Sunday, 28 June 2015

What a Bikini Wax Really Feels Like

   I feel a little bit controversial whilst writing this, purely because it's so pathetically taboo to converse about anything remotely near your nether regions, let alone the actual region itself. The word 'vagina' doesn't get enough airtime, but it's a wonder why this is - these things are part of our bodies, and we like to look after them; therefore we need to discuss HOW to look after them, because otherwise, how will we ever know?

   First of all, I'd like to address the fact that there is nothing unfeminist about getting a bikini wax. It doesn't matter if you're doing it to enhance your romantic life, to feel a little more 'hygienic', or to fulfill the original purpose of the treatment: to look a little bit more kempt in a bikini. Just for the record, there is also nothing wrong with not getting a bikini wax. Your vagina, your rules.

   What exactly does it feel like? To answer the most obvious question - yes, it does hurt. Someone (albeit a qualified beautician) is ripping hundreds of hairs out of one of the most sensitive areas of your body. However, the pain is gone in an instant - and if you're extra sensitive, the beautician can apply some soothing cream upon request. 

   The pain is equivalent to someone slapping your skin quite hard - there's an ever so slight burning sensation caused by the hairs being ripped out by their roots (after a brief Google, I couldn't find any info on the science behind the pain, so I won't try to sound clever). It tends to be more painful towards the inner thigh; however, if you have coarse hair, the top of the bikini area can also feel sore when waxed.

   Once the beautician has finished waxing a section, they will usually tweeze any strays. This can be a little painful, as the area has only just been waxed - but it's over quickly (the entire treatment lasts 15-30 minutes).

   How long does it last? Waxing in the bikini area lasts around 4-6 weeks. You'll probably be 100% hair free (providing you haven't shaved in the month beforehand) for around a fortnight before the hairs regenerate and slowly start to grow back through the skin. If you have shaved prior to waxing, the shaved hair will grow back quicker.

   Once you've had at least two waxes, your hair will grow back thinner, making the area easier to manage.

   How long you should let hair grow before waxing? Around an eighth to a quarter of an inch is fine. Any shorter and the wax won't grip the hairs. Any longer and the hair will get clumped and result in a very painful experience.

   What if I don't want to go the whole hog? There are usually four different types of bikini wax offered at the average salon: a 'Bikini Line', which removes hair from the area which surrounds your panty-line; an 'Extended Bikini Wax' which goes slightly further in; a 'Brazilian' which removes hair from your front and behind, leaving a strip of hair (a 'landing-strip') in the bikini area; and a 'Hollywood', which leaves you completely bare. I would recommend going for the Bikini Line or Extended Bikini if you've never waxed before, then work up from there.

   How do I find the right beautician for me? I advise finding the right beautician through word of mouth. Just because someone's licensed, doesn't mean they're skilled. Also, different beauticians have different ways of handling their clients: some are chatty to take your mind off the pain, some just get on with it, and some are very sensitive to your requirements to make sure that you're not too uncomfortable.

   How much does it cost? Like a haircut, the cost of a bikini wax can depend on a number of factors. The price goes up if you have more hair to work with, and if you live in an expensive area. Cost can also vary depending on which type of treatment you choose, and also on the type of wax (some salons offer a more soothing wax for sensitive skin as an alternative option).

   How awkward is it? It depends on how you see it. Basically, you will be lying on a raised bed wearing a paper thong with someone in very close proximity to your bikini area. If that's too weird for you, I'd avoid the process. 

   To compare, it's a bit like a trip to the gynecologist, but without the invasiveness. Your beautician will have seen everything a hundred times over, so there really is no need to feel embarrassed. 


