Thursday, 30 January 2014

Roo Beauty - Zebra Tool Bag

This Zebra Tool Bag from Roo Beauty is everything you could want in a makeup bag! It is the perfect size, it's not too big and not too bulky, so if you have to travel for makeup work or appointments, you're not going to be knocking everybody out on the train! I have a lot of makeup and this bag actually fits it all in, as well as my straighteners and multiple eye shadow palettes, so I have no problem in saying that your kit will fit in comfortably, so let's have a look at the details...

The main compartment will fit in full sized shampoo or conditioner bottles, moisturisers, toners, cleansers or brush cleaners. It will also accommodate a hairdryer, hair straighteners or hair curlers, as well as large makeup palettes or multiple brush tubes. Then there are all the other concealed zip compartments and added pockets. Each side of the bag has a small zip pocket, which you could put in mascaras, glitter dust pots, eyelash glue or eyelashes. The front of the bag has a concealed zip pocket and a smaller zip pocket on top of that. The bigger of these pockets you could fit in small eye shadow palettes and the smaller, you could fit in eyelashes or primers like I have done. As well as these pockets there is a large concealed zip pocket at the back of the bag which could fit in scissors, combs or a paddle brush. Then there are the little storage sections included inside the main compartment. In these you could put small brushes, scissors or combs, lipsticks, lip glosses or even nail art tools. The whole bag itself is made from a wipe clean material, so you can keep it nice and clean and it also comes with an over the shoulder carry strap. Whether you're a makeup artist, a hair stylist or just someone with a passion for either and a large collection of makeup/ equipment you like to travel with, this is the bag for you!
I love the fact that it has a bold, funky zebra print pattern, (also available in leopard print) and all the compartments mean you can fit in everything you need! You won't be disappointed! (That is unless you're the sort of person who carries round everything including the kitchen sink... that definitely won't fit... sorry!)

If you fancy purchasing this bag, you can do so from the Roo Beauty site *here* for £34.99 or if you'd prefer the leopard print version, you can get that *here!*

You can visit the Roo Beauty site *here* which I would definitely recommend as they sell pretty much everything for your beauty storage needs, ranging from Beauty Trolleys to Nail Polish Storage. I will definitely be visiting their site again in the future.

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Monday, 27 January 2014

Makeup - Pink Smokey Eye

"Your face is a canvas for a beautiful piece of art."

The Eyes
*Prep them first, normally I use a bit of primer, but if that's not to hand you can dab on a bit of concealer over your lid and under your eye.*

First use a black liner pencil to tightline your eyes, for those who aren't familiar with the term, 'tightlining' means colouring in the waterline of your eye. You have an upper waterline and a lower waterline, if you look up there is a tiny bit of space between your lashes and your eye, that's your upper waterline. Then if you look straight ahead you'll notice just above your bottom lashes there is another tiny bit of space.. the lower waterline. Once you've done this, pick up your chosen pink eye shadow and cover your entire lid, you want to blend this out slightly above your crease line (this is the crease line that you see when you have your eye open). Then using a black shadow you want to deposit the colour at the outer corner of your crease line and blend slightly inwards but not too far, you don't want to reach the middle, just sit it in the outer corner. Then similarly using a white shadow, you want to deposit the colour at the inner corner of your eye and then blend slightly inward.
Next up is the eyeliner along your top lashline, the tricky bit is getting your flicks/wings to look symmetrical, but that comes with practise and a steady hand. I do find it easier using a pen/felt tip style liner though when drawing a winged line on. On this look, which you can't see because my eyes are closed I used the liner pen under my lower lashline as well, just to add an extra bit of drama to the look. Then pop on your false lashes (if you want the dramatic eyes effect, or you can pop on a bit of mascara.)

The Face
This is far simpler, prep your skin and put on a primer (if you use one) and then foundation. Make sure you buff it into your skin and then you can contour and highlight like I've done *make sure you blend it in too* (I contoured using a bronzer round my face and down my neck, either side of my nose and in the hollows of my cheeks/ just under my cheek bones. I ran a highlighter down the bridge of my nose, my cupids bow, which is the V shape of my top lips and ran a bit on the centre of my bottom lip.) Or alternatively if you like a simpler skin base you can just add a touch of blush to the apples of your cheeks.

Then you can brush on a light pink gloss and you're ready to go!

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Friday, 24 January 2014

AUSSIE 3 Minute Miracle - Deep Treatment

'There's more to life than hair, but it's a good place to start!'

