Biloba, St John's Wort, Evening Primrose Oil or Vitamin E within one week of your treatment. (Prescribed thinners are different, they may be total restrictions or require doctors consent but this is covered in your pre-treatment suitability form) You may resume taking supplements 72 hours after your treatment. Not only do the listed above thin the blood, they can also affect the effectiveness of your aneasthetic. -Do not take niacin within one week of your treatment. -Do not exfoliate or have any microneedling done two weeks before your treatment. -Do not have botox injected within three weeks of your procedure. -Do not have a facial two weeks before your treatment. -Do not have sunburnt skin for your procedure or have long unexposed periods of sun. In order to have minimal bleeding and poor colour retention: -Do not drink alcohol 24-48 hours before your procedure. -Do not drink coffee before your appointment. -Do not take pain relief such as aspirin or ibuprofen as they are blood thinners.
Will my microblading hurt? As mentioned above, the feedback from the majority of my clients is that the first pass can feel a little "scratchy" but thereafter is pretty much pain free. I have has numerous ckients fall to sleep it hurts that little thanks to the special numbing procedure I use. Pain tolerance levels will vary from person to person, but every effort is made to keep the client comfortable during the entire procedure as it makes my job easier. Having microblading done during your menstrual cycle may increase discomfort during your procedure. If you smoke, the topical anesthetics used during the treatment will not last as long. If you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, be aware that this may affect your sensitivity tolerance to the procedure.
The healing process - an approximate guide. Day one. There is a possibility that the brow area could be slighty red and swollen after the procedure dependant on the individual client's skin sensitivity. The hair strokes will appear crisp, fine, sharp and not to dark immediately after the treatment.
Day two to five. As the hairstrokes start to heal the colour will intensify, this is due to the scab formation. The colour has now expanded from 2D to 3D as it is sitting in the top of the skin in the formation of a scab. At this point the brows can look intense and begin to feel itchy.
Day six to ten. This point of the healing process can be the most daunting as the scabs start to exfoliate and the brows may look patchy.
Day eleven to thirty. At this point the strokes are at their lightest, this is caused by the bodies natural healing process. You may choose to add pencil and/or powder at this stage whilst they appear light. When implanting a product into the skin the bodie's natural reaction is to dispose of the antibodies. The product is drawn deeper back into the dermal layer in an attempt of disposal. Once the body stops trying to fight the product, the colour slowy oushes forward to the surface. The full potential is only seen when the skin has healed fully internally.
Day 31-50 The true colour could have healed upto 40% lighter or upto 10% darker depending on the skin undertones. The healing efficiency is also effected by the client following the aftercare and the client's health. You will be due for your top up around this point.
It is worth noting: -If you are planning a holiday abroad it is worth leaving two weeks between your appointment and going. -If you have extremely oily skin, microblading will not work as well for you. The constant production of oil can cause the hair strokes to heal with a diffused, softer look. -If you are a frequent smoker, your pigment may fade sooner. -If you are iron deficient or Anemic, your pigment may fade sooner and bleeding/bruising may occur during and after the procedure. -Your appointment will take between 2 and 3 hours depending on how much work is required. -The sun, UV, chemical peels and topical acids will speed up the fading of your semi-permanent
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Monday, 4 February 2019

What I Wish I Had Known - Postpartum.



So you spend 9 months growing your tiny little human. 9 months eagerly awaiting their arrival. 9 months of being plunged into a whole new world of things you never knew existed and things you didn’t realise could happen. It’s a learning curve right? 

Whether it is baby number 1 or 6, I think all mummies to be try to educate themselves the very best they can. The world is constantly evolving and therefore the world of parenting changes rapidly in line with that. From the very first midwife appointment we are given all sorts of resources to read and digest. I also enjoyed doing my own research on various topics from the likes of breastfeeding to vegetarian pregnancy and weaning. 

This being said, I have still managed to get to 5 months postpartum and think to myself “I wish I had of known that!” about a handful of different topics. My blog seems the perfect platform to share my findings; after all they may be of help to someone else... 

