The truth about getting lip fillers

opinion piece

I feel like people just give you that judging look once you proclaim that you’ve had lip fillers. It’s that disappointed / shocked look a disapproving parent gives to their child when they prefer chocolate over fruit. Why would you want to change your lips? Don’t you think of the consequences? What if the fillers do permanent damage? I have been asked the above questions, and probably much worse. This post isn’t about justifying modifying your looks, I simply wanted to de-myth some common misconceptions that are correlated with lip fillers. I can also offer my personal experience and advice for those who are considering lip fillers.

Common misconceptions and the truth

1. ‘You’re so young, what if you cause permanent damage to your lips!?’ 

Rule number one – lip fillers are not permanent. Depending on how you care for your lips after your procedure, they can last between 6-12 months before the safe substances used dissolve into your face. So, assuming you didn’t like the results – it shouldn’t be too difficult to conceal / rectify or even wait until the filler dissolves completely.

2. ‘Don’t they use dangerous / harmful substances?’ 

The short answer is no. The aesethtic industry has come a long way since silicone was used for breast enhancements. Science continues to change and innovate, and lip fillers are completely safe. Typically lip fillers use Juvederm which is a Restylane facial filler: it consists of  hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring sugar found in our bodies. When it dissolves into our bodies, it causes no harm or adverse side effects whatsoever.

3. ‘What if you end up like Pete Burns?’

To be completely and utterly honest, this one is down to personal preference. There are a lot of people out there, who will ask their aestheticians to continue inserting lip filler – even when they are advised against it and told it will look unnatural. These people are the reason why the general public tend to think that getting lip fillers makes you look ridiculous. However, I am proof that you can get them and continue to have ‘natural’ looking lips.

What is it really like to have lip fillers?

My personal experience with lip fillers (I have only had them once, and been longing for more ever since) was nothing short of great.

The first thing you need to check is that you are using a legit and registered aesthetician. I would recommend Harley Street practitioners generally, or a reputable company that you can easily research beforehand. Often, Wowcher has amazing deals for lip fillers; and they work with reputable practitioners.

Secondly, I picked an amount of lip filler that I was comfortable with. 0.5ml for my first insertion, and the results were pouty yet natural.

In regards to the actual injections, they are tiny and you will have a numbing cream applied to lips before your procedure. I won’t lie to you, the numbing cream doesn’t numb. When the needle is dragging through your skin you can feel it. It’s uncomfortable, but it certainly isn’t intolerable. Your surgeon should make you feel comfortable, you’ll be laying down (probably with your eyes firmly closed!). And because I only had the smallest amount available injected into my lips, it didn’t take too long either.

The recovery is simple, so long as you keep the area clean and moisturised the results will last longer. You are advised that bruising and swelling can occur afterwards; but I was lucky in that sense. My lips healed well and I was very satisfied with the results. It has been around one year and a half since I had lip fillers, and only now I can see the effects have disappeared completely.

It’s a worthy investment if you plan and execute the procedure sensibly. Like anything in life, a little often goes a long way.

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Hormonal skin / acne defense kit

product review

You know only too well those dreaded feelings. Irritable, on edge, mentally imagining hurting people for saying the wrong thing. Craving everything in the world that is bad for you, chocolate, crisps, chips. I’ll have all the calories at once please. Just to add insult to injury, your skin is also plying havoc with you. Lovely great red bumps appearing in cute little mountains all over your face. Yep, you are about to menstruate. And it’s not fun.

For those of us suffering with acne (I only just realised I am now classified as an actual adult, skin condition has evolved into ‘adult acne’), or annoying breakouts right before our period; it can cause stress and lower self esteem. Because as if your devilish hormones didn’t make you feel bad enough, your skin also has to suffer for you being part of the female gender.

I have compiled a kit which helps eradicate the breakouts and keep spots at bay, whilst also targeting other skin concerns. I personally have acne, and severe dry patches of skin (possibly eczema). It can be difficult to find products which can cater for two contradicting issues. Hopefully this kit can be utilised by anyone with differentiating skin types, as I seem to have developed all of them at once!

Here is the ultimate skincare line up of all line ups:

1. What Skin Needs Skin Balm, £9.99

I have mentioned this miracle cream in previous posts, and it continues to amaze me. Containing exotic Aussie natural ingredients, the Balm promises to treat a number of dry skin conditions. This moisturiser will help renew hydration in the skin, which can be lost using stringent cleansing agents – especially when treating acne / spot breakouts.

2. Primark Cucumber & Aloe Hydrating Mist, £2.00 (Available in store)

Just to reiterate, it is mandatory to restore the moisture in your skin. I use this hydrating mist after cleansing my face, however it can also be spritzed on after make up application. Use throughout the day to enjoy a fresh burst of moisture. This is an unbelievably cheap dupe for Mario Badescus facial spray.

