Tagged: Bristol

IPL hair removal: first impressions

Hair removal is the bane of my life. I appreciate that out of many things that suck around the world, hair removal is pretty trivial. That aside, it is a problem that needs regular attention if I am to conform to societies expectations regarding the female appearance.

I have wanted to try permanent hair removal for years, but the price and fear of pain have put me off. The other week though, iCandy in Bristol ran an offer on Groupon I couldn’t resist trying. The offer was to have a course of IPL sessions on the extended bikini line, probably the most painful and awkward place for hair removal procedures on the body. The thought of not having to do any hair removal on this area was too hard to resist, and so I took up the offer.

IPL: A quick overview

Incase you don’t know what IPL is, here is a quick run down: IPL (short for Intense Pulsed Light). It is not the same as laser hair removal, but it works in a similar way using light to cause the hair follicle to cease working. Laser hair removal is permanent where as IPL lasts for several years once a ful course of treatments has been carried out.

IPL is only suitable for people with medium – light skin tones and darker hair – which makes it perfect for me. Its the only time I think my pale skin and dark hair has ever done me a favour.

After having a patch test done on my hand, I was ready to have my first proper treatment:

My first session

I had my first IPL session yesterday. It was quite an odd experience. I want to document the process so that if any of you are thinking about having it done, you know what to expect.

First of all, you have to shave the area you are having treated 24 hours before the procedure, if you do it on the day of the treatment I was told that your skin is too sensitive and they wont carry out the treatment.

You have to wear a pair of disposable pants which are very unattractive, I guess you could skip the pants and go au naturel, but seriously, those positions you have to get into are not something most will want to do fully exposed in front of a stranger! These pants are worn to stop the gel that’s spread over the treatment area from messing up normal pants. The gel helps the light to penetrate the hair follicle.

The treatment itself takes only about ten minutes – it is amazingly quick. I was really scared about it hurting (as waxing is so awfully painful along the bikini line), but IPL is much more comfortable. Other people have described the sensation like an elastic band hitting the skin, but I didn’t feel that much discomfort. I found the sensation to be more like a very mild stinging nettle that disappeared almost immediately. I was given aloe vera gel to soothe the skin following the session. Since having the treatment I’ve not had any redness or irritation.

The machine that delivers the pulses of light is so powerful that you have to wear protective goggles while it is working. It really is very bright.

I have five further sessions to go, so I’ll be finished in five months time. Hopefully then, I will not have to worry about my bikini line for years to come! I will continue to update on my progress to let you know how I get on.

I paid £79 for six sessions on Groupon for six treatments. On the iCandy website it says that one treatment for the extended bikini line is £120 – so the Groupon deal was a serious saving.

Have you tried IPL or laser hair removal? How did it work for you?

Armadillo, Armadillo, Armadillo!

Photo of a gold coloured necklace with an armadillo

How cute is this armadillo necklace from Elsie Belle?!

Elsie Belle have little stalls at St Nicholas Market and the Harbourside Market, which is where I first discovered their cute, vintage inspired jewellery.

Photos of jewellery on a market stall

I fell in love with this unusual necklace before Christmas, but decided that I couldn’t justify getting it for myself. I thought about it on and off for over a month, and still wanted it. So as soon as I saw their stand at St Nicks last week, I made a bee-line for it and hunted out my favourite! It was £13 on the stand, but it seems they are a pound cheaper online (though bear in mind P&P is £3.50).

Photo of an armadillo necklace

Its such a sweet little necklace, I don’t regret buying it at all. It adds a bit of fun to everyday outfits without being too over-the-top. Adorable.

Have you bought anything from Elsie Belle?

Indie Shop Love: Flo Jo Boutique

Photos of Flo Jo Boutique

Flo Jo Boutique

Address: 36B Gloucester Road Road, Bristol, BS7 8AR
Website: Flo-Jo Boutique.co.uk
Twitter: @Flojoboutique
Facebook: Flo Jo Boutique

Flo Jo Boutique is a gorgeous haberdashery shop on Gloucester Road that also runs sewing workshops. Its packed with sewing and crafting goodies, think pom pom trim, printed bias binding, Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics and velvet ribbons. Half of the boutique is dedicated to lovely haberdashery, and the other half is filled with workshop space for the sewing classes they run (check out the sewing classes here).

Flo Jo also has some really cute knicker making kits – I really want to have a go doing this, as they look so pretty. They run knicker making parties which look like such a great idea for something a bit different to do with a bunch of friends.

I really love how the boutique carries sewing accessories that all co-ordinate: the fabric and trimmings all go together really easily.

Photos of ribbons and thread

Photos of fabric

Photo of fabric and cute gifts

Photo of a knicker making kit

Have you visited Flo Jo? Are you going to do any of their sewing classes?

