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Everything I Have Learnt About LED Laser Facials…

March 23, 2020

If you follow me on Instagram it won’t be a surprise to you that I use an at home laser mask or am always running off to a salon version.  I’ve had some form of acne since I was eleven and decades later it doesn’t look like it will ever leave me.  Sometimes this can be attributed to stress, then it is obviously because the air is quite polluted or other times it is hormonal.  My skin is sensitive, and I get red marks that can last a year despite my everyday routine.  Fortunately, my skin rarely scars so that is a blessing.  Laser facials have changed my life these past two years and I thought I would share everything I have learnt about laser facials to help you.

The Science.

Healing with laser light was first developed by NASA for their astronauts.  It was discovered that specific light waves could kill bacteria (blue) and also help to promote healing (red).  Further investigation has determined that light can reduce pigmentation (green), refresh mature skin (yellow) and boost collagen (white).

Picture of me holding the Neautrogena Light Therapy mask. Everything I Have Learnt About LED Laser Facials.

Try A Good Cheap Product First.

At home treatments can be expensive and you also need to see if this product works for you.  Neutrogena has a great Light Therapy mask at a lower price point.  It has 16 lights that emit 8 red and 8 blue light waves.  This means you are getting healing and bacteria killing at the same time.  The draw backs of this device is that it limits the usage, however youtube can help you with hacks for this.  Also you have to have both lights on even if you don’t need one and you can’t adjust the time. Because there are only 16 lights I found I did have to do this everyday to make a difference.

Picture of my MZ Skins Light Therapy mask. Everything I Have Learnt About LED Laser Facials.

Research Before You Invest.

When you are ready to invest more you can find light masks on the market from £200+.  The key here is to think about what you want from your mask as it will last a long time.  I wanted all five light options, with the ability to choose, more lights (at least 100) and to set a timer.  At the time of researching I settled on MZ Skins Light Therapy mask.  It is sold here in London so any issues I knew I could get in contact with them quickly.

Picture of person having a salon light session. Everything I Have Learnt About LED Laser Facials.

In Salon Treatments.

These are the dream and much stronger than any at home treatment.  Lots of salons will offer LED therapy as part of facials, but the ones who know where the money is at allow you to book just the LED light for a 20minute session.  Walk in, walk out.  No need to even take your top off.  Just sit in the chair, meditate and get on with your day.

My Personal LED Light Facial Routine.

I started with the Neutrogena Light Therapy mask and it worked great.  I had to use it everyday and after two years it broke and only gave me the red light.  I kept using it but realised that I needed the blue light to keep breakouts at bay.  My skin went crazy and I had soooo many breakouts that I booked a salon course.  I went once a week for five weeks and everything healed up and pimples went away. 

Then I invested in MZ Skins Light Therapy mask that has 150 lights.  I find I can use this 2-3 times a week, 10 minutes per coloured light.  As it is a bit stronger I also find I’ve had hardly any breakouts and can use just two colours, blue and white.  I still get pimples but the way they behave now is much different.  They literally appear within a few hours and if I pop them, because let’s be honest we all do!, they are ready and there is no scab or mark. Now I treat myself to a salon treatments every 4-6 months when they are on special.

Hope this was helpful and you are on your way to better skin too.  Read more about my skincare routine here. PF xo

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Life Making

Creating A Functional Entrance Hall…

March 16, 2020

Each year I participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.  It is a great way to reset your home, identify tasks that need doing and clear out the years clutter.  Each day you are given a goal from clearing a drawer to donating items to charity.  The big task is to put together your yearly home project.  Identifying something that you want to do, putting together a list of what that entails and planning it out.  You aren’t expected to complete this task in January and it can take as long as you need.  This year my yearly home project is to create a functional entrance hall.

How The Entrance Hall Functions Now.

Spoiler – it doesn’t!  I moved into my new build flat and I wasn’t allowed to repaint or decorate.  The plaster requires up to eighteen months to air and dry out limiting any decorating.  When I come into my flat there is a small entrance hall which every other room feeds off.  To the right, tucked behind a boxed in pillar, is a small space where I keep my shoes and coats. 