Last week I posted about the hair products I am using at the moment whilst my hair is growing back, which you can read about *here!* So I thought why not do a post about the products I used on my hair whilst I was in hospital. These products were from the brand AUSSIE who also have a lovely little philosophy, 'There's more to life than hair, but it's a good place to start!' Which is very true!

When I was first diagnosed, I was told that there was a very slim chance of my hair falling out completely, they reckoned that all it would do was get a lot thinner, (which for someone who had a thick amount of hair) I felt as comfortable as you could be with the thought of your hair thinning at 20 years old! I wasn't overly worried about it. However, I have a knack of making a mess/ being a bit ditsy with most things that I do! Haha! Washing my hair with a picc line in my arm turned out to be one of those things. No matter how much cling film I had wrapped round my arm, washing my hair in the shower I always managed to get some water under the cling film with my line. SO. In came Super Mummy! Haha! My Mum and Dad came in to hospital to visit me every day when I was in there, so every couple of days my Mum would wash my hair for me... which turned out to be a lot trickier than you'd think! She'd don a plastic apron, roll up her trousers, roll up her sleeves, kick off her shoes and arm herself with AUSSIE Colour Mate Shampoo and AUSSIE 3 Minute Miracle Deep Treatment. Then i'd stand with my head bent under the shower head whilst she washed my hair for me, (often switching the temperature of the water from hot to cold and laughing at my reaction.) It started off with the shampoo, AUSSIE say, "This juicy formula, oozing of the fruity stuff, comes to the rescue of coloured tresses making sure hues stay bright and hair comes alive." ...and you know what? They're right! My hair had been dyed blonde months before I went into hospital, so my roots had started to grow out, my hair was damaged from being bleached and, I have to admit, didn't look in very good condition. Because this AUSSIE shampoo is aimed at coloured hair, even after the first use my hair was much softer and looked just that little bit shinier, the shampoo itself also lathered up really nicely and it smelt wonderfully fruity too! Then, came the real 'star of the show' the AUSSIE 3 Minute Miracle - Deep Treatment, again, this 3 minute miracle bottle was aimed at coloured hair and was by far my favourite out of the two! Simply massage it into your hair/ scalp applying it like it were an ordinary shampoo/ conditioner, then leave it on for 3 minutes, rinse it off and TA-DAA! Lovely, silky smooth hair and the colour also looked that bit brighter and less straw like, (lets face it, nobody likes looking like a scarecrow.)

My Mum went through several bottles of both the shampoo and deep treatment on my hair before it decided to fall out... unfortunate, but hey, it happened. It was however in a much better condition after using just these products (notice no conditioner) and I even plaited a bit of my hair and kept it... still nice and soft even when it's not attached to your head! Ha!
So there you have it! I would thoroughly recommend these products to everyone, whether you're going through treatment, or if you're just looking for a nice little health kick for your hair! They definitely nourish and care for your hair, plus they smell nice and fruity and the 3 Minute Miracle - Deep Treatment is a bottle full of heaven for your hair!

You can purcahse AUSSIE hair products from Boots *here* and if you want to check out more details on these products or other products in the AUSSIE brand, you can have a wander over to their website which you can find *here!*

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Monday, 20 January 2014

Crown Brush Products

For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive some Crown Brush products! These were the Foundation/ Camouflage/ Corrector Palette and Set 615 - White HD Brush Set.

First off, the palette! Crown Brush have put everything you need for a perfect base into one little palette! If you have bags under your eyes... this will cover them! Angry spots? This will cover them! Small blemishes? THIS will cover them! The palette contains six different cream based concealers, lilac, green and then four different tones of skin colour. Because the palette contains cream based products it means they can be easily applied one on top of the other and blended. Priced at £22.99 on the Crown Brush website I would 100% recommend you get one, as you won't need anything else for your foundation routine! You can conceal your blemishes, correct uneven skin tone and apply your chosen colour of foundation all from this palette and you can even use one of the darker tones to contour. It is a makeup lovers must have!

Next up, the brushes! Set 615 - White HD Brush Set is a 7 piece set, made up of 6 brushes and 1 pair of tweezers; the set comes in a white patent leather case, with a little mirror on the left hand side. The brushes themselves are white with blue tips and are made up of nylon bristles, not only do they look gorgeous, they are of extremely high quality. Even if you use drugstore makeup which isn't of the same quality as high end brands such as MAC or Illamasqua, it is worth investing in a good quality set of brushes like these. Even with the smallest amount of product (such as eye shadow) on one of these brushes, the dense nylon bristles that make up the brush, pick up the colour pigment and transfer it to your eyelid without losing the intensity of the colour/ pigment in the shadow. They are really beautiful brushes which produce strong, pigmented results no matter what brand of makeup you use! Priced at £29.99 on the Crown Brush website, you get a Pro Powder Brush, a Tapered Blush Brush, a Deluxe Contour Brush, a Chisel Shadow Brush, a Crease Blender Brush and a Detail Liner Brush, as well as the case they come in and a little pair of tweezers! 

