Sunday, August 31, 2014

Guest Post | Payday Feel Unique Wish List

Oh hiya only me again! Boo! If you didn't read my last post well go now, it was a French Pharmacy wish-list here and I managed to pick up around half the products mentioned when in Paris and LOVE them all. 
Oh how rude am I? I didn't even introduce myself to the newbies, sorry dolls I am Antonia from Mac & Cheese and I am lucky enough to be guest posting on Stacey's blog for a SECOND time!
 Cant get rid of me huh?
It's end of the month and PAYDAY! Rahhhhh who's feeling spendy??  I love Feel Unique I find their website easy to navigate, they offer free delivery and always have good offers on.
 At the moment they have a SALE on too, eeeeek! 
Here are my SALE picks:

Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner: You will love the scent of this delicate, aromatic hydration mist providing instant moisture for thirsty skin. Use directly after cleansing to tone and soothe your skin or as a refreshing skin cooling mist on hot days or after exercising. This gentle, alcohol-free blend of pure distilled water infused with extracts of rose, rose geranium and lavender will leave your skin soft and supple and revitalise and refresh body and mind. By far my favourite hydrating toner. Buy here
GlamGlow SuperMud: It`s amaze and you won`t believe it till you try it! The world’s most scientifically advanced GLAMGLOW SUPER-MUD is a magical mud clearing treatment that will target, prevent and heal for seemingly poreless skin. Ideal for use as a full face mask or targeted spot treatment. Buy here
Yves Saint Laurent Babydoll Kiss & Blush; A double play of colour for lips and cheeks. A hybrid between a lip colour and a blush, this innovative air-whipped formula allows for an instant application on both lips and cheeks. With a luminous matte finish, colour is easily buildable from a soft and natural look to a more intense sophisticated look. The patented "hidden pearl" applicator is customised to glide perfectly on the lips and to allow the optimal amount of formula to be dotted on the cheeks. DYING to try one of these babies! Buy here
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer 150ml: I have read so many rave reviews about this product.This mask adds serious strength to damaged hair and helps reduce breakage," says hairstylist Billi Currie. "For extremely dry and broken lengths, I'd recommend weekly use. Wrap your locks in cling-film or a hot towel to retain heat while the mask is on - it'll encourage the nourishing ingredients to penetrate." here
Spray Sugar Strip Ease Soothing Mist: Don`t you just hate hate the sting and burn after waxing? Apply liberally on the treated area after waxing. The skin is immediately soothed, calmed and moisturised. here
You can also find me Twitter here, Facebook here, Instagram here Pinterest here  and Bloglovin  here 


An update and 'time to test'

Hello fellow beauty addicts, I am popping back onto my blog today with an update but also some important information about a new initiative in the UK that I am 100% behind and want to let you know about.  You know me, this post is going to be a long one but if you read any of it, please read the first half!!!

I came across the 'Time to Test' initiative whilst scrolling through Bloglovin' and seeing this post by Hayley at London Beauty Queen, who I am sure you are all an avid fan of like me-and if not, why not?

As regular visitors to my blog will know I was diagnosed with Stage 1B2 Cervical Cancer on the 14th July.  It's hard to believe that was just 6 short weeks ago.

I have been very open and honest on my blog that I hadn't had a smear test in the 9 years I have lived in Dubai.  I think I went for my first 'invited' one from the NHS just before I moved to Dubai when I was 25 and then, as the cliché goes, life got in the way.  I work full time, travelling every month and my weekends were sacred-there was things to do, people to see, lipsticks to buy.  As I suffer from asthma I am at the doctors at least once a quarter for a check up and my GP always used to say to me 'have you had your PAP smear'? and I would blush and promise to make an appointment.  Life got in the way.

And it seems, that's pretty common as 1 in 5 women in the UK do not attend their cervical screening appointment when invited-whether that's through embarrassment or fear or simply because they work full time and can't get to an appointment during their doctors working hours.

Cervical cancer-the facts

Almost 3000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year and the disease kills almost one third of that number-970 deaths a year.  Cervical screening aims to pick up and treat abnormal cells before they become cancer and is estimated to save 5000 lives per year.  Cervical screening is NOT a test to find cancer-it's a test to identify any abnormalities in cells early.

Screening is offered free by the NHS in the UK.

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust says: "We know from our research that a barrier to attendance can be being able to take time off work and so it's crucial that employees ensure their female staff are given time off to attend what is a simple five minute test that could potentially save their lives.  We're delighted so many companies have already shown their commitment to cervical cancer prevention and hope that many more follow suit"

Time to Test is a GSK initiative supported by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust-the only UK charity dedicated to supporting those affected by cervical cancer.  Nine British businesses and professional organisations including the Intercontinental Hotels Group, global beauty brand Bare Escentuals, chocolatier Green and Blacks and the The Female Entrepreneur Association have all signed a pledge showing their commitment to female employees having the flexibility to attend cervical screening during working hours if they are unable to get an appointment in their own time. 

The company YOU work for can also sign the pledge on the Time to Test website so send your HR department this link.

Please prioritize your own health ladies.  Hayley has written a brilliant post called What actually happens during a smear test.  The stupid thing is, I wasn't afraid or even particularly embarrassed-I just didn't make my own time to test.  It's worthy to note as well, that in my case the company I work for which is a huge UK domiciled multi-national would 100% not have put any barriers in my way if I wanted to leave the office during working hours to have the test done if I wasn't able to get an appointment over the weekend or in the evening-it's just my own, ridiculously stupid fault. I never thought this would be something that would affect me.

And I guess that leads me on nicely to an update on myself.  If this is the first time you're reading my blog then firstly thank you, hello and welcome and you can catch up with the story so far by reading these posts-Life lately...London and other news, The Curveball and The Recovery.

