October 11, 2017

I've switched blogs!

Although I haven't posted on this blog in a while, I noticed my traffic is still high so thought I'd write a post to explain what's going on. I've decided to post all of my new content to thejessicalife.com, including beauty posts, so that I can keep everything in one place. 

I'm still going to keep this blog up so that my old posts don't disappear from the internet world forever, but if you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm writing, please do head over to thejessicalife.com! I've just posted a brand new skincare sunday post over there.

June 09, 2017

laser hair removal: ten months in

Every six weeks since last August, I've made the journey into the city for my laser hair removal treatments. I happen to live just a fifteen minute drive from the clinic so popping in at lunch or early evening has always been perfectly convenient for me. 

It's worth mentioning that being a brunette with olive toned skin, I've always been cursed with fairly thick and dark body hair. I'm also obsessive when it comes to beauty routines and keeping on top of hair removal, so more than anything I just found it a complete pain to keep up with shaving daily. 

For the past ten months since beginning my course of laser hair removal, I've been shaving once a week instead of once a day. I'm also now free of the joys of shaving rash and ingrown hairs, and have found my skin to feel much smoother now it isn't harassed by a metal razor every day. The best part of all is my underarms look lighter and brighter as there's no roots of thick, dense hair sitting under the skin. 

I'm guessing the most burning question amongst most of you will be on the pain factor. I found my upper lip to hurt at around 7/10 every time, but considering it's all over within a few seconds it's nowhere near unbearable. There's also a certain part of my leg near the bone that had me gritting my teeth every now and then, and the same goes for near the ankles, but all in all it has never put me off from going back. The treatment is based on upping the strength of the laser after each and every appointment, but as the hair gets less dense the pain decreases. I found that the first few treatments were the most painful, and it gradually got easier and easier from there. You also might find that your skin reacts into developing nettle sting like bumps but they'll disappear within an hour or two. The ladies are all super careful at monitoring your skin reactions and progress, so at no point did I ever feel concerned or confused by minor bruising or red patches etc. 

With my summer holiday to Croatia fast approaching, I couldn't possibly be any more thrilled with the results. If I had known just how good everything would turn out, I would have happily started saving up for the treatment years ago as I think it's a really sensible investment. I'll never be back to shaving at the same rate again which is a dream come true. That's not to say that every single hair will be gone forever, think of it more as a huge reduction for the foreseeable future.

SK:N are currently offering up to 40% off laser hair removal treatments, get in there while you can.

Sponsored post. 


May 02, 2017

haircare heroes

A few months ago, I decided that I'd well and truly had enough of black hair and after years of damaging it with box dyes booked into the hairdressers to start the process of getting it back to my natural colour. I knew it would end up being a costly process, but weighed up the amount I spend on needlessly dying it myself compared with how much I'll save after I'd had the colour stripped out and decided that it would be well worth it. I've had two sets of balayage dyes in the last eight weeks and as I had a repairing treatment used each time, have noticed minimal damage. That being said, I'm now starting to finally take care of my hair properly and have devised a routine using some newly discovered products.

I'm rarely so impressed by a brand that I'd feel confident in using their entire range, but since I first tried out Davines at the start of the year, have been endlessly impressed by how well the products work with my hair. I've been using the OI Shampoo (£16) and OI Conditioner (£17.50) for around a month now, along with the All-in-One Milk (£19). I seriously want to shout it from the rooftops how incredible these products are. Only the tiniest amount of the shampoo is needed to create a soft, silky lather and it does a remarkable job of both cleansing and nourishing the hair. The conditioner has a light yet buttery texture which works beautifully on damaged hair and dry, itchy scalps without leaving any product build up behind. I tend to use the milk as a de-tangler if my hair is misbehaving, and before blow drying. The whole range has a faint masculine, musky yet sweet scent, which I'm completely addicted to. I'm not a fan of the usual sickly, fruity scents of haircare products, so this makes the whole range perfect for me. I'm currently eyeing up the 1L supersize bottles of the shampoo and conditioner as both work so well for me that I have no interest in ever trying out anything else! 

Another favourite Davines product of mine (told you, I'm their biggest fan) is the Sea Salt Spray (£15). I'm super careful when it comes to overloading my hair with product as there is nothing I hate more than the feeling of heavy, weighed down hair. This feels so lightweight, yet adds texture and body and can be used on both wet and dry hair. Yet another get it or regret it. 

As much as I'm a Davines addict, I couldn't write this post without giving a mention to Lush. Daddy-o (£11.50) is my second favourite shampoo of all time, and is my go-to for countering the brassy tones in my hair whilst leaving it smelling of parma violets. 

O&M Know Knott (£22) is perhaps the most expensive de-tangler of all time, but if you endlessly struggle with tangles, it's truly well worth considering. Packed with cold pressed Argan and Macadamia oil, it delivers shiny, sleek hair like nothing else. I've been on the same bottle for months and have only just got to the halfway point, which really proves its value for money. Especially considering it's currently down to just £9.25 here!  

