Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Invisalign - Stalling

So far my Invisalign updates have all been really positive, but as I am always completely honest in my reviews I am saddened to say that my recent experience has not been so seamless.

Rewind to 6 weeks ago, when I finally finished my set of trays. I was a little concerned that my teeth hadn’t moved nearly enough, and looked quite different from the digital images the Clincheck had promised, even after going through a couple of over-adjustment trays. The dentist reassured me that this was normal and often a re-evaluation is needed towards the end of the treatment to get the perfect results.

I was given my last set of trays to take away and was told to come back a week later to take new moulds to be sent to the US and for my new movement to be mapped. On the day of my next appointment I was told that it had to be cancelled and rescheduled for the following week. Of course I pressed to know why… and I was quite shocked to find out that Invisalign had come back with a plan involving 20 more trays! That’s (at least) 40 weeks! Bearing in mind I was told the entire treatment would take a maximum of 9 months in total, and I have been wearing the trays since May, I was extremely confused.

Yesterday I had my rescheduled appointment with the dentist and after 6 weeks of wearing the same trays I was desperate to get my hands on the new ones and get the treatment moving again. When I was shown the new trays I couldn’t help but gasp and all I could say was ‘no, please, no thank you’. The trays I was presented with would sit on top of large, new square attachments on my front 4 teeth. Essentially the same as metal braces, except covered in plastic.
(This photo is not me, but one I found  to illustrate the attachments).

To me the whole point of Invisalign is exactly that, it is invisible, or near enough! It can be removed for a special occasion and will not impact your life as much as metal braces. I tried on the proposed tray (of course without the attachments being in place) and I have to say that it was plainly obvious I was wearing braces. To give credit to my dentist he was understanding when I explained that I was unsure about getting the treatment in the first place and what persuaded me was the fact the braces would not be noticeable. I was already a little concerned about the large attachments on my canines, but to put them on my front teeth was just not an option. Given my job is very much front office (on the trading floor where I interact with so many people on close proximity) I just couldn’t face explaining why I had braces at age 27 to every single person. I had had enough questions with just my trays and it was just not a talking point I fancied repeating with the 30 or so clients I see every day! If I my teeth needed a large movement, I would have agreed, but I didn't feel that the benefit of such a minor adjustment outweighed the discomfort of the attachments.

The reason for the attachments, I was told, is that because I have small teeth the Invisalign system was trying to pull them down to expose more of the actual tooth. I am no expert, but to me this doesn’t sound like something I would ever have asked for. I wanted a very small alignment, which so far hasn’t really happened, and given I now have to wait another two and a half weeks to see what the next step will be I have to admit I’m quite disappointed. By the time the next trays come I will have stalled my treatment for over 2 months, wearing the same tray for all that time. To me that seems like the worst of both worlds – still wearing the trays, but not getting any benefits. In addition I can’t help worrying about the hygiene aspect. Of course I always clean the trays thoroughly, but there is only so much that cleaning can do and the discolouration is now pretty obvious!

This has been my experience so far. This is not to say that I regret getting Invisalign, but hiccups do happen, so I wanted to share every step of my journey with you. I am sure others would have been absolutely fine with having the extra attachments, or indeed wearing the extra 20 trays, so would not have the same issues.

My main concern is that the time frame, the aesthetic element involved and the progress for my smile has differed from what I was lead to expect at the start, though I have to stress that my dentist has been great throughout. Luckily, I am not getting married till July so have time to fix any mistakes, but if you have a special event coming up you should bear in mind that delays can happen! I guess it is difficult to seek perfection in biology through a computer algorithm, it can’t calculate everything and predict how your teeth will move… and unfortunately mine have been stubborn little things!

I shall update you all after my next appointment when I will (fingers crossed) be finally back on track with my new trays!!
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Thursday, 31 October 2013

HealGel

First off apologies for my lack of updates due to work commitments and never ending wedmin. Despite this I have continued my search for the best products out there and had to share with you all my latest love – HealGel!

HealGel promises to be a reliable source of relief from a wide range of skin problems - it has proved to be successful in improving the appearance of scarring, redness, puffiness and irritation caused by blemishes. HealGel also offers exceptional comfort after over-exposure to the elements, and can be used as a highly effective post-non-surgical treatment. After reading about this skin rescue formula that was designed by a team of British plastic surgeons and a renowned dermatological biochemist to promote skin healing I was very intrigued to try it out.


I was sent the HealGel Face for review and have been really impressed with its performance over the last few months. HealGel Face is an anti-ageing formula designed to smooth, firm and replenish to give instantly plumper, revitalised looking skin. Arnica and Madecassoside are suspended in liposomes with powerful peptides and biodynes to initiate a uniquely soothing and collagen boosting process. HealGel Face also contains a unique blend of Omega Oils to replenish dehydrated skin and restore elasticity. To this another vital dimension is added; a powerful three part hyaluronic acid complex provides a plumping and tightening effect.

As someone who has sensitive skin that is easily irritated and very slow to heal I was immediately excited by this product. Unlike many other soothing formulations I have tried HealGel is very light and almost instantly absorbed on the skin. Even with its ingredients listing a number of oils sourced from rice, olives, babsu seed, jojoba and soybeans it is described as an aqueous gel making it perfect for use both morning and night. Its versatility allows it to act as a great base for foundation and also as a treatment that can be topped up at night with a richer moisturiser or a facial oil.