I am now four weeks post surgery.  The surgery was to remove the malignant tumors in my cervix and during a 6 hour operation my surgeon removed my cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, the top third of my vagina and 30 lymph nodes.  Pretty grim hey.  My The Recovery post covered off the first couple of weeks after surgery and I won't lie, it's been pretty shit.  Please understand this is about recovery from surgery-but surgery I had no choice but to have because I didn't have regular smear tests and it was too late to catch and treat any pre-cancerous cells by the time I did.  For an educated, 34 year old with a good job I feel pretty stupid.

I ended up back in hospital just after my last post.  I had some routine blood tests on a Thursday (the weekend here is Friday/Saturday) and at 9pm on Thursday evening my surgeon rang and asked me to go back to the hospital at 9am Friday morning for a repeat test as my D-Dimer level, which is the test they do for DVT, strokes and Pulmonary Embolisms was 'elevated'.  So I went back the next day and repeated the test plus a blood oxygen level test which is frankly the most unpleasant experience as they take the blood from your artery rather than your veins.  It hurt-a lot.  And I had two in 24 hours.  Within an hour of the blood test my surgeon was on the phone instructing me to go to another hospital where they have specialist scanners because my D-Dimer levels were again elevated.  A normal D-Dimer reading is <0.5, mine was 6.5.  I spent 4 more days in a different hospital having many many tests.  The hospital was quite far from home and I think it was really hard on my mum but especially Mike.  But at least there was no cockerel this time.  And the TV choice was slightly better.  The consultant there was a lovely Italian lady and we talked privately about what I had been through and how I felt recovery was taking such a long time and how much pain I was in and she said to me "Stacey, you have had major surgery, they have cut through your stomach muscles, removed and then rearranged everything around in there-it will take time".

I've had a lot of 'after effects' from the operation-some I hope are temporary, some may be permanent.  To mention a few (I know some of them are too much info, but if it scares you into booking an overdue smear then I am not apologising!)

1) my bladder loves to play up.  I still don't know when I need to pee so I have to make sure I go every 3-4 hours.  When I go I have to think to myself 'have I emptied my bladder?' and it can take a little time.  I don't think I will ever go for a 'quick wee' again.  I've had 2 UTI's since the operation.  And now my bladder has started leaking whenever it feels like it.  My surgeon has actually confirmed its lymph node fluid draining and not urine and it should go away on its own but it feels gross and is embarrassing
2) I'm hugely constipated.  When I do manage to go to the loo it looks like I have pooed out some kind of tiny sheep pellet poo.
3)  I am very very bloated-I do look pregnant and inevitably someone is going to kindly and well meaningly say to me 'when are you due'?  My doctor has said the swelling can last up to 12 months.  I am extremely conscious of it.
4) My hair and skin are really oily-I have heard this is common sadly after a hysterectomy
5) I am nauseous all the time.  Everything smells different-scents and smells I loved now make me feel sick.  Sometimes I can't smell things at all.  Some smells make me almost want to be sick.
6) I walk like your granny.  Mike and I went to a small mall in Dubai yesterday to buy one thing and even four weeks after surgery I was almost crying by the time we got to the car-the pain in my tummy was just awful.
7) My surgeon was able to preserve my ovaries which is supposed to be good because it means I still produce my own hormones and don't go through early menopause.  Having said that I have a 1:3 chance of going through early menopause in the next two years.  The week, exactly 28 days after surgery my ovaries kicked in, producing an egg (which dissolves as I have no tubes) and gave me the WORST period pain like symptoms I have ever had.  I was doubled up in pain and I had to ring Mike to come home from work, I was so worried because the cramping was horrific.  By the time he got home I was crying my eyes out at the pain.  I thought I had just done too much pottering about at home.  The next day I saw my surgeon and he explained it was my ovaries thinking it was that time of the month.  Cheers guys.
8) I still can't drive, swim or have a bath. 
9) I get a bit anxious sometimes. Little things that would never have bothered me before now do-for example I worry that Mike might go out to the garbage chute in our apartment block and the cats might run into the corridor and he wouldn't notice and they might run away.  It sounds stupid writing it down but it fills me with anxiety and I have to check where they all are every time he opens the front door.
10) I sleep very little and have developed a 4am chocolate biscuit habit. I also can't sleep on my tummy which is my usual pose de riguer for sleeping.
11) I am always in pain-sometmes its discomfort and manageable with painkillers, sometimes it's worse.  And I can feel bits moving around in my abdomen-my surgeon says its tissues healing and repairing themselves.  It's a very strange pulling and tugging sensation.  And it moves around-one day on the left side, next on the right.

Having said that I know I have improved significantly since the operation-four weeks ago, if my mum hadn't have been here things would have been so much worse.  I couldn't shower or dress myself.  I couldn't get in and out of bed or off the sofa without help.  I didn't sleep.  Every day the challenge has gotten a little bit more achievable.

Having said that-it has been pretty easy to find positives in every day and by and large my mood has been ok.  I've had so many messages-twitter, my blog, emails, whatsapp, facebook, texts.  I've had lovely cards and gifts.  And every gift/card/message all has the same value to be because it means someone is thinking about me.  Someone cares enough to try and brighten my day.  If I have needed a pep talk I haven't had to look far to find one.