Indie Shop Love: 7th Sea Bristol

Photo collage of views of 7th Sea

This is the second in my series of posts about wonderful independent shops, you can read the first about Portabella here.

7th Sea

Address: 198 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5QZ
Website: www.7thsea.co.uk
Twitter: @7th_Sea_Bristol
Facebook: 7th Sea

Photo collage of Christmas decorations at 7th Sea

7th Sea is a little treasure-trove of hand-made goodies made in Bristol by local designers and crafty types. At the moment it is brimming with Christmas decorations and gifts. The shop is just a couple of doors up from Portabella and Cox and Baloney on Cheltenham Road – so its really worth making a visit to this corner of Bristol to take all three shops in.

Photo collage of things for sale in 7th Sea

7th Sea sell lots of different hand-made items, including jewellery, cute softies, clothes and art work. Most of the the things they sell would make perfect gifts. Some of the soft toys they have are just BEYOND CUTE – like the owls and the little monsters. Who wouldn’t want to have one of these little chaps in their lives?!

Photo collage of items for sale at 7th Sea

They also sell some very sweet hand-made clothes. I especially love the skirts and shirt collars they have in pretty retro fabrics. They have a range of t-shirts that are hand-printed too. I’ve picked up a lovely grey t-shirt with an amazing print on it:

Photo of a grey tshirt with a drawing of a yeti and a bigfoot o  it
This t-shirt is hand printed by Katy Christianson Illustration. Isn’t it awesome?!

Have you been to 7th Sea? What did you buy?

South West Bloggers Xmas Party

Photo of a cluster of lampshades
Yesterday it was the South West Bloggers Christmas meetup at The Birdcage in Bristol, and I was lucky enough to get a ticket before they all sold out, so I was there too!

I have to say, I wasn’t in a very sociable mood and I didn’t really speak with many people apart from the wonderful Hayles and SJP who I already know… its not that people were not friendly, I just wasn’t in the right sort of mindset I guess. Anyway, I did enjoy it, especially seeing such a great turn out of bloggers for an event in Bristol!

Photo collage of bloggers at SWBXmas
Lots of lovely bloggers in the flesh: so strange seeing people in real-life when you follow their blogs online.

Photo of South West Bloggers meetup at The Birdcage
Plenty of tea and chit chat.

Photo of pots of tea
Yep. More tea for thirsty bloggers.

Photo of Hayles marking quiz papers
Hayley getting into some serious quiz marking wearing some serious heels.

Photo of me at SWBXmas
What I’m wearing: Stripy skater dress from Primark, Cardigan from H&M, Tights from Next, Boots from a vintage shop and Scissors necklace from Monki.

Photo of SWBXmas gifts
We all got Christmas presents 🙂 I have finally got some Macadamia hair mask to try (I’ve only wanted to try this for six months or so…).

Like what you see here? You can see some much better posts and photos of this event over on the South West Bloggers Facebook page.

Big, big, big thanks to Hayles, BristolFashionista and BeingLittle for organising everything – what a great job!

The Twin Peaks Look in 2012

I’m a huge Twin Peaks fan. I’m an addict: I watch both seasons at least twice a year. If you’ve not seen it, I can’t recommend it enough and its on Netflix, so there really is no excuse not to check out this David Lynch masterpiece!

For those of you who are unfortunate enough not to know about Twin Peaks, its a TV show from the late 1980’s that follows the investigation into the murder of a teenager called Laura Palmer. Its full of dark humour, surprising twists and scary moments.

One of the things I have come to love about Twin Peaks are the ’80’s costumes. The female leading characters really rock knitwear: think fitted jumpers nipped in at the waist, the chunky sweaters and manically-patterned cardigans, worn with knee length skirts, brogues and low heels.

Audrey Horne

Collage of pictures of Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks
Audrey Horne is one of the most glamorous characters in Twin Peaks. She really rocks the fitted jumper and skirt combo, in fact she makes it an art form! She’s always perfectly made up with cherry lips and porcelain skin, like a 1950’s movie star.

Donna Hayward

Collage of pictures of Donna Hayward from Twin Peaks
Donna Hayward isn’t as glamorous as Audrey, but she certainly has an extensive sweater collection! Donna has less fitted clothes, opting for looser and longer jumpers, and fitted shirts. She wears darker, plummy lipstick and shadow to frame her eyes.

Getting Audrey & Donna’s look for 2012

I’ve been looking for some up-to-date versions of the clothes the Twin Peaks ladies wear, and I have struck gold with one of my all-time favourite brands this season – Louche. Louche are available from several smaller boutiques in Bristol, including the wonderful Fox and Feather on Gloucester Road, who are currently stocking these awesome Twin Peaks-like clothes:

Gianna Cardigan by Louche

Photo of a red and black cardigan
Available from Fox and Feather £39
I *adore* this cardigan so much, I’m going to struggle not to rush up the road and buy this – its so perfectly Twin Peaks! Even the pattern plays homage to the Red Room.

