Bingo Wings Baby!

I suppose there is a point in every woman’s life where they reach a certain age and realise that their arms in particular start looking a bit, well there is no polite way to put it.  They start getting a bit saggy and even with muscle tone just don’t have that spring back they used to.  This is a particular issue if you are carrying some extra weight or like in my case you have lost a lot of weight.  There is only so much exercise can do!  I was incredibly lucky that following my weight loss I was able to have an arm reduction.  But, realistically this is out of range for the majority of women.  However, even following surgery my arms are still something I am a bit self conscious about.

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Enter Wingz! This company makes a range of “sleeves” that are worn with sleeveless clothing to give you some extra coverage when you are just not feeling sleeveless ready.  I was gifted a set of white wingz to test drive and review.  The concept is brilliant.  I do think that the black is probably much more versatile as it is easier to match the darker sleeve.  But, that is just me.  I don’t tend to wear lighter colours.

The line itself has a range of styles that are really beautiful and I think are an absolute godsend for those of us who are not comfortable with showing our arms. The fabric is lightweight and ideal for the summer which can be a big girls worst nightmare.  Part of the range includes a Chiffon Flare style which I think would be perfect to dress up those summer numbers instead of the old standard bolero.  They fit discreetly under your bra.  So, they really do end up looking like a part of your outfit.

p-2818-big-cat-wingz-280x175Wingz are a great addition to your wardrobe and certainly would allow anyone that has issues showing their arms to expand their wardrobe as there is a set of Wingz to fit any style.

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Fract or Fiction

Just when I thought I had tried it all in my ongoing effort to “opt-out” of the ageing process I was invited to visit the clinic of Dr Daniel Sister to try a treatment called Fractora. When I explain it, you may think I have gone a bit bonkers.  Fractora uses Radio Frequency (RF) energy to the skin through the tiny pins producing localized heat and small “micro-lesion dots” in the areas that are treated. The heat and “dots” promotes collagen regrowth, which rejuvenates and re-structures the skin  In other words they use a probe with lots of little needles sticking out of it to poke tiny holes in your skin whilst simultaneously heating it, causing the skins natural healing process to firm and re-vitalise areas that are lined and need toning.  The idea is that by treating areas that need firming the body’s natural healing process will tone sagging lacklustre skin as the body produces more collagen in the treated areas.

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Before

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After (current)

I had the treatment over my face and neck.  My primary area of concern was around my neck.  Where I have lost so much weight my neck has a distinct lack of tone and is something I am quite self-conscious about.  So, the promise of this area being tightened without surgery is quite the incentive to try the treatment.   Fractora can be used all over the body including legs and stomach.  It can treat a range of age and related skin conditions.  Such as; fine lines, deep lines, rough skin texture, irregular pigment, visible blood vesicles and uneven pigmentation. Though it is not necessarily just for the signs of aging as anyone can suffer from rough uneven tone.

Due to the nature of how the treatment is carried out a local anaesthetic cream is applied over the face 30-45 minutes prior to the treatment.  There is an element of mild pain to the treatment.  However, it is completely manageable.  I would describe it as a quick stinging/burning feeling at the point the needles and RF makes contact with the skin.  But, it goes away instantly.  There is no lingering pain following the procedure. The whole treatment took around 20-30 minutes.  My skin looked quite red and sore following the treatment.  But, there was no pain during the healing process.  I was advised to use a heavy barrier cream following the treatment in order to protect the skin where it was open and healing. No make-up could be worn for 48 hours whilst the treated areas closed to prevent infection.

one hour post Fractora

one hour post Fractora

24 hours post treatment

24 hours post treatment

3 days post treatment

3 days post treatment

Although the treatment does not have any specific downtime, my face was visibly sore and raw looking straight after.  It is definitely a treatment worth doing.  However, if you are someone who likes to be discrete about treatments this maybe one to have on a Friday to give your skin a day or two to settle.  The difference in redness is significant even the following day.  I did have what I would describe as stamp marks from the pins.  However, any residual marks were easily covered with make-up once I was able to wear it.