My biggest fear before the operation was that cancer was going to define me and I was going to be a different person after the operation-emotionally I mean.  I also worried, maybe again stupidly, that I wasn't going to be as feminine without all my lady bits.  Over the years we have all read news articles of cancer survivors who say that now the sun and the stars shine brighter and the birds sing louder  but I honestly don't feel like that.  Maybe it's too early, and maybe I am still a little bitter this has happened to me because it has changed my life.  I didn't expect at 34 to not be able to have my own children.  I didn't expect that choice to be taken away from me.  I didn't expect I would never be a mum or my mum and dad would never be grandparents to my children.  I didn't expect I wouldn't have my own children to build a future and eventually an inheritance for.

And of course there are suddenly babies and pregnancies all around me.  Let me set the record straight that I have absolutely zero bitterness or resentfulness towards one of my best friends who is about to give birth, or to one of my other best friends or my sister in law who are both pregnant.  They're my friends and family and I love them to pieces and am absolutely thrilled for them.  It's just like the doctor putting you on a strict diet and then suddenly everyone brings in cakes and sweets and biscuits into work.

However, there are definitely days at the moment where I feel like a worse version of my pre-surgery self.

When I was at secondary school, there was the most incredible lady at the helm as Headteacher.  When I was doing my GCSE's my nan was dying of cancer and I took it very hard and she supported me a lot.  We've kept in touch since I left school and one of the many pearls of wisdom she said to me, that I have always remembered, and she said to me again recently when I got in touch with her to tell her about my diagnosis was 'go as far as you can see, and then see how far you can go'.  For me it's about taking each day at a time at the moment.  And some days I literally repeat what Liz said to me over and over in my head because it refocuses me.  Another gem I found on instagram was this:

Life and the future is different for me now and I guess what this does give me the opportunity to do is to really nail down who I am-really define what Stacey is and what she stands for.  Work on myself a bit. Make myself a better, stronger person.  Make some decisions about how I want my future to be.  Make the stars shine brighter

This week I am due to have a PET scan which is a whole of body scan using a radioactive dye that is injected into you.  This scan is designed to identify any residual cancer in my body and also to allow my oncologist to put together a treatment plan if I need it.  My surgeon seems very confident chemo/radiotherapy will not be needed as the surgery was extensive and he feels he has been able to remove all the cancer.  I think I have taken comfort from his confidence and haven't been worried at all about the scan or the results.

I know this is a ridiculously long post again and I want to end it by saying a huge thank you to Gemma from Miss MakeUp Magpie for all of her support in arranging and posting all the guest posts on my blog-and of course a huge thank you to all the girls who have very kindly taken the time to guest post.  I am still not really able to come back to maintaining my blog as much as I want to so please continue to support the guest posters who are doing a great job.

And finally thank you to everyone who has continued to support me through the diagnosis and operation.

If you're over 25 and are overdue a smear test, then please, first thing tomorrow just pick up the phone and make an appointment.  So many of you have contacted me and told me you have.  Don't leave it too late like I did.  Don't go through this.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Guest Post | Stila 'Avery' Color Balm Lipstick

Thank you so much Stacey for letting me guest post again here on your lovely blog. My name is Gemma and I blog over at Stacey's blog is one of my absolute favourites, so it's always a massive privilege to be able to guest post for her :)

Stila 'Avery' Colour Balm Lipstick
Stila 'Avery' Colour Balm Lipstick
Stila 'Avery' Colour Balm Lipstick
Stila 'Avery' Colour Balm Lipstick

The Stila Colour Balm Lipsticks claim to combine a creamy, highly pigmented lip colour with the hydrating formula of a lip balm. The formula is enriched with astringent peppermint oil which soothes and stimulates irritated lips and cooling the skin with a tingling sensation. Organic sunflower-based polyglycerides also help to plump up the lips for a fuller and more defined pout. There are 18 shades of the Stila Color Balm Lipsticks, and I opted for shade Avery which Stila describe as being a 'soft peachy coral'. The packaging of this lipstick is absolutely stunning.. a silver, metal casing with the word 'Stila' cut out, with the lipstick colour showing through. At the top of the lipstick casing, there is even a tiny mirror which is such an amazing idea. The lipstick feels quite weighty in the hand and so much more luxurious than the likes of MAC Lipsticks.

Avery is such a pretty shade and one I bought after seeing Shaaanxo use it in a few of her tutorials. When I tried it for the first time, I realised that it looked familar and after sifting through my lipstick collection, I've realised that it's almost identical to the Lime Crime Babette Lipstick in terms of shade and finish. The lipstick glides across the lips effortlessly and is really creamy and smooth on the lips with opaque colour in just two swipes. The scent of this lipstick is really lovely.. it has the typical vanilla scent, with an added minty twist.. the mint does make the lips tingle slightly upon application, but not uncomfortably so. The formula of the Color Balm Lipstick is on par with a lip butter except it's much more long lasting with a weartime of at least four hours. I'd love to add a couple more shades to my collection, as I love Avery so much.. 



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Guest Post | Product Pushing

Hello I am Adrienne part time beauty blogger, full time product pusher.
Should you know me in real life (poor you) then I'm almost certain you can confirm that if I adore a product I will all but put said item in your hand and insist you purchase it. What can I say I'm intense like that. If you are one of the lucky ones who doesn't know me in real life let me share what I am currently peddling ha!
Obsessive doesn't begin to cover me...
Palmers Strong Roots Spray - A conditioning spray that moisturises the scalp as well as the hair. It soothes dry, itchy scalps, is non-greasy, conditions both the scalp and hair and smells ah-maz-ing. The best fiver you will spend in the hair care aisle. Did I mention it smells amazing?

Chanel Blue Satin Nail Polish - Autumn is on the way here in the UK and I'm body swerving deep wine hues in favour of spellbinding metallic navy nails. Spellbinding? Watch early episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and you will see deep blue metallic nails everywhere. Hello 90's alert! In all seriousness this is one of the few Chanel polishes worth the splurge the formula isn't half bad.