I used both my Crown Brush brushes and my Crown Brush palette to create the 'Butterfly' makeup look below. As you can see from my eyes and lips, the brushes picked up the pink pigment incredibly and it went onto my eyes and lips smoothly, still keeping the strong pigmented colour of the pink eye shadow and lipstick. I am very impressed with the quality of both products from Crown Brush and I will definitely be purchasing more from them in the future!


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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Real Techniques Brushes

The other day my sister was having a rummage in my room and she came across my makeup brushes. Her first comment, "WHY do you need so many brushes, Em?! A brush is a brush... duuuh!" So I pointed out that if I used my massive powder brush to put on eye shadow, I'd probably end up looking like a panda!

I have many different brands of brushes, but my most recent 'brush love affair' is with Real Techniques. This range of brushes is designed by the lovely and well known YouTuber and professional makeup artist, Samantha Chapman! The brushes are of a very high quality at an affordable price, when compared with other high end makeup brands and they also have their own quirky and distinctive little features. The larger brushes, (which you can buy on their own or in certain sets) have a flat base, which means you can sit them on their bottom to stand them up, which is extremely helpful when you're in a rush and foundation is flying everywhere! All the brushes in the Real Techniques range have incredibly soft, synthetic taklon bristles and they also have the name of the brush written on the handle! The first brushes I purchased over a year ago and they were the Stippling Brush and the Powder Brush.

The Stippling Brush
 has short and tightly packed bristles. I use mine for applying my foundation and because of the density of the bristles, it means you can buff the foundation into your skin, producing a much more even coverage and it doesn't look like it's been caked on. A small amount of foundation goes a long way with this brush!

The Powder Brush is a really nice fat brush! It's the perfect size to dip into a pot of loose powder and it's also the perfect size to swish round a pressed powder pot. Whichever powder you opt for, you can use this brush as it's the perfect size to sweep across your face a couple of times and then your powder is done! I also use it with my bronzer as it's just such a convenient size and because the bristles are long and fan out slightly, it means the bronzer can be put on lightly and not put on so it looks 'cakey' on your face.

The next lot of brushes I actually purchased the other day. I bought them online from Cocktail Cosmetics and their delivery was superb! They arrived after 2 days! The duo fibre range is on sale at the moment on Cocktail Cosmetics and I definitely recommend you purchase them if you are a fan of the Real Techniques brushes!

The Duo-Fiber Collection - Limited Edition!
In this collection you get a Face Brush, a Contour Brush and an Eye Brush. The difference between these brushes and the others in the series is that their bristles are much softer and they also appear to be slightly more spaced out from one another. This made me a bit cautious about using them as I didn't think they'd hold the makeup as well as the others, or transfer it to the face as well, however they do.
If you want a light coverage, so you don't look like you've been attacked by a kid running chaos in a makeup aisle, then these are the brushes for you!
The Face Brush you can use for both foundation and powder. (I find it works better with a liquid foundation) and because the bristles aren't as dense as the other collections, it means the coverage is much lighter and you can then swoosh a bit of powder over your base. Tadaa! Lightweight, non-cakey looking face!
The Contour Brush in the Duo-Fiber collection provides just as lightweight coverage when used with a minimal amount of bronzer... the most common places people contour are just under the cheekbones, the temple, along the hairline, the jawline, the sides of your nose and the tip of your nose. If you are going to contour all of the spots mentioned, you need to make sure that you blend it all in properly. But this brush is the perfect one for doing all of those, as it's just the right size to get into the hollows of your cheeks and you can brush it lightly around your hairline and your jawline.
The final brush in this collection is the Eye Brush, I wouldn't suggest this brush for applying eyeshadow as, (for me) it isn't flat enough to control. It's a circular brush which you would use to add the finishing touches to your eyes, such as a bit of glitter or the highlight in the corners of your eyes.