Eden Skirt by Louche

Photo of a black and white skirt
Available from Fox and Feather £39

Juno Top by Goldie Boutique

Photo of a white blouse
Available from Fox and Feather £35 (ON SALE NOW!)
I can just see Audrey wearing this, while she wafts around the Great Northern Hotel causing trouble.

Sheri Skirt by Louche

Photo of a skirt with red hearts on it
Available from Fox and Feather £39

Luca Penguin Cardigan by Louche

Photo of a cardigan with penguins on it
Available from Fox and Feather £48
This is a Donna cardigan with a modern twist – I can’t see Donna wearing a cardi with penguins on it, but the shape is perfect.

So what do you think of this modern take on the Twin Peaks look? Are there any TV shows you’d like to emulate with contemporary fashion?

Indie shop love: Portabella Bristol

Photo of Portabella Bristol

I feel really lucky to live where I do. Bristol is such a vibrant city, there is so much to see and do. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the UK I’d rather live. I’m fortunate to live right next to one of the most thriving independent streets in the UK: Gloucester Road, which has a fantastic selection of interesting shops and boutiques.

I personally believe that its important to support local shops and independent retailers. They give us variety and a sense of community we cant get from chain stores. They also provide employment, often on more flexible and understanding terms than large companies can. Many independent shops support young designers and producers, and help them on their way. Without this step up, many interesting designers would probably struggle to get exposure or the patronage they need to actually start a career.

With this in mind I want to give a bit of blog love to some of my favourite indie shops and boutiques. Most of these have online shops too, so even if you don’t live in Bristol, you can still enjoy them! I’d love it if you could share the love for your local independent shops too, why not join me and share your favourites with the world?

First up is a special favourite of mine, Portabella on Cheltenham Road.


Address: 186 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5RB
Website: N/A
Twitter: @PortabellaShop
Facebook: Portabella
Collage of images of the interior of Portabella

Portabella is a gorgeous little boutique, just a minute’s walk from the end of Gloucester Road. It has a great selection of womenswear, accessories and jewellery. What makes the shop special for me is a combination of the stock they choose and their fantastic service. I have bought two of my favourite ever dresses from Portabella, and I get asked where I got them from almost every time I wear them.

The clothes they stock are beautiful and follow trends but not laboriously so. Their style is classic and quirky combined. They manage to blend a variety of looks together, and they always have strong colour themes which excites me when I shop in there. They only stock a small number of each item, and once its gone, its gone – so its worth checking in there regularly as stock changes all the time.

They have excellent service too. Alex is lovely and runs their Twitter account and is really helpful without being pushy or ‘salesy’ if you know what I mean! I spotted a fox jumper on their Facebook page today, Tweeted them, and went in and picked it up this evening after work. I got to the shop late but they stayed open for me and let me have a look around: now that is what I call good service!

Have a look at what I picked up on my latest visit to Portabella (I’m still coveting a dress with foxes on…Santa?? Haha):

A rather foxy jumper by Sugarhill Boutique

Collage of pictures of a jumper with a fox on it
Such a cute jumper! Its a lovely fine knit that’s really soft and light. I’m really into my novelty knitwear so this was a great addition to my growing collection. £45

Burgundy tunic for winter by Influence

Collage of pictures of a burgundy tunic
A simple burgundy/oxblood/claret/whatever coloured tunic I’ll be layering this winter. Its very soft and finely knitted. They are in bright blue and black versions too. £12

Grungy dress by Influence

Collage of pictures of a jersey dress
A grungy dress that sits just below the knee. I liked the simplicity of the shape of this dress and the textured pattern with the splashes of turquoise. £26

Please share your favourite indie shops and boutiques with me!

Give them some love in the lead up to Christmas!

Pampering at Neal’s Yard

The lovely ladies at Neal’s Yard Remedies invited me to attend a special bloggers night at their Bristol branch on Whiteladies Road last week. The theme of the evening was to promote their range of bee-friendly products and their mother and baby ranges.

Neal's Yard blue glass bottleNeal’s Yard has always been a special shop to me. It’s products all smell divine and come packaged beautifully in lovely blue glass bottles and jars. I always used to buy their massage oils, however since moving away from Clifton/Redland I have stopped shopping there as I’m no longer so close to Whiteladies Road. I was really pleased to go back and see all the new products they now have, especially their natural cosmetics range.

