Eat youself beautiful

There's apparently a hot new trend in town and that trend is food that makes you beautiful. This is a bit of a random one, but Gilgamesh restaurant has launched their new ‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’ menu which contains edible collagen to give your skin a boost while you munch your way through a plate of delicious food. Being the generous beauty blogger that I am, I tottered on down to Camden to spend the evening munching away guilt-free. The restaurant itself is in the heart of Camden, just by the lock, and located in this immense space that's dark and dingy but equally beautiful and decorated with wooden sculptures.

The £6 dumpling - yep, you get just one!

"Wave goodbye to needles and knifes, Gilgamesh has the latest beauty fix – on a plate! The benefits of protein to the human body have long been recognised by scientists, with collagen in particular being hugely popular with individuals wanting a more youthful and flawless skin. In recent years, Japanese women, who are known as being amongst the most image-conscious in the world, have taken the use of collagen one step further, by increasing their collagen intake in a very different way: from the inside."

Collagen salad - actually very tasty, although teeny

The menu is quite limited, offering only five dishes, a wheatgrass shot and a milkshake, so if you're up for a feast you may be left hungry. The main dishes include a beauty box of poached chicken, grilled salmon, collagen salad and dumplings. When the food first started to come out we were quite disappointed with the size of the salad (£12 for a bowl of leaves and collagen!) and the single dumpling that arrived, but the larger dishes were much more satisfying. I didn't know what to expect and if the food would even be edible, but I have to say it was all delicious. You can't tell that there are added collagen elements and the spices and dressings used make this a really light, tasty meal option.

Poached chicken in broth

You don't get a lot for your buck - we shared all of this between two of us which amounted to £49 - so it's not the cheap option on the menu. To be honest if I was to go back I'd end up having one of the other amazing looking meals that the restaurant boasts... particularly as we were still hungry and ended up having a toffee crumble pudding each, which I'm sure defeats the point of the healthy menu! The restaurant itself is amazing and well worth the look, but the 'eat yourself beautiful' menu is clearly a gimmick that will appeal to the ladies what lunch and read Vogue.

Grilled salmon and black rice
As for whether or not I came away looking like I'd had a round of botox... hardly! I don't think you'd ever consume enough collagen to make a difference unless you went for lunch here every day. Collagen is really good for you and this is a good introduction to start thinking about new ingredients that can have a positive impact on your diet and health. A good idea, but I'm not sure how many people will willingly pass up on one of their fab Thai Green Currys in favour of a plate of shiny salad!

This was amazing - toffee crumble and cinnamon ice cream!


Golden Eye

I've been wanting to write about this product for quite some time, but I maintained a dignified silence so I could fully road-test it and also meet the people behind the brand. On Friday I got invited to take a trip on the London Eye with Caudalie to celebrate the launch of their new eye cream - Premier Cru. They launched the Premier Cru face cream last year and it's surpassed all expectations by being an absolute sell out, so it was a natural progression for them to complement the range with an eye cream.

"This sumptuous and effective cream offers a complete care to treat the delicate eye contour area. Its texture envelops delicately the skin with an immediate comfort and illuminates its appearance. Its anti-ageing ingredients treat all the signs of ageing: wrinkles are smoothed, the upper eyelid is firmed, dark circles, puffiness and dark spots are reduced. Its combination of pearlizers and soft focus powder reflect the light and illuminate the eye area, for an instant brighter and softer look."

The cream contains some fab ingredients including grape seed oil (to nourish the driest of skin,) tetrapeptides (to trigger collagen and cell repair for smoother skin,) hyaluronic acid (to attract moisture to the deepest layers of the skin,) avocado butter (which has anti-inflammatory, healing  and protective properties) and detoxifying caffeine (to reduce puffiness.) That's one wonder formula in a bottle.  The results they claim to have are incredible, but what does it really do and how does it really work?