It can take months for the full effect of Fractora to be seen.  I am several months post treatment and can see a definite difference in my neck area. The general tone of my skin has improved as well as a reduction in fine lines. This was obviously after one treatment.  However, depending on the nature of your skin, you may require a series of treatments for the most dramatic effect.  This is definitely a treatment to consider before resorting to surgery.

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After (current)

For more information or to find out who your nearest practitioner contact  http://www.invasix.com/

Hiding the Evidence…

YouTube - Mel - YouTube - Google Chrome.mp4_snapshot_00.37_[2015.02.27_13.04.51]To say my body has been through the wars is probably a huge understatement.  The combined damage done to the very structure that holds everything together has been inflated and deflated within an inch of bursting on multiple occasions over the last 30 years.  The final deflation being the 12 stone I lost in the 18 months following my Gastric Plication that freed my damaged shell from super morbid obesity.  Following that there was the amazing rebuild that took place at the hands of Paul Baguley.  Having been an amazing transformation I could hardly complain about the scarring that this type of massive reconstruction leaves.  In many ways they were the battle scars, the physical proof of my history reminder of all the work I had put into changing my body so dramatically.

11418262_10153464841360955_593986283_nI wasn’t overly concerned about them initially.  To be fair the scars were neat and tidy and only noticeable at certain angles. I was so happy to have been liberated from the prison of skin that I had been encased in the scars rarely entered my radar. However, they were there and over time I had begun to look at them as the last bit of evidence of what a poor steward I had been over this body.  I thought about it and did some research.  It appeared that for the most part the recommendations were limited to various oils and silicone patches to lighten and flatten them.  Nothing particularly dramatic, but it would seem that would be what I would have to settle for.

11324103_10153464841345955_929175080_nRecently I was approached by Dr Daniel Sister, who I had heard of previously.  He is a pioneer in anti-ageing treatments with his method of Dracula Therapy™.  This procedure involves taking a vile of your own blood and spinning it in a centrifuge in order to separate the red blood cells from the clear serum and platelets.  The platelets are then injected into the skin, normally the face in order to reduce the signs of ageing. The injections encourage DNA repair thus, making the skin appear more youthful and rejuvenated.  Dr Sister was looking into how this treatment could be used to reduce the appearance of scars.  Obviously, knowing who Dr Sister was I jumped at the chance to work with him.

11418315_10153464841330955_1993958428_nI travelled to Dr Sisters London clinic, Beauty Works West for a consultation.  Due to the amount of surgery I previously had Dr Sister certainly had his work cut out for him.  But, knowing his amazing reputation I was in great hands.  He started by explaining to me how the procedure would work. He would take a small amount of my blood and spin it in the centrifuge and then re-inject the clear serum back into the scars in order to stimulate the body into repairing itself.

The injections themselves were almost pain free.  I don’t believe I even flinched once.  The truly outstanding thing was that the following day there was already a difference in the scars.  I was blown away at how dramatically they changed.  Over the following weeks what had been quite pink in places became lighter and flatter. The results have been miraculous.  For me this has been unbelievable and further increased my confidence as it means I get less looks and awkward questions as for the most part my scars are no longer visible.

However, as ecstatic as I am with the results it is particularly important to consider how life changing the Dracula Therapy™ could be for someone with extensive facial scarring. This treatment is certainly a game changer to say the least.

melissa

DeVirgination Part 2

11266633_10153383653705955_1719984422_oWith my foray into botox still fresh in my mind I started thinking about all the interventions available to make you feel and look younger.  What is the thing that makes a particular face look younger?

Obviously, with my collagen banks becoming ever increasingly deficient I went to work in accessing all of the procedures that can make a face look more youthful.  Okay, I hear you!!  Why can’t she accept the aging process as it as and just grow old gracefully?  Just accept who you are and move on…What on earth does all this have to do with the weight loss journey?  Yes, I have heard them all.  But, I do have an answer to this, which may or may not satisfy the curiosity of those who do not understand why the aesthetics side of my journey is so important to me.