3. Vitamin E Dual Phase Cleansing Oil, £2.99

A great everyday cleanser which is gentle to skin. Although it may not assist with breakouts, it will help restore any damage caused by harsh acne treatments. My usual routine is to use a face mask once a week, and cleansing oil for the rest of the duration of the week. It’s easy to over cleanse when trying to eliminate spots and oily skin, counteract this with a cleansing oil.

4. Avon Anew Reversalist Night Treatment Cream, £20.00

This cream is aimed at ageing skin; however if you have been subjected to taking any type of oral acne treatment, or other medicinally prescribed treatments for conditions such as eczema; they often contain ingredients like steroids which can strip layers of skin and cause premature ageing. Not to mention all the chemicals which are features in drugstore ‘acne’ treatments which can also harm the skin over prolonged usage. I feel at 25, this is a great time to start targeting the early signs of wrinkles. This Avon dual treatment is scientifically proven to target wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. It works by rotation, you use the night treatments for one week at a time and alternate between the two. It contains a super retinol which boosts collagen and reduces wrinkles.

5. Dr Organic Rose Otto Face Mask, £7.99

I find this face mask is brilliant at calming down stressed skin; especially during or in the midst of a breakout. It contains natural China Clay, which draws out oils and impurities without being harsh on skin.

6. The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%, £8.00

I use this intermittently when not using the Avon treatment (this product advises against using with other retinoid treatments). As standard with The Ordinary skincare range, I find this more of a treatment rather than an everyday product. On the day where you feel your skin has broken out – or is just about to. This is the perfect time to reach for this emulsion. Although this also contains super retinoids to target uneven skin tone and ageing. I find this also dries out spots, I use it after Cleansing and before moisturiser as a toner. It doubles up as a wrinkle treatment. Killing two birds with one stone!

With this kit your skin should be armed to face anything. The world can be falling apart around you, at least your skin will be flawless.

How to survive the festive period with depression 

opinion piece

It was at that moment that time stood still. Laying limply in a bath full of water which had long gone cold, still. Physically weakened by your own mental state, moving is not an option. Staring blankly at a blank wall, thoughts full of angst and pain. Angst and pain. 

Photography Credit: Nikita Campbell


If you battle depression or anxiety; you will be familiar with this situation, and these bleak feelings. The bad periods come and go, but I have noticed the festive period can be particularly challenging. 

Photography Credit: Nikita Campbell


It’s a time of year where we are expected to be appreciative, grateful and ‘happy’. What if we can’t keep up the pretence? What if we truly aren’t happy? Society at large and the media don’t cover this. This Christmas I found myself at an all time low, I can’t quite distinguish what was the root cause. I fear it may be a build up from what I can only describe as a very harrowing year. 

How can you make it through the period of happiness when you feel like utter rubbish? 

Don’t get caught up in the hype. I think one great tip is not to get caught up in the hype surrounding Christmas. We must remember it is a commercial holiday, with targeted advertising to sell products. It’s almost too easy to browse social media, or any media advertising and see these perfectly constructed images of how Christmas should be. Whether you are religious or not, we can all agree it is a good opportunity to be grateful for what we do have. And not think about what we don’t. 

Don’t suffer in silence. I believe that loneliness is a silent killer; and anyone who will be alone on Christmas (unless it’s by choice), should try their hardest not to be. You can also help relatives who will be alone by visiting, picking them up or even a simple phone call – it can make someone’s day, contributing to their overall mood. If family are too far away, talk to friends. Failing that, if you get into a real depressive mood you can always call the Samaritans suicide helpline at any time on 116 123. 

Don’t overthink. I have recently come to the realisation that my own brain is my worst enemy. I over think absolutely everything, and work my mind into a stage of anxiousness. I think this can be the case for a majority of people who have any type of mental health battle. Although it’s easier said than done, I always advice finding a release. For example, for me writing is a therapeutic activity that I enjoy. It keeps me busy and inspired. Find your activity and revert to that at times of need. 

Finally, I just wanted to make the effort to say that if anyone is reading this and is having a rough time; I would be happy to talk to you if you need. Don’t suffer in silence. Get in touch. Together we can raise awareness of mental health issues, one case at a time. 

Are commercial brands like Neutrogena suitable for sensitive skin? 

opinion piece

*Disclaimer; I am not a trained cosmetologist or scientist, opinions included within this post are based on my own experience, skin type, research and opinion* 

I know I have previously mentioned all of my hundreds of skincare concerns, however I am going to reiterate for the sake of this post. My skin seems to incessantly hate me, for it doesn’t matter how much time or money I spend trying to love it – it still misbehaves almost instantaneously. The main problem is that I have suffered with acne for the last 10 years, meaning my t-zone is naturally full of oil. I was taking accutane for a year to treat my acne (a very strong drug used to treat cancer and other ailments). This drug severely dries out your skin, so now I have both permanently oily and dry skin. Oily overall with dry peeling patches. So not ideal really. 