Heal Gel is free of nasties such as parabens, synthetic fragrance, colourants and xenoestrogen. It is created in the UK and is not tested on animals so is suitable for use by vegetarians and vegans. HealGel Face is available from a number of stockists including HealGel.co.uk and Feel Unique where it retails at £48.


Having only tried the Face formulation I am definitely looking to purchase this for regular use as well as trying out the HealGel Eye and Intensive versions! This is a product that really stands out for me, especially if you are prone to scarring, be it from blemishes or eczema. I can highly recommend it for all skin types and I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about it!
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Friday, 18 October 2013

Invisalign - FAQs

As I am nearing the end of my Invisalign treatment I thought this would be a good time to do a little round up post of FAQs and give you guys a chance to ask any questions that you may have! So many of you have e-mailed/ tweeted me (@NatalyaFGM) directly to raise you queries or concerns that I thought it would be helpful to have some of them listed in a post for your reference!

  • How long will it take?
The length of treatment depends on your individual case however, the average is about 12 months for adults. As I only have minimal movement to make mine was estimated to take about 9 months.

  • How often must I wear my aligners?
They should be worn for between 20 and 22 hours a day. My dentist said I should really aim for 22. I only take them out when I'm eating, brushing my teeth, drinking a hot/ strongly coloured drink (eg. red wine) or to clean them!
  • How often must I see my Invisalign doctor?
Once again this depends, but I have been seeing my dentist every 6 weeks or so to monitor my progress.
  • What are attachments and will I need them?
Depending on your specific treatment, some of the movements may require either "attachments" or "ridges" to help the aligner grip the teeth. These bumps, or wells, are where the aligner grips the attachment the doctor places on your teeth. The attachments are actually small pieces of enamel-coloured composite the doctor fixes to your teeth that are then gripped by bumps on your aligners. The ridges are slim indentations in your aligners. Your doctor will use one or both of these features to attempt to achieve the desired tooth movement.
I have had both as shown in my earlier posts. The ridges are not problematic and almost invisible. The attachments are usually used towards the back, but are definitely noticeable if they are on your front teeth.
  • Is it painful?
While Invisalign moves your teeth some people experience temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure. It's also a sign that Invisalign is working, as it moves your teeth to their final destination. This discomfort typically goes away in a couple of days.
I have experienced very minimal pain. The first two weeks of treatment were quite uncomfortable as it took me a while to get used to the trays, but there was no pain. The last two trays I have had (over correction trays) have been a little painful, but this is because my teeth are nearing the end of treatment so they have already been moved the furthest along the bone. I would describe the feeling as a mild ache in a few of the teeth, but it's not something that would honestly put me off the treatment (and I am a major coward when it comes to pain).
  • Will wearing Invisalign aligners affect my speech?
Similar to other orthodontic treatments, Invisalign aligners may temporarily affect speech and you may have a slight lisp for a day or two. However, as your tongue gets used to having aligners in your mouth, any lisp caused by the aligners should disappear.
This was the worst part for me! I had a lisp for 2/3 weeks and though most people didn't notice it did make me feel quite self conscious. I still sometimes say the odd word strangely and definitely find things harder to pronounce so it's something to bear in mind when timing you treatment! Of course it's easy enough to take the trays out if you have an important speech to make...

  • What's the best way to clean my aligners?
The best way to clean your aligners is to use the Invisalign Cleaning system, available for order at www.invisalignstore.com. As a secondary method, however, your aligners can also be cleaned by brushing them and rinsing them in lukewarm water.
I have a slight cheat method in that I brush my aligners when I'm brushing my teeth, but also often leave them in water with a denture cleaning tablet to make sure they stay fresh and clean. I find this really helps with the staining so that your trays stay nice and bright throughout your treatment.
  • What happens after treatment to prevent my teeth from moving again?
This varies from person to person and depends on the outcome of your treatment. Some patients might need a positioner, or conventional retainer. Other patients might need a clear plastic retainer similar to the ones Invisalign makes, such as Align Technology's Vivera Retainer, which are worn at night.
  • How much does it cost?
Of course cost is a big question for anyone considering orthodontic work. In most cases, Invisalign treatment is comparable to the cost of traditional braces. However, as with other medical treatments, only your doctor can determine the cost, based on your specific needs. Other factors may include your treatment goals, the difficulty of your case, how long you are in treatment, where you live, your orthodontic insurance coverage, and additional factors determined by your dentist or orthodontist. In the U.S., the cost of Invisalign treatment ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with the average at about $5,000. In the UK the average cost ranges from approximately £2,500-£4,000. However, prices start as low as £1,800 for minor corrections.



I really do hope this was helpful for some of you who are considering orthodontic treatments! If you have any more questions that I haven't touched on please do let me know! It can be quite a long process and definitely something that requires a commitment so I am more than happy to give you my honest opinions and share my experiences to help you make the right decision for you!!

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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Leonor Greyl

With humble beginnings in a single Paris salon and with more than 45 years in the business of haircare Leonor Greyl is definitely a brand that has stood the test of time! Specialising in hair treatments using only high-quality, environmentally-safe, natural ingredients like honey, bamboo, sunflower, and chamomile with blends of delicate aromas and plant extracts, Leonor Greyl products give hair brilliance, glamour, beauty…and most importantly health!

