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.

11950885_10153671510545955_711128955_n

Before

11911884_10153671516700955_191471485_n

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.

11909876_10153671516830955_2043159790_n

After (current)

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

Advertisements

50 Shades of Botox

11040441_10153275500085955_1891270427_o (1)

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.

11103940_10153275496025955_768178199_n

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.

11093364_10153275603215955_978675619_o (1)

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?

buy-skinade-online-box-3

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.

Un-ageing Gracefully

In the run up to my 45th birthday I thought it only right to look at some of the ways to beat back the hand of time. This is the first article in a series about women and ageing.  More accurately the lengths at which I intend to go to in order to look the way I feel.  I suppose it is all part of the bigger transformation.  As a young woman I was so overweight I didn’t have any self esteem.  I don’t think I was ever able to fully experience the luxury of “youth”.  I spent the years I should have been having fun and being carefree stuck inside wallowing in my relative fatness.

So, call it a mid-life crisis or perhaps just complete unadulterated insanity, but I want my youth back, now that I can fully enjoy it!  The fact is I don’t feel old.  I have young children, I am active and love all things trendy.  I don’t see the point of letting father time win.  So, I have made a decision that I am going to opt out of the ageing process or at least fight it kicking and screaming.

Having relatively decent skin for a pre-geriatric I have gone on a quest to find out the most advantageous ways to un-age gracefully.  Over the course of the next couple of months I will be undergoing treatments involving needles, infra-red probes, heat, electricity, more needles, exercise and just plain old good nutrition.   So, with the help of some of best Aesthetic Professionals in the world the clock stops here!

Once upon a time there was a lump of coal…

diam ant

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.

SAMSUNG CSC

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”.

SAMSUNG CSC

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

dm cap

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

A Big Fat Shame…

I have been thinking about fat shaming this week. Recently there have been pictures circulating around social media and the papers of fit Mum’s with the “no excuses” hashtag. They are all the same story over and over again. A mum who has worked really hard for a six pack aptly calling herself “@Superabs” being ripped a part on social media for fat shaming and demeaning other women. I thought about my initial reaction to these pictures. I am envious! I am in awe! Am I demeaned? No! Am I personally happy with my body now? Yes and No. But, I hold my hands up and admit I don’t exercise as I should. Do I have any excuse for not exercising? I have five year old twins and I work full time in addition to my million other responsibilities. But, do I really have any excuses? No, I could get up earlier. I could have a run during my lunch hour. I could even pop in a dvd and exercise along with my children.

Am I going to beat myself up because I do not have “superabs”? Of course not. My body has been to hell and back. I spent most of my life as a size 32, carried twins to term at 350 pounds, lost nearly 200 pounds in the last two years. If not for extensive surgical intervention I would look every inch “road hard and put away wet” as my lovely mum used to say. My body is what it is. I will likely never have a body even remotely close to Superabs. But, who cares? Why would I attempt to put someone down for having something I don’t. Are the naysayers not doing to her exactly what they are accusing her of doing to them?

Throughout the last week due to my commenting on Twitter about “Superabs” I was targeted for my opinions. That I was some how not being very nice to my fellow sisters by not jumping on the anti-superabs bandwagon. I will be honest, I don’t understand how these women are fat shaming. They are celebrating an amazing amount of work that it must take to have that level of fitness. Would we ever tell a woman who posted a picture of her pregnant bump, that she is being demeaning to women unable to have children? Why not? Surely the logic is the same. You are showing off something another women may not ever be able to have. How very selfish. Same goes to the hundreds of pictures that I along with millions of other mums post of our children. What about that shot of the a friends new car that will show up on my newsfeed?

So, what exactly is it about these particular woman’s pride in their bodies that is like a red rag to a bull? Day in and day out we are all inundated with selfies on social media. Glam shots, no make up, too much make up, sunburned bums, wonky eyebrows, big asses, small asses, funky feet, women in all shapes and sizes in various states of dress and undress. None of these come with the amount of venom that a tanned physically fit mother gets. It would seem we have some extremely mixed messages about our bodies and what we are “allowed” to be proud of.

So, apparently the message we want to send out really is “Celebrate” (Insert body type here) as long as your body doesn’t in anyway make me feel inadequate about mine.

Feeling Fresh!

One of the great things about having a blog is the opportunity to not only talk about the latest in beauty trends, but being able to try them for myself.  I was recently invited by the absolutely gorgeous Dr Joney DeSouza to have a look around his clinic and try some of the cutting edge treatments that are on offer.

laser3

Dr DeSouza is one of the leading aesthetic doctors in London.  So, I jumped at the chance!  In addition to the clinic he is also at the forefront in training new practitioners to carry out the many procedures available.  I knew I was in safe hands.

I was greeted by Dr DeSouza and his clinic Manager, the lovely David Waller.  They showed me to the treatment room, where I was met by Milena Naydenov who would be doing diamond point microdermabrasion and laser treatment for my irregular pigment.  Following an extensive assessment of my current health and skin concerns she outlined my problem areas.

laser5

uneven skin tone and sun spots

The microdermabrasion would gently remove the rough and damaged outer layer of the skin that hides the dead cells, trapped oils and dirt and any other impurities that modern life has thrown at my skin. The machine works as the very fine diamond tipped want scrapes off debris and the particles are sucked away from the skin by a small vacuum, leaving your skin fresh and glowing.