The other brushes I purchased were the Essential Foundation Brush, the Multi Task Brush and the Domed Shadow Brush. These three brushes you can purchase together in the 'Travel Essentials' set. (In the set there is a '2-in-1 case and stand' which you can either pop your brushes in to transport them, or you can fold the case horizontally and tighten the toggle to create a stand to pop your brushes in.) The final brush I purchased on it's own and that was the Expert Face Brush. The Essential Foundation Brush and the Expert Face Brush do roughly the same job... but there are slight differences with the design of each brush and how it puts the product onto the face. The Essential Foundation Brush slightly tapers towards the end, so it comes to a slight point. This means when you're applying liquid foundation or concealer you can get into the hard to reach places, like under the eye and in the corners under the eyes. You can also use it with your foundation to build up coverage, as it won't buff it on like the Stippling Brush, instead it will lightly layer. The Expert Face Brush on the other hand has slightly shorter bristles as it has a broad, dome shaped head, which allows for application and easier blending of liquid or a cream foundation. (This is personally my preferred foundation brush, as it's smaller and because of it's domed bristles blending foundation into the skin is much easier.)
The Multi Task Brush does exactly what the name suggests... it multi tasks! You can use it for applying powder to your whole face, a bit of blush to the apples of your cheeks, or a dab of bronzer just below your cheekbones, (in the hollows of your cheeks) or to completely contour your face. Personally I prefer to use it for powder or blush, as I prefer a more precise brush for contouring, but it gives a good coverage and consistency for whichever of the three jobs you choose to use it for!
Finally, the Domed Shadow Brush you can use to apply eye shadow because of it's slightly flatter head and because of the dome shaped bristles it follows the same curve as your eye so you can use it to blend in your crease too! Because this brush is smaller you can use it for pretty much every aspect of your eye makeup... applying shadow to your lid, blending in your crease, highlighting in the corner of your eye, and applying glitter!

Overall I LOVE these brushes and I think that Sam has thought really carefully about the design of each and every one. Sam has colour coded her brushes, which makes it a lot easier for people to figure out which brush they want if they haven't bought any before. (Obviously when you begin to use the brushes, sometimes you find that you prefer to use a foundation brush for powder or bronzer instead, so just go with what you feel more comfortable with. It's not set in stone!)

Golden Handle = Base (Liquid Foundation, Cream Foundation.)
Purple Handle = Eyes (Shadow, Liner, Finishing Touches.)
Pink Handle = Perfect Finish (Powder, Blush, Bronzer.)

You can find these brushes in Boots stores, or you can purchase them online!
Cocktail Cosmetics often have discounts or sales on, so you can have a wander over to their site if you want to and purchase them from there. Delivery is quick too!

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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Lee Stafford - Hair Growth Treatment

'If the earth's not nourished you'll never grow BEAutiful flowers.'

This is the quirky little quote that greets you on Lee Stafford's 'Hair Growth Treatment' products and I love it! It's true though, if your hair isn't nourished with the right products and diet it's not going to grow to it's full potential length.

My hair started falling out after my third dose of chemo and I eventually decided to take it all off at the end of September. Since then it has been growing back and THE ONLY product I have used on it has been Lee's Hair Growth shampoo, conditioner and treatment (which you use in between the shampoo and conditioner.) It's like using any shampoo or conditioner, except for the treatment in between. Lather up your shampoo, rinse it off and then, using an egg sized scoop of product from the treatment pot, massage from roots to ends, leave on for 5 minutes and then rinse off! Lastly whack in your conditioner and rinse out and TADAA! Not only do you smell like berries and loveliness, (I have to say once you smell these products, no other product can beat them!) You WILL also notice a difference in your hair! My hair feels really soft and silky (despite there not being that much) and I have noticed a difference!
Now don't get me wrong, this is the first time i've ever been bald before, so I have no experience up until now, or no idea how fast hair should grow, but after using this product for about 3 months (as my hair didn't grow back straight away) I think it's grown really well and it is ALL down to these products! Once you use them, you'll never want to go back and I would 100% recommend giving them a try! I for one shall continue to use these products until my hair has returned to it's pre-cancer length!

Below left: Taken on the 25th September 2013 when I took my remaining hair off.
Below right: Taken on the 13th January 2014!


You can purchase Lee's Hair Growth shampoo, conditioner and treatment at Boots stores and you can have a wander over to Lee's site where you can browse through his other hair product collections too!

I hope you find them as effective and as wonderful as I have! THE BEST products I have ever used!

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Monday, 13 January 2014


So you may be thinking, WHY HAS THIS CRAZY GIRL WRITTEN HER POST TITLE IN CAPITALS?! This is because, there is no other way I can get across to you, how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING this wig shop is and how INCREDIBLY LOVELY Phoebe was, who sorted me out! Look at it like this, if your head was a strawberry.. this place is your cream!

