Saturday, 31 August 2013

10 things I'm looking forward to (with better eyesight) after my laser eye surgery...

If you've read some of my previous posts, you'll know that I'm getting my eyes lasered at Freedom Vision on 23rd September.  I'm getting really excited about the surgery (as well as a tiny bit nervous, which I think is normal) now, there's just over 3 weeks to go!  I kind of wish it was sooner now though as I'm finding my glasses and lenses really annoying.

While I was struggling with my contact lenses last weekend, it got me thinking about what I'm looking forward to once I've had my vision corrected, here's my top 10:
  • Not having to remember to take lenses or glasses when I go on holiday or for a weekend away.
  • Being able to go running or to the gym and feel safe because I can see.
  • Not having to mess with contact lenses for nights out.
  • Being able to drive without glasses or lenses.
  • Being able to see at work - I do a lot of computer work, photography and networking and sometimes having poor eyesight is a real hinderance to this.
  • Not having to worry about it raining when I'm wearing my specs.
  • Feeling comfortable rather than glasses falling down or lenses stinging all the time.
  • No more squinting to see things which, according to my Mam, is a surefire way to develop crows feet and wrinkles.
  • Saving money on buying glasses and contact lenses for the next 20 years or so - I've worked out that even taking into the account the cost of surgery, the cost of glasses and lenses over the next 20 years will be a lot more.
  • Being able to do my hair, make up and trying on outfits more easily.  It's so annoying when you think you've done your hair properly, then you put your glasses on and it looks horrific!
Some of those sound like really small things but they're important to me and overall will really make an improvement to my day to day life - without being dramatic I'll now be able to see every major milestone in the future clearly and easily.  My eyes aren't that bad in the grand scheme of things (I'm shortsighted, -2.75 in one eye and -2 in the other) but thinking about how inconvenient I find my eyesight makes me wonder how much of a difference this type of surgery would make to someone with really bad eyesight.  I can't wait to finally be able to ditch my glasses and lenses for good!

You can find all of my posts about my laser eye surgery experience here.  If you have any questions just drop me an email ( or a tweet to @LucyBATB - alternatively give Freedom Vision a call.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Essie Ballet Slippers Nail Polish

I haven't got much to say about this except it was a bit whiter than I thought, I expected it to be a little bit pinker.  I'm not hugely keen on the colour overall but I think it would be a good neutral base for nail art or maybe good for bridal nails?

I've got For the Twill of It from Essie's autumn collection coming in the post soon so I'll be reviewing that shortly.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A prime example: Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF30 (you need this in your life!)

I love Dermalogica products - their pre-cleanse and daily microfoliant are two of my favourite skincare products ever - so when I received some information about their skinperfect primer I really wanted to try it out.  I tend to use primers more when I'm going out or I know I'm going to have a long day to make sure my make up lasts.

The packaging is straightforward, very classy and typically Dermalogica.  You get 22ml in a tube and it comes out of a nozzle so it's easy/hygenic to dispense and use.   The first thing that surprised me is that this product isn't clear (or near enough clear) like the majority of primers I've used before.  It's foundation coloured which I think is a great idea because it really does work to even out the tone of my skin, though I'm not sure how suitable this makes it for those with darker skin.

I'm not keen on the smell of this but it doesn't last and it isn't ridiculously strong, so I can get over it.  It's quite herbal and doesn't quite do it for me.  It applies really easily and smoothly and though it has silicones in it - which I prefer in a primer, rather than something water based - it doesn't have that weird slidey, plastic consistency that comes with some silicone primers.  It's more like a velvety paste and you kind of have to push it around your skin to apply.

It actually gives more coverage than some tinted moisturisers so I actually think I'd wear this on holiday on it's own when it's too hot for full make up for a bit of extra coverage with SPF, rather than relying on tinted moisturisers that I don't really like.

It contains pearl powder to give a really subtle shimmer to the skin which isn't OTT or glittery.  As a foundation base it works really well, you can feel it gripping your foundation as you apply it and it really does help to keep my foundation looking good all day (I've been using it with Estee Lauder Doublewear which I do need to reapply through the day sometimes).

It also contains peptides to stimulate collagen production as well as ingredients to fight biochemical triggers of skin ageing (can't be a bad thing!) as well as SPF30 to protect your skin from the sun, another cause of premature ageing.  Dermalogica products are also not tested on animals.

