29 November 2015

Ten Favourite Things 005

001. Listening to the sound of pianos and waves is my new favourite thing (or pianos and rain, if you prefer).

002. This interview by Lauren Laverne with JK Rowling is awesome.

003. This story of kids in Canada who tied coats to lampposts to help the homeless really warmed my heart.

004. Here's a list of five TED talks that will boost your emotional intelligence.  (I'm a TED talk addict - I also love their podcast, the TED Radio Hour - I recommend the Everything is Connected episode, I've listened to it four times and am currently reading George Monbiot's book, it's so interesting.)

005. We put the Christmas tree up tonight - very exciting! I know some people might think it's a bit early but I'm away in Northampton next weekend, so the next opportunity I'd have to do the decorating wouldn't be for a couple of weeks and I couldn't wait that long! I've also been doing lots of wrapping, taking inspiration from Pinterest of course!

img credit: craftberrybush.com

006. I laughed until I cried at this article - 24 pictures that prove that Ken M is the greatest troll on the internet.

007. I listened to Jess Lively's recent podcast episode with Leigh from the Enneagram Coach and I was really intrigued by the Enneagram personality test.  I'm such a personality/self-awareness test addict so I couldn't resist. I'm a Type 5 - safety, security and a bit rubbish with emotions - yep, that's me! You can take the test here if you're intrigued too.

008. My favourite blog this week has to be the lovely bleubird blog.

009. We're not much further forward with our move unfortunately - things are ticking along but they seem to be taking a while.  Of course I'm still furiously pinning lots of dreamy interiors on Pinterest - particularly lots of retro-y inspiration.  I particularly have my eye on lots of things on Multiyork - we'll definitely be getting a new sofa from them when we do move in, and I want everything from their Ellesmere range, particularly this dreamy sideboard.

img credit: multiyork.co.uk

img credit: bloesem.blogs.com

010. I'm currently obsessed with the Adam Buxton podcast - he's so funny and brilliant that I even love the interviews he does with people I've never heard of.  The Rob Delaney episode is great, as is the one with Caitlin Moran (of course it is).

*post contains a collaborative link

27 November 2015

Christmas Gifts for someone who likes to be cosy | Slippers + Candles

I always think that the best kind of Christmas present is something that a person would love to receive, but wouldn’t necessarily buy themselves.That’s why I love buying people things that inspire cosiness (because most people are better at looking after other people than they are themselves, and often people don’t make enough time for self-care as they should do) and also those little treats that are a little bit more luxury than someone might buy themselves. A new pair of slippers is a surefire way to spoil someone, and it’s a proven fact that one can never have enough candles.So I thought I’d share with you two ideas for great presents – the perfect pair of fluffy booties and a candle that can’t help but inspire a bit of festive chill time. 

I’ve long been a Neom obsessive, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve managed to convert my Mum and several others to being big fans of their amazing candles and other dreamy products.  Neom candles are a failsafe present as again, they are so lovely and lavish but something that not everyone would buy for themselves.  Last year Tom bought my Mum a Neom candle and I think it was one of the best things she received; she hasn’t even lit it yet as the scent is so amazing even when it’s not burning.  Their Limited Edition Perfect Peace candle would much such an amazing present – with scents of pine, myrrh and lime peel it’s deliciously Christmassy without being overwhelmingly festive in a sickly sweet way.  With a blend of 25 essential oils, it makes me feel calm and peaceful as soon as it’s lit – it just has a way of lifting your mood and making you feel soothed and calm (which a lot of people, myself included, need in the post-Christmas period!) The design is so pretty too and would look amazing on any mantelpiece (even after the Christmas decorations have come down!)

Neom Perfect Peace Candle Neom Perfect Peace Candle Neom Perfect Peace Candle Neom Perfect Peace Candle Neom Perfect Peace Candle
Neom Perfect Peace Candle, £34.95*

These White Company slippers arrived for me last week and I was over the moon to unwrap the beautiful packaging.  Nestled within, wrapped delicately in tissue paper were the softest slippers I’ve ever seen (and popped my feet in!) With a knitted exterior and soft faux-fur lining, they’re the perfect way to warm up chilly toes on a winter morning! I pretty much wear slippers the entire time I’m at home, but they’re definitely a non-negotiable for days when you wake up before the heating has really kicked into touch and it still feels too cold to venture out of bed.  They’re also the ideal accompaniment to weekend lounging – preferably paired with some flannel pajamas and a fleece-y dressing gown! I think anyone would be thrilled to find these under their tree – when I buy slippers myself I usually just pick up something cheap from somewhere like Primark, so having some White Company slippers that are infinitely more luxurious and quality feels like such a treat.  I’ll definitely be adding to these to someone’s Christmas present list this Christmas to share in the cosiness!
  White Company PackagingWhite Company Knit Pompom Boots
White Company Knit Pompom BootsKnit Pom Pom Boots, The White Company, £40*

I’ll be doing more Christmas gift guides and suggestions over the next couple of weeks but I wanted to kick this off with two of my own favourite things – just FYI, in both cases I haven't been asked to blog about them but I wanted to share them here as I feel like they would also make amazing gifts for someone else (not mine personally though, I’m keeping them to all to myself!)