I have been fat my whole life, I spent all of the years that any normal young person would have been out having fun inside feeling sorry for myself, feeling sorry for the life I was somehow not entitled to lead because I was so big.  So, having finally reclaimed the body I always wanted is it not ok to long for the youth I was denied by trapping myself under the ultimate fat suit?

So, no I will not be growing old gracefully.  If there are interventions whether nutritional, pharmaceutical, injectable or surgical I will try them.  I will of course share the results with everyone here.  Because, I have a huge amount of time to make up for!

11281107_10153383664275955_880154184_oNow that my relationship with Botox had turned into a full-fledged love affair it was only natural that I was thinking about experimenting with other injectables.  Dr Joney De Souza being the amazing practitioner that he is had done the most spectacular job with my face.  Although the botox was in three areas, his approach ensured that my face was youthful, but also very natural.  This is what you want to achieve, a face that still has some movement. Something you can only get from someone that is a genuine expert in the field.

When I saw him again I expressed that I felt my lips had lost some of their youthful volume in recent years and I would like to have a sexier pout in general. He explained that by using a filler to enhance them I could achieve not just a more youthful look, but it would also give me that full symmetrical set of lips that would enhance my profile as well.

11281577_10153383655690955_125182373_oSo, once again I would be on the receiving side of Dr De Souza’s expert needle.  Like all of us I have seen the aftermath of those who have sadly ended up with the dreaded “trout pout”.  Anytime you discuss having a lip enhancement inevitably you get the usual comments about looking like Pete Burns.  But, this is where finding a good injector is vital.  You need to trust the person implicitly with your face.  Unfortunately, if it is done poorly and without care you will have to live with the consequences.

A good injector is not going unload massive amounts of filler into your lips.  They should inject your lips with a conservative amount of filler in the initial appointment as you will have swelling right after 11281517_10153383654450955_1100907017_oso will not be able to get an accurate view of the enhancement for a couple of days.  In the following weeks they should have you return for any tweaks you may want.  After my first appointment I was floored by the results.  It was subtle yet dramatic at the same time.  Truly finished off the amazing work he had already done using botox.  I am incredibly pleased with the results and would definitely consider myself a convert to injectable aesthetic procedures.   The results that can be achieved are amazing and if you are looking for a procedure that will give you a great result that have lower financial and physical investment injectable treatments are absolutely the way forward.  I could not be more pleased with Dr De Souza’s amazing work.

For more information about the brilliant work of Dr De Souza visit his website http://www.drjoneydesouza.com/

Shame we can’t all get along!

How-to-get-a-beach-body-Take-your-bodyIt seems body image and being proud of what we have is the theme for the week.  #PlusSizeWars? #WeAreThey? #ProteinWorld? It is an interesting concept and has me thinking about where I am and where I have been.  Am I a sell out for wanting to change my body?  If I had the confidence as a young woman that I do following the massive amount of plastic surgery I have had would my life have been different?  So many questions that I don’t know the answers to…

But, you have to give Fiona Longmuir and Tara Castello a super shout out on behalf of women everywhere for standing up to the established beauty myth that is perpetrated on us every summer around what makes us as women “beach ready”.  The Protein World ad is not unlike every other campaign that gives us that extra shot of insecurity that we didn’t ask for, nor need to further push us into buying into a product or service that will make us “perfect”.

This is where I have to declare a conflict of interest. Because as much as I would like to say “down with the beauty myth!” “We are all beautiful” and the like I have spent much of the last few years exploring every last flaw that exists on my body and researching ways to “fix” it.   Where does that leave me in this argument?  I firmly believe that nobody should be ashamed of their body.  In the summer we should all feel like we can throw on a fabulous swim suit and hit the beach at any size or shape.  But, have I ever worn a swim suit in public?  That would be a big fat NO! Pardon the pun.  It may have been a lack of body positive role models or just my being locked in my own prison of body shame.  But, I still struggle with the concept of being happy with my body.

