Lauren Loves Blog

A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

19 Jul 2018

My 30th birthday

Does anyone else have  24 hour (or longer) birthday celebration? It's been my 30th birthday today so last night and today we have been celebrating (and obviously will again at the weekend!)

On Tuesday night, we decided to go out. We both had Wednesday off for my birthday so we had some drinks and went out. This is us getting ready. I took ages doing my makeup to see if I could do my own wedding makeup. I'm not sure... it's such a hard decision

We went to a bar called The Larderhouse in Southbourne, Bournemouth. We had fancy cocktails and I tried absinthe for the first time. It's disgusting and got me drunk very suddenly. 

We then went to Baffi pizzeria for dinner which is SO YUMMY! I love it there, but I was so drunk I forgot to take any photos of our food. 

We then walked to the Tesco across the road and got a tin of G&T, beer and Cadbury Twirls and walked down to the beach to have them

Wednesday we had a lie-in and Sam brought me breakfast and presents in bed. We then got up, had a slow get ready and walked into Bournemouth town. I had a new outfit to wear obviously! This is the Bell Sleeve Lace Dress from FashionWorld and it's in the sale for £22.50 down from £75. It comes in red too 

The dress is a size 10 and comes up on the big side so it was quite large on me (I'm normally a size 8). I'd say buy a size smaller than you are. I belted mine up with an ASOS belt and liked having more room since it's so hot at the moment!

I wore it with my gorgeous new Cath Kidston bag Sam got me for my birthday! I've had my eye on this for ages, so I was really touched that he listened, wrote it down and bought it for my present. I don't know how he managed as it's out of stock everywhere. I was really pleased how well it matched my Marks & Spencer Liquid Lipstick in Attraction

We had a nice stroll into town and went to 7Bone for a very late lunch/dinner. I had a huge juicy burger and halloumi fries. So tasty!

Sam had a chicken burger and "dirty fries" and a PB & J milkshake. Such a champ

Then in true 30s style, I did some wallpaper stripping in our future bedroom

Then we curled up on the sofa and watched a film! 

7 Jul 2018

Interiors: our new lounge

First up, I love interiors blogs and instagram pages. I stalk them on a nightly basis when I'm lying in bed. I love the focus on the details and where to get things so I'll try to write this post in a similar way

Our first room to tackle when we moved in was our lounge. Here are the before photos from Rightmove. The bottom half of the house was being rented out to students so the front room was used as their dining room / lounge and was a little unloved. The ceiling was wallpapered over and then covered in a stipple effect, roll on plaster. It was all quite gross. The walls were painted pink and was generally looking a little shabby. 

The walls all along the front of the house ad bay were damp when we moved in, so we had Bio-Kil come in and take down all the plaster to the level of the window sill, and then inject the walls and re-plaster. They also did lots of work clearing cavities, lowering damp courses and putting in new air bricks.

My Mum and Dad very kindly said they'd pay for us to have the ceiling re-plastered while we were still in boxes so we took them up on the offer and had someone come and strip the wallpaper off and re-skim the ceiling. Sam then spent a couple of days painting it and it looks so gorgeous and smooth now. The plasterer was also able to keep the original ceiling rose which was good. 

We then got a message saying the in-laws were coming to stay on Thursday so we went into panic decorating mode!

The walls are painted in Johnstones paint, mixed to be the same colour as Farrow and Ball Pavillion Grey - the perfect neutral for me. I'd happily have the whole house this colour again like in my old home! I think it goes so well with bright colours like the cusions and our huge map canvas. 

I'm still not sure what to put in the empty space in the bookshelf. That was all my work books but I have taken them to work now I have my own office!

The TV cabinet was from Habitat and wasn't the cheapest one around, but is currently discounted and really fits with the room. In the last house we had a built in cabinet so this was new for us. I think we're going to put our scratch off Best 100 movie poster behind the TV

I enjoy the original features and love this mantlepiece and working fire. It's apparently slate that the Victorians (?) painted to look like marble using a feather. 

I'm trying to bring more plants into the home now I've moved, and I've been so inspired by a few instagram accounts such as Rachael's, Lisa Dawson and Dee Campling. It's brought so much more life and interest to the room, even Sam commented on how pleased he was! This is a cheeseplant which can grow to 6 foot tall! I've not managed to keep houseplants alive before (I over love and over water them) but I'm going to try my best with Rachael's guidance.

We were really lucky with the blinds - they came with the house and are from Solar Sunshades. I love the thick tape - makes them look like shutters

I got these cushions from George at Asda. They're a lovely honey/mustard shade and really soft and squishy. Perfect for an afternoon knitting in the sunshine.