My under-eye area is probably the part of my face I have most of an issue with. I spend so much money, time and effort hunting down and applying layers of concealers because as soon as I don't get my eight hours sleep you can tell by looking at my eyes. I also have really sensitive, thin skin which is prone to being stung to death with abrasive formulas... Most of the time I have to close my eyes tight and squeel while the creams sink in and then mop up my watery eyes! I've been using this for a good 8 weeks now and I can honestly say it's a wonder product - and I don't say that lightly. Not only does it glide on like a dream without making my eyes sting one little bit, it also absorbs really well and after a few minutes you instantly feel a little lift.

What I've noticed the most though is that my under eye area has gradually not become such a big issue for me. I've gone from slapping on layers upon layers of thick concealers, to a simple swipe of a light concealer pen and hardly topping up at all. My whole eye feels fresher, younger (I know I'm only 28 but it does!) and firmer. The thin bits of skin around my lower lids have also become thicker and completely moisturised so they're not at all sensitive to other products, i.e. face masks, make-up and so on. Although this is £49 I totally think it's worth it because it's made a visible difference to my face, my routine and in a dramatic way, my life. You need half a pump to cover both eyes so the little pot will last for months, so think of it as an investment in your face!

This is available from Space NK, department stores and online.



Challenge Jergens

Back at the beginning of the year I challenged some of my readers to use Jergens and see if it lived up to its promise of immediately reliving dryness and hydrating skin. Jergens say "Made with 96% natural ingredients extra dry skin is visibly moisturised for immediate relief. This moisturiser softens and quenches skin with a blend of authentic desert botanicals and essential hydrators, restoring skin to a state of pure comfort and natural well being." It contains Jojoba, Avocado and Olive Oil so it's jam-packed full of ingredients that you know will quench your skin's thirst. This is what a couple of my readers had to say about the pump version of Ultra Hydrating lotion... did it stand up to the test?

"The Jergens moisturiser is a great and I have fallen in love with it. I have used it all over my arms and legs after taking a shower and it gets absorbed quickly and keeps my skin feeling soft all throughout the day. This also totally suited my hectic lifestyle and I would definitely recommend it to friends and family and repurchase it"

"This is my new fave moisturiser as it just makes my skin feel great without leaving a sticky feeling. I'd definitely buy this again, especially as it's so cheap."

I've been trying this since January too and I have to say I adore it. Something so cheap shouldn't be so good, but it really is!  The moisturiser itself is light enough to apply easily and absorb well, but rich enough to really hydrate and moisturise the skin. The pump bottle makes it easy to get the right amount too, rather than squirting out enough to cover your whole body when you only meant to use it on one leg. This is perfect to slap on at night as you wake up with soft luscious skin, but also it's equally useful in the day because it sinks in so quickly... it's the only formula I can use before wearing tights! I've noticed a real difference in the appearance of my arms, particularly my blotchy upper bits and flaky elbows which seem to almost have gone completely. Jergens definitely passed the challenge.


Skin Poetry

Being a relative youngun I haven't yet started to worry too much about ageing or looking after my skin. Yes I cleanse, tone, moisturise, exfoliate, take my vitamins and attempt to drink water, but that's it. When I was first approached about Skin Poetry, a new treatment from skin expert John Tsagaris, I was sceptical and not really sure if it would be worth it - I've had facials before and just saw them as an excuse to relax rather than actually being of benefit to my skin. I certainly didn't come out feeling fresh or ready to face the world without my slap, so I expected this to be the same. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

"The SKINPOETRY ™ treatment evolved as the natural outcome of John Tsagaris’ long experience in Chinese medicine, SKINPOETRY ™ is inspired by his understanding – the simplest way is the most effective way – to achieve impressive results. John designed the treatment specifically to combine his highly skilful hands, the wisdom of facial shiatsu, and the science of Hyaluronic Acid. His bare hands, full of energy and experience, recharge and invigorate the face while he perceives and diagnoses the client’s general condition, ready for referral to other disciplines as needed. Simplicity, passion for healthy beautiful skin, and wisdom from ancient ways makes this treatment into timeless skin bliss."

John's surgery is located about five minutes from Harvey Nichols in the heart of Knightsbridge, and although it's hidden away and slightly dingy from the outside once you get inside his office is bright, white and welcoming - as is he. Within five minutes I had green tea in my mouth and had been asked questions about my skin type and routine, then I was up on the table having the best facial procedure ever. After cleansing, Hyaluronic Acid is applied to the skin and John literally massages and pinpoints the pressure points, encouraging the acid to be absorbed and to naturally plump up the skin.