Have you picked up any perfect presents recently? I’m still in present buying mode and have lots outstanding so do let me know if you’ve posted any gift guides too!

24 November 2015

Panasonic ES-WH80 IPL Hair Removal System Review + IPL - does it work?

Whilst I never thought that hair removal was something I would write about on my blog, when I was offered the chance to review the Panasonic IPL Hair Removal System I was immediately intrigued and keen to answer my immediate questions - does it work? Is it painful? How do you use it? Is it worth its £300 price tag? And most importantly - would it mean I never had to shave my armpits in the gym toilets because I packed a vest instead of a t-shirt, again?

Panasonic ES-WH80 IPL Hair Removal System Review

So, what is IPL? Is it different to Laser Hair Removal?

I didn't even really know what IPL was when the WH80 Hair Removal System arrived - so I did a quick bit of 'genning up' on the internet.  I knew what laser hair removal was so I was prepared for a machine to arrive whereby I would have to wear goggles and it would really hurt! Luckily I was totally wrong - IPL stands for intense pulsed light and is a form of light therapy that sends light wavelengths into the skin, which targets pigment and kills the growing cells that make the hair. The purpose of IPL is 'permanent hair reduction' - meaning that the hair grows back much more sparsely depending on the area (leg hair, I believe, can be almost completely 'killed off', but armpit hair is so much more dense, meaning it can be reduced but perhaps not removed forever).

It's not suitable for people with red hair, very light blonde hair or white or grey hair, but all other hair colours and skin tones are fine (check the guidance here for more) which is a progression from the original IPL machines that first came out, which were only suitable for those with fair skin and dark hair.

How does it work? Is it easy to use?

The IPL system works via a handheld, cordless machine that feels a little like a big electric razor - it has a lightweight body with the flash window at the top that you hold against your skin.  It really is just like holding a razor really - it's very lightweight and easy to use.  It charges via a Li-on battery that lasts a long time between charges and plugs into the mains.  The system has five different levels of intensity and you progress through them as you continue with usage.  You can initially only use it once a fortnight on your legs and arms, and once a week on your underarms and bikini line.  Again, as you continue with usage, you can increase the frequency - but don't expect that you can dive in straight away, use it daily and see results as you do have to pace yourself between usage in order not to damage your skin.

One thing I didn't immediately realise is that you have to shave the hair you're targeting with the hair removal system prior to using it.  This seemed kind of counter-productive to me as it felt like a bit of an extra faff when the whole point was to make hair removal less time intensive.  However, if you do use it without shaving it can cause ingrown hairs, and you get that awful 'burning hair' smell, neither of which are very desirable.  Also - some people really like the fact that you can keep hair free between treatments (rather than, like with waxing, having to grow the hair until you get it removed).  Once the skin is hair free and dry, you're ready to use it.  You wait for the beep to indicate that you can place it on the skin, and then press the guard against the area you want to remove the hair from and wait for the red flash of light.  As soon as it flashes, you slide the device along the skin to the next area.  It's really quick as there's only a waiting time of five seconds between flashes, so you can do your underarms in less than two minutes, and legs take about five minutes to do.  I was pleasantly surprised by how speedy it was to do my armpits, legs and bikini line - the whole thing took around ten minutes, which is easy to fit into your post-shower routine once a week.

Panasonic ES-WH80 IPL Hair Removal System Review

Does it hurt, and does it affect your skin?

I was actually really nervous to use it as I was convinced that it was going to hurt - I was even worried that it might hurt my eyes as when I tried it for the first time I noticed that the flash was quite intense.  Luckily it wasn't painful, though some flashes on particularly sensitive skin such as the bikini line did feel a little bit sensitive, but really barely anything - just a bit of a hot feeling.  The only time it did hurt is when I used it on the tattoo on the back of my legs without even thinking, that was really painful! From then on I avoided areas that were tattooed, which I think is the general consensus as to what to do with tattooed skin.

Panasonic ES-WH80 IPL Hair Removal System Review

So, does it work?

I've been using the Hair Removal System now for around ten weeks.  I've been using it as per the instructions and now use it on some areas twice a week, and I've increased up to level four so far.  The hair on my legs and bikini line is definitely more sparse and patchy, especially when the first regrowth starts to come through and you then shave and IPL.  Strangely, I haven't really noticed any difference in my armpit hair regrowth (that's a sentence I didn't think I would use on the blog!) which still grows back at the same thickness and rate.  If you're looking for a quick solution to hair removal that means that you can put away the razors forever - perhaps for a holiday or special occasion then this may not be for you.  After three months you're not going to be hair free - but you will definitely see results.  If you're willing to be committed to using it for a prolonged period, and are looking for long-term results then I definitely would consider the ES-WH80.  £300 is a hefty price tag, but you're paying for the technology, which really is very impressive, and something that's amazing and a real time-saver to be able to do at home rather than booking appointments for.  It's also very lightweight, easy to use, and incredibly quick to cover the area you need to, which are all plus points.

Have you tried IPL before? Is it something you'd consider using at home?  If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments - also if you're thinking of buying one and a video would be helpful then just let me know as I'm doing a few videos lately and I'm happy to do a quick little tutorial for this (though it's so easy to use!)

You can buy the Panasonic ES-WH80 online from retailers like Amazon and Boots, priced between £289 and £299.