I found this second side table for a bargain from the Facebook Marketplace! I love that it matches our other IKEA Hemnes table and Sam can put his cuppa down too (I got fed up of passing it to him in the evenings very quickly!)

Another bunch of plants. I bought lots of small ones as they are much cheaper. Here I have an aloe vera from Ikea, and a Bird of Paradise plant from Perfect Plants on Amazon (same place I got the cheeseplant). The lovely house is a tealight holder I got for Christmas from Sainsbury's. I've put them on this cabinet from IKEA which I use to hold all my knitting stuff! 

 So what else do we have to do? Well we've run out of money for now sadly, but we've not run out of ideas. To perfect the lounge we'd love to get new flooring - we don't like laminate. We'll probably go for a nice soft, warm carpet. I've got this rug from Aldi a long time ago for the cat and dog to snuggle on for now.

We also really need new sofas as the cat has shredded these. I'm going to try trimming off the strands to see if that helps, but we need a whole new suite. Button is very, very old (around 18 if not more, we're not sure as she's adopted) so we're considering hanging on until she sadly pops off and then investing in something new. That way she can still snooze all day on them rather than having the ford closed on her to protect sofas. I've been really drawn in by the Swoon Editions sofas - particularly in kingfisher green or indigo blue velvets! I'd also like to replace the pouffe with a coffee table and to get rid of the window seat which is in front of the radiator (and providing valuable storage at the moment!) I'm also on the market for some white plant pots with saucers if you know of any. 

Do you have any interiors blogs you can recommend? Any ideas to continue working on this room? Next room - the master bedroom (and our yellow velvet bed!)


30 Jun 2018

New home and wedding planning update

It's been a long gap since I last posted because I've moved house! We moved at the beginning of June to our new home in Bournemouth. So far, I'm really enjoying living here. I have a 10 minute commute, we're right near the beach and the town centre and live in a really fun, vibrant area. I've also found there is so much to do and I've already signed up for yoga on the beach and joined an NHS netball team!

As always I have the decorating bug, but this time I'm really focussing on what I want. I'm considering what I learnt from the last house, what I like on Pinterest, what is feasable with the structure of the house. I also have to move a little more slowly because money is a lot tighter now!

We've already started decorating the lounge which I'll show you all soon. I still have a couple of boxes to unpack in that room before I share a full post, but there is a sneak peek on my Instagram

In wedding news - today I said "yes to the dress" - I found the one in Anya Bridal near Fareham in Hampshire today. They had loads of choice and I'm so pleased with the dress I chose. I have to wait 6 months now for them to order mine in and that feels so far away! Now I need to start making decisions about what colour dresses for the bridesmaids. How did you choose?

17 May 2018

I got lip fillers - my experience

Preface to the blog post - a disclaimer
Before I start on this blog post, I would like to share some reflections. I've always been careful what I share on my blog - I talk about products, discussions about life, decorating and food, what I enjoy wearing, how to do hairstyles. Basically I don't want to tell anyone how they should look or should care for themselves, but instead offer a resource for those who want to express their own style and get recommendations from someone who is clear and honest about products. This extends to certain topics I have always refused to blog about, despite offers of advertising money sometimes - I have had very hard rules against things like recommending diets and weight loss, discussing things people "should" do to "look better", and I absolutely do not talk about cosmetic surgery, because my ethos is that however we look, if we are happy it shouldn't be shamed or questioned. 

I also have the belief that if there is something you're not happy about and you can change that without harming yourself or someone else, then why not do it? For me, I have been unhappy with my scarred lips for quite a while (my first documented moan on this blog was 2012!). I have done lots of thinking about what I could do to fix them, tried lots of products (many which I have reviewed on here) and done a lot of research into what may help them be less scarred. I got recommendations from professionals about what I could do, and I did lots of reading. I felt there weren't many accessible and "real" reviews of lip fillers online, and those I read were often clearly sponsored by companies who make lip fillers. Therefore I wanted to share my experience of having fillers with my audience. I want to make it really clear, I don't feel this is something women SHOULD have and I don't want to shame anyone who is happy with their appearance if it looks similar to how mine was before. I want to provide a resource for those interested in fillers and who want to read my story. 

Why I got lip fillers
When I was 16 I was on Roaccutaine for acne. It's a really strong, drying medication which was a miracle for my spots. However, it caused my lips to become very dry and my entire lip would peel off once a day. It was a horrible, painful experience and left my lips really scarred. 