Over the last few years, I have tried and tested a myriad of skincare brands and products. And there seems to be one thing in common with a majority of them.  They are super stringent on sensitive skin, and consequently cause an over production of sebum – making any skin issues worsen. You see, if you strip your skin of its natural oils, as a defence mechanism your skin will start to product more sebum (oil). An over production of sebum is what causes acne. This is counter productive to treating your oily skin problem, as you are in fact adding to the issue. 

If your skin feels tight after your skincare regime, you may be using a cleanser containing alcohol. Or simply over cleansing. A lot of drugstore / commercial brands use alcohol within their face washes and toners. 

I recently attended a press event for Neutrogena, where I received these skincare products in my goodie bag:Using these products just emphasised to me how there is an entire branch of the skincare industry misadvertising. If we take the above cleanser as an example, ‘gently cleanses..’ – there is nothing gentle about this cleanser I can assure you. I have attempted to use this cream wash and it totally dried out my skin. It contains alcohol AND salicylic acid. Now, although salicylic acid is known for its acne fighting properties. What these advertisers often don’t mention is that prolonged use can dry and thin skin, and cause excessive dryness. The combination of these two ingredients plus a whole host of other chemicals makes these products very drying. There are also websites where you can check if a product contains irritant ingredients, this is helpful as you can check before investing. It’s important to remember that some of these ingredients are necessary, however try to choose products with less harmful amounts of these irritant ingredients. 

I’m sure that these products may be suitable for those with less sensitive skin. However the fact that some of the ingredients are harmful to skin, rings alarm bells in my mind. 

If you do have sensitive skin, I would avoid brands that make products similar to this. Remember to check ingredients before purchasing. Here are some other tips to stop you from over-drying your skin; 

1. Limit chemical exposure 

If you can, try to cleanse with a plain oil or water. Of course you can use a gentle oil or make up remover to take off make up beforehand 

2. Tone it down 

A lot of toners are stringent and drying. They often contain perfumes, alcohol and salicylic acid. Check the ingredients, and remove them from your skincare regime 

3. Creamy dreamy 

Invest in an appropriate moisturiser for your skin type. Especially for over night moisturisation, this will help to repair skin and leave it replenished in the morning 

The conclusion is that you must be over careful when purchasing skincare products. Always check and research ingredients – and be aware of what your own skin can handle and needs. Every facial wash out there is going to emphasise how brilliant it is – we must learn to read between the lines. I think as consumers we can often become lazy, and we trust certain brands because they have a huge reputation. This does not necessarily mean that they always have our best interests at heart. Products are produced on a mass scale to make money. Sometimes, you have to stop and think about what exactly you are choosing to lump on your skin. 

Winter miracle: Balmkind Alpine & Lysine lip balm 

product review

I have previously mentioned in my blogposts that I suffer from an overactive bladder, without boring you with the medical details – this means I take medication to relax the bladder muscles. One of the most annoying side effects, is the severe drying I encounter on my lips through taking these tablets. This means my intense struggle to find a stable lip balm to see me through winter, is an uphill one to say the least. 


Desperately trying to soften my medically induced dry lips I have tried a plethora of lip balms including, but not limited to: Burts Bee’s, Vaseline (both the stick and the pot versions), Carmex (my usual go-to) and also Eve Lom. A majority of the mentioned lip balms provide temporary relief from the dryness, but do not condition the lips with any longevity. 

Super excited to try a new lip balm I was sent from Balmkind, I was filled with a hopelessly optimistic glimmer of hope that I may have finally found ‘the one’. 

Balmkind is a relatively new brand which was launched earlier this year, the lip balm is infact the only product they currently sell. I really like the fact they use antixiodant rich ingredients; Alpine Rose and Lysine (an essential Amino Acid). This means the lip balm not only nourishes, but aims to improve the overall condition of the lips, especially over longer periods of use. 

How did it perform? 

It has a lovely consistency, it’s not sticky or gloopy. It sits on your lips, and provides a lovely natural pink tone. I did find it to be brilliant at nourishing my lips, and it would be a good buy for anyone who suffers with parched lips. When testing lip balms I generally like to carry out what I call a ‘Re-application test’. This refers to the amount of time I take to feel as if I need to re-apply the balm, you know that dry nagging that almost hurts – it’s at that precise despairing moment in time we reach to re-apply. Balmkind lasted 35 minutes without me needing to re-apply, and that is pretty darn impressive by my standards. 

Our lips are often one of the areas we neglect, however it is mandatory to exfoliate and moisturise them accordingly; if not regularly, this should be done every once in a while as part of our skin care regimes. It is part of our skin after all. 