The procedure claims to invigorate facial energy and blood circulation, release facial muscular tension, drain puffiness and fluid retention, as well as brightening up dull, stressed complexions. I'm happy to say it does all of that and I'm amazed. After 30/40 mins of me being so relaxed I could have fallen asleep, my face was so plump, fresh, clear and rejuvenated I didn't stop prodding myself for about two hours! You can see from the video I was pretty excited... I would totally recommend a trip to John if you have skin that needs a plump or a refresh - perfect post Fashion Week if you're suffering.

Go to John's website for more details and to book an appointment

Don't to check out/subscribe to my youtube channel too!

Get nailed with OPI at LFW

I love looking at all the pictures post London Fashion Week and trying to figure out what trends I can actually make work in real life. Thanks to OPI this season it's a lot more obtainable as they kitted out the models at shows with pretty, funky, bright and daring colours over the five days.

Jamie Nunn headed up OPI over LFW and he had this to say... "London fashion week is always the place for trends to be set and this season was no different. Bernard Chandran went for chic, dramatic nails with long oval talons painted in Lady In Black. Olivia Rubin thought outside the box and went for quirky nails in red-orange On The Same Paige and added Black Shatter to some of the models for the edgier designs. But the most notable was the Triumph underwear show who sent their lead model down the catwalk in an exclusive Design Series Radiance metallic crystal encrusted manicure designed by me!"

Citrus 'shatter' at Aminaka Wilmont

Your deepest desire at Bernard Chandran

Are you ready for red at Olivia Rubin?

It looks like the black shatter polish was popular and is set to be hot through to autumn so keep hold of your pot! I love it over the bright yellow shade - that's definitely a trend I'll be working starting right now!


My name's Marina...

So the latest celeb to be signed up to be 'a face' is our home grown Marina Diamandis, better known as Marina and the Diamonds. She's been signed up by MaxFactor to attract those kookie rock chicks to their brand, presumably to help their sales of fluro pink lipstick. I love the fact they've gone for somebody out of the mainstream with her own sense of style, fashion and individuality. A virtual 'high-five' is deserved there MaxFactor! Marina will start appearing in campaigns from next month and I, for one, can't wait to see her in action.


Black Chicken

Now when an email entitled 'black chicken' popped into my inbox it was like a moth to a flame... how often do you get something like that cropping up? So I investigated and Black Chicken Remedies are an Australian skincare brand that have just launched Love Your Body Oil on Selfridges.com. The oil is a 100% natural with no parabens or sulphates, i.e. the nasties that newspapers tell you are bad, and smells a-mazing.

"The combination of 12 remedial oils are carefully selected to provide deep long lasting moisture to nourish skin and mind. These include Avocado oil, rosehip oil (good for wrinkles and stretch marks), Hazelnut oil to help tone and tighten the skin, Sandalwood essential oil which is great for stress, Lavender oil for sunburn so can be a great after sun oil that helps to prolong your tan not to mention Vitamin E to help maintain cell integrity!"

Apparently you can not only use this as an intensive moisturiser, but it's also good for shaving and has anti-ageing properties... although I'm not in need of anti-ageing stuff just yet and I'm still on 'project epilator' so I can't testify to that! The oil is a traditional formula, yellow-orange in colour and really runny as expected. It glides over skin easily and initially feels like it's absorbing well... although this is deceptive as it does hang around for quite some time before sinking into skin. I would use this as more as a before bed/after bath product so you can get the real intensity of the product to work - it does recommend to use it daily and after showering.

I think this is a really cute, fun, but effective product that makes body oils a bit more exiting. It comes packaged in a silver tin with a really handy pump so you don't shoot oil all over the shop. I love the card tube too which makes it feel like you're opening something special... hey, I'm into my packaging. It's really not cheap at £45.50 a pop, but you need a small amount and it's made up of so much goodness that I don't think it good be any cheaper and still be good quality. You'd be a chicken not to at least check it out!