In fact it was the first brand to incorporate essential vitamins like A and E in their shampoos. Their signature, vitamin-rich Wheat Germ Oil was the first oil developed that foams on contact with water to revitalize limp hair, purify oily scalps, and fight the effects of environmental factors on hair health. Where a harsh, chemical treatment for dandruff was the norm, Leonor Greyl was the first to formulate a coal tar-free dandruff shampoo, gentle enough for everyday use. The main ingredient used was propolis - a powerful, natural antibiotic, that is a resin gathered by bees from tree bark and leaves.
Leonor Greyl is popular with hair stylists and celebs alike, so much so that it was recently used in a number of gorgeous red carpet looks, such as Samantha Barks' chic updo and Jennifer Lawrence's Bafta style. To help create these styles Johnnie Sapong, coiffure extraordinaire, has put together a how to guide that's super easy to follow:

Leonor Greyl products used to create the look above:

E'CLAT NATUREL, LAIT LUMINESCENCE, GEL A LA KERATINE, HUILE SECRET DE BEAUTE, SERUM DE SOIE, LAQUE SOUPLE.

1) Apply Lait Luminescence to dry hair layering on Serum de Soie for an extra soft, nourished feel. Using a paddle brush, dry in the product into hair using a hairdryer with a nozzle attachment.

2) Once product is fully absorbed, use a tooth brush and gently brush hair back sleek and smooth. Pull hair into a ponytail and fast with elastic. Smooth over Huile Secret de Beaute over the tail.

3) To create the bun(chignon) split the ponytail in two and create a rope braid to wrap around the base to create the bun(chignon).

4) Twist the ponytail, then pin into a bun. Finish the look using Laque Souple, lock down any fly-
away using Gel a la Keratine mixed with Ecat Naturel which can be applied using a tint brush for an accurate application.


When asked what his celeb clients think of LG products Johnnie told us that they 'love the feeling of lg products! They feel like its giving good nourishment for the hair at the same time as not over loading with silicones, the fragrance and how it works on hair, they have a love for the Leonor Greyl products.'
Have you ever tried any Leonor Greyl products? I was recently sent the hair oil (Huile de Palme) and have loved using it as a deep conditioning product prior to shampooing. It provides great hydration for my over processed hair and smells great too!

*This is a sponsored post*
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One year ago...

He asked and I said YES! 
 If only every other question was so simple to answer...
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend my lovelies! xxx
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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bikram Yoga with Always Infinity

As the evenings start to get shorter and colder the temptation of a scenic jog in the park begins to wane and all manner of excuses begin to take shape! One of the most common is of course when you are not quite feeling your best during that time of the month. Besides wanting to curl up on the sofa and eat ice cream there is always the worry of not quite being able to feel confident whether you are throwing yourself around Pineapple Studios or mentally hitting the Olympic velodrome in your early morning spin class.

To make sure us ladies can no longer use these excuses Always have been hard at work creating the new generation of pad and the most exciting Always innovation to hit the market for over 20 years. The Always Infinity is the only pad made from a liquid foam to absorb liquid that moulds to your body (like memory foam) so you barely feel it, and then reverts back to its original shape with almost no bunching.

To put this to the test I was challenged to a Hot Bikram Yoga class. If 90 minutes of sweat, heat and contortion couldn’t tell me whether the claims were true, I don’t know what could!


As I’m not naturally a very bendy person I did find the class very challenging! As well as being very hot and humid the bikram studio was completely packed so that mats were laid out side by side. It took all my concentration to make sure I didn’t topple over on anyone as my head quickly began to swim... and spin. The one thing that I wasn’t worried about was the protection that the Always Infinity was giving me. The new pads are super thin and very comfortable, but despite this they can absorb up to 10 times their weight. I barely even noticed them and despite the array of circus like poses everything stayed in its place with no mishaps.

I guess I can never use this as an excuse ever again and will have to invent more imaginative ways of getting out of going to the gym from now on!


For more information you can check out the Always website here. And if you want to put the new Always Infinity to the test yourself just let me know in the comments below as I will be giving away a box this week!
*This is a sponsored post*
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Friday, 16 August 2013

Eqvvs - Fit Not Thin!

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while already know that this year I have set myself some fitness goals that I am very determined to achieve. Of course a wedding dress is an unparalleled motivator, but I wanted to overhaul my body not for merely one day, but for the foreseeable future. Even though I have never been overweight I have found myself creeping upwards slowly over the last few years and sitting at my desk for 10 hours a day my fitness levels were truly despicable. After one speedy climb up the escalators at Piccadilly Circus left me feeling like my heart was going to fly out of my chest I knew the time had come to start investing in my health.
Having joined David Lloyd and tried all (yes all) of their classes and weekly sessions with one of their trainers I can definitely say that I have toned up and gained muscle, though not necessarily in the right places. My body fat has dropped by about 8% and I have lost 7kg, but have remained the same dress size. Being tall I can fluctuate a lot without really changing shape. I am undecided if this is a good thing (when I pile on the padding in the winter), or a bad thing (when I spend months burning it off and see little visible result). Even though clothes do feel better I have found inches have come off the areas where I didn’t mind them so much (I’m sure you can guess!). Going to the gym 3/4 times a week and keeping to a healthy eating plan has become somewhat a routine, but even though I am still trying out lots of different types of exercise my weight/ fitness has stalled for the last few months.
I was therefore very excited when Glossybox informed me that I had won their recent Twitter competition for 3 personal training sessions at the exclusive eqvvs studios in Knightsbridge. Having been a regular gym bunny since February I am still very much at the beginning of my fitness journey and am looking to learn as much as I can about different exercises and what I can push my body to do.