Postpartum Hair Loss

Now I did know that during pregnancy the hair thickens in response to the hormones and obviously some of that will naturally shed following birth but I was not prepared to lose the amount I did. I was losing hair whilst brushing, washing, styling, you name it - it was fur ball city for a good few weeks. The worst part? I went bald in the temple area on both sides of my head! Yes bald! Mum life is fabulous right?!

Luckily after feeling rather conscious of my two new bald spots the hair has started to grow back. This is amazing news although I feel I have swapped the bald eagle look for a newly sprouting alfalfa resemblance. Hair loss may not affect everyone, surprisingly though since I have opened up about it with friends it turns out it has happened to more people I know than I had realised. It’s something I wish I’d have been prepared for as it did come as a shock. Pesky hormones!

Postpartum Migraines

A killer. Not what you need when you are already physically and mentally exhausted post birth of your little baby. 

I started getting frequent migraines following the birth of Oliver around 4 weeks postpartum. I don’t suffer with headaches or migraines usually, I’ve been very lucky in that respect, so for me to be getting regular ones was definitely out of character. 

Due to exclusively breastfeeding O and being anti taking medication, I was trying to manage the migraines by plodding on but I wasn’t succeeding. I told my mother in law who asked if I was taking a magnesium supplement as she had previously read an article on the association between low magnesium and migraines. Admittedly I wasn’t. I was however still taking my pregnancy vitamins as recommended by my health visitor. 

Back at home I decided to look at the magnesium content in my pregnancy vitamin - it was present but not as high as a standalone magnesium supplement. I decided to take an additional supplement for a week to boost my level of the mineral and I also opted for the breastfeeding postnatal vitamins to try and ensure my needs and the babies were being met.

A week later and my headaches had gone. I shared what I’d found with my health visitor when she visited and she was equally amazed. She specialises in post birth care and although she was fully aware of postpartum migraines and headaches even she hadn’t thought of using vitamins to aid recovery. 

Whilst reading various sources I realised something that naively I hadn’t thought of before. When breastfeeding a baby will take from the mother whatever nutrients they need. This commonly leaves the mother deficient in various vitamins and minerals which can have knock on effects. At six weeks old, baby and mother attend a check with their GP and if all is well with both they are discharged. I do wonder, should breastfeeding mothers take it on themselves to get a regular vitamin and mineral check? Every Mum wants their milk to be as nutritious for their baby as possible and it is important that they can feel their best too! 

I found reading about this subject fascinating. One particular article that is interesting is:


Diastasis Recti 

Thank goodness for YouTube. Seriously! 

I not only found out about but also recovered the separation in my abdomen thanks to YouTube.

What even is diastasis recti you may be wondering? Diastasis recti is a weakening of the abdominal walls in the centre of the abdomen due to pregnancy hormones and the weight of a baby. Basically a weakening in the tension of the muscle fibres. Not everyone will experience this however many will. 

I watch Anna Saccone’s vlogs - yes YouTube is my guilty pleasure. Anna had her 4th baby around a week before I had baby O so I found it great to watch her postpartum updates. Although I was subscribed to various baby websites that send you an email with weekly baby progress advice it was good to watch and see how someone else with a baby the same age was getting on. Fairly early on in the vlogs Anna identified her diastasis recti and whilst listening I thought this was maybe something I was experiencing. 

When I had baby number one my tummy snapped back within 7 days (I know, I know - sickening.. maybe it was down to me being only just an adult myself?!) However this time with baby number two I felt my tummy was taking longer to return to its former self. I want to say here that I have been very lucky regarding my postpartum body. Some people would have been more than satisfied with how I was but to me, my stomach felt weak. I could sense that nothing was being supported as well as before. Although I was back to my pre-baby weight my tummy certainly didn't feel as taught. 

To confirm my query I asked my GP when Oliver and I had our 6 week check and she agreed that I had a two/ three finger separation. Basically this meant that when I lay down and tilted my pelvis to tense my abdomen I could place two/three fingers easily in between either side of my ab walls! The GP told me that there was nothing available on the NHS to solve this problem as it was not classed as serious however, I could seek help from a physiotherapist or find some simple correction exercises online. Whilst it was not severe, she did say it was something I should focus on correcting as if I didn’t it could lead to the problem worsening in any future pregnancies or lead to other problems like lower back pain later in life. 

