Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My botox experience at ASI Skin at Aesthetic Surgery Ireland!

Botox.  It's like Fight Club in that the first rule about botox is that you don't talk about botox.  But you know what, any time I mentioned getting it to people, they had lots of questions and couldn't believe I was admitting to them I'd gotten it done.  But sure listen, people get it done every day and I'd have loved a blog post like this while I was doing my research.  So this is going to be much more than a before and after photoshoot, but spoiler alert, I love the results.

So yes, I turned 40 last December, so am a proper grown ass adult now which terrifies me.   Now I'm not going to toot my own horn, but I have good skin, I've very few wrinkles and don't think I look my age.  I certainly don't act it!  I've never had lines going across my forehead and the reasons for this are twofold.
1.  I really do my best to look after my skin and I think my forehead and I are the better for it.
2.  I have an absolutely massive skull that hats don't fit and so my skin is naturally stretched over it.  Either way, my forehead has never really been an issue for me.

But my frown lines have been bothering me for a while.  I'd become good at looking annoyed at things because I felt my elevenses (that's what a few people called them on Snapchat when we were chatting about it a while back) were really pronounced and it's something I was aware of in photos, especially when I took close up photos of my eye areas.

Before & after
Over the years I've been offered botox from a few different places and each time I've turned them down.  I've got serious trust issues with people I don't know anything about coming at me with needles.  So earlier this year, one of my friends found out about the blog and asked if I'd be interested in getting something done with her in her private clinic in ASI Skin at Aesthetic Surgery Ireland, the same place I got the Image peel done.  Now, Caitriona Ryan is an absolute super doctor.   Actually, she's a Super Doctor.  I'm pretty sure she wears a costume under her clothes every day.  I've known her for 9 years now and after reading her bio section on her website, I needed to sit down and reevaluate my life.  She's achieved a ridiculous amount in her career so far and the highlight of my life is if I've managed not to spill coffee on myself for more than two days in a row.  Anyway, I knew if I was going to trust anyone with my face, it was going to be her, hands down.

I spoke at length to Caitriona about what I wanted, what I didn't want, what I was afraid of and she explained in detail how it all worked.   If you've watched any of my videos on YouTube or follow me on Snapchat, you'll know I've a very expressive face and didn't want to lose that, so that's something we talked about in depth and Caitriona explained how she'd go about making sure that didn't happen.  Another fear I had was a bit of a weird one - what if I felt claustrophobic in my face?  Does that even make sense?!  Totally weird, but I wondered what it was going to feel like not being able to move certain parts of my face and because botox isn't reversible, what if I was left feeling weird for months?  Yes lads, these are the thoughts that go through my head and why I have nervous cramps all the time.

On the big day, Caitriona injected above each brow on the outer half of it to lift the eyes slightly and as someone with hooded eyes, I was looking forward to seeing how that worked.  I totally didn't know that was a thing.  She did a bit under my eyes where my laugh lines are but not too much so I can still smize like a good thing.  She did a few bits at the top of my forehead and then it was time for the big guns.  My frown lines.

There was a tiny pinch when the needle punctured the skin with the barest amount of pressure as the liquid was injected.  On a scale of 1-10, the injections on my frown lines were a 2 and the injections under the eyes on my laugh lines were a 3-4.  But it was over in a couple of seconds and that was it.  It took about ten minutes in total and if I'd wanted, I could've gone back to work that day as I'd no redness or swelling.  I didn't look any different and was still able to move my face in exactly the same way as before.

I drove home and followed Catriona's instructions by making faces using the muscles in the areas that had been injected.  I looked demented but sure that's nothing new!  As the afternoon went on, I kept checking my face out in the mirror and then took a notion and felt like my eyes looked and felt even more hooded.  I didn't know if I was being paranoid, but then I remembered that I had 11,000 photos of my face from every angle on the computer, so I took a close up photo of my eyes and compared it to older photos.  Yeah, my eyes were exactly the same and this is why I shouldn't be let out of the house.   I was freaking myself out for no reason.