I currently have a very traditional, English coat rack in the space and that is it.  Storage wise it is a space that could be doing so much more and really could look better.  In this space is also a double powerpoint that I use for my hairdryer and fairy lights.  UK standards are limiting when it comes to power in bathrooms and we aren’t trusted to be able to plug in appliances in wet spaces!  As a result, all my other hair gadgets are piled in this space as well.  Safe to say I am not looking after these gadgets, and I have to tidy this space at least once a week.  It does not function well.

Planning and Budgeting The Entrance Hall Makeover.

Over the past four years I have researched many ideas on how to make this space function better.  The ceiling height means I can lift my coats with a hanging system.  It makes sense to have some sort of storage that stacks the shoes.  I’ve love to not see them poking out from their space! 

One of the biggest sticking points were my hair gadgets and how to store them.  Researching online I found several systems designed specifically for Dyson hairdryers.  Some even use magnets to display the attachments.  Finally, I would like to have a second double power point so that I can get rid of the power board.

Knowing the cost of this project would determine if I could go ahead.  I spent a few hours researching, over a couple of days, and came up with the below design.  It is a total spend of £290, excluding paint.  I am still unsure how, and if, I will paint the wall, total area, ceiling or nothing.  Paint isn’t cheap!  The most expansive item is the Kroft hanger which I might try and DIY later this year.

Getting Started On The Entrance Hall.

Excitedly I have decided to move ahead with the project knowing I have a year to slowly purchase and put everything in place.  I have borrowed a stud finder from a friend and organised another’s electrician husband to come and put in the powerpoint.  I’ve purchased the Dyson hair dryer holder and marked the ceiling where the hanger can go.  A few months of saving and I’m looking forward to making over this space.

Mood board picture of all the elements I am hoping to add to my entrance hall. 
 They correspond with the list of seven items nest.  Creating A Functional Entrance Hall.
  1. Kroft Hanger £98
  2. Silver Double Point Power Point £24 plus £50 install
  3. Dyson Hair Dryer Wall mounted Display £21
  4. Black Metal Shelf £15
  5. Made.com Wall Hooks £19
  6. Yamazaki Shoe Rack £52
  7. Earthborn Clay Paint £20+

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Life

Tackling The Hoarder Room And Your Monica Cupboard…

February 8, 2020
A picture of my donation pile.  Extra clothes, a toothbrush charger and lots of spare frames.  A hose! and some books.  Tackling The Hoarder Room And Your Monica Cupboard.

In March I will have lived in my flat for four years.  What?! Time has flown and I honestly can’t believe it.  I moved into this one bed having lived in a three bed flatshare, with separate living and kitchen areas.  I ran that flatshare so most of the belongings, including some furniture, came with me.  My new flat has a cupboard in the bedroom that I use for storage.  A luxury in London, but also a space that is really like Monica’s hoarder cupboard from Friends.  Over the past few years I barely went in there.  Occasionally pulling out my suitcase or Christmas decorations, always adding random bits I wasn’t interested in dealing with!  I made an agreement with myself to use the random days between Christmas and the New Year to tackle the hoarder room and Monica cupboard.

Sorting out my closet got me all revved up for more spring cleaning.  My sister had been attempting to sort out her flat for a month or so before I arrived in January.  Her and her husband have a two bed flat and use the second room for his study and her sewing.  However, this past year with the wedding taking up most of the headspace, the second room also became known as the hoarder room.  Piles of stuff was creating a headache for my sister and I volunteered to spend a day with her tackling and sorting.  In the end it took us two days and she was so over the moon with the results.

Have Someone Help You.

You will need a cheerleader, a friend who can keep you motivated as it gets worse before it gets better.  They need to be in charge of the playlist, keep it upbeat and know when to put on some jazz.  All physical lifting should be done by this person.  You will be overloaded with emotions and having them lift the physical weight is incredibly helpful.  Snacks and drinks are their domain as well.  Make sure they know they are in charge of refilling the water glasses and calling the lunch break.

Start With The Visual Clutter.