This is why the vlogs have and continue to majorly help. Anna and her PT, began a postpartum diastasis recti healing workout series. The initial workout was super gentle and as healing has progressed the series has since built up to now being a fairly intense HIIT session. Link to initial workout here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eS0X1mo66w&t=2s

The videos have been a god send. With a new baby that I am exclusively breastfeeding I don’t have the chance to get to a gym. I needed a solution that worked around family and this was it. I can now workout at home, at any convenient time. By working through the series at my own pace I have completely healed my separation and actually feel stronger than I ever have. Now when I lay down and tilt my pelvis it is clear that the muscles have completely stitched back together - no gap present! 

I have committed myself to these workouts - I feel I need to put this out there. I wouldn't lie and say it happened easily over night. I’ve been doing a video 2/3 times over 4/5 times a week alongside walking around 4.5 miles 5/6 days a week. I hate driving so if I can walk I will. I started with the first easiest routine when Oliver was 7 weeks old and I had been cleared by the GP and health visitor as safe to exercise again.

As always, I hope this post will be of help to somebody! I have added a link to Anna’s first workout video above and you can navigate to the harder ones from there. Please comment with your thoughts/ tips below, I love hearing from you!

Bethany xx







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Monday, 12 November 2018

Cheeky Chocolate Hidden Greens Smoothie Bowl


The first recipe on the blog!

I am literally loving a smoothie bowl right now. Not only do they taste incredible but they are an amazing way to pack in a lot of micro nutrients within one meal. They are also amazing one hand food and quick to make when you have a tiny person on board!

This is a go to for me and my eldest at the weekend as a quick lunch. The cacao powder, banana and date make this bowl super sweet - you cannot taste the spinach or avocado, hence the "Hidden Greens" name. Perfect if you have a little salad dodger!

Whilst exclusively breastfeeding my baby it is really important to me to pay high attention to the quality of my diet. A small amount of everything consumed will end up in my milk and therefore I want my diet to be full of a wide range of vitamins, minerals, micro nutrients, proteins and fats etc. Not only do I want my milk to be the best it can be for Baby O, I also want to feel the best i can possibly feel. I actually find I need to eat and drink more now than I did pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy! This was something that took me by surprise. I had heard the term "breastfeeding hunger" but not actually given it much consideration until it was happening to me. Has anyone else experienced this?!

I used ground flax seeds to provide an omega 3 boost, the leafy green vegetables contain phytoestrogens which have been shown to have a positive effect on breast milk production and the avocado is full of healthy fats as well as vitamin B, K, C and E! The banana, avocado and spinach also all contain good amounts of magnesium - a mineral I found depleted really quickly post birth and left me with severe postpartum migraines... I will do a more in detail post on this topic soon as it may be of help to someone else who is suffering with the same. 

Ingredients 
  • Handful of spinach 
  • 1 Frozen banana (you can use a normal banana but it doesn't give the same ice cream like consistency)
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 Medjool date
  • 1tsp Almond butter
  • 3tsp Raw cacao powder
  • 6tbsp Plant based milk
  • Ground flax seed to sprinkle on top
Directions
Place all in the blender, whizz up, pour into a bowl and enjoy! You may need to stop the blender a few times and give the mix a stir if the frozen elements stop mixing.

Did you find this post helpful and would you like more like this? Also if you try the recipe please leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Bethany xx







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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

I'm Back!

I'm back!

It's been 11 months since i shared my last post and so much has happened since. We have completed a full renovation on our house, this is the main reason I decided to take a break from my blog due to all of my spare time being spent with a tool in hand, and most importantly we have had a beautiful baby boy! 


I've been meaning to pick my blog back up for a few weeks now after having a brainwave during a night feed (all my best ideas come at this time - bizarre!) about how I could expand the content of this site to not just beauty but beauty, health and my postpartum/ mum life journey. I believe the three interlink in so many ways. 

I started my blog as a way to share products that I had discovered that have worked so well for myself and I would now like to share not only those discoveries but also my postpartum recovery and some healthy recipes I am making to nourish myself and my baby - after all good skin and health does come from within. I'd also like to share various mummy experiences i have had so far in hope, as always, that my posts can be of help to someone out there!