Overall score – 8/10 

The lip balm is £14 and available here

48 hours in Berlin 

top tips

Going on a mini-break can be exhaustive; you rush around trying to do / see everything humanly possible with a limited amount of time. You may even end up feeling as if you need a second holiday just for recuperative recovery. Yet we still love mini-breaks! 


The end of October I did 48 hours in Berlin, and when it came down to it I was so under prepared it was slightly embarrassing. I’m going to be kind, and give you a hindsight heads up. So that you won’t waste hours looking for a destination that you are in fact standing in, get on a bus travelling in the opposite direction or, perhaps the worst of my naive mistakes, get caught out shopping in the middle of a dangerous storm. 

1. Weekend blues 

Okay now this one is REALLY vital to anyone planning a trip to Berlin that involves any type of shopping. 

If your trip happens to fall on a weekend, it’s important to know that shops close on Sunday. Yes, no limited hours for retail workers. Completely and utterly closed for the entire duration of the day of rest. It’s better to use this day for exploring restaurants / bars / tourist attractions. 
OH and just as a side note, it’s worth checking local news and weather warnings every day of your holiday. Or you may wind up caught in the middle of a somewhat dangerous storm like I did. It was wet windy and unpleasant. 

2. Research is key 

Of course, we all lead busy lifestyles and it’s difficult to find time to do just about anything. But we all have access to Google on our phones, and a little research before your trip will go a long way. Especially in a huge, diverse city like Berlin. 

I would check: 

The main tourist spots to visit (and how to get there, the Berlin public transport system is just as confusing as the London one, except every mode of transport is exceptionally punctual). 

This research will be vital, the city of Berlin is rather huge and has many central sections (much like London). When you have limited time the last thing you want is to waste time going round in circles. 

3. Dress sense 

You will notice, pretty much as soon as you land in Germany that there is a feeling of conservativeness. To avoid awkward amounts of staring I would suggest the appropriate dress to be casual / smart. If you go around autumn / winter time it’s also blisteringly cold, so you won’t be able to dress up anyhow. I would suggest the good ole trusty ‘nice top and jeans’. A warm coat, a scarf and an umbrella. (Of course I had none of these). 

4. Food is life 

Just a few things to note when it comes to ordering food / drinks. 

  • Typically German people drink sparkling water as a rule, always check your water is still if you purchase bottles from shops (assuming you don’t like sparkling) 
  • Germans have a random obsession with marzipan so if you don’t like it, be careful when ordering cakes from bakeries. Sometimes it’s even hidden underneath icing. They get it in every nook and cranny 
  • If you usually drink Diet Coke, they have Coke Light which is practically the same thing, no need to panic 
  • If you ask in store for chips, you will be handed crisps. Chips are pomme frites (just like the French equivalent) 

Food is life, I thought anyone would need to know these helpful tips. 

And on that note I would like to say that I found Berlin to be absolutely enchanting; there is a huge amount of historical context to be explored. Architecture and art to be viewed, and wonderfully tasty (and fatty) food to be consumed. Enjoy, auf Wiedersehen. 

Current beauty faves that you need for Winter 

product review

Not to brag or sound terribly conceited but recently it seems I am being  sent products constantly! Several boxes arriving every week out of nowhere – it’s actually a little overwhelming. Amazing, but overwhelming. However, there are some products that are absolutely outstanding, and will be essential for the upcoming Winter season. These are the ones I need to inform you of. 

I have combination skin, meaning it can be oily and dry at the same time (it often is and it drives me barmy). It means that my face will be dry to the point of peeling skin, whilst also managing to look like I have been dipped in a chip fat fryer, all at the same time. So any products I find that can quench the dehydration my skin insistently suffers from is an absolute godsend. 
1. Spritz your worries away 

Mario Badescu facial spray, £7 

This bad boy is only £7, and contains some great ingredients to help feed skin in desperate times of dryness. Cucumber, Aloe Vera and Green Tea are all known for their renewing and rejuvenating properties. The spray is great because it provides a moisture boost before you even apply make up for the day; and I have the miniature version so it’s great for travelling and handbag use. 

2. Contour contour contour 

Nars bronzing powder in Laguna, £29

I really felt my usual girly pink shade of Blusher just wouldn’t suffice for winter. Winter make up should always be darker, in correlation with the weather and subsequent darkness we must endure. This Nars bronzer is great for dusting over cheeks to give a tanned effect, but it’s also great at one of my favourite tasks. Contouring. It gives definitive lines, and also has a slight shimmer so looks great on cheekbones. A worthy investment. 

3. Crusty lips 

EveLom KissMix, £16

This lip balm provides a cooling sensation which hydrates and protects lips, even in extreme weather conditions. Mandatory in the winter months which can leave lips chapped and damaged. A must have.