   If you're based in or near London, here are a few of my recommended spots for professional bikini waxing:

Ministry of Waxing, 56 Neal St, WC2H 9PA - Brazilian £29, Hollywood £50
Aveda Institute, 174 High Holborn, WC1V 7AA - Brazilian/Hollywood from £37
Strip, 102 Fulham Road, SW3 6HS - Brazilian £49, Hollywood £52
Cowshed, Foubert's Place, W1F 7QG - Brazilian/Hollywood £50


Friday, 26 June 2015

Art Style Love Goes to Greece

   At the beginning of this month, I travelled to the sun-soaked island of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands and one which I have visited previously on holiday. This time, I stayed in Hersonissos, a marina town just 45 minutes away from Malia (yes, the teenager-infested party destination as seen in The Inbetweeners Movie), at the ironically-named Hersonissos Palace.

   Given the state of the Greek economy, I didn't have high expectations for the hotel; however, this was the weekend of my sister's hen-do, and I very much doubted that our enthusiastic party of seven would be spending much time in our rooms (cue hastened montage of alcohol-fuelled antics involving plastic willies and neon ginger wigs). As we arrived through the double-door entrance, having ascended two flights of marble stairs (good luck staying here if you're in a wheelchair), we were greeted by a very large and airy reception area, complete with neo-Baroque furniture and nautical-style lighting which wouldn't look out of place in the private office of someone well-to-do and slightly eccentric.

   Greeted by a chirpy receptionist, we were handed the customary 'all inclusive' wristbands - the ones that dig into your skin and completely grate on you by the end of your stay - and began a leisurely stroll to our rooms, buoyant from the aesthetic of the welcoming area, and hopeful that our rooms would be just as pleasant.

   Well. It's safe to say that the aforementioned reception was obviously a guise to keep potential guests optimistic. The only word I could use to describe my room is 'dingy'. Verging on the unclean, I took it upon myself to wear shoes at all times, and not even think about touching the shower curtain *shudders*. This was apparently five star accommodation, and although we all know that five stars in Europe sits around the three star mark in the UK, I wasn't expecting it to be THIS bad.

   On the other hand, as I said, we didn't plan to spend much time in the rooms. Everything else about the hotel was adequate: food - delicious; swimming pool - clean; alcohol - strong; staff - good sense of humour. In terms of location, we were a minute's walk away from the beach, and the long strip of bars complete with desperately friendly club-promoters and 17-year-old Dutch holidaymakers. Most nights, we ended up in a token Irish bar called Shenanigans, convincing the bar staff to let us dance on the bar *cringe* and give us free shots.

   However, my favourite night was spent at the Palm Beach Club: a mind-blowing open-air venue with an amazing DJ and stunning VIP area. We drank Moet Ice Imperial, which was perhaps the most delicious champagne I've ever tasted; it was cool and creamy, and definitely worth the €150 we all chipped in for. That night happened to be our last night; we rolled in at 7am, and by that time I had had too much fun to care about the dusty hotel room floor and unsavoury shower curtain, proving that it doesn't matter where you are, but who you're with.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

#FreestyleFood - Ham & Egg Bread Bowl

  When it comes to food, it has always been a hobby of mine to reinvent the old favourites; full English breakfast pies, maple bacon muffins and strawberry-avocado salads are just a few of my most-favoured experimental concoctions. When I heard that Lurpak were challenging the public to 'Go Freestyle' with their food for Freestyle Food Month, I thought that it'd be a great opportunity for me to try out my newest conquest, the Ham & Egg Bread Bowl.

   This was a recipe I'd seen floating about (possibly on Pinterest), but I was yet to put it into practice. It seemed pretty bish-bash-bosh, so without reading a recipe, I began gathering ingredients.

   The first attempt burned (obviously). But the second attempt turned out to be rather edible. In fact, I would happily make this again, perhaps with a bit of grated cheese just to make it extra naughty.

You will need:

1 medium-sized bap
1 slice of ham
1 free-range egg
Fresh corriander
Lurpak Spreadable butter
Round cookie cutter
Fan oven

Step 1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Slice the top off the bap and use the cookie cutter to create a round hole in the bottom half. Line the hole with butter.

Step 2. Place a slice of ham inside the hole in the bap, creating a bowl. Crack the egg into the ham-bowl. Place into oven for 30 minutes.