Trendco. Trendco Hair Supplies is a chain of salons located in London, Hove, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham and are one of the UK's largest suppliers of wigs and hairpieces (human hair and synthetic.) I went to the salon in Hove as it was the one closest to me and was seen by one of the stylists there called Phoebe. Phoebe is an absolute gem and a complete credit to the salon! Walking into the salon, there are loads of wigs on display heads, ranging from bobs, to shoulder length, straight to curly, some have bangs and some don't and all of these wigs come in an array of colours and tones.

Phoebe sat me down on a chair in front of a mirror (like you'd find at a hairdressers) and asked me what kind of style I was looking for and if I had a certain colour in mind. To be honest I was completely overwhelmed by the display of wigs on show and all the different cuts and styles... there were just so many! I'd gone in with the intention of getting a wig with loose curls in a brown or blonde and I definitely knew I wanted it to have a fringe as I felt that being a wig, with a fringe you wouldn't be able to see any cut off point from head to hair. I tried on the 'Avery' wig it was curly and had bangs on it, but I quickly realised it wasn't the right one for me, for some reason it just didn't look right, (probably because my hair is naturally dead straight... not to mention the fact I was bald and hadn't seen that much hair on my head in a while!) Phoebe suggested trying something straight and brought back 'Misha.' I'd also decided that I wanted a slightly lighter colour than the last one, so Phoebe had chosen a lighter brown colour with blonde highlights running through it. She placed it onto my head for me, like she had done 'Avery.' I had a wig cap over my head first (to make the wig more comfortable to wear) and then Phoebe asked me to hold the front of the wig against my forehead, whilst she pulled the rest of the wig over my head so it sat comfortably. Phoebe had assessed my skin tone perfectly after I realised the last colour was too dark and the mixture of the blondes and browns in 'Misha' were a really complimentary colour on my skin tone. The fringe that was on 'Misha' was a tad bit too long for me, but Phoebe cut it so that it sat how I wanted it and was more of a straight fringe. I then walked out of the shop a very happy bunny with a lovely head of hair!

Overall I can't rave enough about Trendco and about Phoebe! I'd gone in about a week before to book my appointment (you need to book an appointment with a stylist, unfortunately you can't just walk in.) I went into the salon really scared to take my hat off as I was now bald, however when I did take it off Phoebe didn't bat an eyelid, she talked me through styles, colours, wig care and how to get it to sit on my head properly. When she spoke it was as though she'd actually been through hair loss (whether she has or not I don't know, as I didn't ask) but she made me feel completely comfortable and very happy by the end with my new hair! She knew exactly what she was talking about and I would definitely go back again! 'Misha' the wig itself looks so real and unless you came up really close and had a good look at my 'roots' (sounds a bit of a funny thing to do) you wouldn't know that it was a wig! My Dad summed it up nicely by saying, "It's weird, because you wouldn't know it was a wig, but obviously I know it's a wig because I saw it go on your head, but really, you wouldn't know!" Haha!

A MASSIVE thank you to Phoebe as I couldn't have asked for better! If you do go to the Hove store I would thoroughly recommend her! The focus is all on the customer and making them feel 'normal' again and that is something you won't find with every wig supplier. Trendco is THE place to go for getting a high quality, natural looking wig.

My wig colour is Mochaccino and the style is Misha. (Synthetic wig.)

*It is also really simple to wash your wig. You soak it in lukewarm water with a splash of shampoo, rinse then soak in clean lukewarm water with a splash of the conditioner and then just rinse it out and hang it on your head or wig stand to dry! You can brush through it with a wide toothed comb once it is dry, don't brush it whilst it is wet as that can pull on the hair. It's as simple as that!*

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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Goodbye Hair ♥

After two courses of Idarubicin (chemo,) my hair hadn't yet fallen out... yes, it had thinned, but there was still a substantial amount attached to my head and anybody who hadn't met me before would have thought that that was my normal amount of hair. My third course of chemo changed all of that. It was a drug called Mitoxantrone, a funky Sonic the Hedgehog blue in colour and I was given that, like my previous courses, intravenously.
A week or so after I'd' had my last dose of Mitoxantrone and my levels were pretty much in a 'safe' zone my Dad came to collect me to take me home. I heard him come into the room whilst I was in the bathroom, I'd locked myself away and had been standing looking into the mirror, slowly running the brush through my hair for about 10 minutes. I'd found a bald patch at the back of my head and my hair that should have been there was now scattered on the floor and firmly lodged in my hairbrush, I unlocked the door with tears rolling down my face and Dad came over to give me a hug. He collected up my hair from the floor and then put it in a bag to take home... "You can show it to your Mother when we get back... we can always stick it back on your head with a bit of glue!" Haha, one thing about my Dad is that after a sympathetic hug, it is normally always followed by a joke or a sarcastic comment to lighten the mood and admittedly, it did make me laugh!