Eqvvs is situated in a little cul de sac near Harrods that gives it privacy and ambiguity, so it is no wonder it is such a favourite among celebs. The studio is equipped with all the latest equipment and despite being fairly small there are never more than 2 trainers/ clients working at the same time so there is plenty of space to work up a sweat. They have a number of private changing rooms with your own shower and sink, complete with fresh towels and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries (yes I am still a beauty blogger at heart so I notice these things). The sessions themselves are an hour long and completely dedicated to helping you achieve your goals at a pace and intensity that challenges, but does not make you dread your next visit. The trainers are so friendly, patient and knowledgeable that they spend every moment encouraging you, while checking your form and making sure you are doing the exercises correctly to get the full benefits. While my fitness level has improved there are still some areas that I really struggle with (core!) and the trainers were great at modifying exercises so that I could complete them and still feel a sense of achievement. I’m sure you guys know the feeling of when you try something new and completely bomb, the last thing you want is to be told to forget it and move on, because that will never help you learn. At eqvvs the treatment is so bespoke that you never feel like you have failed at anything. Even though some of the exercises we tried (eg. hanging knee hugs on the TRX) were far too advanced for my little muscles I felt like I was really progressing even being able to do a few in a slightly different position. A modified stance or hand grip could make all the difference so it is always worth finding out from a pro!
Both of the trainers I worked with (George and Miad) really made the sessions fun, but I knew that I was getting a really good workout all the way through, and even if I wasn’t sure my heart monitor reassured me I was ‘in the zone’.  They mixed up cardio with weights (machines, free weights and my own hefty body weight) to make sure each session gave a whole body workout and targeted major muscle groups to get those calories burning too. My favourite part of each hour was the last five minutes of stretching. I felt like it really helped both my recovery time and prevent soreness the next day as after they had stretched me out I was bouncing out of the studio full of energy. Sometimes you just need that little extra bit of help, especially when it came to realigning my back and shoulders!
Whether you are looking to shape up for a special occasion, have decided to overhaul your fitness or just fancy a change to your regular routine I would highly recommend looking into personal training at eqvvs. Their amazing service doesn’t come cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for and I have no doubt that you will notice the difference. Eqvvs also have a number of special packages available, such as a pre-wedding package (eqvvsONE), or a total body overhaul (eqvvsthree60) that will transform you in 6 weeks, as well as a nutritionist, physio and partnerships with many amazing suppliers.
Even after 3 sessions I can feel a difference and have started incorporating some of the exercises I have learned to target new muscles into my routines. I will definitely be going back to eqvvs in the final stretch before my wedding to make sure all those wobbly bits are banished, but I also hope that I will be able to use what I have learned to maintain a healthier way of life in the future!
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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Whitney Port Venus & Olay Blogger Challenge!

A few weeks ago I was challenged by Venus and Olay's new ambassador Whitney Port to customise a pair of denim shorts for a chance to feature on Whitney's site, as well as win a pair of shorts designed by the leggy lady herself. I am a huge Whitney fan as I love her style and general attitude so I was excited to try out the new Venus razor and take part in the fashion challenge!
I was sent a pair of denim shorts to play with, along with a bag of embellishments and of course the new Venus and Olay razor that combines Olay Moisture-Boost shave gel bars, which help replenish your skin’s moisture, with Venus’s five-blade technology for an incredibly close shave. The shave gel bars mean there’s no need for an extra shave gel, which is perfect for travel or when you are in a hurry. As well as being super quick and convenient this razor gives a really close, comfortable shave. I also noticed that the bars have a lovely scent, which was a nice surprise!
So after trying out the razor I was all set to show off my legs and began working on the perfect pair of shorts to do so. I decided to keep the colour palette very classic and focus on some gold detailing on the front and back pockets. Since my sewing technique is somewhat lacking there was a lot of fabric glue involved, but I'm pretty happy with the results. I think the extra sparkle gives the shorts a bit of personality, while still being really wearable.
I used lots of gold thread on the back pockets to make them really stand out and give the shorts a little bit more shape. I then tied the design in with the front by accentuating the corners with more gold sequins, to reflect the shape of the curve.

So what do we think ladies? Would Whitney ever wear a pair of shorts like this? Regardless of the competition I had so much fun decorating (and almost gluing my fingers together) and I can't wait to show them off on holiday in a few weeks :). xxx
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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Invisalign - Smile!