Step 3. Once the egg has finished baking, take out of the oven and sprinkle on some fresh, sliced corriander.

Step 4. Place the top of the bap over the egg to create a lid. Enjoy!


Monday, 22 June 2015

Weekday Wishlist 22/06/15

1. Shoes by Zara - £69.99
2. Jeans by Frame Denim - £215
3. Jumper by Rad - £29.90
4. Ring by Bill Skinner - £35
5. Shirt Dress by MiH Jeans - £155
6. Coat by Topshop - £79.99
7. Watch by Larsson & Jennings - £215
8. T-shirt by H&M - £7.99
9. Bag by 3.1 Phillip Lim - £855
10. Le Jasmin by Miller Harris - £155


Sunday, 21 June 2015

What to do after you graduate

   I've just graduated from uni and, although I've always known what I wanted to do, I found that a few of my friends were unsure where to take their degree once they'd left - especially in the months leading up to graduation.

   It's a confusing time for a lot of post-grads, but there are so many roads you can take - so do something amazing! I went into full-time work, but you could go travelling, start a business, go into further education, and so much more. Here are a few ideas to help you out.

Travel companies mentioned: 


Saturday, 20 June 2015

You're Everywhere to Me

SUNGLASSES - ZEROUV* / CARDIGAN - VERO MODA (similar here) / TOP - H&M (similar here) / JEANS - PULL & BEAR / WATCH - CASIO (similar here) / SHOES - DOROTHY PERKINS

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Elle & the Pocket Belles

Elle & the Pocket Belles by Jennifer Meredith

   Upon hearing the name, Elle & the Pocket Belles, I became slightly befuddled. Obviously, one of the members must be called Elle; but I wasn't completely sure what the phrase 'pocket belles' referred to. It was only when I came across their website that I understood: Elle is the statuesque red-head in the middle of the photograph above, whilst the pocket belles are her slightly more petite (yet just as talented) comrades. Singing classic jazz and swing numbers from the 30s to the 50s, these ladies steal the show with their talent, and really get the crowd dancing.

   Complete with slick victory rolls, ditsy-floral dresses and a bold red lip, Elle & the Pocket Belles perform retro entertainment to a T. Think Christina Aguilera circa Candyman times five, but with all the sincerity and humble nature of an undiscovered, homegrown girl group.

   If you're heading to Latitude this year, Elle & the Pocket Belles will be returning to the stage to perform their best hits alongside many other talented musicians, including those of which who have been announced today: Amy Dickson, Alabama 3, Gavin Osborn, and Sigur Ros' Georg Holm.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Class of 2015

   I used to look at one folder on my laptop entitled 'University' with a sense of dread, anticipating the amount of work that lay ahead that night as soon as I double-clicked it. I'm pretty organised, so all of my modules had their own folders. In my first year, there was Contemporary Poetry, Exploring Drama and Language Analysis; my second year was much of the same, but with more 'isms' and theoretical whatnots. With my third year came Dissertation, a folder which I visited more times than any other location on my desktop; I spent day and night working and reworking each paragraph of my dissertation, constantly questioning my sanity and wondering whether I should just scrap it all and start again, then realising that I only had a week left. However, the hard work paid off (I found out today that I got a 2:1 overall!), and these modules have become distant memory.

   Now, I come across my 'University' folder every once in a while with a sense of nostalgia tinged with melancholy: never again will I experience the feeling of completing an essay and submitting it, then taking the whole night off to binge on Netflix before the next assignment cropped up; never again will I spend hours researching and, minutes away from giving up, discover a quote from an academic that completely clicks (so much so that I wish I'd thought of it myself); and never again will I walk through the quiet corridors of my university in the morning before the rabble arrive, smelling the aroma of freshly made vended coffee as I walk past the cafĂ© to the lecture theatre, notebook in hand, eager to be inspired.