I find myself in a difficult position with this issue.  I think there is a line that needs to be drawn here.  This ad is clearly selling products for weight loss and there is nothing wrong with that.  Obesity is an extremely complex issue and this particular campaign is not going to change that.  My feeling around the issue as someone who was on the super obese spectrum is that the messages I received around body image told me that I was doomed and would never be able to achieve anything unless I fit literally and figuratively into a particular body shape. As an adult woman with decades of life experience behind me I am just about strong enough to deal with this.  However, there are millions of young girls and women who are growing up believing they can’t achieve their full potential because they don’t fit the “cookie cutter” image that as women we have been socialised to believe makes us successful.  The profoundly sad thing is, they are probably correct.
I write this not as an anonymous pundit seeking to cast judgement on a misogynist society.  But, as a highly educated woman who continues to experience first hand the advantages and disadvantage being a member of each of these camps bring.  I wish I could say that being proud of my body was enough.  That loving yourself will make the world love you back.  But, I can’t because the very sad truth is, this world will not reward you for your brain, your ability to write a beautiful story or even having the skills to save a life.  The thing that has made me successful in my current endeavour and made people want to hear me is all of the superficiality that we find so distasteful in this argument.  Do I think this is right? Of course not.  But, have I benefited from moving closer to what society expects women to look like?  Yes.
Obesity in itself is a very serious problem and in the same way nobody should be shamed into self hatred about not having that “perfect” body, neither should we shame those amongst us that have, through very hard work managed to create a female form that fits the #Protein World mould.  I find it increasingly sad that the original message of female empowerment is being lost.  If we are ever to make progress in this area we need to stop the in fighting about it being us versus them.  I have reached a point of saturation today where I have began to feel that rather than witnessing a testament to sisterhood it is turning into a pissing contest between Barbie and Midge.  However, my message remains the same.  Body shaming in any form is not acceptable, no matter which side of the coin you landed on.

**Image Courtesy of Fiona Longmuir and Tara Castello

Hidden Gems

white_multi_clear_background_grandeIn February I attended the ultimate beauty event.  Professional Beauty 2015 at the Excel in London.  It is a show that brings out the biggest and the brightest that the industry has on offer.  There were the amazing displays put on by the big boys like Clarins, Fake Bake, OPI, etc.  But, tucked at the back were the up and comers.  They don’t have the big budgets and some are no more then a table display and a business plan.  That is what is so special about these events, it gives you the opportunity to see what is happening on the ground floor of beauty.

I was gifted an amazing array of products and am yet to even make a dent in trying many of them.  But, as I was going through my bag of fabulousness I came across a small jar of Terre Verdi Multitasking Cream.   I was looking for something to out on my very delicate and red skin following an intense beauty treatment.  This gorgeous balm was just the remedy.  It is gorgeous!  The texture in the jar has an almost grainy like texture.  But, when you put it on your skin it melts straight in.  You need the tiniest amount per use, so a jar would last ages.  I used it on my face, hands, feet and body.  It instantly makes your skin feel like silk.  The smell is a bit citrus and not at all overpowering.  The product is made with Calendula, Argan and Shea Butter.  This is definitely going into permanent skin rotation particularly as we come up to summer.  It would make a great after sun cream to keep your skin silky soft.

50 Shades of Botox

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Virgin Face

I guess you can call me a late bloomer. I like to think I am adventurous, but there was still one area yet to be explored. As I sat in the perfectly lit room on the sofa waiting I was nervous.  You see at nearly 45 years old I was still a virgin.  I know it’s shocking in this day and age.  But, I guess you could say I never found the right person. I am not the type of woman to give it up to just anyone and maybe that makes me a bit old fashioned.  But, I needed someone I could fully and completely trust. In time I found him. After lots of quiet contemplation I made the decision he was going to the one.  The perfect person to allow in. His reputation was amazing and I knew the second we met he would in fact be “the one”.

So, yes today was going to be the day!  He came into the room and asked me exactly what I was looking for, my hopes for our encounter and my expectations for the future.  We talked though what was going to happen.  As it was my first time he wanted to ensure I was ready and that I left completely satisfied.  This was it, no going back as he drew closer to me with his needle in his hand, I was about to have BOTOX® for the first time!  So, finally with the first puncture into my skin, my journey began.