Malin + Goetz Dark Rum Candle - Like I said us Brits are bracing ourselves for the cooler weather and in my mind that equates to one thing - candles! I am a little enamoured by Malin + Goetz Dark Rum EDT which scents the candle of the same name. It is deep yet fresh and utterly sexy due to the leather note. Try it and tell me you aren't sold.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in True Love - I'm not normally one for a pink blush but this is the exception, it gives my cheeks the most beautiful, glowy pink, healthy flush without the need for an abundance of shimmer. It lifts and brightens my whole face and doesn't leave me looking like a deranged Barbie doll. Oh and it really stays in place all day long. Thumbs up all round.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette - My current baby, I have owned this since the day it launched but it has only been recently that I have succumbed to it's beauty. Three subtle, soft focus powders that illuminate the skin and set the make-up. No swatches or review will ever fully convey just how wonderful this palette is, I'm afraid trying really is believing with this.

Kiko Long Lasting Eyeshadows - Are they the ultimate By Terry Black Star Ombre dupes? Nah but who cares? A silky, soft, easy to blend out cream eyeshadow that stays in place, comes in a huge variety of shades and is my current go to shadow base. I love how convenient, cheap and long wearing these babies are. Now if only a Kiko store would come further North.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum - I'm terrified of crow's feet and any sort of line or wrinkle which is ridiculous as we all have to get old. I blame reality TV for my sudden onset of vanity. Each evening before bed I slap on Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum and pray for the best. So far, so good i.e I am wrinkle/line free but then again I am in my mid-twenties, not a smiley character and live in a cold country.

Epic Blend Lip Balms - Hands down my favourite non-medicated lip balm line EVER. Constructed from natural and organic ingredients they not only smell wonderful but they are beyond moisturising. I'm almost certain that should you try one you would agree. Heck I'm 100% certain *winky face*.

For now that is all I am insisting everyone at least swatches at the next available opportunity.
Your waning bank balance? Well that is all your own fault for being weak willed! Ha I jest!

Please share what you are currently enjoying.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Post | Smells Like Summer

Hi everyone, my name is Jo and I blog over at A Little Pop of Coral. It's a pleasure to be able to guest post for Stacey today. I think she is so inspirational for the way she is dealing with everything,  she is a very brave lady and I wish her a speedy recovery. I hope you enjoy my post!
Everyone dreams of summer days, fun in the sun, days at the beach, eating meals outside and even though there are probably only a few weeks of summer left, there are some products that can make you feel summery all year round and will remind you of warmer climates and happy times, so stock up now! 

Suntan cream is the ultimate summer smell and the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration combines the tropical smell of cococnut, mango and papya together and one sniff of this literally transports you to the beach. It is extremely moisturising on the skin to giving you that dose of hydration as well as your SPF.

A product that I have been using more of since moving to New York is hand sanitiser. The Island Margarita scent from Bath & Body Works is like a cocktail in your handbag! It does the job of sanitising your hands and leaving you with a delicious fruity scent of limes! It is also a really small bottle so does not take up too much room in your bag.

Next onto the most perfect summer fragrance, Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess. This is literally summer in a bottle and combines the scents of coconut, vanilla, tiare flower, bergamot and amber which makes you smell just like a summer holiday. Imagine sun cream, pina coladas and balmy summer evenings all rolled into one. I cannot get enough and the beautiful gold bottle is just to die for too.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter is a product that I am no stranger too, and one that I use year round. Nothing screams summer like coconuts and this thick butter, melts easily into the skin leaving your limbs so moisturised and nourished that there is not a dry patch to be seen! I could not be without this!

Finally, one of the nicest ways to get the smell of summer in your home is by lighting a candle. This Bath & Body Works Watermelon Lemonade one is just the ticket, and smells exactly as your would expect, juicy watermelons combined with a hit of citrus. Very fresh and summery! Bath & Body Works candles are some of the best I have tried, they burn cleanly and literally fill up the whole house with the beautiful fragrance!

Have you tried any of these amazing summer scents? What is your favourite product that reminds you of summer?

If you enjoyed my post, I would be thrilled if you came to check out my blog here. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Guest Post | The Lip errr...Five?

I'm lying, it's more of a lip four.
Good start Hol, good start...
Ey up ladies, sneaky gents, boys, girls, budgies - and the cheeky Dubai cockerel that Stacey loves so much ;) this is a bit different ain't it?

We're all centre aligned and shizzle?
We're using words such as 'shizzle'?!?!
...well, that's just how I roll ;)

I'm Holly, and I like to have a good old rant on a little blog called Holly Mixtures, where I attempt to review beauty and fashion items without becoming distracted and rambling about nowt, spectacularly failing each time.
Amazingly, for one night only, our Stacey doll has allowed me to let loose on her lovely blog, while she sleeps soundly, (and hopefully with no cockadoodle-do-ing) and recovers from her recent surgery.

She may regret this...

(Tempted to embed Dappy's 'No Regrets' video here, to subliminally convince our Stace that this post is in fact a good idea, however I fear that such content may actually instill further regret, and this post won't last the hour...)
So yeah.
Today, I bring to you my very own version of Stacey's world famous 'Lip Six' post.
I say world famous, because from Dubai to Yorkshire and beyond, ladies everywhere are catching sight of her sexual lips, and threatening to ditch their significant others in favour of snogging her face off in the desperate hope that their lips may become just as kissable, and, that her lipstick is transferable, meaning they too can wear some of her gorgeous stash.
My 'Lip Five' comes to you in the equally desperate hope that my somewhat shakier application skills may still have a similar effect, and therefore could possibly attract one of you sneaky gents out there, (Arab Sheikhs welcome) for a quick smooch and/or marriage, with a three bedroom house and a picket fence/Arabian palace and pet tiger.
 Whatev's, I'm totally cool.