   This got me thinking of a similar 'end of an era' feeling I experienced at the conclusion of my GCSEs. We were all sat on the floor in the school hall, uniforms slapdash and half drenched in sweat from the midst of the summer heat, listening to our head teacher drone on about this faraway thing called 'the future'. Of course, most of us didn't really care for this sense of ceremony and conformity - we were only 16, and more concerned with how we looked in our yearbook photos - but then a video popped up on the projector. Performed by one of my favourite directors in the 90s, with lyrics taken from an essay by Chicago Tribune columnist, Mary Schmich, this video is endlessly relevant - and my teenage self had no idea that it would become so pertinent throughout the years to come.

   I have so much more to say about graduating university, the many winding paths that lay ahead, and the paths that are soon to become heartachingly nostalgic memories that will live on forever in our minds, but I think Baz Luhrmann says all that needs to be said in his wisdom-packed version of 'Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen':

   To those who will graduate in one, two or three years time, here are a few little pointers that you may or may not be worrying about right now:

- It's okay if you're always under the word limit. A lot of people used to say to me that they'd always finish over the word limit and actually have to cut down their essays, then I'd feel stupid because somehow I couldn't conjure up the same quantity of text to convey my point, or I'd panic that I'd missed out something huge and grossly important. If you feel as if you've made your point in 1,000 words, that's infinitely better than 10,000 words of bullshit.

- It's okay to not know what you're going to do when you graduate. The average student probably gets asked a thousand times over the course of their uni life, 'what are you going to do with your degree?' - and it's okay to answer, 'I don't know'. It's unlikely that you're going to have enough life experience to know where you see yourself in five years time - and even if you give those enquiring aunts/uncles/family-friends/grandparents an answer, it may have completely changed come graduation. It's impossible to predict the future, so don't try to (but always aim to be the best possible 'you'!).

- It's okay if you don't 'fit in'. This isn't high school - you're all here because you want to be here. There will be bitches, and this doesn't change when you enter a career, but 99.9% of people are eager to make friends. It's an ongoing contradiction to 'be yourself' as well as 'find yourself', but it's a contradiction that will only become coherent when you stop modelling yourself on the negative opinions of other people. In the words of  Baz/Mary, 'remember the compliments you receive; forget the insults'.

- It's okay if you stayed up really late partying writing an essay and nod off in your morning lecture. Just make sure you sit at the back, and go through the Powerpoint slides during lunch to catch up. However, I obviously don't condone this behavior. Honest.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Weekend Wishlist: 14/06/15

1. Eau Tendre by Chanel at Debenhams - £79
2. Heels by Missguided - £25
3. Backpack by Alfie Douglas - £240
4. Sleeveless Jacket by New Look - £22.99
5. Sunglasses by Karen Walker - £165
6. Journal by Kate Spade - £22
7. Jumper by Topshop - £38
8. Trousers by Zara - £25.99
9. Scented Candle by Tom Dixon - £55


Friday, 12 June 2015

Begging for Thread


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Review: Nailbox

   Come summer, I love getting my nail game on. A few weeks ago, I was thinking of getting really quirky acrylic nails done at my salon, but at the last minute I decided that I'd get bored with them too quickly. Being able to change my nail colour daily, or every other day, is an extension of my self-expression - when my nails match my outfit or accessories, I feel so on point that almost nothing could bring me down.

   This is one of the reasons I'm completely and truly obsessed with the concept of Nailbox*. A play on the word 'mailbox', this subscription box gives you a handful of nail accessories each month up to the value of £50 - for just £15 (including delivery!). I'm gobsmacked that this is actually a real thing. I've tried out many a subscription box, and most only offer four sample-sized products and one full-sized - Nailbox give you FIVE full-sized products.

   Like, seriously, how have I not come across this sooner?

   I received my box a couple of days ago, and was totally impressed by the big-name brands that lay before me: OPI, Essie, Orly and Rimmel. Literally all the nail polish heavyweights that I love to experiment with. Earlier boxes have included China Glaze, Nails Inc and Revlon.