Me frowning & me trying to frown
As the days went on, I kept checking my forehead out to see if I could feel or see any changes.  On day 5, I could start to feel things starting to happen and the best way I can describe it is like this - You know if you've used a face wash that's left your skin feeling dry and tight?  That's how my forehead felt for a few days.  There was no discomfort or pain in the slightest, just that slight tight feeling that went away after a few days.

Because we work together, Caitriona was able to keep a close eye on me and every couple of days would pop into the office, ask me to make a few faces, congratulate me on not spilling my coffee all over myself and head off to do all the things.  She always brings patients back after two weeks to see how things are going and to see if any areas need any extra botox.  After the two weeks were up, I'd already decided that I was going to tell her that I didn't want any more and before I'd a chance to say it to her, she had a look at me, got me to move my forehead and said she wouldn't put any more in.  I think it took about two and a half weeks for things to finally settle properly and two months later, I still absolutely love the result lads.

One of my favourite things was that I didn't come home from Spain with deep frown lines after being in the sun for the week.  It's usually something I'm so aware of after a trip but I loved having a smooth forehead.

What I liked so much about the treatment was that it was the perfect amount of botox where I could see the difference, but hardly anyone else could.  Only one person on Snapchat asked me if I'd gotten it done, one of my friends asked me and said she only knew because she'd gotten it done and lads, at the time of this post going live, I still haven't told my Mam.  I KNOW!  I'm 40, she lives with me and I'm scared she's going to kill me, so c'mere if you know her in real life, say nothing! I told my brother and Claire last weekend and they didn't believe me!  UPDATE!! After I set the blog post live last night I told her and she didn't kill me, phew!  She also can't believe she didn't notice it and was asking if I'd gotten it done before the holidays this month.  I had to tell her I'd gotten it done at the end of March...  Some day I won't be afraid of her!

It's exactly what I wanted.  I wanted the creases ironed out of my frown lines, to still have lots of movement in my face and for it to look natural.  I've had it for two months now and am looking forward to seeing how long it lasts.  It varies from person to person so I'll keep you updated.

Now this is my personal experience with the treatment and I'm no doctor so can't answer medical questions, but I asked Caitriona to answer a few over on her blog, ones that I thought people would ask.   I'll also get her to share this post over on her Facebook page and feel free to leave any questions there for her too.  I wanted to basically tell you what was involved in this, how I got on, what I thought of it and I hope it helped any bridies out there who wanted to know more about botox!


***I did not pay for this treatment, but as always, my opinions are 100% my own, are truthful and this was my honest experience***



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Monday, May 22, 2017

My Image Skincare Signature Face Lift at ASI Skin at Aesthetic Surgery Ireland & Giveaway!

One way to know if you're a scaredy cat is to be offered a facial peel and immediately wonder if you have a big enough hat at home in case you have to do a Samantha from Sex and the City.  I didn't know a huge amount about chemical peels when my friend Dr Caitriona Ryan of the ASI Skin at Aesthetic Surgery Ireland offered for me to come in for the Image Skincare Signature Face Lift a few weeks ago, and I went into research mode.  Something that would increase the turnover of cells to reveal a whole new younger looking me which I would really like to have as I'm 40 now and have 62% accepted that?   Em ok thanks very much!  By increasing cell turnover, new skin cells are brought to the surface.  Cells that don't know the life you've lead so far or the things you've been through.  They're young and innocent and are oblivious to the fact that you totally forgot to take your makeup off last Saturday night.  My friend Ellen raves about skin peels too and she looks like an absolute chung wan, so off I went to see what it was all about.

Me sans makeup after the Image Signature Face Lift
The day I went into the absolutely stunning Aesthetic Surgery Ireland clinic to get the treatment done, I was ready to say goodbye to the old cells and start afresh.  Sharon, the Nurse Manager who carried out the treatment, checked over my skin and explained what each step would do, what was involved and what I would feel.  I think she knew I was a big wimp to be honest but knowing what was happening helped loads.