 Now given that my lip-wear collection extends to little more than six in its entirety, and with it still being August, I flat out refuse to complete my six with darker berry colours, no matter how much I love them...
Soz guys, five - or in fact four, (oh the shame) will just have to do!

Top Row: MAC 'Lady Danger'/Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in 'Rendezvous'
-The best lipstick ever/The only lip colour I would dare to wear to work.

Middle Row: Sleek 'Mystic'/MAC 'Impassioned.
-It matches some new shorts I've got and therefore must be worn/My first ever proper pink!

Bottom Row: Umm...Naff all/Vaseline :|
-Because I'm a lipstick failure yet to find a nude lip colour that doesn't make me look like a zombie.
Now, as JME one said, 'let's get serious'.
Not only is our Stacey doll a fantastic blogger, and an inspiration through the art of perfectly formed lipstick application, but she's an even bigger inspiration in the form of her new status as a 'KACKMy*' - or 'Kick-Ass Cancer Killing Machine yo', and her amazing positivity right now is shining through to us all.
*aaaand worst anagram of the year award goes to...
We can only hope for the bestest outcome, and that she'll be right as rein quicker than Huddersfield Town can sack managers.
I can't imagine the strength it must have taken for her to share her news with us, but I'm so glad she has, and that she's kept us updated along the way where possible...
I'm 23 and it's around a year until I'll get that little letter informing me it's time for my first smear; six weeks ago the mere thought would have filled me with dread, but now I'm almost eager.
Get those smears done and let's try and prevent any more of us needing to use that god awful anagram of mine.

Sneaky gents I'd love to include you in this campaign but that would be relatively hard and slightly odd, so ermm...just like, check your bits and that. Cool?

Lots of love Stace, and kisses from my newly snoggable lips.
Thank you for having me.

 It's 6.30am and Huddersfield's equivalent of the cheeky Dubai cockerel is making itself known to my ears.
I'm now tempted to do some my own ass-kicking and kick it's stupidly loud butt onto the frickin' moon, you will be so proud Stace.
I'll pick up your cockerel on't way.
And Dappy for good measure.
No Regrets.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Guest Post | Makeup Revolution Sugar 'n Spice Palette Review

Hi everyone! I’m Bea and I blog over at As Seen By Bea. You must have heard by now about Makeup Revolution; the brand that is pretty much taking over everyone’s blogs with their incredible range and affordable prices. It just goes to show that you really don’t need to pay the earth for good quality and sometimes paying more doesn’t always pay off (but I’ll save that for another post). Today I’m reviewing the Sugar n Spice blusher palette which I actually bought to take on holiday with me as palettes like these are way more practical than taking lots of individual items.

This palette contains 8 totally different shades, 6 of which are blushers and 2 highlighters. I’ll be honest and say this palette may be best suited to deeper skin tones due to how rich the colours are. I can get away with them when used with a very light hand but shades such as the one in the bottom left of the palette I wouldn’t even try unless I had a little more of a tan! When I first tried the palette, I went straight in with my brush and swept it across my cheekbones, happy as larry. Until I looked in the mirror and was sporting beautiful, bright pink clown cheeks. Not a good look! Or at least not the one I was going for. Believe me when I say these blushers are seriously pigmented and a little really does go a long way.
My favourite shades from the palette have to be the third one in on the top row and the third one in on the bottom row. When used lightly, they look so natural and just create a healthy looking glow which definitely helps to make me a look a bit more awake! This palette is ideal for taking on holiday with you as there is so much choice and variety and it will last you forever.
Have you tried any products from Makeup Revolution?
Thanks for reading!
Bea x

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Guest Post | Dior Lip Glow Reviver Balms

Hi everyone!
I'm Anne from lifestyle-oasis. Stacey and I have met at a bloggers event recently here in Dubai. I'm really happy to guest post on her blog although I wish it was under different circumstances...
Today I wanted to talk about my favorite subject... lip balms!
These Dior Lip Glow Reviver Balms have been a staple in my makeup bag for quite some time. If you are not familiar with these they are basically tinted balms that react with your lips PH and turn them into your perfect shade of pink and coral.

I have two shades, the original pink version and a coral that's been released during Spring. I love them both but I have to say that the coral is by far my favorite. The pink one is nice but it turns quite bright on me. My friend wears it too but on her it turns into a lovely light and fresh pink. It really does look different on everyone, how cool is that? :-)

In terms of texture I would say that it's very close to Petroleum Jelly but in a good way. It's moisturizing without being too thick and has a very decent lasting power. Once the glossy effect is gone you are left with a beautiful stain. The color is definitely buildable... the more layers, the more vibrant it will look!
The scent is very nice, a beautiful mix of vanilla and mint without any nasty tingly effect!
I know these are pricey for lip balms but they are a staple in my handbag... They are perfect to slap on during the day and keep your lips nice and juicy looking!
Have you tried these? How do they look on you?
Sending a big warm hug to you Stacey... I'm sure you will kick his ass in no time! We are all behind you!
Mwah! xx

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guest Post | 6 Red Lipsticks That Make You Feel Movie Star Glamorous

Guest Post | 6 Red Lipsticks That Make You Feel Movie Star Glamorous
Guest Post | 6 Red Lipsticks That Make You Feel Movie Star Glamorous
Hi, everyone! This is Laura from, guest blogging for Stacey today. Big thanks to Gemma for organising this, and I know Stacey will be sending lots of love to everyone who has commented/tweeted/etc! I know Stacey is having a bad time at the moment, but the silver lining (there is always a silver lining!) is that all her blogging friends have come full force to show their love and support. I was thinking about what I could post for Stacey, and then I thought about what I would want to do if I was in the same boat… I think I’d want to make myself look fierce, and kick the big C’s arse! My aunt is also fighting the big C, and I know she wants to look nice and like herself. Also, this is Stacey we’re talking about, and the girl loves lipstick.