As I am approaching the half way point with my Invisalign treatment I thought that this would be a good time to update you all on my progress. However, when trying to plan this post I found it tricky to think of what to say… which is very much unlike me! Mainly this is because I am now so used to the Invisalign that on a daily basis I barely notice it. I have got so comfortable that I am quite happy popping the trays in and out in public as it takes less than 5 seconds and with a quick twist of the head it’s all done and no one notices! Among my close friends I refer to the trays as ‘my teeth’ and they have learned great evasive manoeuvres if I need to ‘take my teeth out’ in the most inappropriate places. It’s actually surprising how unobservant people can be and even when I have had to do a sneaky removal while enjoying some fine dining no one has batted an eyelid!
Every time I put a new tray in I do examine my teeth for any movement, but I haven’t really noticed a great deal so far. However, any change is so gradual, and given I don’t have very much to move in the first place, it’s not going to be glaringly obvious. The slight overlap in the front two teeth does look like it’s reduced a little; though I have noticed the pressure on these teeth with the last tray so I am hoping now is the time I will start seeing some results. I think the initial stages have been to create more space for my teeth and counteract the effects that my wisdom teeth had and now the rest of my teeth will be able to move back into position.

In terms of tooth health I am still having regular check ups and my teeth look fine and healthy. I did have some slight gum irritation and soreness, but nothing out of the ordinary as my gums are generally quite sensitive and sometimes a thorough clean can cause the same problems.
So many of you have been asking me about Invisalign vs. braces and I have to reiterate my earlier comments in that I think teeth are so important and if you are self conscious about yours I would definitely set up a consultation. In my opinion Invisalign is far superior to regular metal braces, especially if you are an adult. There is absolutely no way I would have had ‘train tracks’ at my age, unless it was medically required, because I know that any improvements in my teeth would be completely counteracted by the self consciousness I would feel wearing them for the best part of a year. With Invisalign I was both surprised and shocked that most people haven’t noticed I am wearing them. I can smile, laugh and feel completely uninhibited.

Reading a recent survey it has actually been found that a quarter of the UK feels self conscious about their crooked smiles – resoundingly beating concerns about bottoms, legs, hair and chests! When it comes to attraction three quarters of Brits rated a person’s smile as important when first considering going on a date with them. The survey also discovered that people with straight teeth and a great smile are seen as more successful (32%), wealthier (23%) and more likely to get a job (27%) than those with crooked teeth and a bad smile - suggesting perception is everything! I completely agree with this, even having your teeth whitened can make you look like you’ve had a makeover!

A great smile not only looks good, but can also have psychological benefits! Behavioural psychologist Judi James says, “The great thing about people having the confidence to smile is the natural impulse in the receiving person to return the smile. This instantaneous reaction often triggers a dramatic effect on our own mood, creating a sense of well-being. The outward performance of happiness and well-being produces a similar effect on our subconscious - by echoing a smile, it can give us a boost in confidence and cheer us up.” Happiness is contagious so why not make someone’s day with a big smile? I can’t wait to see the results at the end of my treatment and show them off on my wedding day, but in the meantime I can smile confidently knowing my Invisalign is not going to stand in the way :).
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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Amida Spa Alpha H Brightening Facial

A few weeks ago I was treated to an amazing Alpha H Brightening facial at the Amida Spa in Chelsea. After hearing so many good things about the Alpha H line I was so excited to see what all the fuss was about and had high hopes indeed!

The Amida Spa is attached to the amazing Chelsea Harbour Club, which is a very impressive leisure complex with a whole host of facilities from squash and tennis courts to a waterfall pool. While the club is for members only the spa is open to everyone and even has its own pool, jacuzzi, sauna, salt inhale room and steam rooms as well as an ice shoot, which I made sure to explore before my treatment. Even on a Saturday it wasn't too busy and I very much enjoyed having the huge jacuzzi pool to myself! It's the perfect place to come and relax in luxury.
 

After my swim I was led into one of their cosy treatment rooms where my therapist got me to fill out a questionnaire all about my skin and what areas I was concerned about/ wanted to see improvement in. After many months of cold winter I felt like my skin was looking quite lacklustre and I wanted something that would brighten, refresh and improve the appearance of my skin, while being gentle. The therapist noted that my skin was sensitive and tailored my treatment to make sure I could see the maximum results, while preventing any redness or irritation from overstimulation.

After a thorough double cleanse she used the famous Alpha H Liquid Gold - a powerful revitalising and firming lotion which works like an "overnight facial" to brighten and revitalise tired skin and visibly improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, open pores and pigmentation. The combination of 5% Glycolic Acid and Licorice Extract resurfaces, brightens and improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, open pores and uneven skin tone. I was worried it may be a little bit strong for my skin, but a little definitely went a long way and all I felt was a slight tingle. She followed this with a microexfoliant, gentle treatment mask and lovely moisturiser and facial massage.
My skin really did look fresher and brighter, without any signs of redness, so I was very pleased with the results. The Alpha H Brightening Facial lasts 55 mins and is £80 for non-members (£76 for members). If you are looking for a little bit of pampering I would definitely recommend checking out the Amida Spa in your area as they have many branches all over the country - Beckenham, Farnham, Chelsea, Hampton, High Wycombe and Notting Hill.