I have always loved my hair, it was part of me (obviously, being attached to my head) and changing the colour and style of it now and then is what (I thought) made me, well, me! 

Up until now, my hair has had a very colourful life! My natural colour is a mousey brown, but as you can see it has been brown, dark brown, black and blonde and it's had highlights, bits of blue, bits of pink and bits of red here and there. So when it started falling out I was devastated. It got to the stage where the majority of it had come out, I was left with a massive monk style bald patch on my head and I was crying every time I washed or brushed my hair.

On the 25th September I decided enough was enough and took the rest of it off. (That and the fact my Mum had said I now reminded her of 'that man from Little Britain' aka Matt Lucas... thank you Mother! Haha!) So off it all came. There is no way you can prevent your hair from falling out due to chemo. If it's going to come out, it's going to come out and I was nowhere near ready to deal with it. I cried a lot. Every time I brushed my hair, I cried. Every time I washed my hair, I cried. Every time I looked in the mirror and saw myself, I cried. In my eyes and in my mind I was falling apart, the worst bit was, I could see that I was falling apart, but there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it.

My hair has grown a fair amount since September, my sister has now nicknamed me 'Hedgehog' because it's so soft and sticks up where I've been sleeping on it. She said when it gets even longer I will have reached a 'Porcupine' stage of hair growth! My brother on the other hand, returned home from work and greeted me with a "Haha! How's Dennis the Menace doing?" I'd like to think that I don't resemble a spikey haired, trouble making cartoon character, but he seems intent on making his nickname for me stick... I do however have THE nicest wig for the days when I just can't bare looking at it, which I shall give you all the details for in my next post! There is no easy way to deal with losing your hair when having Chemo, but stay strong and keep smiling! It WILL grow back. xx

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

My Top 10 Hospital Essentials for Cancer Patients

 When you're diagnosed with cancer, it normally means that you have long stays in hospital. When I was first admitted I stayed in hospital for 3 weeks, managed to get home for a couple of days and then I got an infection so I had to be carted straight back into hospital for another long stay. SO, I have come up with a list of the Top 10 essentials I found really useful during my hospital stays (and when I was home) which I will go through with you one by one!

1. Carmex.
The original little jar was definitely a big must for me. The problem I found once I was put on a cocktail of drugs and then having chemo on top of that, was it really took its toll on my body, especially my skin. My lips became very dry, which meant whenever I went to talk or yawn, (which was quite often... even though I spent most of my time asleep haha!) My lips would crack making them even worse. BUT my lovely mother came in after a trip to Superdrug armed with a little pot of Carmex for me and ta daaa! It did not disappoint! If I put this product on at night, when I woke up at breakfast time, my lips still felt just as moisturised as when I'd put the product on before bed. This, I have no doubt, is all down to the camphor and menthol formula Carmex use and the addition of petrolatum, which creates a long lasting barrier. After just a couple of days of use, my lips felt and looked so much better!

2. Sally Hansen - Miracle cure.
My nails have always broken easily, but when I started my treatment they became a lot dryer, developed ridges and started peeling. Sally Hansen's Miracle Cure treatment was sent to me by a friend of my Mum's who had recently been through cancer. She sent me some other really thoughtful and useful gifts, but this was one of my favourites! On Sally's website she has high promises for her product, including 'instantly strengthened and reinforced nails' as well as stopping peeling. The application is simple, shake the bottle, then apply a thin coat to your nails every other day. Since I started using this product back in June, my nails are in much better condition. Although they still have a few ridges in them, (which my little sister likes to point at occasionally accompanied by an "Eeew! That's so gross!") They have stopped peeling completely and are much stronger! This product definitely lives up to it's promises.

3. Palmer's Cocoa Butter - Intensive Relief Hand Cream.
This products is like putting on a pair of velvet gloves! My hands became very dry and sometimes if I'd had a cannula in my hand, the sticky plaster that held it in place would often cause my skin to peel off once it was removed. Palmer's definitely worked it's intensive softening and soothing magic as after a week my hands were back to normal and I have continued to use this moisturiser every day because I love it so much!