The 6 lipsticks I’ve chosen are all really glamorous reds that I think would suit a variety of people! There will definitely be one for everyone, so hopefully everyone can feel as glamorous as a movie star.
• The two MAC one... Viva glam 1 and Ruby Woo. One matte, one retro matte – both are super pigmented, rich and long-lasting. Viva glam 1 has a slight brown undertone that makes it a little bit more sultry, and one that I think anyone could pull off. Ruby woo is the classic blue-based red that makes teeth look whiter.

• The liquid ones... The Sephora cream lip stain in ‘1/always red’ and the Bourjois rouge edition velvet in ‘Grand cru’. Again both are matte – matte is the way forward I feel – but both feel really comfortable on the lips, and both have amazing applicators that make it really easy. The Sephora one is a straight up classic red, whereas the Bourjois one is a bit vampier.
• The fancy ones... Tom Ford Cherry lush is the most gorgeous pinky/ raspberry red ever. It is just so pretty! One for when you’re feeling spendy, you can’t help but feel glamorous whipping this out of your bag. Estee Lauder vengeful red has the best name, and the colour is an intense and shiny red.
What is your favourite red lipstick?
Laura xx


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post | Expat MUA made me buy it

Hello to Stacey’s lovely readers, I’m Vanessa and blog at I’ve been reading Stacey’s blog for a long time now, and since I began reading my purse has been feeling notably lighter. I’d actually joked to Stacey that I was going to do this post on my blog, but then when Gemma suggested guest posting I thought it would only be fitting to share with you all what I have purchased solely because of Stacey! Some of these have been based on blog posts and some on her fabulous Instagram photos. I was lucky enough to go shopping with the lady herself when she somewhat influenced the NARS dual intensity eye shadows and Trish McEvoy eye shadow stick purchases. 

So here it is…
And that’s not even all of it! I’ve thought of at least five more things since taking that picture, not to mention the HOARDS of products bought from Stacey’s EPIC blog sales. So I thought I’d go through a couple of my favourite "Expat MUA influenced" purchases. 

Jo Malone - everything really. I didn’t have any Jo Malone until about a year ago, and it was only reading this blog that really got me interested in the brand. Stacey has such a vast collection and speaks so highly of the fragrances and candles, I soon found myself in the Selfridges concession having a good sniff of all the fragrances. I now have a whopping 6 of the perfumes (2 from Stacey’s blog sale!) and 4 candles. My favourite scent is the London Rain Wisteria and Violet fragrance and the Sweet Almond and Macaroon Candle - so yummy. 

MAC Osbournes Cheeky Bugger blush. I had to really hunt this down. I had an absolute disaster ordering from this collection (thank you MAC), but managed to track it down at Selfridges and get them to reserve it for me. I’d had no desire whatsoever to get this based on swatches I’d seen online until I read Stacey’s post on this collection and it was then something I needed. I adore this blush. It’s such a pretty shade of peach, and I think we had a conversation on twitter that confirmed this needed to be mine. 

Marc Jacobs makeup - obviously we can’t get this in the UK, so this is something else I’ve gone to great lengths to get! I’ve had friends purchase pieces and ship it over or buy when on holiday in the States. All because of this missy! But it’s been worth it. The lip gel in Voila, ok just go and look at Stacey’s lips over here how could you not need this product? The Lolita palette is a stunning nude go to palette, there’s one dud shade, but Stacey had said that herself, so I was expecting it. The colours are easy to work with and blend beautifully, just love it. 
Daniel Sandler Micro Bubble Micro Femme lipstick. This lipstick started my love affair with Daniel Sandler’s line. Being honest, I don’t think I’d heard much of his range at the point of reading this post in November. Since then, I’ve practically bought the entire line (what can I say, I don’t do things by halves). I have even been lucky enough to meet the man himself, which I’m sure looking back I don’t think would have happened had I not been introduced to the brand, so big thanks Stacey! 
Essentially I think what I’m trying to say in this post…. there’s nothing I’ve bought and regretted thanks to Stacey and that’s why I love Expat MUA! I’m a big high end makeup lover and this is my one stop shop for the latest launches and I love to know what Stacey thinks. 
What have you picked up following Stacey’s reviews? I’d love to know if you’re all as easily influenced as me!! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

The recovery

Cervical cancer, cancer, cancer recovery
Get Well Soon card from my 6yr old niece Violet
This is a really difficult post to write-I didn't even know what to call it and it's taken me many days to write it!

I feel like so much has happened the past 10 days but I think it's important to keep telling the story about the realities of cervical cancer.

However for those who are impatient and like a happy ending the good news is that my surgeon is comfortable the operation was a success and he has been able to remove all of the cancer.  He also removed (what he called) a 'massive amount' of lymph nodes to make sure there was no chance of any spread of the cancer but there is still a tiny 1mm sliver of 'residual' cancerous cells at the top of my v-a-g-i-n-a.  This word has become second nature to me now but I didn't realise how uncomfortable it can make people feel so apologies.

At the moment he is confident I don't need any chemo or radiotherapy which is the biggest relief.  I feel terrible for any cancer sufferer who has not only the trauma of surgery but then the mental and physical torture of further treatment such as chemo.  I felt so utterly beaten the first few days after surgery that the thought of going through any more treatment petrified me.