Although my lips were fine, they would play on my mind a lot. If I wasn't wearing fresh lipbalm they would become very wrinkled and I would constantly be pressing them with my teeth to get blood to go to them and plump them for a minute. I noticed I'd be mentally not present in some conversations because I was thinking about how gross my lips were and wondering when I could next put on more balm. There were lots of lipsticks I couldn't wear because they would dry out my lips too much. 

I tried everything - any lip balm, drinking gallons of water, cold sore treatments, any product I could experiment with. I finally put my question on the Facebook group Mrs Gloss and The Goss and I got lots of recommendations for balms I had tried. However some people who had the same post-Roaccutaine lip problems said they had lip fillers and it cured their lip problems! 

What is lip filler?
Filler is hyaluronic acid which is a substance found in the skin already. It attracts water so is plumping and moisturising, and breaks down naturally in the body. Each type of filler takes a different length of time to break down and depends on each person's metabolism. Lots of different companies make filler, but the names I kept noticing again and again was Juvaderm and Restylane 

Choosing who to do my fillers
I did lots of research into how to choose someone who does fillers. I understood that it had to be by a qualified nurse or doctor (not a beautician in a salon) because they could do it safely, they would be well-trained, and they could inject hyaluronidase which is the chemical that can break down filler. 

I started googling local companies who do dermal fillers and took this step really slowly and carefully. I would look at their websites, read their information on how trained they were, whether they were a member of the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses, and importantly I'd look at their social media to see real examples of their work. I started to notice there were clearly different "styles" that each professional had. Some did more natural looking work, others appeared to do more "celebrity" styles and duck lip shaped styles. Obviously that doesn't make a practitioner good or bad,  I assume that they are doing what their clients ask for and maybe this means they attract people who inject in the style they do.

I decided finally on Camilla at Shore Aesthetics who is based in Bournemouth and Northampton. I liked her work on Instagram and she had great reviews on Facebook. I booked a consultation with her which was free at the end of April. I discussed my concerns and she really listened, talking about what she would do, how she would preserve the shape but inject in different ways to ensure all the scars were pushed out. She used Restylane Kysse which is a softer version of the filler and would last 4-6 months so I could see what the filler was like before investing in a longer-lasting filler. She did a very thorough consultation checking my health and background to make sure I was suitable for fillers. We also had a good discussion about the potential complications, how they could arise, what they could be and what to consider when making my decision to have them done or not. 

Getting fillers done (needle phobes, be warned. I'll discuss injections)
Later in the week, I went to meet Camilla at her consulting room. She checked my health was the same as before and lay me down on the sofa. I was really nervous, but she was great at the distracting chat and reassured me. She smeared a numbing cream over my lips while she got herself ready. It was a strange sensation - I felt like I was dribbling and couldn't work out if I had my mouth open or shut!

At this point we again had a conversation about the potential complications in good depth and what signs to look out for when I got home. I'm glad we had the conversation, but I must admit it was anxiety provoking - I'm the type of person that doesn't read the leaflets that come in tablets because I'm too anxious to know what might go wrong! It was also reassuring that Camilla is a nurse prescriber, so if something did go wrong she said she would prescribe the correct antibiotic or whatever it was I'd need.

Camilla then used a needle to inject all around the border. She used a small vibrating T shaped tool to distract from the sensation of the needle, and helped me do breathing techniques to manage the discomfort. It wasn't painful - it was a little nip and then it was fine. I'd liken it to a little flick from an elastic band. The filler also had lidocaine in which was numbing so it felt fine after!

Then she swapped the need for a long cannula. She made small incisions on the side of my mouth on the skin-coloured part and worked a cannula from the side to the middle of the lips. It wasn't painful, but felt odd - like the sensation when you pop a spot almost! Again, it was a little uncomfortable as she gently squeezed thin strands from the middle to the outside of the lips but the lidocaine kicked in quickly. The benefits of cannulas is that they reduce bruising so you can look ok straight away. 

After this basic procedure, Camilla took a step back and made me move my mouth around while she decided what to do next. She put the needle back on and then did some injections into the cupids bow (this was the worst part - I would liken this pain to when you have a spot on your top lip and you pop  it and it makes your eyes water. It was over really quickly though. She then did surface-level injections into the remaining scars which hadn't been pushed out. This was the part that caused bruising for me, but I guess if you didn't need those injections you'd be ok. 

Was it sore - yes, it was uncomfortable. It wasn't unbearable for me, but I did need to focus on my breathing. I don't think I could have had injections for much longer, I was reaching the end of my tolerance. It wasn't as sore as my ear piercings, and I assume not as bad as a tattoo (although I don't have one)

The whole procedure was done in around an hour. The procedure cost £260 for 1ml filler which I understand is about the average price. 