I really like this product and have used it every day since I got it, which I don't usually do with primers.  I'm actually going to ditch the other primers I've got in favour of this one in future as it seems to work well for my skin.

For stockist details, call 0800 591818 or visit

Friday, 23 August 2013

SmoothSkin Extra by ipulse Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Permanent Hair Reduction System Review (Part 1)

The new and improved SmoothSkin system is a hair removal device which uses intense pulsed light (IPL) technology to permanently reduce hair.  The pulse of light is absorbed by the hair which disables the follicles so that the hair doesn't grow back.
Here's some of the features of the new device:
  • Can be used on the face (though they don't recommend brows) as well as body hair
  • Now suitable for darker skins - not suitable for red, grey or white hair
  • Machine now lasts up to 100,000 clicks (i.e. you can use the laser to zap hairs 100,000 times) which is a lifetime of zaps apparently
  • Comes with a two year guarantee
In the box you get the device and skin tone sensor, activator gel and comprehensive instructions.  You can't see in the picture below but you get two wires as well to plug it into the mains.  The unit isn't overly bulky and is only just slightly bigger than a phone (like the kind you have on your desk at work, rather than a cordless or a mobile). It's all a bit futuristic actually!
I made sure that I read the instructions properly before use and from this I found it's not meant to be used on recently tanned skin so I gave it a miss on my legs and face for now but if I have good results I'll do these at a later date.  Once you've read everything, you can use the skin sensor to work out your skin type and do a patch test.  I'm skin type II which meant the machine was on the second highest setting.
Once you've cleaned the area and shaved any visible hair - it's important to shave rather than pluck or wax as you need the hair follicle remaining for the device to work - you apply a layer of activator gel to the area, then hold the handset over the area until the white light shows, you then press the button - look away and shut your eyes as it's really bright - and the red laser light flashes which means it's working.  You then do this for the area right next to where you just did, the machine leaves ridges in the gel so you can see where you've treated.  Again though, read the instructions - which are easy to follow and understand - carefully rather than relying on my instructions.
In terms of pain I really didn't find it bad, it kind of feels like a very mild elastic band pinging against your skin and lasts about as long.  That and the flash surprised me on the first use but as I said it really isn't painful.  I had no side effects or discomfort after the treatment.  One thing I would say is that you have to put the time in with this, treatment is once a week and I imagine if you were doing your legs it would be time consuming but I guess for permanent results it's worth putting the time in. You will probably need to buy more activator gel at some point but it only costs about £3 for 200ml.

Apparently you should see reduction in hair after 4 weeks so I'll carry on using it and update then.  I'll update again after 12 weeks (the recommended treatment regime) - 90% of users see a significant permanent reduction in hair growth after this period.  I like those stats!
SmoothSkin Extra is only available from* for £299.99, you can usually get some cashback or a discount code from Quidco* though to make it a little bit cheaper.  More information about SmoothSkin Extra can be found on the or on the SmoothSkin website their YouTube channel.

PR sample sent for review.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Diary of laser vision correction surgery with Freedom Vision, Manchester - Part 1 (Consultation)

I've had bad eyesight ever since I was a teenager when I was told I needed to wear glasses.  Needless to say I was so vain I never ever ever wore my glasses and was forever ignoring people in the street (luckily my friends knew I was blind as a bat) and struggled to do things like read the menu on a TV and see road signs.  I briefly wore my specs for driving lessons but hastily shoved them back in the drawer when I got in.

That changed when I moved abroad at the age of 20, I realised that being in a totally unfamiliar place and in charge of groups of holidaymakers wasn't going to work if I couldn't see.  I went for a laser eye surgery consultation at a well known clinic but the timescales weren't right and I decided against it at the time.

So I decided to try contact lenses and it was like a revelation...I could see, I didn't need to wear glasses and everything was hunky dory.  Except contact lenses can be fiddly and uncomfortable, you can only wear them for so long and it can work out to be quite expensive.  So I bit the bullet and paid an exorbitant amount for some designer specs "for work", which I actually wear all the time now and rarely stick my lenses in these days.

The downsides of glasses is that they're very visible, they get wet in the rain (I sometimes joke I need windscreen wipers), they need to be replaced as time goes on and I obviously can't wear them for running or swimming or anything like that.  And the problem still remains that if I forget my glasses or can't find them immediately then my eyes are still bad and I still can't see or drive.