My sister had her hoarder room and the wardrobe marked as the areas to tackle.  I made her focus on the visual clutter in the room first.  This was what was agitating her the most and could be seen from the front door.  Despite my reasoning we did have a few minutes of conversation as my sister wanted to start with the cupboard.  I understood.  Clearing out the cupboard potentially gave the items in the room somewhere to go.  I argued we didn’t know how much of the room stuff we were keeping.  Why make room in the cupboard just to move the room items and not really deal with them?

Pull Everything Out, Create Your Piles And Act On Them.

Together we pulled everything out of the room allocating it to a space in the lounge room.  Each space was given a final destination. Ebay/gumtree.  Sewing/repairs. Donations.  Trash.  I went for the larger, heavier items, asking where they belonged as we went.  For pieces my sister was unsure of we placed on the dining table for sorting later.  This resulted quickly in approx. 70% of the items allocated and dealt with.  I then sat my sister at the table to start on the rest.  Whilst she was doing this I vacuumed and dusted the hoarder room ready for the return of any items.

Make Time To Finish The Job.

Finishing the job is often the last task that makes this job lag.  We all have had bags of donations sitting by the door or in the car boot for months!  After sorting out my cupboard I realised that none of the charity shops near me were open until the New Year.  So, I too had a pile of items behind my couch that didn’t get moved until late January!

Throughout the first day with my sister I regularly took bags of rubbish down to the bin.  Five in total.  I know some people wait until the end of the day to do this.  For me having these moments to change the pace and see progress helps keep the energy up.  It is quite satisfactory throwing things into the bin and helpful to get outside for some fresh air!

Ensure that your process includes these final steps of getting rid of the items.  Be realistic.  It doesn’t have to be on the day but when would you really have time next?  Spending a few minutes now driving to charity can be really helpful.  My sister was driving me home, so we made the effort to do two trips to load up the car and got rid of all the charity items that night.

If The Job Is Big Be Flexible With Your Time.

When I cleaned out my Monica cupboard I split the time over a couple of days.  This allowed me to stay motivated and ensure I got the job done.  For my sisters flat, we decided to continue the next day instead of going to the beach.  We were honest with ourselves that the likelihood of my sister tackling her sewing pile and getting all the items on ebay anytime soon were slim.  Day two saw us sleep in, put on some music and whilst she repaired and sewed, I listed items on ebay as if my life depended on it!  By mid afternoon we were mostly done and rewarded ourselves with a dip in my parents pool and cuddles with their dog Lizzy.

Say No To Family Donations.

The majority of items we threw away and donated to charity from my sisters’ home were items that had been donated to them from family.  Moving in together and starting their teaching careers resulted in well-meaning relatives gifting lots!  The reality was though that most of these items were not needed, a version was already owned or was obviously a relative trying to feel less guilty of getting rid of some family heirloom that was really junk.  Upon reflection my sister and I were quite frustrated that we spend two days of our lives essentially taking items to charity that others couldn’t emotionally do.  My sister now has a stronger sense to say no to these items or drop them straight to the local charity store on her way home.

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Life

Three Things I Learnt At My Sister’s Wedding…

January 13, 2020
Three Things I Learnt At My Sister's Wedding. A picture of me at the reception with my sister and her new husband.

Celebrating my sister’s wedding this year was lots of fun mixed with lots of stress.  From the moment I touched down in Australia we were go go go!  It was expected and fortunately we had all worked together to make a fantastic day for my sister.  On the day of the wedding there were three things that stood out for me that other blogs and wedding magazines hadn’t covered.  These are three things I’ve learnt about the wedding day.

Friends Providing Services On The Day.

A friend who is a florist, make up artist or cake maker is a dream when they offer their services for the day.  Make sure you sit down with them and have a professional meeting about what you want.  Provide photos, detail expectations and put it in writing as you would with any other wedding supplier.  This helps remove any last minute conversations that are likely as they are your friend and their boundaries are more flexible.  Consider what role you want your friends to play on the day.  If they are distracted having drinks and nibbles are they getting everyone’s makeup done when they should?  Later at the reception is the MC Best Man remembering to start the speeches or chilling with his wife in the corner eating hot chips?