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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Magdalene May Ball 2013

With a full time job and a wedding to save up for it's not often these days that I get to have a really extravagant night out. However, the fiance and I decided that this year we would once again return to the Magdalene May Ball and indulge in some nostalgia.
I chose a black MaxMara Pianoforte ball gown that has been hanging in my wardrobe for the last 10 years! The last time I wore this I was 16! It was a special gift from my mama to wear for my first ever ball at school and having carefully preserved it for a decade I decided that this would be the perfect time to revive it. The dress itself is pretty simple as it is made up of layers of black material. The netting underskirt really gives it the vavavoom, however it can feel a little overwhelming so I tied the belt in a kimono style (tying it around twice with a bow at the front) to add some definition to my waist.
I paired it with simple black heels that had soft feather detailing to match my feathery ASOS bag. I also kept jewelery very minimal as such a classic dress requires very little. I finished off the outfit with a simple diamond tennis bracelet and long Swarovski crystal earrings.
For my hair I used my trusty Babyliss rollers. I decided on a half up, half down style to ensure my hair stayed in place all night and secured it at the back with a beautiful silver feather comb the fiance got me for Christmas. When it came to makeup  I reverted to form with a silver and black smokey eye topped with false lashes. 
We had such a fabulous night! Though I didn't quite make it all the way to the survivors photo at 7am, especially after being at work during the day, I am so happy we took a little time out of our busy schedules to sample all the delights that were on offer!
As much as I love having a career I do sometimes miss those carefree student days! Going back to work felt very sombre the next day. Oh well, time to look forward to 2015! xxx
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Friday, 28 June 2013

1 Minute Hair Tutorial using 1 Minute Wonder Ampoules

So with the weather being its usual horrendous self I thought that the second instalment of the 1 minute hair tutorials should be completely rain and wind proof!

As before I prepped my hair with the Pantene 1 Minute Wonder Ampoules to ensure my coloured hair looked super healthy and had some added gloss. I tied the hair up into a tight ponytail, using a soft bristle brush to give it a sleek look. I then put a generic brown hair doughnut on the ponytail and twisted the hair around it in one direction covering the entire thing.
I then used the ends to wrap around the bottom of the doughnut and secured any strays with brown bobby pins. I finished off with a good spritz of Pantene's Style & Protect hairspray to keep hair in place. This is such an easy style to wear as it stays put all day with no effort. Let the weather do its worst!
If you try this out do let me know how it goes! I would love to hear your feedback :).

*This is a sponsored post*
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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Our Engagement Party and Amazing Cakes!

On the 1st of June the fiance and I hosted a much belated celebration of our engagement with our closest friends and our families. It was a wonderful evening and while I was having far too much fun catching up with everyone to take many photos I did want to share some pictures from the night and also give a special mention to some of our amazing suppliers :).
You all know I love any excuse to dress up, so while the Mr kept it pretty casual I decided to wear something a little more adventurous. I chose the Talia dress from the Hobbs limited edition Invitation collection with matching shoes. It's a nifty little corset number with a very voluminous skirt that really reminds me of the shape of Vivienne Westwood dresses, which I adore. I paired it with a white L.K Benett chiffon petal bag.
As the dress was already quite a statement I kept my hair simple by curling it with Babyliss hot rollers and brushing through the hair with a soft Denman brush to create loose, soft, shiny curls. For the makeup I went for a silver and grey smokey eye to complement the dress.

I chose the Blanchard Room of the Hollywood Arms as the venue for its amazing decor and it did not disappoint! All our guests loved it and I must say that the staff were outstanding on the night, making sure everyone had plenty of bubbles in their glasses until the early hours ;).

Since we are not getting married till next July we wanted to give our guests a little taste of what to expect next year and decided to order a cake as a sweet finishing touch to the evening. I am a huge dessert fan and loved the idea of having a cupcake cake for our guests to enjoy. After getting quotes from a few suppliers I chose the Chelsea Cake Company. Nessie was an absolute sweetheart in creating the perfect cake for us and it's just so lovely to work with someone who is incredibly passionate about their business. I highly recommend you check her website out for wedding, party or celebration cakes as she does some incredible designs using only the best organic ingredients.
Nessie also made some adorable wedding themed cookies for guests to take away with them! They were just as yummy as they look.
After the party we carried on the celebration at Embargos, although not all of our guests made it that far ;p. Fingers crossed I will be able to make the wedding go as smoothly! xxx
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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

1 Minute Wonder Ampoules and Quick Hair Tutorial!

As much as I love a luxurious pamper session, sometimes you need a quick beauty fix to get you looking your best and out of the door in minutes. This is why I love Pantene's new 1 Minute Wonder Ampoules. These little pods contain the highest concentration of conditioning actives from Pantene and are proven to leave coloured hair even stronger against styling damage than virgin hair in just one minute!
The whole Pantene Pro-V Strength and Shine range is designed to make coloured hair up to 70% shinier and stronger as its protein protection formula helps rebuild the protective outer layer that is damaged during colouring. As I have been dying my hair (on and off) since the age of 16 I was excited to try it to see if it would bring some lustre to my parched locks!

As timing is off the essence I thought I would share with you a really quick up-do that can be done in less than one minute! This style is so easy to do and is perfect for days when you want to get your hair up with minimal effort, but you want it to look a little more special. You could easily wear this on 2nd/ 3rd day hair and it would be perfect for festivals too!
To prepare the hair I used the Pantene Strength and Shine shampoo and conditioner for coloured hair, as well as the 1 Minute Wonder Ampoules.
The only accessory you need for this style is a hairband. I have chosen one with a little bit of sparkle to add some interest and texture. Once the hairband is on (with the stretchy side underneath your hair) all you have to do is take large sections of hair and twist them around the elastic portion of the band at the nape of your neck. I used one large section followed by 4 smaller sections, twisting them while weaving them in and out of the band and the hair already tucked in. I then fixed the hair in place with some Style and Protect hairspray. It's as easy as that!

