Friday, 16 September 2016

Style Update: Embroidered denim jackets

A girl who loves denim and flamingos... that's me. Easy as pie, really. So it's not hard to imagine my squeal of delight at discovering this fashion find in the most unlikely of high street stores. Priced at under 50, this Happy Times Denim Flamingo has become a fashion staple of the summer. 

Now, that's not to say that there aren't plenty of other high street denim finds that are on my radar at the moment. Should this not be your statement denim of choice, check out these other fab moments in embroidered denim announcements:


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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Finally Discovered: The secret to healthy hair

Women around the globe are spending astronomical amounts of money on skincare but, when it comes to haircare, we're reaching for the 3 for 2 offers at our local shops. And do you know why? It all comes down to marketing. We watch on in envy as women flaunt their wrinkle-free faces across billboards, televisions and pages in magazines. We are being told that our age is shown on our face. Why is no one sharing that in actuality it's our hair that starts to show signs of wear and tear much more quickly than anything else? It's changes with our diets, our hormones and, most importantly, the products we mix into our manes day after day. While most haircare companies are trying to sell you products that will temporarily give you bounce, lift and shine, the real culprit for most of our hair woes has nothing to do with the dead strands of hair on our heads. It's all about the scalp. So unsexy I know. 

The first marketing team behind the development of Head & Shoulders has a lot to answer for. Somehow, someway, they made scalp health seem completely unsexy and 100% embarrassing to ever talk about. Not cool, as I have recently discovered that this is the one thing we should be talking about when it comes to the world of beauty. Here's the dealio, ladies. We only get one head of hair and we're not all looking after it as well as we should be. Did you know that you have to lose 50% of your hair before you really even see that you are starting to go bald? Scary fact, right? 

When I found out that I was being a total ignoramus when it comes to my own hair health, I sort of went overboard in educating myself. I was trying to find ways to turn back the clock and to make sure I wasn't one of these women who was using crappy products day in and day out until the day I noticed I didn't have any hair left. I met with several hair companies and asked a lot of questions. Many seemed to be selling the same old lie - it's all about the right products. You can't do much else when it comes to shampoo, just make sure it's clean and let the mousses, gels and sprays do the rest. Complete and utter bullshit. Then I had a breakfast meeting with one of the genius ladies over at Aveda and my search for the holy grail of hair came to an end.

We were meeting about something completely different and I started talking about hair health and my research and a huge smile stretched across her face as she asked me if I had come across the Aveda Invati treatment- apparently their best seller at the moment. Of course I had seen it advertised everywhere. The woman in the ad looks like she has the most sensational hair ever in existence. But, I try not to pay too much attention to adverts. Most of the girls in any advertisement, anywhere, are wearing more extensions than their head can hold on for more than an hour - just long enough to capture the picture. 

Post Aveda breakfast, I was offered a meeting with one of the hair whisperers at the Aveda salon in London, to talk hair, health and a path forward. I accepted with great excitement and also a bit of trepidation. I was tired of being told I needed to buy this or that and having little results in the way of better looking hair. Yawn. But, at Aveda, my man took out a scalp analysis machine and set to work. He was testing everything that could be tested when it came to scalp health. It wasn't pretty, seeing a close up of one's hair follicles. In fact, I nearly lost my lunch, come to think of it. But I was in it to win it. I wanted to know what path I needed to be on for treatment, whether it was solving a current problem or preventing a future one. The good news was that my scalp looked healthy. My hair follicles were plentiful, they weren't clogged and they seemed to be sprouting some good hair. Ok, I promise that's the last time I get into it with the hair follicle talk. Or, at least in this paragraph.

We then started talking about Aveda Invati. My Aveda specialist was impressed with my hair but he heard my concerns about a thinning on the sides and a lack of fullness that used to be there in my 20s. I am now 36, and as he explained, am at a place in my life where I need to be paying attention to my hair with the goal in mind of keeping it. So, how do we do that? Well, Aveda gave me their Invati three step programme to have a go. It's a shampoo, conditioner and scalp spray that must be used daily - the spray is twice daily. This was five months ago. Yes, I've waited that long to tell you all about this, although I feel like I've told every female friend and family member that they need to buy in to this lifechanger already. Can't keep quiet about a good thing for long. 