Please comment below if there's any other post ideas you'd be interested in reading, i love to hear your thoughts on my posts.

Bethany xx





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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Something NU.




I'm pretty sure you will have seen some of the NU Skin products floating around in your Insta feed by now. They are really popular and talked about at the moment! I was asked to try some for a blog review recently and after trying their lip gloss (see my previous post) I was definitely excited to be given three products to test: Polishing Peel, Glacial Marine Mud and the AP whitening toothpaste. Here's what I thought..

AP Whitening Toothpaste
Is brilliant! The best toothpaste I have ever used! I had been very sceptical over this product. After seeing so many posts raving about it on social media, it just semt too good to be true, this is really not the case. I have only used the toothpaste morning and evening for only three days and could see whiter tegs in just that tiny amount of time!

The toothpaste has a really nice and fresh taste. It leaves the mouth refreshed and teeth feeling smooth, very clean and polished with the added bonus of whitening at the same time! It contains no peroxides or harmful chemicals and will actually help to remove staining.

This product retails at £13 and I will definitely be ordering myself some more. A toothpaste is something we use every day, it's a necessity and yet so many have funny tastes/ negative results. £13 does seem pricey for an everyday essential but for the whitening effects it is worth it! I have popped my results from just three days use below. All photos were taken first thing in the morning after I had brushed my teeth so excuse the minimum makeup, lack of gloss etc. Your used to my no makeup pictures by now anyway so what am I worrying about?!

Polishing Peel
This product is quite unusual and different to anything I have used before! It features pumpkin enzymes that resurface and polish the skin and bentonite clay to remove dull skin cells and toxins. It is another Nu Skin product that is raved about.

Now this one did take me two uses to make up my mind. On the first use I wasn't overly keen on the texture. I personally favour products that melt onto my skin and have no drag. This had an almost rubber like texture that I did find difficult to spread and move. However I thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt and try it again. On second use I still felt the product was quite stiff to manoeuvre but I persevered..

I did as instructed for use, I used after the Glacial Marine Mud mask first, I then applied the peel and left the product too work for about 2 minutes and then buffed it away in circular motions. On the second time I did manage to buff the peel away, slowly but surely. My skin was left really soft so it definitely refined it! I still think I need to keep playing with this product to see if it's just me using it incorrect or if it just doesn't work with my skin that well.

Glacial Marine Mud
This is the mask responsible for the majority of those Kermit green 'maskies' taking over social media right now! I have been quite intrigued about this product for a while, especially after hearing of multiple friends getting great results.
This multi-use mask was created to lift dirt, impurities and oil from the skin as it dries out. You can actually see this happening as the mask is drying when all of the congested pores become visible and go darker (see picture below).

The mask is predominantly used for helping clear acne, breakouts and congestion but can also be used to help relieve dry skin and dull complexions.

I didn't love the smell of the mask. I have used nicer smelling products but that is probably due to the ingredients being natural and unperfumed - which is obviously better for our skin one million percent.

After using the Glacial Marine Mud I was left with very smooth and clear skin. It even managed to draw out a few stubborn blackheads on my nose making them easy to pop out and clear! I am quite hormonal and congested at the moment so will be treating myself to one of these natural masks again this week.

I will link Verity's Instagram below for if you wanted to try any of these products for yourself. You can message her directly to place any orders. If you comment BESSIEGRACE within your message you will receive 10% off your order! I hope you all have a lovely week! If you have any more questions about these products please don't hesitate to comment below or contact me.

Bethany xx

Link to Verity's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/veritygaunt/








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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

No Needles Required!




Do you ever scroll through Facebook and totally bypass all of the ads and majority of pages your friends have liked that then appear in your feed? Or is that just me?

The product I want to share with you in this post was something that initially kept popping up in my feed as various friends had liked it. The video that does pop up hadn't grabbed me before I must say.. Probably why I hadn't pursued this product earlier. However it finally did snatch my attention when I actually tried some of a friends on a recent night out.

On pulling it out of her clutch a few of the other girls also asked to use some and were very excited over the product - hence my intrigue. I asked what the product was and my friend explained it is a plumping treatment for the lips that actually works. Not only that but it also has different 'heats' and you can customise your personal results. This one needed a try..