4. Dove - Purely Pampering Nourishing Lotion.
Like my hands, the rest of my skin also suffered and became very dry and began to peel. Dove products always feel so beautiful and soft on my skin and their purely pampering nourishing lotion was no exception! With the added ingredient of shea butter to 'deeply nourish and soften your skin' my own skin was almost back to normal within a couple of weeks. I would 100% recommend this product.

5. Veet - In Shower Hair Removal Cream (Sensitive Skin.)
Part of the package of being diagnosed with Leukaemia is that your blood doesn't clot like it should, so for me I had to be very aware of the fact when I was let home, I had to be careful around our cats to avoid being scratched. Shaving posed another problem. On my medication I became very shakey at times, which made shaving my legs without taking a chunk of skin off a problem. This is where Veet comes in. You can get the tubey version or you can get a pump dispenser version, (the latter is much easier to use) and then you just slap it on, wait for 5 minutes, then using either the sponge or spatula provided wash it off in the shower. It's as simple as that! It doesn't have that gone off smell like other hair removal brands and it leaves your skin soft, smooth and moisturised! Definitely a must have if you don't fancy risking it with a razor. 

6. Batiste - Dry Shampoo. 

One thing I found difficult was washing my hair, the first two lots of chemo I had only caused my hair to thin, so it still remained the length it was... just thinner! However I did have a line in my arm and if I'm being honest I'm not very good at multitasking. Washing my hair would involve holding the shower head, applying the shampoo, rinsing it out whilst holding the shower head and then repeating these steps with the conditioner, all whilst trying not to get my arm wet with my line in. I just couldn't do it. Luckily that was where my Chief Hair Washer came in AKA my Mum! She would come in and don a plastic apron, roll up her trousers and stand bare footed washing my hair for me. All I had to do was stand there with my head bent under the shower head, while she had a great time laughing at me whenever she changed the water from hot to cold! This is where dry shampoo comes in. It promises to make your hair look and smell fresh if you don't have enough time to wash it... and it actually worked. All you have to do is spray a bit into your hair, roughly massage it in and then you're good to go... (which in my case was back to bed.) But it kept my hair feeling fresher and non greasy in between hair washes which is exactly what I was looking for.

7. Sensodyne - Pronamel.
Half way through my treatment I found that my teeth had become very sensitive, so sensitive in fact that drinking water at room temperature still gave me a bit of a shock, as did eating a hot meal. This time Dad came to the rescue and bought me a tube of Sensodyne toothpaste. After a couple of weeks the sensitiveness of my teeth had improved greatly and drinking water was no longer giving me a shock when it came into contact with my teeth. This is the only brand of sensitive toothpaste I have used and found to have worked.

8. Snack box!
Even though my snack box says 'My VERY Healthy Snacks' I have to admit that it was pretty much always filled with chocolate! Hehe. Having said that I did on occasion have it filled with muesli bars or cereal bars, which I would definitely recommend, as it gave me something to snack on during the day or in the middle of the night if I had a sudden urge of hunger!

9. Bra Top/ Crop Top.
This little bra top, I can honestly say was one of THE best things I packed in my hospital bag and is a great little alternative to a bra when you find yourself in hospital and lying in bed most of the day and night. These ones were from Marks and Spencer and came in a pack of two. They're soft and comfortable to wear and there are no wires in them like you find in a bra, so it meant no faffing around and taking it off when I went for x-rays which was a massive bonus! A definite must have!

10. Photo.
The picture of my photo is of me when I was little with my Mum and my Dad. I kept it by my bed when I was in hospital on my table. It was reassuring for me to have it there, especially at night when I'd feel a bit rubbish and down about everything going on. It's nice to look at a photo of your parents/ family/ friends, to know that they're there in spirit at that moment, if not actually in the room with you. They love you and they'll be there for you through the ups and the downs, so don't give up, it's just a little positive reminder. 

And of course, don't forget to pack a pair of cosy pyjamas! 😊

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Friday, 3 January 2014

2013 Makeup Looks

These are a few of the makeup and body painting looks I did in 2013.
I plan to recreate some of these this year, just to freshen them up a bit and go over products used.

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Thursday, 2 January 2014

My Cancer Story

Last year on Thursday 20th June I was told that I had cancer. The cancer I was diagnosed with was a type of Leukaemia, known as Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia. At 20 years old, the 'Big C' word, surprisingly, wasn't one that really shocked me... or so I thought. I'd lost my Grandad to the disease in 2006 and then my Granny the following year also to cancer. It was just something that I had begun to accept was eventually going to take everyone I loved away from me. Then I was told I had it... my first thought? I'm not going to see my 21st birthday in December, it's going to kill me like it did my Grandparents.