Afterwards - the healing
Camilla gave me a lip-shaped ice pack at the consultation which I had in the freezer. She also gave me an ice-pack as I left the filler appointment. I had to ice my lips all evening and as much as I could the next day to reduce bruising. I also had to sleep sitting a bit propped up to reduce swelling and bruising.

I had a bit of a worry that my lips looked a little blanched (which can be a sign there is filler in the arteries/veins which wouldn't be good). Camilla was amazing, checking in with me hourly that night, getting me to send videos and giving me information on how to manage it. She also booked me a next morning consultation to check in with me. I put a hot compress on as advised and it was all normal in the end - turns out I had a funny reaction to the lidocaine but it was all fine. The next morning she was replying to me at 6am while I sent her videos showing it was fine! I also have a check up a month after it's done. The aftercare has been unfaultable, and really met my anxious needs!

The next day - the bruising, swelling and scabs. All day, Sam kept saying "stop pouting!" as a "joke"

2 days after - swelling has gone down a lot and the bruising is fading

I was quite bruised and swollen for a day, but the Rimmel 16 hour lippe which Camilla recommended covered the marks perfectly. 

The results
So here are the before and afters! As you'll see, my lips look the same shape and look like mine, but the wrinkles are pushed out and I feel normal. They're a little larger than they were before but I don't mind that! They also feel totally normal like my usual lips!



Importantly, here's a side profile - no duck lip thankfully or shadow which looks like a moustache! That was something really important for me.

The most important thing to me is that I feel confident finally. I've been wearing any lippie I want. I've been more mentally present in meetings and conversations because I know I look "normal" now. I'm really pleased I had them done. Another important thing for me is that I've seen most of my closest friends since I had it done, and my family and Sam's parents and nobody has said anything or spent time talking to my lips. Sam says it's a little like when someone looks a bit fresher or has a good hair day - something looks good but you can't put your finger on what it is. I've also noticed I've developed a habit of pushing my top lip out because it could hide some of the worst bits of my bottom lip. Now I can stop doing that! 

13 May 2018

Review: Frezyderm SPF face suncream

Finding the perfect sunscreen for the face appears to be one of the most difficult things to do for skincare lovers. I've tried lots of different types, but often the ones which don't break me out are too low SPF for the summer. As I've discussed before, I've got really acne prone skin, I develop painful cysts and am very reactive to lots of skincare products. I seem to be particularly sensitive to sunscreen and a tester of the Creme de la Mer sunscreen gave me really painful, deep spots. Another downside to regular sunscreens are the texture - they're often greasy and shiny (not a good look) and leave a white cast on my skin. 

Frezyderm is a brand I hadn't heard of before. It's apparently non-comedogenic, paraben and fragrance free. Apparently Meghan Markle used to talk about it on her blog The Tig.

I've been trying Frezyderm for the two weeks. I was nervous to try something which could ruin my lovely clear skin. I've been doing so well with caring for my skin and I hadn't had a spot in about 3 weeks before testing Frezyderm. I've been wearing Frezyderm every day in the morning, SPF 30 on cloudy days and SPF 50, which it tinted, on sunny days.

Why is sunscreen important? It's not just about reducing sun damage and therefore avoiding skin cancer, although that's really important. It also prevents ageing and lines forming, prevents sunspots and also helps my post-acne marks to fade a lot quicker (remember they're new skin, so they are more vulnerable to sun damage and catch the sun quicker than regular skin meaning they stay darker looking)

Frezyderm Colour Velvet SPF 50+ (£22.99) - This suncream is slightly tinted and has a mattefying, primer texture. It doesn't give too much coverage, but I've found it enough for work with some under-eye concealer on. As you can see, it gives enough coverage. On the left is with the SPF, on the right is without. It gave a tanned glow which I really liked. I think on my pale skin, the tinted colour is too dark for the winter so I might stick to SPF 30 without colour then (yes, sunscreen all weekend team!)

Frezyderm Velvet Face SPF 30 (£19.50) - This one isn't coloured. It has the same texture and consistency as a foundation primer and is a yellowy coloured gel. It applies really easily and has a blurring effect. Again on the left is after using the suncreen and right is before. It's mattefying and slightly blurs pores, and makes a good base for foundation. 

The best part of the review - here is my skin a month ago - as you can see, Frezyderm hasn't given me any more spots! I'm so delighted to have found something I can trust!

Overall, I'd really recommend Frezyderm sunscreens and I'd buy them again and again. I'm so pleased to have found a mattefying, nicely coloured suncream. I'd really recommend this to anyone with similar skin problems to me. 
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