After six weeks, I was seeing a difference and even the salon where I get blowouts was asking me if I was pregnant or something as my hair seemed to be fuller. Note to reader - not keeping anything from you. I promise you'll know when there's a bump brewing. The fact of the matter was that Aveda Invati was working for me. I'm sure there are people that will argue that the power of suggestion could have produced such results, but I guarantee you that I've tried about five different product ranges in the last year and the Aveda Invati range was the only one that had me screaming "I hold the truth in my hands, and in my hair." When I actually look down in the bath and see hardly any hair clogging up the drain after every shower, there is no arguing that the real power here is in the product. 

The Aveda Invati System, as they call it, lasted me for about six weeks in total. I have a lot of hair and I think I may have been using more shampoo than I should have been. Apparently you only need the size of a quarter in shampoo to get a good clean on. Turns out, however, that the man in my life was also stealing some of the products on the side without telling me, and also  showing off some noticeably fuller hair. I was so addicted, and so was he, that we reinvested in the programme. I went to my local Aveda shop, just off Westbourne Grove, and I bought the whole system again and bought the men's version as well (the men's formula is put together specifically for their "issues." Don't know much about this so read more here). 

I will go ahead and tell you that it turns out that hair health is nearly as expensive as skin health, but it's worth the investment. To buy the entire system, it's about £92 or $130. Again, this will last as long as your usual bottle of shampoo and conditioner last. But, if your'e a bit more careful with the amount you're distributing, you can stretch it out. 

Researching this piece, I did discover that Aveda are offering a free three day trial that you can order online, if your'e skeptical. But you really do need about three months of usage to truly see a difference - and what a difference it is. I want to say now that I haven't received any money or been asked in any way to write this piece. I've researched this, tried a lot of different products and been really concerned, in general, that this whole area of beauty isn't talked about more openly, In doing all of this, Aveda was a discovery I'm grateful for, and I'm putting my money where my mouth is and am now a repeat purchaser. 

Turns out, I'm not alone in my love for this product. Found this on Aveda's youtube channel and I agree with every word spoken:

And here's a little how-to on using the products:

Good luck and here's to happy and healthy hair for years to come, for every man, woman and child who wants it. Hair sermon over and out. 

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Style Update: Frilling!

So I had a bit of a style challenge here, and it was a last minute sort of affair. Basically, I had packed this dress to wear out and about while away and forgot to pack the appropriate undergarments. Yeah, I'm one of those women who believe that bras should be worn and not seen. Call me old fashioned. So, a little layering took place to rectify the situation. It was a mistake that was totally frilling ;) Ok, I'll stop with the humor already.  
What I'm wearing:


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Monday, 12 September 2016

2 Purple Shampoo's for Blondie's

If you're blonde then you know the importance of a purple shampoo. I think it's an alien concept to anyone who isn't blonde but it is an absolute MUST. It's a holy grail, the cornerstone of blonde hair car routine - Something you just cant live without!

A good violet/purple/silver tinted shampoo that helps to tone the hair and neutralise brassy yellow tones within the whole blonde hair colour spectrum.

Heres the low down on two that I use on the reg to stop my hair from returning to it's brassy origins.
L'Oreal Silver Shampoo

This one is an old favourite but it's coming to the end of the tube and I'd be a bit sad if I didnt have the latter product to replace it. This is a bit of a suped up purple shampoo as I find the longer I leave it on the whole tone of my hair changes to a cooler, ashy brown-y blonde. I cant count the ammount of times I've been sitting with this on my hair when the Postman comes to the door and I have to explain exactly why I have a plastic bag and a ton of purple on me!

However be careful as lighter tones in blonde hair can take in the purple a little bit too much and you may be left with some purpley tones! None the less I adore this product and I've used it so many times over the years religiously.!