When I was contacted by Freedom Vision, a Manchester based company, to enquire if I would be interested in having a consultation for laser vision correction, I was very interested and booked myself in.  I actually knew exactly where their clinic was as my friend lives 2 minutes away and there's a very nice pub nearby (The Wharf - nice food, lovely interior, looks onto water and allows doggies).

Prior to my consultation, I was sent a welcome pack which gave me loads of information about the consultation and the procedure as well as a form to fill in with my medical history and eyesight prescription.  It was really comprehensive and they encourage you to get in touch with any questions you might have after the consultation.

On arrival, I found the clinic was really smart and up to date and all of the staff I spoke to were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.  They really put my mind at ease, answered any questions I had about eye surgery and didn't put me under any pressure whatsoever throughout the consultation.  I found them all to be really informed about the treatment too.

First of all you have some scans of your eyes taken, these are painless, not at all uncomfortable and basically determine the treatment you're eligible for.  You then go and have a fairly long consultation with an optician who does in depth eye tests to make sure your prescription is right and that there are no problems with your eyes.  They put a few different eye drops in as part of this testing so your pupils go quite big and are sensitive to light so I'd recommend taking some sunglasses with you to your appointment and you can't drive home (they do tell you this before your consultation).

My optician was also very open about the risks of the surgery which I think is really important in making a decision too - as with all surgeries it isn't something to be taken on lightly and you need to be sure that it's right for you.  Again, I found the staff to be very professional and experienced.

You then go into another consultation room where you discuss the options that are available to you and are given information about the surgeon, procedure and aftercare as well as getting a date and time booked in for your surgery.  You also get shown around the surgery room and talked through what happens as part of the process.  In total I was at Freedom Vision for about an hour and a half discussing everything about the surgery in depth.  I actually found it a lot more friendly and felt a lot more comfortable than the previous consultation I'd had at another larger clinic some time ago. Freedom Vision was a lot more personal than the other clinic which felt a bit like I was just a number on a conveyor belt to get my eyes done.  I didn't feel like that this time at all.

Following on from my consultation, the good news is I'm eligible for Lasik with Wavefront and have been booked in for 23rd September so I'll update you on how I get on.  Apparently the surgery takes about 20 seconds per eye, I'll be out the same day and my vision should be much better and settled by the following day which is amazing!  I'll have to sleep in goggles for the first week, not wear make up and go for check ups the following day, a week on from surgery and then a month on from surgery to make sure everything's ok. I'm so excited!

If you're looking for laser eye surgery in Manchester I would definitely recommend visiting Freedom Vision for a free consultation, you can find their contact details here.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Do you get the point?

Believe it or not, I haven't had anything on my nails since we got back from hols. This is really unusual for me, I normally do my nails all the time but I just don't seem to have the time or the inclination at the moment.  Lack of motivation aside, I love the look of pointed nails and I'm always pinning pointy pics to my Nails board on Pinterest. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to grow my nails at all at the minute, not even a little bit.

I thought about going to the salon and getting pointy acrylics on but been there, done that. I dont really want the cost or time commitment of getting them infilled all the time plus I didn't know if the nail shape would suit my hands which sounds a bit silly but I've seen some people with pointy nails who really don't suit it. It makes their fingers look a bit stubby and odd!

With all this in mind, I bought some pointy stick on false nails from Ebay to test the waters and stuck them on with glue that I already had. Sizing and applying these was really straightforward. I then painted them with Essie Leading Lady.

I really like the look of them and it's a something I'll definitely be experimenting more with. I'm actually glad I've tried stick ons rather than shelling out to get them done professionally as although I like them I don't find the shape and length or the nail hugely practical to wear every day so this way I can just pop them on for a night out or whatever. I do live in fear of poking my eye out or catching myself with them a bit though!

What do you think about pointy nails? Have you tried them or do you hate them?


Saturday, 17 August 2013

It's as easy as 3-2-1...