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Virgin Face

Dr Joney De Souza, my chosen one talked me through the procedure.  He would be injecting Botulinum toxin into three areas around my face.  My forehead which I felt particularly gave away my age.  My Bunny lines, which no matter what cute cuddly animal the word bunny conjured up I needed him to make them disappear before they had a chance to start reproducing. Finally, he injected the area around my eyes that evokes a slightly less cuddly animal, my crowsfeet.

The needle itself is so fine you can barely feel it. The exquisite pain as I have come to refer to it of that first injection was well below that of an eyebrow threading. I was able to chat through the entire procedure.  Dr De Souza made sure I had a hand mirror to see the areas he was injecting and explain each part of the procedure and how his goal was to give me the most natural appearance.  He would use the lower amount of Botox on my forehead as he explained this area is particularly susceptible to the effects of the toxin.  It is always better to be conservative in order to prevent that stunned/frozen look we have grown so accustomed to seeing.  The procedure took no more than 20 minutes and following Dr De Souza’s instructions of no vigorous exercise or alcohol for four hours I was on my way, with the promise of a two week follow-up for tweaks and top-ups if needed.

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Devirginized

Dr De Souza said it would take about a week to see the full effect of the botox.  However, I noticed a big difference by mid-week.  Those bunnies were tamer than last week and my crowsfeet where definitely not flying as high.  By the following weekend my forehead was smoother than it had been in at least 10-15 years.  Friends noticed a marked improvement in my face.  I looked fresh and smooth without looking “overdone”.  My make-up went on better and I just felt more confident.  I think a bit of that magic encased in the little syringe did as much for my insides as it did for the outside. By two weeks “postox” the effects were amazing.  I still had room for more injections around my forehead.  Dr De Souza worked his magic a bit more.  At the end of the follow-up we discussed other areas I had concerns about.  He gave me further advice on other treatments that would enhance the work he already done.  Totally satisfied and very happy with my results, I was on my way again. Would I be seeing him again?  Well yes, 11124837_10153275603980955_2082728750_nbecause although I was no longer a botox virgin, I was yet to have my fill…

Part Two coming soon!!

Nectar of Youth?

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11079804_10153250643605955_1467114390_nI have been researching collagen drinks for several months.  But, having tried samples here and there I had yet to find one that was palatable enough to commit to drinking a full bottle much less drinking it every day for a month. But, following a chat with Agostina from Skinade at a workshop we both attended I was sold.  I took a hideous no make up selfie the day I started.  Notice the dark circles and general uneven tone in my skin.

First things first, the taste!!  It is gorgeous, not overly sweet and tastes like mango juice.  I really loved the flavour.  In the first week I noticed my skin becoming clearer.  Because it was early days I wasn’t sure if it was the drink or if I was just having a “good skin week”.  But, by week two there was no doubt that the Skinade was definitely having a positive effect on not only the tone of my skin but felt my fine lines were less noticeable.  The sciency bit about Skinade is contains 7000mg of marine collagen (7000mg), calcium ascorbate, MSM, B Complex, flax seed and l-lysine.  The ingredients are meant to increase the elasticity and the natural production of collagen in your skin.
11087010_10153250643390955_877713063_o (1)By the third week my skin had a dewy appearance and the difference in my skin was becoming noticeable to my colleagues. At one point I was even asked if I had recently had any “work” on my face.  Another unexpected and very pleasant surprise is that my hair was shinier and I noticed new hair growth.  As I have particularly thin and fine hair this was a huge bonus.  In fact even my lovely beautician commented that I had a huge amount of lash growth in the last month.

11081388_10153250643535955_1337131390_n (1)By the final week there was no doubt my skin was more even and there was a huge difference in the general tone and appearance.  My skin was firmer and glowing even without my bronzer. There was a visible change in the appearance of fine lines.

If the 30 day course has results like this I can only imagine what a 90 day course would do.   would certainly recommend this product and think it makes an excellent addition to your daily anti-ageing regime.