I hope you like this super easy up-do style and please do check back for another 1 minute tutorial in the next few days!

*This is a sponsored post.*
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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Boots Camp Party Wrap Up

Thank you so much to all of you who joined us for the Boots Camp twitter party on Wednesday! We do hope that you had fun. Please do pop over to Boots here to check out more tips and tricks and if you missed out on the party you can check out the highlights below or click here for the storify page:

 
Thank you my lovelies :). xxx



   


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Invisalign - Update

Having now moved on to my third set of trays I thought that this would be the perfect time to update you all on my Invisalign progress!
(With flash)
Tray1:
My first appointment to fit the trays was very speedy. I was shown how to insert the trays properly to ensure they were perfectly in place and also how to remove them, which is the somewhat tricky part! Though the trays fit very snugly to my teeth they did not put too much pressure on them and I didn’t feel any pain at all. After a few tries I was able to get the trays in and out in seconds, though be aware that you have to hook them from the back on both sides, which is not the most attractive action. I was under the impression that they could be removed from the front (like a mouth guard) but in fact this could warp the trays so it is recommended you start from the back and work your way forward and inside out when trying to loosen them.
Apart from the strange sensation of having something in your mouth I didn’t find the trays uncomfortable. Though for the first two days there was a little bit of irritation on my lower gum I didn’t develop any ulcers and it went away pretty quickly. My mouth is quite sensitive so I was actually surprised that they didn’t cause any issues.
My main concern with the trays was that I did have a little bit of a lisp when I was speaking. As long as I remembered to over-enunciate my speech was fine, but when I started talking and forgot about the trays I did have a few awkward moments of not being able to speak properly. I am generally quite a self conscious person, and though most people didn’t notice the difference in either my speech or the appearance of my teeth, I did find it a little frustrating. Though to be perfectly honest I think people didn’t actually notice my teeth, but saw me ‘playing’ with them (not literally, but when something feels strange in your mouth you inevitably end up investigating it with your tongue). The dentist told me that most people’s speech adapts in about 1-2 weeks, though I felt like it took me a little longer (about 3 weeks) before my incessant chatter went back to normal.
(no flash)

Tray 2:
After 2 weeks I went back to the dentist to have a check up and to have resin attachments fitted to my teeth. My trays were examined for any cracks to make sure I had been diligent in removing them properly and luckily (despite being rather chewed in the back due to grinding my teeth at night and general stress) I passed the test and was allowed to take my next 3 sets of trays home. I was surprised to see the extent of the discolouration in the trays compared to the new ones, but I was assured that this was completely normal. Nevertheless, I mentally made a note to try and brush the trays a little more often to ensure the remained nice and bright for longer.
The little resin brackets were then fitted to my teeth using UV light to set them in place. As they are tooth coloured they are mostly not noticeable, except for the one on my incisor which stuck out a lot more than I had imagined it would. As always I am brutally honest with you guys and I have to admit that this did make me feel a little disheartened about my decision to have Invisalign. Some people don’t need the brackets and everyone has individual shapes and placement, it was mainly bad luck that meant that the angle and size of mine was quite prominent, and made it look like my tooth was sticking out very strangely. Ultimately the main reason for the Invisalign was a cosmetic enhancement, so the fact that this bracket made my teeth look worse was a bit upsetting, especially as I had my engagement party coming up in a few weeks and really wanted to look my best.
The beauty with Invisalign is that you can remove the trays, so for special occasions you could go without for a short period of time. However, the brackets are permanent and (at least in my case) will be on my teeth for the rest of the treatment.

As the weeks have passed I have definitely got used to the attachments, but the one on my incisor is a little bit bothersome (mainly because it is visible when I smile, while the others are towards the back and hidden). Once again most people haven’t noticed, so vanity aside it really isn’t as prominent as I first thought.
I can readily admit that I am my own worst critic and always over analyse everything, whether that be aesthetically related or the decisions I have made. In the end I know the results will totally be worth it and a little tab on my tooth for a few months is hardly worth worrying about, but I want this review to be completely honest. This is a long term commitment, so it’s definitely worth thinking about every aspect!
Apologies for the rather graphic photo! Many of you have asked me to put up photos of what the Invisalign looks like close up. You can also clearly see the brackets stuck on to my incisor and back teeth.
Finally, I wanted to address how Invisalign has affected my daily lifestyle and I can confidently say that it hasn’t! Other than running off to the bathroom to take out my trays before every meal/ snack I really haven’t found it to be a burden at all. A few times I have had to plan ahead eg. if I have a work lunch I make sure to remove my trays while on my way there to avoid any embarrassment at the table, but other than that it has been pretty effortless. I have partied in Monaco, drank far too much at a day at the races, entertained work clients, smiled for hours at our engagement party, exercised, slept and attended numerous conferences and events all while wearing my Invisalign and most people were shocked when I told them about it. So much so that one of my friends saw my first review on this blog and actually e-mailed me to say that she was so surprised as she is normally very observant, but hadn’t noticed anything at all. Katie, I couldn’t have asked for a better endorsement than that ;p.
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

#Bootscamp!