Bee Lovely

The ladies from Neal’s Yard explained the history and background philosophy of the company and it’s products, which put their new range of ‘Bee Lovely’ products into context. They explained how many of their customers find them during pregnancy when they become aware of how the products we use can contain many artificial chemicals that our bodies absorb, and therefore during pregnancy, also get absorbed by the baby. Mothers-to-be want to use products that are not going to contain anything potentially harmful to their baby, and so seek alternatives to the products they use on their skin and body. Following pregnancy many mothers then choose to continue avoiding unnecessary chemicals. Therefore, the new Bee Lovely range is designed to be used for the whole family, safely and at the same time be fun and effective.

This has made me question my choices of skincare and haircare products, as I do often doubt the effectiveness of natural ones and often just buy whatever takes my fancy, is new or is on offer in Boots. Should I be thinking about these things more and questioning whether or not man-made chemicals are as good or better than nature in reality? I need to do some more research about this, try some products, compare them and get back to you on that.

Display stand with Neal's Yard Bee Lovely products on it
Neal’s Yard ‘Bee Lovely’ range: 5% of each sale goes to charities that support bees or bee keeping. Neal’s Yard are also running a petition, that aims to stop strong neonic pesticides from being used on crops that kill bees.

Here is what Neal’s Yard have to say about the petition:

DDT is a chemical pesticide that was used widely across Britain, Europe and the US – until it was shown to have chronic effects on the nervous system, liver, kidneys and immune system. It was banned in Britain in 1984.

Neonicotinoids are 7,000 times more toxic than DDT

Neonicotinoid pesticides have been linked to the dramatic loss of honeybees around the world. British beekeepers have lost up to 80% of their hives in recent years, more than any other country in Europe.

Hand cream bottle label

I received a lovely goody bag that contained their Bee Lovely hand wash (above), a shampoo for babies (given to my boss who has a newly born son), and samples of some of their most popular products.

I was also very taken with their range of natural cosmetics that were completely new to me. Their natural-coloured lip glosses particularly appealed, as they have such a good selection of wearable colours:

Photo of a line of lip glosses

I bought the shade ‘Damson’ and have been enjoying wearing it. It’s not a sticky gloss, it has more of an oily consistency. It reminds me a lot of Elemis’ lip balm in texture and smell. It doesn’t have great staying power, however it does make my lips feel conditioned so I’m quite pleased with it. Not sure if its worth £9.50, I will have to see how much use I get from it!

OMG. Reflexology.

Neal’s Yard were also giving taster massage and reflexology sessions, and I have to say, in all honesty, the reflexology session has changed my life! The relief was immense, after just 15 minutes I felt as relaxed as after a half hour massage. I have booked myself in for a whole hour long session. I cannot wait.

Brunch Cookery School at The Devilled Egg

This is a very delayed post, in fact its a grande total of nearly five months late *blush*. It has been languishing in my drafts folder for far too long and I think its about time it got released into the world!

A few of months ago I was lucky enough to be asked to go to the Devilled Egg cookery school in Clifton Village, Bristol, with the wonderful Hayles for a special brunch cookery lesson courtesy of LivingSocial.

It was a brilliant morning – we were shown how to make bread rolls, soda bread, chorizo scotch eggs, choux pastry and real hollandaise sauce!

Woman kneading bread dough
Interesting fact: bread dough should be quite wet, most people make the mistake of adding too much flour during the kneading process which makes the end result dry and disappointing.

Assembling scotch eggs using chorizo
Assembling scotch eggs: the eggs should be soft boiled, then have their shells very carefully removed. The eggs can then be wrapped in sausage meat or in this case, chorizo.

Scotch egg with runny yolk and chorizo sausage meat
Runny yolk: soft boiling the eggs first, and then quickly deep frying the assembled scotch eggs means that the yolks remain wonderfully runny!

Introducing ‘Hi Street’

Hi Street logo

Those of you that know me personally will already know that I have been working with the team behind the Hi Street app since autumn last year. For those of you that don’t know me, you probably wont have heard of the app, so I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you all what a great app Hi Street is, and how we aim to support independent retailers.

So, where to start?! Hi Street is a new iPhone app that aims to connect people to the independent shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs around them. Shop keepers and venue owners are able to post special messages to potential customers to help them get their message out, and share any special deals or new products they have.

I don’t know about you, but I find chain stores and supermarkets to be very boring places indeed. For me, I would much rather shop locally at independents, and keep money in the local economy than give it to a chain that will take the money out of the local area. Don’t get me wrong, I do use chain stores and supermarkets – but they don’t excite me in the way smaller shops do.

The next few weeks are going to be very busy as we prepare to launch the new histreet.co.uk website and then launch the app in Bristol! I’m really looking forward to working on the Hi Street blog and sharing all the brilliant independents that we are lucky to have in Bristol. Please follow @hi_street and join in the tweeting about what great independents you like in Bristol (or further afield!) and if you have an iPhone, keep an eye out for our app as you’ll be able to find some real gems with it!