3 Mobile have just launched a new 3-2-1 Pay as You Go tariff which features a ridiculously cute pug in their campaign (you might have seen it in this advert).  As part of the fun, since I'm a proud pug owner, they asked me the following questions:

3 of my favourite songs
Wow, this question is hard - mainly because my taste in music is er...very varied and I tend to forget about songs for ages until I hear them again.  One of my favourites is definitely Golden Brown by the Stranglers, another is Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye and Born to Die by Lana Del Rey.  They're actually all a bit depressing aren't they?!  My friends will vouch for the fact that I'm also partial to stuff that's a bit more upbeat that you can have a dance to as well but it's too hard to pick just three songs I like!
2 places in London I love
Somewhere I haven't been since I was a kid, and really really want to go again because I have such good memories of it is the Natural History museum in London.  I've clearly always been a total geek!

I also love down by the Thames where the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye are, there's just something really nice about it down there.  I got taken to London for my birthday a few years ago, my boyfriend booked us a gorgeous hotel, a trip on the London Eye, London Zoo and tickets to see Jersey Boys (which I love).   Last time we went to London was just before the Olympics when they had the Olympic logo on the bridge and it was all exciting.

1 picture of Pearl

I know I'm biased but what a cutie she is (even if she does look a little bit like she has a lamp growing out of her head in this picture)!

For more information about the new 3-2-1 campaign visit the 3 Mobile website here or have a sneaky watch of the video below.  Is it really wrong that I want one of those knitted birthday cake hats for Pearl? You can buy them on Etsy here.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Shine On Original Conditioning Hair Glaze Review

I've been intrigued by this product for quite a while as blonde hair doesn't generally look as shiny as dark hair because of the way light reflects off it. I finally remembered to buy this and decided to try it out after my holiday because chances are my hair would be in need of a bit of TLC.  It's suitable for all hair types, including coloured hair. It also includes collagen and "diamond" clear mollecules.

Be warned, it's not something you can just slap on on the shower, leave on for a few mins and then rinse. You use the included pre cleanse twice, then mix two solutions together which you leave on for 20 minutes before applying a little bit right at the end before rinsing thoroughly.  I'd set aside at least half an hour to use this.  I blowdried and straightened my hair after using as recommended.

It didn't really give the Middleton-esque mirror shine that I was secretly hoping for but it did give some shine and the condition felt lovely, despite the fact that after using the pre cleanse and rinsing off the whole thing my hair felt really dry and awful. It combed through just fine though. The condition does feel really soft and smooth but I do wonder if I've just put loads of silicone in my hair!  A couple of people have said that my colour's looking really nice at the moment and I've washed my hair a couple of times since using this so perhaps it does last though I can't say I've noticed it looking hugely really.

Overall I did like this and I'd use it again if I could buy it for significantly less. It's too expensive for what it is and I don't think the results justify the price (or possibly even the amount of effort  involved in the process).
If you want to try this out, it's available from*

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Kardashian Beauty Scintillate Lash

Now, I'm not huge Kardashian fan (though I do love Khloe a bit) you have to admit that these girls always have gorgeous make up so I was a little bit excited to see their beauty range readily available on*.  I've read some really good reviews of a few of the products but I stayed in my comfort zone and gravitated towards the false lashes, finally settling on the Scintillate design.

Scintillate is a set of spiky, separated lashes. I would definitely say that these are more of a glam, nighttime sort of lash rather than an every day pair.  These the sort of lashes that look great in photos on a night out and they're definitely glam and a bit over the top (kind of like the Kardashian's actually), I could easily imagine Kim Kardashian wearing this sort of style.
The lashes come with a little tube of adhesive which is actually really cute.  They band on them is pretty stiff which makes them less easy to apply so I wrap them around a pen the wrong way first to "snap" the band a bit and make them more flexible so they fit to my eye better.  After I did this application was fairly straightforward though I did need to add a bit more glue at either end to make sure they were secure.
They felt quite heavy on and I did feel like they looked quite false but again, nice in photos.  I'm going to wear these lashes on my birthday night out next month when I'm properly done up.  They actually remind me a bit of Illamasqua lashes in terms of look and the way they apply but they're much cheaper at a fairly reasonable £6.95 a pair on*.
I'd definitely be interested in trying out some other items - including other lash styles - from the Kardashian range as I've seen some great reviews of some of their products.  By the way, as they're in the middle of a rebrand, some of the products might come sent still in Khroma (the previous name of the range, read more about the reasons behind the name change here) packaging as mine were.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Meet Preston - the perfect cure for the holiday blues!

Well I never in a million years thought this would happen!  We've got another dog!  This little guy is called Preston, he's 20 months old and as you might have guessed he's a fawn pug.  Considering it took a good 18 months of begging  asking before we got the very lovely Pearl, the fact that almost a year to the day later we have another pug is amazing.