Toni & Guy get hairy

So London Fashion Week is finally over for another season and we've all seen the pictures, analysed the outfits and bitched about the front row. But what we really care about is how their hair has been styled, because that's what next season will all be about. Toni & Guy are the official sponsors of LFW and this year got more involved than ever before, styling 35 shows over the five days - that's a lot of hair. These are my favourite looks from their portfolio and ones I think we could all be trying out ourselves in six months time.

This 'twist' on the traditional bun at Alica Palmer had me all in a fluster because it looks so darn cool. It's such a simple and effective way of updating your look and I'm sure we can all twist our hair up pretty easily... the messiness of it will make it look even hotter.

You can't go wrong with a bit of tousled 'bed hair' as seen at Betty Jackson. The lady herself is known for her simplicity so it doesn't surprise me she went for an 'au naturel' look at her show. This is so easy to achieve whether you've got dead straight or curly hair... just bung in some salt spray and you're away.

This reminded me of 'Mad Men' - androgynous glamour with a chic up-do. Bora Asku made his designs look more feminine with this classic chignon and 'Hairyspray' volume, matched perfectly with the subtly hinted lips. Proof that you can be girlie no matter how manly your brogues.

Anyone think that Giles liked 'Black Swan'? Ballerina chic seems to be influencing everything at the moment and this beautiful classic bun is no exception. It's nice to see the hair style of my youth is back for another outing, this time just without the leotard.

I couldn't be happier that the sweeping fringe is hanging around for a little while longer thanks to Jasper Garvida. This style covers a multitude of sins and makes everyone look a little more intriguing and sexy... there's nothing hotter than peeping out from behind your fringe. I've had one for a few years now and I can't see me changing any time soon!

I wasn't convinced with the crimping trend (I didn't like it in 1989 either) so this softer style is a little easier to wear. Prophetik used this strange contraption to create a mix between curls and crimps and I like it. Swept to the side you'd look like a fabulous 1940's movie star too.

Finally, Sci-Fi plaits at Todd Lynn - how very Star Trek. There is no way in hell we could ever achieve this look on our own, which is why there are three people helping with this (including Sasha Mascalo - Toni & Guy's Creative Director) plait pleasure. Still, it looks pretty fabulous.

What hair trends are you most looking forward to in 2011?


Why is the rum gone?

If there's one thing guaranteed to put a huge smile on my face it involves Johnny Depp being dressed as a pirate and asking why the rum is all gone. Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the best movie franchises to come out of Hollywood in a long time and I have the talking Jack Sparrow doll to prove it... yep, it talks to you! Just to prove how much of a geek I am, I present to you Captain Jack in all his glory - including his latest swag of a bottle of OPI polish. The nail varnish giants are releasing another collaboration, this time to celebrate the fourth installment of the pirate movie 'On Stranger Tides'.

There are six shades in the collection which contains this murky green 'Stranger Tides' that is unlike any polish I have ever seen before. It's literally like a murky green-grey shade that sounds utterly disgusting but actually looks quite effective once applied - I got three complements in one day when I wore it. The polish is quite runny so you need three coats, but when it dries you get a really delicate colour that you can't quite put your finger on.

The other shades in the collection include 'Skull and Glossbones' which is a beautiful grey-brown colour and some cute pastel shades including the lilac 'Walk the Plank' and minty green 'Mermaids Tears'. I was surprised to see so many pastel shades in an OPI collection, especially when it's representing the world of swashbuckling pirates, but I can't wait to wear these all Spring. Oooh-arrrrr.



The Biotherm Code

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting some lovely ladies from Biotherm. I didn't know that much about the brand but I made some discoveries that need to be shared - namely D.Code and S.Code which are the first products available to help combat genetic cellulite. "Cellulite comes in two forms: behavioural and genetic. Behavioural cellulite accounts for 70% of all cellulite, and is connected to lifestyle. The remaining 30% is genetic cellulite, which is hereditary and unfortunately the most problematic. For the first time Biotherm have created a product designed to fight both types of cellulite. D.Code is an innovative new product that helps fight behavioural cellulite and genetic cellulite."