Lush Daddy O*

The gals over at Lush sent me this one day in a lil care package after my Bleach Purple Shampoo exploded all over the inside of my drawer. I'd actually never heard of it but it peaked my interest and I was soon slathering it on. This gently brighten brightens my hair and stops the lengths from looking that horrid yellow and orange it can go when I leave it too long between salon visits. The thing I really dig about this though is that it's a really cleansing shampoo without being stripping in the slightest - Plus it smells like Parma Violets!

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FFG Eats: 45 Jermyn St, London

I like to think there are still a few hidden gems in London, places you can go where you aren't overcrowded, where the food is good and the service is outstanding. Currently, I find myself obsessed with such places particularly at brunch, where London has become more or less a version of New York where locals scamper for a place in line to get the city's hottest eggs Benedict. I'll tell you right now, it's found at 45 Jermyn St, it involves lobster and has zero chance of queues. That's actually how I discovered this beauty. I was taken here on a date and promised a breakfast I wouldn't soon forget. That was months ago and I recently found myself at a loss for an idea as to where to take a friend for dinner, so was scrolling through Velocity (more about this later) and was reminded of my hidden gem love. So, I booked a dinner at 45 Jermyn St to see what they had to offer for dinner. 

Tastebuds and brain, please try and come together to pull off the following paragraphs in the perfect way, as 45 Jermyn Street truly does deserve a glowing recommendation, full of powerful prose and over the top adjectives. But I'm afraid, dear reader, I may just fail you in this department. There is truly no way to write in words the way in which each bite of perfectly tender and flavorful lamb changed my evening from ok to shooting through the stars magnificent. Surely there are no sentences punchy enough to articulate the way in which I wish somehow I had been born with two stomachs so that I could enjoy dish after dish without feeling full. Sadly, I just have to accept that I have the one stomach that seems to be growing to the size of two these days, after so many restaurant reviews. 

We began our dinner in a rather civilized format. We ordered cocktails, caviar and foie gras. Ok, that's not civilized. That's downright decadent. The caviar is hard to get wrong, but the presentation at 45 Jermyn St will have you thinking that 10mg order sure does stretch far! The caviar comes with tableside prepared scrambled eggs, all the fixings you'd expect from breads to cream and more. It is a meal in itself. Careful here.  

The food is delivered promptly at 45 Jermyn Street, but I would say they time it perfectly to keep the evening running as it should. We had time between courses to sip half a drink and we were back on the path to middle aged obesity in no time. Kidding, kidding. 

The main course consisted of lamb, for me, and a pork chop for my guest. Portions were plentiful and the meats were bursting with flavor and perfectly cooked. This is most definitely a restaurant that wishes for you to leave feeling as if you've experienced a culinary delight, while also feeling like you have filled your tummy - a rarity these days and something that is most definitely appreciated when you are parting with a bit of a cash. The days of spending fortunes on a single scallop are hopefully long gone.

Now, to the crowning glory of the evening. Fittingly, it's called the Knickerbocker Glory and it was invented next door to 45 Jermyn Street, in Fortnum & Mason. This is a dessert that should receive a crown for it's incredibly presence. Even arriving at the table, it commanded the attention of the entire restaurant. And, yes, the first spoonful drew a response from me that was not dissimilar to Meg Ryan's "When Harry Met Sally" moment. I do so embarrass myself sometimes. I can't help it. I love food! 

When the bill came, I will say it was exactly what I expected. It wasn't small, but it was on track with what we ordered. Thank goodness we were splitting it. And this is where I really do have to sing the praises of the Velocity App. Throughout the course of the dinner, we were able to see as the bill was adding up, so there weren't any awkward surprises. And then, without any sort of calculator work or annoying talk of how we would pay, we both just pressed one button on the app and it was split, immediately charged to our credit cards, which we had previously put into Velocity, and out the door we walked. In all my days of doing restaurant work, I don't think I've ever found anything easier or more impressive. I actually told two people, later that night about Velocity and insisted they download it right there, right in front of me. They proceeded to ask me if I held stock in the company. Nope. Just interested in making sure you guys know what's good for you! Download it! 


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