Talk about first application love with the added bonus that I could feel it working as well as see results. The girls were 1 million percent right this stuff works!

It is without a doubt that the majority of the population of girls are lip obsessed right now. What with the likes of Alexandria Morgan and Lydia Elise Millen as well as other people within your social media streams, a girl can't be blamed for desiring that fuller Jolie lip.

This isn't the first time I have tried a lip plumping product (see my previous post)and it most probably won't be my last. But two things happened when I tried this product: 1) I knew I had to have one and 2) I knew this deserved a post so I can share this find with you in case you hadn't heard of this either.

The product itself is sold by a brand called Dollywood Boutique.. Recognise it now? The lip treatment is called 'Chamber Made, Turn up the Voltage'. It retails at £18 pound and £3 for postage and packaging so it's fairly in line with most good plumper's out there at the minute.

How does it work?
The treatment has 7 custom settings:
-Just Plump No Tingle (Long term results with this)= A Peptide Collagen
conditioning treatment that is clinically proven to give you fuller lips in 30 days. 
-Cool Tingle (Long term results with this)= This is for a more sensitive skin, without a hot sensation will give a quick plumping result.
-Warm Tingle (Long term results with this selection) = For normal skin types, by choosing this you get a quicker and more effective plumping result.
-Hot Tingle (Short term results with this) Gives an extreme tingle which in turn gives the best plumping results.

To make your selection you simple twist the tube marked with an arrow onto your choice. The 'Hot Tingle' is perfectly named - it definitely packs a short term punch, perfect for those full looking lips on a night out! The instructions of use do advise a patch test to be carried out before your first full application.

I saw instant results on my night out with the girls, I topped up about twice throughout the night and was mega impressed. I don't use this product everyday, I want to keep it as my night out lip boost and treat!

I have taken a few pictures to show you before application (above) and 15 minutes later (below) on the hot tingle setting. Fillers are not a route I personally want to go down so for that plumped up look this is perfect!
I know this is a shorter post compared to most of mine but I just wanted to share an amazing find with you. If you have any questions as always please don't hesitate to ask or comment below. Also if you have any other amazing lip plumper's please share for everyone below! There is also a link to the products website below.

Bethany xx


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bronzedglamour/





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Friday, 30 June 2017

K, Seeya, Bye!

Gosh life is busy right now.

We moved into our new house on the 8th June and let's just say we haven't messed around getting stuck into a renovation. My posts might not be as regular for a while as we are currently working full time, being parents and then coming home to the building work so time is literally so sparse. Does anyone ever wish we had an extra 6 hours in a day and 3 days in a week?

If you follow me on Instagram or have read my previous post you may know I recently had my tonsils out. Following the experience being a bit of a shock I decided to share my journey with you in case you may be due to have the same procedure done.

**I will warn you - this post does contain post op pictures of the site which are gross to say the least. If you do have a weak stomach it's probably best not to read too much further..**

So why did I need my tonsils out? It's been a long time coming to be honest. Basically I haven't felt very well for just over two and a half years now. When I say not very well it is quite hard to explain. Very run down would be a good starting point, exhausted very easily closely follows and then it is my throat. I have had a large raised lymph node on the left side of my neck for the same amount of time I have felt rubbish. I also have a very weak voice and have a sore throat everyday all down the left side.

Lymph nodes are a scary subject. I have had various tests, scans and blood tests over the time I have been feeling unwell for all sorts of scary things and luckily each one has come back clear but it still left a question mark over what is causing my lump and pain.

After being with different doctor's for 2 years, not finding a solution and being at my whits end of feeling shite I was referred to a fantastic consultant who specialises in Ear, Nose and Throat. He went over my symptoms, I had an MRI scan and a camera up my nose and down my throat - not so nice! The consultant  was as baffled as I was. He had a few theories about what could be going on and also thought my tonsils looked suspect so he decided to take them out in order to see if they were contributing to  any of my problems. After talking through several possibilities we realised it would be a process of elimination and different treatments to find a solution.