After cleansing off my makeup and revealing just how blotchy my poor skin was, Sharon got cracking.  She wore gloves to protect her hands from the acids she was about to use on me and that's when I properly realised that this was going to be a completely different type of facial.  This was a results driven treatment, pure and simple.

The products were applied in four layers and the whole process took about 30 minutes.  Layer 1 was the peel - the Image Signature Facelift Solution.   As this layer was applied, I started to feel my face heating up.  The weirdo in me loved being able to feel that the products were actually doing something to my skin rather than just sitting on top of it.  The next layer was the Ageless Total Resurfacing Mask which cooled my face down a bit, and after that was applied, another layer of the Image Signature Facelift Solution was applied over that.   The last layer was the Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Mask which was the topping to the four layer treatment.  These were all removed and Sharon applied Hyaluronic Facial Enhancer along with the Vital-C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum, followed by Vital C Hydrating Eye Recovery Gel.  If that wasn't enough, she applied a layer of Prevention & Hydrating moisturiser and the Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex to finish it all up.

I touched my face the whole way home in the car lads, not going to lie.  My skin felt smooth, plump and I was ready to see how the next few days would go, seeing as I'd been layered with acids and enzymes galore.  I noticed a small bit of flaking either sides of my nose and on my forehead after the first couple of days, but armed with my little pack of Image skincare follow up products, they took care of that.  I remember looking in the mirror a few days after the treatment and genuinely thinking no other facial had made my skin look this good after the treatment.  I felt like my skin looked brighter, felt so smooth and soft and my skin looked really clear and refined.  Weeks after the treatment and I'm still delighted with the results and already have plans to go get another one.  My makeup sits so much better on my skin and listen, at 40 years of age, it's time to start taking my skincare to the next level!

Lads, I'm hooked!

Me avec makeup after the Image Signature Facelift
For prices and any other questions about the treatment, make sure to contact the team at ASI Skin at Aesthetic Surgery Ireland here.  I'll be back on Wednesday to talk through something else I had done there, so stay tuned!

*******
Now I couldn't just keep the lovely skin to myself now could I?  The lovely team over at ASI Skin at Aesthetic Surgery Ireland have offered one lucky reader the chance to win an Image Skincare Signature Face Lift too!  To be in with a chance, head over to my Facebook page for all of the details!
*******

**I was a guest of the ASI Skin at Aesthetic Surgery Ireland but as always, my opinions are my own and are 100% honest based on my experience**
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bright eyeliners from Kiko that you need to check out!

Purchased

Every summer, I take a notion to go wild with a bit of colour when it comes to makeup!  But as I'm a bridie of a certain age, I can't be as out there as I used to.  Back in the day, I used to wear pale blue frosty eyeshadow from lash to brow....  I know.  That's what life was like before the internet and Youtube tutorials and I'm mad jealous of all the chung wans who will never know the phase of having horrific makeup but thinking you're an absolute ride.

Now that I know better (most of the time), and learned lots from blogs and videos, there's one thing I do every summer to inject some colour into my makeup.  Coloured eyeliner!  


I bought two eyeliners from Kiko when I was in Spain a few weeks ago and wish I'd bought more now that I've tried them out.   I got the Kiko Lasting Precision Automatic Eyeliner and Kohl in shade 07 Cobalt and shade 08 Light Blue.   At €6.95, they're totally budget friendly and that's always a bonus.  The liner itself is on one end and there's a little rubber smudger on the other end.



Are you even able for these colours?!  Cobalt is on the top and Light Blue is on the bottom and both are ridiculously pigmented and dry matte.  Some of the liners in the collection have a pearl finish so make sure you look at the swatches and descriptions properly on the site.  I love these two shades and you can see from the top I'm wearing (bought in New York years and years ago), they go beautifully together.  But I think if I wore them together, I'd be in mad looking makeup territory again..


My favourite way to wear colour on the eyes is with a bronzey neutral eye.  It's the type of look I'd wear to work and then if I was heading out afterwards, a bit of liner on the waterline and I'm good to go.  It's wearable but stills changes things up a bit.