All Suppliers Provide A Written Quote.

I was shocked on the day of my sister’s wedding that two suppliers tried to double their fees after providing their services.  This put everyone in a weird position as someone down the phone claimed they had said something different.  Make sure you put everything in writing to your suppliers even if they don’t so you have something to back with.  Fortunately, both suppliers backed down as my sister was able to refer to her notes and quote back the original conversation.  A stress on the day that wasn’t fun!

The Plan Is The Plan.

Before the big day the couple should agree on timings and stick to these.  Both should delegate someone in their support group to ensure everything runs on time.  No last minute changes to fit in a grooms activity that stresses out the bride. Don’t make her have to have her bag ready earlier as it throws everything off.  Or the sudden appearance of a gift for the bride, badly timed, resulting in her crying after just having her makeup done!  Make a plan, tell the delegate of any surprises and everyone will get to where they are meant to be one time.

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Life

Self Care Vs Real Self Care…

September 23, 2019
A picture of me in my pjs sitting on my couch looking out the window.  I am drinking tea from a mug and a book is open next to me.  Self Care Vs Real Self Care.

I’ve been a little MIA the past month or so as I haven’t felt that inspired to write and I become quite focused on myself.  It has been great to have a break from obligations, sleeping in late, deep cleaning my flat and topping up my tan on the roof!  I’ve been reading across all the corners of the internet, borrowing books from the local library and devouring my magazine subscriptions.  The topic of self-care pops up frequently, where the person notes they have just run a bubble bath or done a face mask and thus ticked the box of self-care.  This has been jarring me, but it took a while to realise why.  Then I realised, this isn’t self-care!

What Is Real Self-Care?

Self-care is packaged to women as spending time on ourselves often to enhance our appearance.  It pushes a capitalist agenda which requires consumption of products to look after ourselves! Alongside the external care google’s suggests self-care with meditation, daily walking and eating a meal mindfully!  For me real self-care is taking control of my life and preparing myself for the week.  When my finances aren’t managed my stress and depression kicks in.  An overstretched social calendar, with little time to reflect, and hibernate disrupts my sleep patterns.  There is no period of time in a bath that can fix my finances and I just get out more stressed then before! Over the past few months I have made sure I practice the following real self-care habits.

I Monitor My Finances Nearly Every Day.

I’ve finetuned my budget over the past few months and every few days I check my bank accounts against what I’ve spent.  This has allowed me to keep up with those little purchases (twirl bars!) and catch out any businesses that have mistakenly withdrawn too much from my account.  Someone recently cloned my card and spent £150 on Kenco coffee.  Even my bank knows I am a hot chocolate only drinker!

In addition, each payday I am forecasting in my budget the months potential social spend.  Allocating money against lunch dates and nights out allows me to understand my true disposable income for unplanned purchases.  If I know that this amount is quite small I am prepared and ration myself to ensure I don’t use my credit cards.  I will be honest, being so on top of my finances is exhausting and frankly boring and I am looking forward to the day where I don’t have to do that!

I’m also researching and understanding finances better.  The information is out there but often women are discouraged to be financially competent.  I now know lots of the tricks of improving my credit rating and how for example reducing your credit card balance penalises you.  I’m also keen to start investing my money next year, taking this time to study the market and understand a whole new language.  I can’t wait to dip my toes into this and locking in my retirement plans.

I Review My Calendar and Social Commitments Every Week.

Each Sunday I review my diary for the week.  I plan when I will rest, do tasks around my flat like laundry and set aside time to read, watch shows and write.  Being prepared and planning even those small admin tasks into my week reduces my stress.  Prior to doing this I would reach the end of the week stressed out and self-critical.  Not keeping up with life admin frustrates me but I also feel pressure as I am the only one who can do it.  Planning for it makes life a lot breezier!