One thing the consultant suspected was undiagnosed chronic tonsillitis. This may have been causing me to feel unwell for so long. Chronic tonsillitis is basically when the tonsils become infected frequently without the full blown fur, gunk and symptoms of tonsillitis that would knock you off your feet. He wasn't 100% sure this would be the cause but the only way to expel the chance was to remove mine. He talked me through the procedure and said I would receive a date shortly within the next few weeks.

The date come through and the operation was set for May 17th. Don't ask me why but I didn't consider it too much. I think I was more excited over the concept of solving my problem and finally feeling better. I didn't do any research. I only knew of a few people who had also had the procedure done and I knew everyone reacts to surgery different so I didn't feel it was worth asking too many questions - or so I thought.

I like to think I am an optimistic person. Having this done proved that.. a little to much. I knew I had to have two weeks off work to recover but stupidly I imagined that being a "day case" meant I would be in, out and back to normal duties later that day. How wrong and naive I was..

Originally I had never intended to blog about my tonsillectomy. It was only when I had a big shock afterwards that I thought I would share my experience. In a way I want to help advise anyone who may be undergoing the procedure of what to expect and share a few tips to help prepare yourself for post op life. Please remember though, everyone is different. Your experience could be totally different to mine!

The only way I can describe my experience was.. beautiful.. not! It was not very nice at all. The actual morning and pre-operation was so smooth. I hadn't worked my self up about having the op - I wasn't overly nervous, probably a little to optimistic - hence the shock I was about to get.

The staff at the Nuffield in Derby were incredible. Their attention to detail was impeccable and they really put me at ease and comfort. Being a day case I was at the hospital for 07:00 in the morning and due to go to surgery about 09:00. At that point the only thing I was bothered about was being starving. I am such a breakfast lover and when you have the procedure it is nil be mouth after 00:00 the night before. Not even a cup of tea to start the day never mind my beloved porridge or a smoothie!

My nerves finally kicked in when I walked down to theatre. All kitted out in my beauts gown, super big pants and circulation stockings.. It's a glam affair! I have had one anaesthetic before so knew vaguely what to expect but the anxiety did kick in when I lay on that bed to be put to sleep I won't lie.

Every experience is different and that is so true with my two anaesthetic experiences. On waking from my first operation I ever had I was so peaceful, said "hello" to the surgeon and then fell back to sleep. This time I woke and had a full on panic attack. Drama I know - super embarrassed to say the least.

When I woke I had no idea where I was or what was going on. In my head I hadn't yet been put to sleep, because I had no recollection of it happening! I thought I was on that trolley about to be put to sleep..

I had a slight runny nose on the day of my procedure so after lying down for the duration of the op I was all blocked up and felt like I was struggling to breath. Then the pain in my throat hit me and that was it. A mixture of confusion, feeling like I couldn't breathe and the pain sent me into a mad hyperventilating mess. The poor nurses had no idea what was up with me and I was that doped up from the pain relief that was running through me I didn't either. It was a good 10 minutes before I accepted the operation was done and they weren't going to put me out again! I had felt a mess already but now I looked a total puffy eyed, red nosed mess. I got back to my room and literally slept the anaesthetic off all day, it was all I could do. My blood pressure ended up quite low by the end of the day so I did have to stay in over night for monitoring.
I went home around lunch time the following day and that's when the recovery journey began. I kept a diary of how I felt each day and took photographs of the area so I could see the healing progress in action. I can safely say from the minute I woke up to about day 12 my throat hurt in a way I have never experienced before. My medication made me feel super nauseous and the codeine knocked me off my feet for hours each time. It's not fun in any way, shape or form. Even worse constipation was a bitch until Day 6! I think that can be a side effect from an anaesthetic though. It really is a rough road to recovery and I just wish I had been a little more prepared before hand.

Although my recovery was rough I literally cannot fault the Nuffield in Derby. Their service is amazing! From the minute I checked in I had my own room which they had already pre-booked out for an overnight stay even though I was only a day case. The staff were super helpful and couldn't do enough for their patients comfort. I know some people slate the NHS but this just proved how helpful they are and how lucky we are to have their services. The breakfast they brought me in the morning looked insane and I was absolutely gutted I couldn't enjoy it. I gave it a good attempt but it simply was not happening. One positive though - by the following morning my puffy eyes has returned to normal - I didn't feel like so much of a freak show then! It's bad enough feeling terrible without looking it too.