I used them in a recent YouTube tutorial so have a look to see them in action.  If you have any coloured eyeliners in your makeup collection, take them out and have a play!  

Be sure to check out a blog post I did last year on 4 ways to wear coloured liner for a bit more inspiration station across the nation!

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Monday, May 15, 2017

New shades of Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors for summer!

Sample 

It's safe to say that the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors shot to the top of my lip loving stash when they first launched a couple of years ago.  They brought out a few really pale and neutral shades  and I waited impatiently for them to bring out more.  And what have they done?  Not only brought out two more, but they're summer lip PERFECTION!  Look at them lounging by the pool being all cute and colourful.


So we have two new shades to add a bit of colour this summer and fans of a glossy finish are going to love them.  And because they're an actual treatment with mango and shea butters to help nourish and soften the lips, they're going to help keep your lips in tip top shape.  They're so comfortable to wear and no other variation of these from other brands have come close to them for me.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector Shade 13 - Pink Grapefruit



Regular readers of the blog will know I don't really wear pink on my lips, but Pink Grapefruit has hardly been off my lips since they arrived to test out.  As you can see in the photo above, it's a pretty, easy to wear shade that makes me feel put together.  It is beautiful and is probably the more versatile of the two.


Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector Shade 14 - Juicy Mandarin



You know I love anything on the orange, coral or peach spectrum during the summer and Juicy Mandarin just makes me so happy!  Finally, an orange shade I can wear to work without feeling too self conscious!  It's no secret that I love bright shades on the lip, but tend not to wear them outside of the house as I'm too shy, but this makes me feel brave and makes me think I could rock something brighter in public some day!

I've been wearing these on their own and also layered over matte lipsticks too to help keep my lips nourished and moisturised.  Clarins, I know you're reading this, so c'mere to me.  Can you bring out more shades please?  Maybe some for autumn?  Ok thanks very much.  All my love, Karen.

These are on counters now and are 100% worth the €20 price tag.  I'm a bridie obsessed!
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

L'Occitane Terre de Lumiere review - a delicious summer fragrance!

Sample

Golden hour is my favourite time of the day in the summer months.  You know that time in the evening where the sun's low in the sky and makes everything look gorgeous.  If you're wearing highlight on the aul cheekbones, it looks even better, so for that little while in the evening, get taking selfies because you are going to be even ride-ier.  This is an absolute fact.  Ok, I made that fact up, but trust me, golden light is your friend.  L'Occitane released a fragrance a few months ago, Terre de Lumiere and as soon as they sent it, I had this photo in mind in this location.  I knew it was going to have to come to Spain with me because where golden light is lovely and all, Spanish golden light is just magical!


If your Leaving Cert French is a bit on the rusty side, Terre de Lumiere means land of light.  It's inspired by golden hour in Provence and I think I'm going to have to visit there if this is what it smells like.  Terre de Lumiere is L'Occitane's first gourmand fragrance with edible notes including honey and almond.  Now don't go around licking yourself with the notions of these edible notes, they just mean you've got yourself a really rich, warm, enveloping scent that's perfect for lashing on before heading out on a balmy summer's evening.

It's described as having zesty top notes of bergamot, ambrette seed and pink pepper but I have to admit, my nose seems to bypass these and focuses on the heart of lavender honey before the warm musky base notes of acacia flower, tonka bean and bitter almond essence seals the deal and rounds up this stunning fragrance.  They released it at the start of February but to me, this is the perfect summer evening scent that served us all well when we were in Spain last week!

Terre de Lumiere is in shops now and it's well worth checking out if you're in the market for a new summer scent.  Prices start at €65 for 50ml and €89 for 90ml, so both are hand luggage friendly!  I wish I could describe this properly and do it justice so what I'll say is go into your closest L'Occitane shop, give it a whiff and see why I waited three months to review it so it could have its own photoshoot on location!