We'd been talking about getting Pearl a friend for a little while but decided we'd leave it until after we went on holiday before we looked rather than torture ourselves with cute pugs for months on end.  We also made the decision to get a dog a similar age to Pearl rather than a puppy so that both of them would have an appropriate playmate (I worried that Pearl would squish a tiny puppy given her playful ways) plus we avoid all the downsides of a puppy such as housetraining etc. 

So about a month before we went away - you know, despite pledging we wouldn't look until August - we spotted Preston advertised 10 minutes away from our house, the right age and colour (we wanted a fawn one) as well as being a price that we were happy to pay for him.  We went to see him and he was lovely, really cute, friendly and happy.  He'd lived with another dog too so he was used to that which was a bonus.  His owners were really nice as well and were good enough to keep him for us for a month until we got back from Jamaica which was rather helpful!

All in all I think we made a great decision, him and Pearl are really playful together!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Get up and glow - holiday make up and a few pics of Jamaica!

I miss Jamaica!  We had a really good holiday and did some great stuff (snorkelling, climbing Dunn's River Falls, visting Kingston, eating at one of the best places to get ice cream in the world and going to 9 Mile to see where Bob Marley lived and where he's buried) as well as just sunbathing, eating, drinking, relaxing and having a fantastic time.

I just thought I'd show you what make up I wore most nights to look fresh and glowing on an evening without looking shiny.  Bizarrely this is actually a bit more make up that I would usually wear which doesn't normally happen on holiday, normally I try and wear as little make up as possible.

I started off by applying Rimmel Stay Matte Concealer (1) to cover any blemishes or dark circles, this is a really good product that is so reasonably priced.  I then applied Chanel Vitalumiere foundation (2) to my entire face, which is quite sheer cover but gives a gorgeous dewy glow that I'm not usually that keen on unless it's sunny.  I then added Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder over the top to get rid of any excessive shine. 

I added Too Faced Sweet Hearts Powder Flush Blush (4) to my cheeks to give a glow, followed by a light dusting of Cargo Water Resistant Bronzer (5) across my forehead, down my nose and chin and on the apples of my cheeks.  After this I added Topshop Highlighter (6) to my cheeks to add a final bit of a glow.

As I had my lash extensions done for my holiday I didn't use much eye make up at all and just let my lashes do the talking.  I then tended to wear either MAC Pink Nouveau, Too Faced La Creme in Juicy Melons or Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss in Fame.

I'm still wearing this make up on a day to day basis too and will be doing so until my tan fades, here's me ready for work yesterday, as you can probably see the lashes are off now!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Say it with flowers (and exclusive 15% discount code)

I love cut flowers - if my boyfriend didn't keep me in check I think I'd be a bit like Elton John (on a lesser scale obviously...I don't have £300k a year to spend on flowers) so when Debenhams asked me if I wanted to review their flower delivery service I didn't hesitate and arranged for them to arrive the day after I got back from holidays as a bit of a pick me up.  I didn't know that Debenhams had a flower delivery service so there you go!

The flowers I ordered were from their Birthday range, I went for their Blue Skies bouquet as I love bright and tropical flowers.  The bouquet contains pink carnations, cream lilies, memory lane roses and eucalyptus. You can pick different numbers of stems as well if you want a smaller or fuller bouquet which I think is quite nice.

They arrived delivered by Royal Mail early on Saturday morning - they didn't need signed for so don't worry if you're not around - in a huge box, delivery by Royal Mail is free where applicable so that's good news!  The bouquet is currently discounted so is £19.99, I actually think this is a good price for these flowers including delivery.

The flowers looked really really nice and I definitely had enough stems to fill my glass.  The lillies are still closed on this picture, it actually took about 4 days before any of them started opening which wasn't ideal as some of the roses had started drying out by this point but they were so pretty when they came out that I kind of forgot about that.

Debenhams are also kindly offering readers of Beauty and the Blogger an exclusive 15% discount on their Birthday range of flowers, just enter BLOG15 at the checkout.  The discount code expires on 31st August 2013.  To view the Birthday range just click here, there are all sorts of different bouquets and some even come with little gifts which I think is fab if you're sending them as a pressie to someone.  So if you're treating someone this month, why not do it for less?


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