The ends of my hair are forever in need of some loving care and require a little more attention than the rest of my hair. I opt for the Morroconoil Treatment (£25), which is of course a timeless classic. It work wonders at taming frizz and hiding split ends out of sight.


April 29, 2017

an afternoon at elveden aqua sana spa

As a Mother's Day treat, I arranged a spa day for my mum and I at Aqua Sana, Elveden. I decided to opt for a day in the week after Sunday itself, as my mum is not one for doing anything or going anywhere on a Sunday, especially not on Mother's Day. Which probably goes to explain where I get my addiction to duvet days from. 

I've stayed at Centerparcs a few times over the last few years, and have always gone for the cheapest option of the twilight taster package whenever I've booked into the spa, so roaming around in the daylight made a nice change. It also meant we had a break for lunch, which thankfully was included with the package as otherwise I wouldn't have been able to bring myself to hand over £7.50 for a basic panini and £8.20 for a bowl of pasta. 

I decided on the lava shells massage for us both as neither of us have had one in years and were in need of some deep relaxation. I'm glad to report back that no wishy-washy methods were used and the ladies were both trained well on pushing out knots. I've had a fair few massage treatments in the past and was left impressed enough to rank this one amongst the best. 

Sadly a recurring theme throughout the spa is empty product samples. I've noticed this each time I've been and think it's a real shame to have testers laid out that have been used up, it's disappointing when you fancy trying something out and I feel a whole display of empty bottles and jars just looks underwhelming. It's a big shame as having fresh, make-up free skin is the ideal time to be having a go with new skincare products. 

The spa has a generous amount of steam rooms, saunas and herbal baths to relax in along with a meditation room, which as it's often empty is my favourite of all. There's fancy showers with mist and rain settings and ice fountains to cool down with between rooms. I always find myself curled up with my eyes closed on the swingy chairs or dropping off on the waterbeds after reading a magazine. The best part about having hours of access to the spa is having no stress over fitting everything in, and the option to drift off for an hour or two. 

If you're on the lower end of the budget scale, a Twilight Taster evening package comes in at £45pp, with 4-9pm access to the spa and a glass of prosecco. If you have slightly more cash to play with, the Polish and Perfect package includes a hot stone massage, lunch and access from 9am-6pm for £99pp. I'd really recommend checking out if you're within a doable distance to an Aqua Sana spa, as the packages make for wonderful gifts or as a treat to yourself, because a break from the outside world is a glorious thing.

January 05, 2017

clearing up breakouts and preventing problem skin

Life being life, I have all of a sudden developed the skin of a teenager whilst in my twenties. All throughout my teens, I rarely suffered with breakouts and more often than not my skin was pretty decent. Fast forward a few years and I've developed clusters of acne around my chin area. Since a particularly bad breakout a couple of weeks ago, I stepped up my skincare routine and noticed my skin clearing up in lightening speed. It's also super important to mention that good nutrition (limiting dairy and increasing healthy fats) along with an exercise routine and keeping hydrated daily are all absolutely essential in attaining great skin. I'll probably write up a whole post on this aspect too. 

My Clarisonic Aria (£155) is my best friend when it comes to giving my skin a deep and thorough clean. I always notice a huge difference in my skin when using it and now wouldn't ever be without it. I've discovered that using my Clarisonic in combination with Vichy Normaderm (£8.25) is a match made in heaven, the gel froths up into a silky lather that's ideal for the vibrating brush head of the Clarisonic to work with. If there are just two things to consider investing in from this blog post, make it these. Talking of Vichy, if I ever get a particularly pesky spot I dab it with the Normaderm Hyaluspot (£7.87) before bed and in the morning notice it has calmed right down.

I'm a big believer in face masks too, and have found both Lush Cup O' Coffee (£6.75) and Origins Out of Trouble (£23) to be superb on problem skin. I tend to use the Lush coffee scrub on days that my skin is looking a little dull and is in need of revival, and the Origins clay version whenever I'm in the midst of an angry breakout.

If your skin is red and irritated, ditch any exfoliator with beads or grains in and instead try a liquid version. It's alternate between La Roche-Posay Clarifying Lotion (£11) and Pixi Glow Tonic (£10), both of which help to prevent breakouts by ensuring my skin is left squeaky clean and free of dead skin cells.

The last thing I ever feel like doing when my skin is misbehaving is applying a thick layer of heavy feeling moisturiser or oil. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre (£13) is my knight in shining armour and deals well with my skin no matter what state it's in. It's super hydrating yet sinks in instantly so can be worn under foundation too. If you don't want to fuss with foundation though, try out La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Unifiant (£16.50) as its ingredients will not only combat blemishes but leave your skin looking radiant and allow it to breathe.