This basically means that that horrible layer of fatty stuff around your legs and bum that you just can't get to budge, no matter how much exercise you do or chocolate you don't eat it, can finally be addressed. Biotherm's D.Code intensely hydrates the skin to leave the surface looking and feeling visibly smoother - it's this dehydration that causes the 'orange peel' look on skin.

The formula is a gel texture that contains extract of Sacred Lotus, Yerba Mate, Green Coffee, Caffeine and Gingko Biloba. It smells lovely and contains delicate shimmers... although being applied on your cellulite I'm not sure why as you don't want anyone looking there! You apply this morning and night and leave it to absorb - it does have a sticky feeling that takes a while to sink in, so I wouldn't advise you slap it on before heading out the door though. However, it does feel nice to apply and makes it easy to massage the skin and get the circulation going so it's a pleasure to use.

Added to the range is also S.Code which does the exact same thing but is formulated specifically for the stomach and waist area. Apparently D.Code was an absolute sell out when it launched so I don't doubt that S.Code will be exactly the same when it launches in the next few weeks. The promise is huge and I can totally understand why women are stepping over each other to grab their supply of these beauties. I've been using them on and off for a few weeks and they have made my skin smoother and the massaging motion definitely helps the skin, but as yet I've not miraculously dropped a dress size. Here's hoping for a miracle though!

L-R: S.Code and D.Code

Rosie Tea Time

The Apothecary in House of Fraser is quickly becoming my 'go-to' destination for any girly gifts and treats. They have so many gorgeous and unique brands you can't get anywhere else that you're bound to find that special gift you've been hunting for. The latest brand to join the ranks is Rose & Co, a beautiful collection of bath and bathing products that are packaged in traditionally decorated and quintessentially British tins, bottles and boxes.

Designer, stylist and entrepreneur Caroline Rose is a practicing aromatherapist who personally develops all the product formulations using hand-picked, UK-sourced ingredients and professionally blended essential oils. The beautiful collection is inspired by a love of all things vintage, romantic and decadently elegant.Where else can you get bath melts that look as cute and scrummy as this?

I'm absolutely adoring the Rose & Co 'patisserie' range which contains teeny cakes and fondant fancies for your bath. These literally look good enough to eat - although I wouldn't try it - and smell utterly divine too. I've had a few of these sat on my side table over the weekend and they have such a strong percentage of essential oils they've been acting like a beautiful air freshener, imparting the scents of rose and lemon into the air.

These make delightful gifts, especially as it's Mothers Day coming up, or even an indulgent treat for yourself. They are so reasonably priced too, starting at £10 for a box of three, that you can afford to try one in every flavour! I highly recommend the lemon meringue or the rose bath melts... I'm off to have a splash about.


House of Fun

So London Fashion Week is upon us and the blogging world (amongst the rest of the glitterati) seem to all be immersed in fashion shows, parties and 'what to wear' dilemmas. Yesterday I trotted down to John Rocha to see his amazing new collection accessorized with some pretty cool plait hair dos, but I seem to be currently attached to my bed in a state of unwell so I'm not sure what other shows I'll be able to get to. The one show I was gutted not to see though was House of Holland - I love Henry as a person and a designer and he reminds us that fashion should be fun, wearable and loud. His latest collection was inspired by 'granny chic', bingo and Horse & Hound magazine... instant kudos with me if you can make bingo and crochet cool. Check out this fab promo video he's made which embodies everything his designs are about.



Try, Believe, Love

On the 8th March it's International Women's Day and all over the globe there will be events to 'inspire women and celebrate achievements'. Bare Escentuals will be joining in the fun by launching the 'Try, Believe, Love' campaign to encourage women to experience and fall in love with their classic bareMinerals foundation. They'll be popping up in London's Covent Garden Piazza, Manchester's Trafford Centre and Birmingham's Bull Ring for one day only, offering these beautiful friendship bracelets to the ladies who give the foundation a whirl. Each bracelet also contains five vouchers for 'make-unders' so you can share the love around a bit more and offer it up to your friends and family.

I've fallen head over heels for this classic product that started the whole mineral revolution, so I can't recommend to you more that you ought to check this out. It's so easy to apply and really enables your skin to breathe so you won't feel overloaded with make-up. It lasts all day and the concealer makes your complexion flawless - check out my original review here. Have a happy lady day!