I'd been trundling round the house, feeling a bit rubbish thinking I had a bad dose of tonsillitis. I'd been back and forth to the doctor like a yo yo, but nothing was improving. On the Thursday morning my Dad was upstairs in his study, I was downstairs in the kitchen with my head over a bin spitting up blood, (obviously making a horrendous noise, as when my Dad appeared in the doorway after hearing me down the baby alarm, he said, "What ARE you doing?! You sound like you're trying to give birth down here!" The usual sarcastic tone coming through in his voice as always, haha!) After he had examined the contents of the bin and pulled a few comical faces, he decided that it was probably a good idea to go back to the doctors.

We arrived at the doctors and after waiting around a while before seeing someone, I was referred to A and E in Brighton. When we got there we waited around for a bit until I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist, who was really nice until she started wiggling a tubey camera up my nose and down the back of my throat... while my Dad sat next to me, stifling his laughter at my grimacing facial expressions and watering eyes. Thanks Dad! Haha! In the end the specialist said she couldn't see anything that would be causing me to feel so unwell, so she took some bloods and sent them off... and then the waiting game began.
It was soon the afternoon when she popped her head back round the curtain to see how I was doing. I'd just been begging Dad to take me home, saying I was tired and we could just come back later. I looked up at her and it only took me a second to clock on from her expression that something was wrong.

"They've found some abnormalities with your bloods."
"Is it really bad?"
"It might be... there are people coming down to talk to you."

I immediately looked at my Dad who was sitting by my bed, holding onto the railings in silence, he looked at me and said not to think the worst, it might not be all bad. Then a couple of doctors came in. They explained that they thought I had Leukaemia, a cancer of the blood, but they'd need to take a bone marrow sample to confirm the specific type... after that everything just blurred into one. I remember being hysterical and all I could do was cover my face, bring my knees up to my chest and cry. My Dad was silent next to me, his hands were holding on tightly now to the railings on my bed. I can't remember the last time I saw my Dad cry, but in that moment when I turned to look at him for a reassuring, 'everything will be okay' comment, he didn't say anything, he just looked back at me with tears rolling down his face and then hugged me. If there was ever a moment I wanted the world to swallow me up... it was then. The doctor asked if we had any questions, but I had none. Dad managed to ask if it would affect my triplet brothers before his voice broke and his eyes glossed over again with tears. They said it wouldn't, as that wasn't the way this Leukaemia worked. Thank goodness.

I was then wheeled off on my bed to have a brain scan and other things. I honestly can't remember what else happened that day. My first month or so in hospital was a complete blur, I had a bone 
marrow biopsy done as soon as I was admitted so the doctors could confirm the diagnosis and I had lots of blood and platelets pumped into me. I was also introduced to lots of nurses during my stay on the Haematology Ward in Brighton, who are all wonderful people. There have been a lot of negative reports over the years about the NHS care in hospitals, but for me, the group of nurses I met were and are a credit to the hospital and the ward. They always came in with a smiley face and were just really lovely people, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better bunch!

Since June I've been in and out of hospital whilst having 4 courses of chemotherapy, 3 lots of Idarubicin and 1 lot of Mitoxantrone, (the latter I have to thank for my hair falling out.) I've become acquainted with many needles, a cocktail of drugs a dealer would be jealous of and daily visits from my wonderfully supportive family, (including my slightly older triplet 

brother, who found it amusing to play with my bed remote in an attempt to fold me in half.) Not to mention everybody else's blood that is now nicely swimming around my body.

At the end of October last year I was told that I was definitely in remission and that my bloods were pretty much back to normal. I have to be monitored for the next three years, which involves having a bone marrow biopsy done every three months as that is the quickest way to catch the Leukaemia early if it comes back.

I am alive thanks to so many people and that is something I shall never take for granted.

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I have finally decided that I am jumping on the blogging bandwagon.

Last year I experienced something that I never thought would happen to me, I was diagnosed with Leukaemia and then, 5 months later after treatment, thankfully, was told I was in remission, which you can read all about over in my little 'Dealing With Cancer' section. After everything that was thrown at me last year, I have decided to pursue my love of all things makeup and share with you my ideas and colourful creations! I will also be putting up a few posts here and there about dealing with the 'Big C.'

Feel free to browse around, comment and even follow if you enjoy and want to keep up to date with me.

Love Emily xx

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