This however does have to be confirmed properly though via a PET scan with my oncologist and a full oncologists report regarding the residual 1mm left and anything else the PET scan may show as that scan will be of the whole of my body.  I have to wait 4 weeks for that scan but again it can be done here in Dubai at one of the big hospitals.

I have ummed and ahhed over how much to say about how I have felt over the past 10 days-the first few days were simply so awful and I don't remember that much, especially about the first two days.  There is some squeamish stuff in here just to warn you but I'll try and keep it as lighthearted as possible.  And this is a really really long post that takes ages to read but maybe I am doing it more for my benefit than anyone elses.

But back to my original 'message'-if I can prevent even one person going through what I have gone through to this point by them booking an overdue smear test then I will be happy. And so so many people have contacted me to say they have made appointments which is amazing.

The operation and recovery

I was fine when I was admitted to hospital on Wednesday 30th July.  I know this is going to sound very weird but sometimes I believe we get little signs that tell us it's going to be ok, and on the radio driving to the hospital The Fray 'How to save a life' and then Sonique 'Feels so good' were on back to back.  The title of The Fray song just gave my comfort and then in the Sonique song there is a line that goes 'your love, it keeps me alive'.  I took it as a sign-saving a life and staying alive-good stuff.

We had to be there at 7am and the nurses made me feel welcome and comfortable in a large private room with a view of the beach and the Burj Al Arab hotel.  Mike however was not comfortable and as soon as the nurses started administering the pre-meds (enema anyone?) and the cannula in my hand he was freaking out so I asked him to leave and he shot off like Usain Bolt.

Only with about 20 minutes to go did I start to feel a bit panicky and I quickly compiled, on my iphone a sort of 'last will and testament' that I then emailed to my best friend Danielle in a panic.  Just telling her about my life insurance policies and what I wanted done with the money and who I wanted my jewellery to go to and things like that.  To be honest, in terms of validity it wasn't worth the iphone it was written on but I wanted someone to know what my wishes were.  I couldn't send it to my parents-my mum would have freaked and the only other person I can trust with every ounce of my being is Danielle.

Anyhow, obviously I woke up and came through the operation fine.  However my poor parents and Mike had a really difficult and long wait.  We were told the operation would be 3 hours long but it was over 6 hours in the end, some complication over a 'large patch of endometriosis' I apparently had and again was never aware of.

At around 4pm I woke up with 3 cannula's on my left hand and pulsating braces on my legs to keep the blood flowing and prevent clots.  The only thing I can remember was begging for a drink of water as I was so thirsty and them refusing until about 10pm.  My right side under my boobs was absolutely rock hard, and my right shoulder agony and the nurses explained that with laproscopic surgery they pump huge amounts of air and water into you to separate your organs making it easier for the surgeon, and that your body holds on to a lot of the air internally which you pass naturally and this would subside.

I didn't sleep at all but I couldn't 'do' anything.  I couldn't watch youtube on my ipad or sit up and read.  There was a TV in the corner but I couldn't focus on anything so it was on silently all night and I just watched the pictures, drifting in and out of sleep.  And there was a sodding cockerel in the grounds of the villa next door.  Who the fuck has a cockerel on the beach road? He would wake up around 4am every morning, serenading me until about 8, along with the adjacent mosque. The nurses came in every two hours to inject me with something or other and this was basically my routine until I was discharged.   My IV drip was rotated between fluids, antibiotics and painkillers.  One bottle fed into me then immediately changed for my next cocktail infusion.

I don't remember again anything about day 2 apart from being totally in pain and getting out of bed for the first time.  They're really keen to make you walk around after a hysterectomy for several reasons-it reduces the risk of blood clots and it releases trapped gas being the main benefits.  I had a catheter (or as we delightfully named it, a Prada wee bag) so I had to stumble around with that in tow.  And I had a really sore left leg-and still do.  It felt like it was a trapped nerve or a pulled muscle, probably from the position my leg was in for so long in the operation we surmised.  The result was, I pretty much looked like a drunken tramp slowly staggering around my hospital room.  The nurses kept saying to me constantly 'don't look down' because every time I did I felt dizzy and disorientated, and someone had to guide me round the room and help me in and out of bed.

And I couldn't pass wind meaning my body was not only suffering the effects of a huge dose of anaesthetic but also was as hard as a bullet with trapped gas.  I swear to god, every 30 minutes a nurse would come in and ask me if I had 'passed gas yet'?  I was becoming desperate as it was so incredibly painful and asked if they could give me something to 'pass gas'.  They did.  It didn't work.  I was starting to worry I would always feel this way.  Then at 5am Friday morning, almost 2 days after the operation I passed gas.  The relief was almost immediate.

The best thing about day 2 was that about 10pm my mum arrived.  I have never been so relieved to see a person in my life.  My poor mum hates hospitals just like Mike and bless her, after about 30 minutes she went and vomited violently in the bathroom.  But then she was fine-I think it was a combination of the long flight and the pressure and stress of the whole situation that had built up over the past few weeks.  Plus I wasn't exactly looking my best and a picture of health when I saw her.  In fact, in her words 'you looked bloody awful'.

Day 3 we started 'bladder training'.  This is like puppy training where you teach your new puppy to be a good girl and pee when you want her to.  For me it involved placing a clamp on the catheter tube and letting my bladder fill until I thought I was ready to wee and them removing the clamp so my bladder could drain into my Prada wee bag.  The day was long, painful and frustrating.  I still couldn't sit up.  No position was comfortable.  I couldn't sleep.  I couldn't eat.  There were again some terrible films playing silently in the corner during the night-I don't recommend Punchline, 10,000 BC, American Dreamz (not Hugh Grants finest moment from the looks of things) or Cairo Hour.