At one stage my social life was incredibly full, and the lack of balance was making me unhappy.  I’d gotten into this habit of saying yes to everything and everyone else but myself.  I have a friend who says yes to everything, but I soon realised that it wasn’t for me.  Upon reflection I also realised I never really had time with that friend that was mine.  They were always thinking about how they were getting to the next event in their diary often booking in three or four catchups/activities each day.  Now I review my diary and see what else is happening that week before I say yes.  If I already have a couple of catch ups I decline and suggest another date.  These two small changes have had the most impact on my real self-care.

I Plan My Food For The Week and Meal Prep.

A year ago, starting my current job, I stopped meal planning and bought lunch every day.  It was lots of fun eating sushi one day, a fancy salad the next or my favourite Japanese curry!  Health wise I fared ok, which was a surprise being all processed food, but my bank balance took a hit.  When I decided to get serious this year about budgeting and sorting my credit card situation food was an area where I could cut back drastically.

I plan all my meals for the week by reviewing what I will eat each Friday.  Plans change so I also check within my cupboards to see what is left and if I really need extra breakfast milk or dinner fish etc. This way when I go to the supermarket sometime over the weekend I only purchase what I need.  I will prep lunches for the week on Sunday, freezing each one and sometimes even making enough for two weeks!  I’ve done the math and I’m spending only a quarter of what I used to one food!

All of this does mean I rarely have lunch out and I do miss that.  There has been the occasional moment I forgot my lunch and spent all morning thinking of what I was going to purchase!  A decision that required lots of care as it was an unexpected treat!  However, having a handle on my food budget and knowing I have money until the end of the month is fantastic self-care for me.

How do you practice real self-care?  PF xo

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Life

Adding Rechargeable Automatic Lights To My Flat – A Review…

July 29, 2019
Rechargeable Automatic Lights To My Flat

Last year I bought a smart plug and loved how I was able to turn on lights at home whilst on the train.  I recently bought two more in the sales and plan to create a sequence where they all turn on welcoming me home!  I am overly excited about this!  Part of the charm is one light that I put on every night is a little in the way.  One of those awkward behind the couch scenarios.  Once it is all set up I will be able to use my phone to switch it on.  Perfect! I want to go one step further and find rechargeable automatic lights for my flat.

If you read my original post about automating my home, you would be aware that whilst I love automation I am not a fan of listening devices like Alexa.  It takes a bit of research to find devices that aren’t listening!  I recently watched The Block, one of my favourite Australia home makeover shows and loved how they used automatic lights in the walk in wardrobes.  Genius!  I’ve only ever seen automatic lights in offices where buildings are trying to cut back on their energy consumption.  This technology is now available to homes and is quite cheap.

Rechargeable Automatic Lights To My Flat

If you want to it is possible to get an electrician to replace light switches with automation panels.  These sense when you are in the room and the lights come on.  My friend’s husband is an electrician and she has these in her bathroom!  I loved the idea of having automated lights in my laundry cupboard.  I often walk in there and use the light from another room, but it isn’t quite enough!  Often I am squinting, or realise half way through hanging out my laundry that I need more light.  During winter I don’t like turning on my main bedroom lights in the morning as they are too bright, but this makes dressing hard!  An automated light in my wardrobe would be fab.

When I started to research stand alone automated lights there seemed to be plenty available.  However, I realised I didn’t want to have battery operated ones.  I don’t like the idea of batteries and how they aren’t reusable.  Have you ever opened up something only to find the lack of use has meant the battery had corroded everywhere?  For me this happens often.  It’s dangerous to touch and also means the tech has been ruined.  In the UK I found one rechargeable automated puck light set.  Perfect!

Rechargeable Automatic Lights To My Flat.

After these automated puck lights arrived I started charging them with their usb cords.  Each one only needed a couple of hours and then turned green.  As I waited I worked out the optimal position with a little placement testing. The best way was to use a wedge of bluetak on the back, pop the light up and then re-enact opening or entering the cupboard.  Once I was happy I stuck the magnet to the wall permanently and like magic was done!  I’ve had them for over a month now and love them.  I still get surprised when I reach into my wardrobe and I can see everything!

What automation technology do you have in your house?  I’d love to get some ideas on what I can do next.  PF xo

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