Once upon a time there was a lump of coal…

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The brief was quite extensive and very ambitious. Antonia Mariconda would be showing us how to manifest £250.000 worth of PR for our blogs and businesses. Not a small feat considering I was sitting amongst the current and future leaders in the Aesthetic and beauty industry. The atmosphere like all of Antonia’s workshops was electric, but with that special warmth that she exudes. Antonia is genuinely beautiful inside and out with an amazing energy that makes you feel like you can conquer anything! I have known Antonia for a couple of years now and have come to consider her as a great friend, mentor and Fairy Godmamma. She is the picture of glamour, but with an uncanny ability to deliver a huge amount of information without being repetitive or boring.

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The workshop started dramatically with the lights turned down and lots of glitz on the tables.  She talked about finding your niche and looking within to catch your inner star. I was privileged enough to share my own story of success at both the morning and afternoon sessions. I have attended her previous workshops; “Build a Blog” and “Twitter for Success”. I had started blogging as a way to support others and satisfy my love of writing. However, with Fairy Godmamma guidance and a lot of hard work I managed to parley my little story into one of transformation and become a serious player with a high level of social media influence. Without Antonia’s fairy dust I would be just another blogger looking over the fence wishing I was part of “the club”.

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Being your own PR is daunting and not for the meek.  But, with the steps layed out by Antonia I left feeling like I could do anything.  She is super savy and in every way someone who worked for everything she has accomplished, truly a self made woman in every respect. To say this workshop is essential is a massive understatement. The information encased within the glossy packaging was hardcore and all business. This was a jargon free way to teach PR without relying on old clichés to make a point. Most “how to’s” are nothing more than a repackaged dictionary definition of what Public Relations are. This teaching was on a much deeper level, putting the onus on us, to really think about what makes us special and how to work it. We were forced to stop and reflect on finding your own way of getting noticed and how to sustain it. This was not about being a one trick pony, but more about a robust media strategy and finding new and innovative ways to market yourself.

I left this workshop knowing that anything was possible and that once upon a time a lump of coal became a beautiful diamond that will continue to shine bright.

The Power Within

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This week has been quite a whirlwind.  The week started with an amazing two days attending Professional Beauty in London.  Met some amazing people and was gifted a gorgeous assortment of products which I will be bringing you very soon.   Actually, my blog this week was meant to be an open letter to Bradley Cooper listing all the reasons I feel he should give me his Oscars Goody Bag.  However, sometimes life gives you its own special kind of goody bag.

After a very glamourous two days at Pro Beauty, there was the inevitable return to reality.  But, just as I was preparing for “normal” something crazy happened.  I was informed by the Daily Mail that they would be featuring my plastic surgery story in the Femail section.  In the past I was asked to do a story for them.  But, due to my concerns over being ripped apart by the comment section I always hesitated.  But, now it had happened!  No shelter, no preparing myself, it was raw and although I feel confident about my body, my self-esteem is still very fragile.  Within 10 minutes of the article going live, I was inundated with media requests and offers.  I was not remotely prepared for the interest the story would generate.  I have been involved in media previously having had my surgery broadcast.  But, this had a life of its own.  Again my concern wasn’t in the sharing, but in the scrutiny that I knew would follow.

I worried that I would be channelled right back to my 10 year old self who was bullied so severely over my weight, I was home schooled in the end.  I made the decision that I would not look at any comments.  I have an amazing and invaluable resource in my Advisor, friend and all around Social Media Fairy Godmamma Antonia Mariconda who said, should I be confronted with any negativity to sail through it like a swan.  She was right as usual!  The feedback that I have received has been 99% positive.  With her guidance and fairy dust I am sailing and keeping my power.  I must say at this point I could not have made through the last few days with my sanity intact without the “The Cosmedic Coach” and her superhero powers.

But, in the grand scheme of things what does this all mean? Well, in the end I did succumb to the temptation of seeing what people were saying about me.  It turned into an extremely cathartic experience.  Not only have I been able to share my journey,   deeper than that I learned that I am no longer the vulnerable fat girl. That little girl who wet herself on purpose to get sent home from school as it was my only escape from the bullies is a woman now!  A strong empowered woman who isn’t going to allow anyone to take her power away again!

http://dailym.ai/17WIBzU