I had over 20 types of medication and injections on Friday-painkillers of various sorts, antibiotics, anti blood clotting, fluids etc.  I couldn't sleep because no position at all was comfortable and it all slowly drives you insane.  Mum and Mike sat with my patiently, reading books and magazines and watching TV.  I feel like I just kept lying there numbly-not really feeling anything at all apart from the pain of the operation and smelling a horrible, sweet, cloying smell that no one else could.  It was pear drops crossed with nail polish and it was constant.  When my mum came in the hospital I thought it was her perfume but she didn't have any on.  I think it was anaesthetic playing tricks on me.

Day 4 was the most eventful.  First of all the catheter was removed and I was able to try weeing unaided.  Except it wasn't that easy and I paced gingerly up and down the room trying to get my bladder going.  I also had my dressings removed for the first time and I have four small neat incisions around my belly button.  The surgeon is brilliant and I am definitely not scarred for life.  I also got to shower for the first time since I was admitted to hospital 4 days earlier, which was hard work and I was aided by a nurse to do everything but felt amazing afterwards.  My left hand with the cannula in had become so swollen and painful that my veins just packed up and would not accept any medication through them so it had to be removed.  I was like a free woman-no catheter and not strapped up to a cannula.  But that meant all my medication was then injected straight into me.

The surgeon came again to see me about 2pm and said if I could prove I could empty my bladder I could go home.  An hour later I had my first wee.  There was still 128ml urine left in my bladder when he did the ultrasound and he said if I wasn't able to empty my bladder the catheter would have to go back in.  Another hour and I cajoled and coerced my bladder to co-operate and finally it did.  The doctor called me 'a little fighter' as he did the scan.

We left the hospital, very very gingerly at 4pm, Mike driving as if I was made of glass.

I have had a few problems since I came home-sleeping and pain being the main ones.  Now 11 days on I can see slow improvement every day although the end of the corridor is about as far as I can walk and it's slow, stiff and painful.  The huge amount of meds in my body played havoc with my tummy and the first night I was home I had an 'accident'-my mum who is an absolute angel and my hero just said 'come on lets clean you up' as if I had spilled a cup of coffee.  God, my mum.  I will never ever ever ever be able to thank her enough for what she has done for me the past 10 days.  Firstly, she had to give me injections.  I couldn't have done that for anyone.  I'm 34 and my mum has seen me naked every day, helping me to shower, dry myself and get dressed.  She brushes my hair.  She massaged my painful legs.  She is up in the middle of the night if I am.  She has done everything around the house (and Mike is brilliant too and does all our cleaning normally anyway) but she has cooked, cleaned, ironed and even driven my car!  Here in Dubai we drive on the right rather than the left as in the UK and I drive an automatic.  And anyone living in Dubai will tell you driving here isn't easy but she has taken me to the doctors twice.  She's administered all my medication every day, fed the cats, helped me up and down, cuddled me and been a shoulder to cry on when things have gotten a little too much.  I know she'll say it's her job as a mum but she is just incredible.  The days are pretty long and boring for her and she has been married to my dad so long they're two halves of the same whole so I am eternally grateful for her and know I am incredibly lucky.

I am still having problems with my left leg and with weeing.  I simply don't feel any urge to go for a wee and am having to remind myself to go every 3-4 hours.  It feels completely different to before and doesn't come naturally-I have to sit on the loo and start talking to my bladder (oh god I sound like a crazy person and I will have to knock that on the head when I go back to work!!) telling it that it is going to have a wee.  When it's really stubborn I have to rock back and forward a little bit (see crazy person) to get it going.  It's frustrating and requires patience that I am not known for having.  My doctor has warned me that the damage to my bladder might be permanent.

I guess now is just a waiting game.  Recovery slowly but surely.  I can see progress daily, I am just so bloody sore.  Emotionally I am up and down.  There is some really tough stuff to deal with-and trying to find someone who has gone through the same thing has been impossible.

A lady called Elaine (hi Elaine!) contacted me via my blog when I posted my first Life Lately to say she had had the same operation and our stories are very similar in terms of our stages of cancer and the treatment we have had and it has been a great support to receive her emails daily.  I even have to hold my hands up and say that until recently, if someone said they were having a hysterectomy I wouldn't have batted any eyelid or really understood it.  I feel too young to be going though this.  In all honestly I feel a bit bitter at the moment.

This time last week I couldn't sit up in the bed.  Now I can for short periods.  I also have an appointment with a female doctor to talk about some of the more emotional sides of this whole thing-the speed of the diagnosis/treatment and the impact of losing the ability to have my own family and just other questions I still have. And to see if I need any long term vitamin supplements etc, exercises etc

The one thing I didn't expect is the amount of support I have received.  I cannot thank you all enough, new and old friends for the incredible support, it has blown me away-and my mum too who has seen it with her own eyes.  I am truly grateful.

It doesn't seem enough just to say thank you but THANK YOU.

And thank you to all my guest posters who are doing an awesome job-I am definitely not able to blog myself at the moment. Thank you so far to Antonia , GemmaLatasha, LauraAnna and Lis so far and there are more to come!! And a massive extra thanks to Gemma for co-ordinating all the blog posts.

This might not seem like the most positive post and I am conscious of that-but of course if my surgeon is right and after the PET scan I don't need to go down the chemo/radiotherapy route, then from this whole situation this is the most positive outcome I could have hoped for.

I have documented my whole story on my blog to try and raise awareness of the importance of having regular smear tests.  I am ashamed to say that I didn't and I truly believe I could have prevented it getting to this stage.

My story-Life Lately, The Curveball and A little Update

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