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Monday, May 8, 2017

4 SPFs to try this summer from Nuxe, Vichy & La Roche-Posay!

Samples

I've just come back from a week in Spain and am feeling very sorry for myself, but also very lucky that I got to get away for a break.  I switched off completely, closed my snaps, enjoyed the sun, pool and food, watched Season 4 of Line of Duty and had great craic altogether!  Before I went away, I was sent some SPFs and brought as many as I could carry so we could test them out.  I figured four reviewers are better than one eh!

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Fresh Invisible Mist SPF 50 - €14


This was one we all used on a daily basis and because it's a small aerosol, it was light enough to be carried around in my handbag with me.  When we're on holidays, we never know how long we're going to be out for, if we'll be sitting outside for lunch, or who'll start looking a bit red first.  So we were able to use this to top our faces up.  The anti-shine version is for oily skin and if I was using this as my facial SPF before going out, I found it easier to apply it on to my fingers and blend it in rather than spray on the face.  I just liked being able to feel how much product was going onto my skin.   They've got versions of it for other skin types if you're not of an oily disposition like myself.

If you're spraying it outside, keep it as close to your face as possible because if there's any hint of a breeze, it'll blow away!  My brother liked using it for his scalp and it didn't flatten his hair too much.  I had a couple of people asking me if it makes hair greasy if they were to put it in their parting and I tried it and while it didn't leave it greasy, I could feel the tiniest bit of residue.  I mean if you're spraying a product into your hair that's not a dry shampoo, it's going to leave some residue but this didn't make me a grease ball by any means.  Because it dries really quickly on application to the face, it's probably why it was grand on my parting too.  I had to leave this in Spain with Mam upon her request so I'll be buying a back up to carry around with me because it's a brilliant SPF and I'll be testing it out both under and over makeup to see how it performs.  I don't wear makeup during the day on holidays, but once I'm back in work I'll be giving it a whirl again because it's handy to have if you end up going out after work and haven't put SPF on that morning.  I want to see how it performs over makeup and if it affects the longevity of my foundation.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios-XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF50+ - €19.50


I was the only one who used this SPF and I absolutely loved it and brought it home with me.  Again, it's aimed at those with oily skin and who prefer a matte finish to their sun creams.  I'll be trying this under makeup to see how I get on with it but I loved using this every day before I went out, watching and feeling it dry as soon as I finished rubbing it in.  It kept my skin matte for hours and despite its thick texture, it didn't leave a white residue on my skin.  It definitely lives up to the "dry touch" claim, but I don't think it's got any gel properties.  It's just a really thick cream, but I still love it loads!

Nuxe Sun Melting Spray High Protection SPF 50 - €26


Every time I smell any of the Nuxe Sun products, I'm transported to Spain, so imagine how feckin deadly it was to actually be in Spain using it!  They've teamed up with Roland Garros so you can totally pretend you're in the French Open sliding across the clay tennis court!  For those who do outdoor activities on holidays, good luck to you.  I much prefer relaxation station across the nation when I'm in the sun, so I can't attest to how well it performs when you're out and about sweating like a mad yoke.  The others thought there was a bit of shimmer in this but I didn't think so.  I think it left our skin looking glistening due to the product itself, not from any glitter, but I could stand corrected!  We're all massive fans of the whole Nuxe Sun range and for the past 2-3 years have brought them away with us and they're always the first ones to be finished.

Vichy Ideal Soleil Anti-Sand Milk SPF 30 - €19.50


I loved this beaut because it dried as soon as I'd finished rubbing it in, and that's the idea behind it being anti-sand.  Isn't it a pain in the hoolahoop applying SPF at the beach only for it to look like you've rolled in the sand 2 minutes later because it's stuck to your skin?  This will change your life if you're a beach bunny and want to look after your skin and not have to spend the day rubbing the sand off you.  It comes in factor 50 too if you want a bit of extra protection.  This had less than a quarter of a bottle left after a week of the four of us using it!

And those are the SPFs we tried this year!  I'll be trying more here in Ireland this summer, so hopefully we'll have the weather for it.  Look after yizzer skin this summer lads.

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