It's super gross but when you have your tonsils out obviously they don't stitch up the operated site so you have two kind of open wounds that are incredibly sore. Instead of stitching the area is cauterised. Also the back of your throat fills with what I can only describe as smelly cottage cheese. I'm still unsure even now as to what this actually is? I took pictures daily to watch it disappearing as I got better. I've included one photo from the day after so you can see what I mean.. this is why I warned you it would be a gross post.
So what happened from day 1 post op? Here it goes:
  • Day 1 - 3 = I felt pretty much the same on each of these days. Rough,  spaced out, in pain, very sleepy with no appetite.
  • Day 4 = I was barely eating. This is not what you are advised post op as eating normal foods can actually help heal the area, but it was the last thing I could face rightly or wrongly. I could tell I had started to loose a little bit of weight by this point. I loose weight quite quickly and can always tell around my collar bones. It was inevitable with how little I was getting down me. I do always find it strange how our taste changes when we are sick. The things I usually love repulsed me. I was drinking tea with sugar not sweetener, trying small pieces of cheese on toast to curb the nausea and nibbling chocolate hobnobs to line my stomach for the meds during the night. My diet definitely changed for a good few days!
  • Day  5 = Emotional wreck! I think a mixture of waking up a lot in pain during the night, having disturbed naps during the day, feeling like utter crap and not eating well had taken its toll by day 5. I had a lot of help from my family with my daughter, my parents had her for a week whilst I stayed with Matthew's parents. On the Saturday I missed her dancing in her Mayfair as I just wasn't well enough to go and when I received a video from my dad I just sat and sobbed - what a melt!
  • Day 6-8 = No improvements. I still felt rubbish. My body was totally reliant of pain relief still, religiously every four hours. I still couldn't sleep through the night without having to wake up for my tablets.
  • Day 9 = This was my consultation day. Usually after a tonsillectomy you would see the consultant 7 days later but due to my tonsils being sent away to check for anything abnormal my appointment was on day 9 when my results from pathology would be in and could be discussed. Luckily there was nothing sinister in the little buggers but they were full of gross debris so it was confirmed that they definitely had needed removing! At this point the lump in my neck was still the same and hadn't gone down as we had hoped. I was given a further appointment 6 weeks later to reassess the lump and see if after healing I would have any improvement on my symptoms.
  • Day 12 = I finally started to feel hungry! Very hungry actually. My appetite was coming back with avengance and definitely making up for the tiny amount I had eaten over the last 11 days. Your stomach shrinks so quickly after an absence of food though doesn't it?! I could literally only manage small portions - little and often. My throat was getting less sore daily at this point too. I was finally feeling better in myself, taking less meds daily and seeing less of the gunk at the back of my throat - yay!
So there is it is, the main two weeks post op after my tonsillectomy. It's now been 6 weeks since the op, one of my scars has healed nicely, the other is being a bit slow. I still get a bit of gunk on them and the left side is still quite red and a bit sore but all in all the results are good.

Unfortunately Larry lymph node is still up, I'm still very sore down the left side of my throat and have a super weak voice. I've just had my 6 week review and although it was beneficial for me to chop off the tonsils I'm still no further with the cause of the lump. We are now exploring other options and I return in a few weeks for another scan and discussion. Hopefully we'll find a solution in the end. My consultant is amazing, so thorough and patient!

I can't thank the Nuffield in Derby enough for all of their care, time and help during my operation as well as post operation and the consultations I have had since.

I hope this may be of help if you are due to have this procedure. Please remember everyone is different and each experience will be different! I would definitely say if you are due to have this done make sure you have some family support ready for afterwards. Both mine and Matthew's family were incredible to me. Obviously having a child to take care of was difficult afterwards for a few days so as I said my parents took care of my daughter and Matthew's parents gained me.

All the best if your having a tonsillectomy soon. If you have been through anything similar regarding the lump in my neck, sore throat and fatigue and found a solution please share! As always if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me or comment below.

Bethany xx







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