   Below, I've listed a breakdown of the prices, just so you can see how great the value of this box is:

Nicole by OPI - Alex By The Books (Modern Family Collection) - £9.95
Essie - Status Symbol - £7.99
Rimmel London 60 Seconds - Lucky Lilac - £2.99
Orly Colour Blast - Fiery Orange Chunky Glitter - £9.50
Elegant Touch Cuticle Pusher & Nail Cleaner - £9.50

   Just two of the higher end nail polishes would have cost you the price of the box if you were buying them online or at Boots - so if, like me, you're a nail polish fiend and purchase several a month, this would save you soooooo much money. Plus, who doesn't love a monthly box of surprise goodies?!

* Item gifted for review

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Charming Ceramics: Grace Lee

From top to bottom:

Antlered Eye Popping Shaker, £42

   It's without a doubt the smaller details that bring personality to a room; you could paint your entire house in metallic, hot pink polka dot paint, but it still wouldn't say as much as your book collection on your shelf in the living room, your particular choice of candle scent, or your quirky kitchen utensils.

   Grace Lee, a Korean fine artist based in Toronto, creates whimsical ceramic figures with functional attributes and exactly the kind of detail that makes a house a home. These include ring holders, espresso cups and seasoning shakers, created by hand using ceramics and 22ct gold leaf.

   I really feel as if the gold leaf detail makes these curios truly beautiful; the metallic material catches the light, bringing each figurine to life and adding a little sparkle to your home. 

   I also feel that the functional qualities allow the purchase to be justifiable, so in case your friends are wondering why you've bought a £42 antlered skull, you can say it's also a fancy pepper shaker.


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Frugal Footwear: Dorothy Perkins

   I've been on a search for a good pair of flats for a while now; I've looked online, and in all my high street favourites, but I hadn't experienced that 'I need to have it' vibe when trying on anything work/lunch date/shopping-with-friends appropriate.

   It wasn't until late yesterday afternoon when I was passing time waiting for a hair appointment, that I wandered aimlessly into Dorothy Perkins and saw at least ten pairs of shoes that gave me that very vibe I'd been waiting for. Better yet, the store was offering a discount of up to 30% on certain pairs. 

   These three were the only ones in my size (hands up who has one of the most common shoe sizes in the UK), but I can see myself stopping by the website soon to check what's in stock.

   Before I went into DPs, I had popped into Debenhams to mooch around the Topshop concession. After finding nothing of interest, I walked past the shoe section and saw these beauties, branded Miss KG and priced at £19, marked down from £30. I thought to myself, 'if I don't find anything else, I'll come back and buy these'. Lo and behold, I found the exact same pair in DPs at £10.50, marked down from £15.


   I'm in love with pointed flats. They seem to make my legs look longer and less stumpy than shoes with rounded toes. This pretty pair were the only ones left in my size, and were marked down to a so-good-I-still-can't-believe-it £6.30, as DPs were having an extra discount on sale items.

   A simple pair of black flats can save you at the most crucial of sartorial moments.

  This pair was the most expensive of my little shoe haul, at £18 (though, again, they were marked down as part of the discount day to £16.20), but I can see myself getting a huge amount of wear out of these.

   The little bows at the back are my favourite touch - just the right amount of girlyness.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Weekday Wishlist 02/06/15

1. Ripped Jeans by Zara - £29.99
2. Duster Jacket by New Look - £19.99
3. Star Print Top by Mango - £29.99
4. Star Print Shorts by Mango - £29.99
5. Dress by Topshop Boutique - £75
6. Ring by ASOS - £8
7. Crystal Choker by Only Child at ASOS - £40
8. Sunglasses by Karen Walker at Avenue 32 - £180
9. Shoes by Jerome C. Rousseau at Avenue 32 - £325
10. Striped Shorts by River Island - £30
11. Leather Jacket by The Kooples - £367.50
12. Leather Rucksack by Baia - £170
13. Top by Miss Selfridge - £14
14. Shoes by Vivienne Westwood at Coggles - £237
15. Earrings by Aamaya by Priyanka at Very Exclusive - £180

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