During the consultation they identified old sun damage from sun burns long forgotten.  Including a couple of spots that were pre-cancerous.  These would be dealt with by the laser treatment.  In addition to the sun damage I had broken capillaries around my nose and general discoloration around my hairline and cheeks.  She created a plan of action to use a combination of different laser strengths to get rid of the problem areas. Now, I know what you are thinking! LASERS ZAPPING AT MY SKIN!!  Must be painful right? Wrong, actually it never felt like more than a tiny pinch when the stronger laser was used for the broken capillaries.  I was amazed!  Even just following the treatment my skin was glowing.  Milena did warn me that it would take about a week for the full results to be seen.  Basically, all of the pigment would go darker and then flake away leaving a more even skin tone.  It was very interesting watching the spots go darker and then disappear.

laser8

Day 4 spots at their darkest and starting to flake.

I have to say on day 7 my skin is so much more even toned and really smooth.  The treatments are brilliant!  Dr De Souza’s clinic is fabulous and absolutely worth the trip to Marlybone for a beauty top-up.  I certainly look forward to another visit in the very near future!!

laser7

Day 7 broken capillaries gone!

laser11

Day 7 after all of the flaking had finished. Sun spots nearly invisible and skin feeling amazing!

If you would like more information about the treatments I had or anything else Dr De Souza offers please check out the following link:  http://www.drjoneydesouza.com/

Butterflies and Beginnings…

Happy New Year Beautiful People!!  I am wishing and hoping for health, happiness and prosperity for us all!!

So, this New Year has me thinking about beginnings.  I have seen lots of beginnings this year.  Not the least of which has been the change in my body, in image and in the physical reconstruction of my actual body.  I was thinking about the sacrifices we make to change ourselves.  After losing so much weight, I was obviously left with lots of loose skin and also perhaps lost a bit of the youthful plump that all of the extra adipose tissue gave me.  In other words I once was like a balloon blown up and deflated basically.

Do I regret the loss of this bit of youth fat had afforded me?  Well, no, not even a little bit.  Because what I gained in self-esteem and health far outweigh all of this.  The new me can run!  The new me will live longer and the new me can do anything!  I have been extremely lucky that with the intervention of an amazing surgeon in Paul Baguley, I could be brand new.  Through plastic surgery I could have the body I worked so hard to get.  I have been looking through the pictures I sent into the television company prior to the surgery.  I remember being so humiliated sending them, that I actually cleared my browser and email account of any trace of those messages with pictures attached.  I looked at them and thought; there could not be any possible way to come back to anything remotely normal looking.

20130528_130645   20141225_163942

Now in retrospect looking at my after pictures, particularly my thighs and stomach, the results are unbelievable.  I am not ashamed of those pictures anymore.  It is a bit like looking at a discarded cocoon now.  Although not perfect, I am very happy with the butterfly I have become no matter how oddly I fly now and then.

Breaking News!!!  Coming soon My first VLOG post where I will be reviewing some amazing new products.

Finding Me…

I was reading an article about the impact of plastic surgery on patient’s families.  It is one of those things you consider, but I suppose at the time the desperation for results overtake anything else.  I knew my body change would have an effect on my children, particularly my daughter.  I tried to protect her from this as much as I could, but mummy being covered in bandages from head to toe is a bit difficult to hide.  At this point I predict a teenage girl asking for implants because “mummy has them, so why can’t I”.  I am not sure how I will deal with that, luckily I have quite a few years to come up with an answer.

meand pip

But, the last thing I want is for her to feel like there is anything wrong with her body. She is only five and is already way too aware of body issues.  The reality of this hit me the other day when in the course of a conversation she mentioned someone we knew needed a doctor.  I questioned what she was talking about.  She said Mrs X needed to see mummies doctor because her skin was hanging under her arms.  I had an arm reduction, so this has normalised the procedure in her eyes.  Thank goodness she brought it to me before telling some poor woman she needed her bingo wings removed.  But, it got me thinking about how I can rationalise the clearly mixed messages I must be sending.  I try as much as I can to build her self-esteem and talk about being beautiful as she is.  But, I worry I have set a bad example.  What I have said about my surgery was that my skin made me poorly and it hurt.  But, everyone is beautiful in their own way.  Am I a hypocrite? Can I send the right messages or is my credibility in this area gone?  It is so hard; the last thing I want is for her to grow up as I did feeling there was something wrong with me.  I want high self-esteem and for her to feel invincible.

I allowed my weight and self-esteem issues keep me from doing so much.  In fact now I feel like I am having an epic mid-life crisis.  Loving my new confidence, but, hating the fact that at 44, something’s are just not possible to re-live.  I can’t get back the dances, proms, and parties I missed out on.  I am trying to find a way to recreate the youth I feel I was cheated out of.  Can I do this?  Maybe?

me