The Witch Doctor

From the age of about 13 to 16 I smelt of Witch Stick. If you don't know what I'm talking about then you're lucky - if you do then I'm sure you smothered your face in that TCP-smelling stick that helped to ease your spots and cleared your skin too. The scent still brings back strange memories and the pack still makes me giggle to myself, so when I found out the skin specialists were launching their very own make-up base range I was really intrigued as to how they'd do this. The range consists of a primer, redness relief moisturiser, tinted moisturiser and pressed powder. All the products contain witch hazel to combat the nasties in your skin and give you a glowing and fresh complexion, so you can have a make-up product that doesn't just cover up the blemishes but actually targets the problem too.

I've been trying these for about a week and for their price point (£4.99-£6.99) I think they're good little products. I'm really into primers at the moment and so slapped this on straight away - the formula isn't silky smooth like I'm used to so it's definitely not a cosmetic primer as you really have to work hard to spread it around your face. It absorbs quite fast but it does leave you with a sticky feeling for a few minutes before it does. The purpose of this is to absorb excess oils and protect your skin from make-up by creating a barrier over the skin... I wouldn't say I noticed any less oil by the end of the day but if you suffer from spots this may help you to protect your skin from further damage if you still feel like you have to apply your slap.

The redness relief moisturiser is one of those green things that scare the bejeezus out of me. However, because it's a really light, dewy formula that absorbs and blends well, this actually looked fab and not green at all when it set! I don't have a redness problem so it's hard to judge how effective this is, but it did even the look of my complexion and felt great on the skin. It comes in a handy tube with a pointy applicator though, so it's easy to get the amount you want and not pump the green stuff out all over the place.

The tinted moisturiser was my favourite of the range. It comes in three shades (I used the fairest) and contains enough 'tint' to feel like a light foundation with all the benefits of a moisturiser... kind of the point, I know! It gave me enough coverage to wear in the day, which considering I normally stay clear of tinted moisturisers was a pleasant surprise. It blended well and felt good on my skin, but by the end of the day I did look a bit 'dewy' and felt like I needed a dose of powder on my t-zone. I did like this though and would definitely buy it if I was after an easy 'bung on' product for the day.

The final product was the compact powder which is available in just one shade. It's in a fairly good quality pack, but I think all the budget was spent on the leaf design in the product! It's what I would call a bog-standard, non-specific powder as there wasn't anything special about it but it also wasn't bad in any way. The texture wasn't as soft or blendable as I'm used to but, again, if you have problem skin and are worrying about logging up your pores this may be a good idea for you.

I think the range has a good message and there's a definite place in the shelves of Boots for it. I an imagine that it's incredibly frustrating if you've got problem skin that you want to cover it up, but you're fearful of making it worse by doing so. The range is reasonably priced and contains some effective products so it's worth a look. They don't smell great because of the ingredients, but that's a minor thing that outweighs the fact that they could make a real difference to your make-up regime.

L-R: Tinted Moisturiser, Redness Relief, Primer (rubbed in above) 


So the long awaited MAC 'Wonder Woman' collection has finally hit the shelves of Selfridges where it will be exclusively available until 3rd March and then it will also hit MAC stores around the country. As with any one of their collections there's always a lot of hype and build-up (mainly because it's always available in the US way before we can get our grubby mitts on it) so inevitably it's going to sell like hot cakes. I love the idea, the colours and the fabulous imagery that goes with it - we all want to be Wonder Woman right? However, the red plasti makes it look a bit cheap and tacky so I'm interested to find out what it looks and feels like in reality. Will you be picking up some 'Ka-Pow!' for yourself?



Raffles Bizarre

If you're after funky, random, kitsch and sweet pieces of jewellery then Raffles Bizarre is the place to go. All handmade by the lady Jess Heath herself, she offers some fab pieces that are truly unique at prices you can't sniff at! So many people are adorned with Topshop accessories it's about time we got some bespoke bits fighting back against those millions of leopard rings that are available on the high street.