Today is the day! From 1-2pm we will be chatting all things beauty at the Boots twitter party. Look out for the hashtag to win lots of goodies. We hope you can make it!

For hints, tricks, tips and offers to help you get out there this summer visit Boots Camp at boots.com/bootscamp. It’s tough to look great but Boots Camp can help: the place to find inspiration and advice to help you stay gorgeous and body confident this summer and it’s worth it! From make-up multi-taskers and getting luscious sun-ready hair, to keeping your holiday glow, Boots Camp is the ultimate summer destination!
Make sure you follow @perfectpolished and myself @NatalyaFGM as well as the experts. We can't wait to chat with you! xxx
 
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Friday, 7 June 2013

Boots Camp Twitter Party!

Next week marks the launch of Boots Camp, a place to go to help you get ready to get out there this summer. Launching on Wednesday the 12th Boots Camp will be filled with inspiring hints, tips, tricks and offers categorized into six steps to help you make the most of summer.

To celebrate the launch and to get everyone involved I will be hosting a Twitter party from 1-2pm where you wil be able to join in and ask any questions you may have. There will also be experts on hand to share their tips and tricks! To join just follow me on twitter @NatalyaFGM and look out for the hashtag #bootscamp!

I hope you will be able to join us for some fun beauty chat next Wednesday!

*Sponsored Post*
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Friday, 17 May 2013

Invisalign - Clincheck

My Invisalign journey started two weeks ago, but my ‘perfect smile’ story probably began in my early teens. I think teeth are so important and have always been in awe of that perfect Hollywood smile (think Kate Beckinsale). While all my friends had braces I felt like the odd one out as I didn’t ‘need’ them. This is incredibly silly as really there was nothing wrong with my teeth and I should have counted myself lucky, but as ever, I wanted them to be better! Fast forward ten years and as my wisdom teeth started coming in all of a sudden there was not enough room and I noticed some progressive movement as my front two teeth began to crowd in a little more than before. This was coupled with me grinding my teeth in the night (probably due to stress), making my bite a little uneven and exacerbating the issue. So, when Invisalign contacted me to ask if I would like to try out and review the system I jumped at the chance! I have had so many questions from you guys when I mentioned it on twitter so I will be doing lots of updates throughout my journey.
For my first consultation my teeth were examined by the dentist to check if they were healthy and suitable for treatment and we talked through what I was looking to achieve. I must at this point reiterate that mine may be a minor case, but there was definitely room for improvement to straighten the front teeth, close a small gap on one side, realign the arch and push my teeth forward a little to create more space. After this my teeth were also x-rayed to check that the bone was strong enough and just to once again make sure the roots were healthy.

A few weeks later the ClinCheck process began with moulds of my upper and lower teeth being taken and sent away to create a 3D image. To do this my mouth was injected with a gel that set around my teeth. This was a little bit uncomfortable, much like getting a mouth guard fitted at school, but it only took a few minutes. The specialised ClinCheck software is an integral part of the treatment to review and determine the goals for each stage. ClinCheck builds a 3D mapping of the teeth and allows to demonstrate the series of movements that the teeth will go through as the treatment progresses, reviewing each stage and showing the final expected results of how the teeth will look at the end. You can see my little video below that shows what my teeth look like now and where we are hoping to get to in 6-9 months.
video
After discussing the images with my dentist I was happy to begin the treatment. I think the final results look great and I can’t wait to see the movement at each stage. It took a few weeks for the trays to come and to set up my appointment for the first ‘fitting’, but I will be updating you all shortly with how it is going as I am currently on tray number 1! So far most people haven’t noticed, though I do feel somewhat self conscious. Lots of photos to come in the next post so please do check back if you are interested and if you want to know more about Invisalign please do check them out here.

Are you looking to achieve the perfect smile? Have you heard of Invisalign? 

*I have been given a discount on my treatment by Align Technology, creators of Invisalign. The views expressed here are my views only and not those of Align :).*
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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Polaire

With the release of The Great Gatsby I can definitely see that roaring 20s fashion is firmly back on the map. This is not an era I am overly familiar with, but I do love the eccentricity of the flapper girl and the confidence with which women embodied it while becoming more liberal in their attitude to life and their approach to beauty, style and fashion.
Rather than concentrating on the fashion I thought it would be interesting to look at other aspects of beauty at the time, namely fragrance.Chypre fragrances, characterised by the contrast between the fresh citrus accord and the woody-oakmoss fond, first launched in 1917 and were representative of elegance, sophistication and seduction; instantly synonymous with the Roaring Twenties. Polaire is a new chypre fragrance from Yardley that evokes the carefree 20s era, while bringing it into the modern age and making it accessible to all.

Polaire opens with a fresh, fruity green top note of pear and freesia followed by a spicy floral heart of blooming rose, ginger and pink pepper, enhanced with a very sensual, powdery base note of patchouli and amber. The fragrance is enticing, yet uplifting and energising, while still being romantic and feminine.

As ever the Yardley fragrances are created using the finest premium ingredients, but at prices that make it available to all. The Polaire eau de toilette is £19.99, available from Boots, Lloyds, Morrisons, Sainsbury’sand online at www.yardleylondon.co.uk

Have you tried Yardley's Polaire? Are you a fan of 20s fashion?
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