Jess has kindly made five unique button pieces exclusively for LBQ readers - a ring, necklace, brooch, earrings and bag charm - and to win all you have to do is comment below with your fave piece! Just leave either a valid email or twitter name for me to contact you on and I'll randomly pick five readers at the weekend. Make sure you check out her website and take a look at the fab bits and bobs she has to offer.

T&Cs - one entry per person, must be a follower of LBQ to enter, must leave valid contact details and respond within 48hrs to claim prize.

Are you PhotoReady?

I've been trying Revlon's PhotoReady Compact Foundation for a couple of weeks now so check out what I think in the video below. This is my first 'proper' YouTube video and I'm still figuring out what I'm doing, so please excuse the squidged and fuzzy attempt... I promise it will get better!


Belle of the Bald

Every so often someone pops up in your life that really makes you feel lucky. Lucky to have your health and lucky to be in the position you are. Occasionally you meet someone that has such an impact on you that it brings a tear to your eye. Sometimes that person may be one of the bravest and most positive people you've ever met. This person for me is Maya.

Maya has cancer but she's not moping around about it - she's positive and happy, bubbly and smiley, determined and focused. When I met her a few weeks ago she was such a lovely girl with such an amazing story I didn't stop talking about her for ages. You see, Maya has used her degree in fashion to help her deal with illness through documenting her struggle on her blog 'Belle of the Bald'. Since losing her hair Maya has been decorating her head with all kinds of crazy artifacts, including stickers, leaves, gig tickets, toys and now even make-up. The result is the images that feature on her blog and they're bound to make you smile.

Maya is supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust and trying to raise awareness (and cash!) for the teenagers dealing with life changing illnesses. Please, please, please take a look and click that little 'follow' button and while you're at it follow her on twitter (@bellofthebald) It's the best thing you will do all day - promise.



That time of the month...

Ladies, this is a sensitive and delicate subject. Gents, don't even bother reading any more - just click away now. We're talking periods. That time of the month. Riding the crimson wave. I don't know about you but if my lady area decides to have a paddy then there's no hope for me... my day is ruined and I'm about as productive as a chocolate teapot. For those few days a month I can be overwhelmed with uncomfortable, painful cramps that make me feel rubbish and basically want to sit in a bath eating chocolate until it stops. I always have to have endless supplies of paracetamol, hot water bottles and gin within reaching distance just to get me through - which is why my new discovery is literally going to change those few days a month into something that resembles normality.

Allay is a "revolutionary, drug-free treatment for pain and discomfort associated with menstruation." It's basically this funny little circular wire attached to a microchip thingy which emits some kind of pulse into your body to counteract that heavy, throbbing and skanky feeling that we all get every so often. You literally pop the microchip to turn it on, slip the little device (which is about 15cms long) into the pouch and shuv it down your knickers! That doesn't sound very delicate, but basically you place it where you experience discomfort and pull up your sexy thong (or period granny pants) over the top. It's so small that you can't see, feel or notice it in any way - so much so that literally every time I went to the loo I got a shock when this popped out from nowhere!

Not very glam, but it works!

Considering I normally spend three days a month hibernating, with this I completely felt like it was any other day. On the first day of my period I was in so much discomfort that I was doubled over, but once I popped this out of it's packet it didn't leave my skin for three days. I normally wake up in the night with grumbles and discomfort but with Allay I had absolutely none... nada, squat, zilch. I normally feel really sicky, very bloated and uncomfortable but with Allay I felt as normal as you can after drinking lattes and eating Twirls. I love the fact you can literally put it to work, forget about it and get on with your life.

The microchip - about the size of a 50p coin

Allay lasts between five and seven days so it will get you through your whole period. It's a disposable product so once it's done it's done so you do have to keep re-buying if you want to keep using it. At £9.95 it's not a cheap thing to buy every month, but I think us ladies know that's a small price to pay for having a stress and pain free lady time and probably the amount you spend on pain relief per month anyway! These are only available from Allay's website at the moment but you can have a free trial or sign up to a longer term plan if it works for you. They've got a really great video to give you more info too, but take it from me - Allay is definitely worth a look. Not the most glamorous post I've ever written, but probably the most interesting!
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