Monday, February 29, 2016

Adult Acne? Read on...

As most of you know, I am struggling a lot at the minute with my skin and I have literally tried every lotion and potion that has been suggested to me over the last year or two! Some have worked in the short term, some haven't worked at all and some I would highly recommend, so if you guys are suffering from acne, then read on and see if any of them may suit you! If you have any questions then feel free to contact me on Facebook, instagram or snapchat! I have outlined each step that I have taken and how they have worked for me...

Ok first and foremost, I hold my hands up, I was lazy for most, if not all of my teenage years and scraped my makeup off using face wipes everyday. Looking back on it now I could kick myself as I know that I definitely incurred long lasting damage to my skin by doing so! The first milestone that I overcame in the anti-acne war was ditching the face wipes! I now cleanse, tone and moisturise twice a day and for that, my skin is showing severe gratitude. It actually has a bit of life about it now and whilst I still have open pores, they have definitely greatly reduced.

My skincare routine now consists of the Clinique three step skincare products. My boyfriend bought me the Cliniquesonic brush for Christmas and I haven't looked back since! I start by removing my makeup first using the Bare Mineral cleansing oil and then I begin my three step process.
I apply the Clinique liquid soap to the Cliniquesonic and brush it all over my fave for a minute and a half. This really gets deep into the pores and gets rid of the excess makeup that has sunk deep into my skin. I then use Clarifying lotion number 2 to tone and balance the skin and finish off with the Dramatically different moisturising lotion. This completes the three steps and then I finish off by applying a heavier moisturiser as the dramatically different one isn't strong enough on its own for my skin. I swear by these products and have noticed a big difference is the appearance of my skin since using them.

I was always a MAC girl, using studio fix fluid from the age of 16 up until last year! I still love it now but unfortunately it just didn't love my skin! It was always a bit heavy for everyday use and just not quite right for me. Last year I switched to Bare Minerals and have been using this ever since. It definitely feels much lighter on my skin and less damaging but I can't say that it was a miracle worker. Sometimes, as it is a powder finish, I feel that it maybe emphasises a breakout. I do love their primers etc and the foundation is brilliant, leaving a flawless finish when my skin is clear, but when it has broken out, I definitely need something a little stronger.

This was one of the first medically prescribed products that I used and it was fantastic the first time around. I used it every day for two weeks and my skin was clear for months afterwards. However I have tried it several times since and haven't had the same effect. This is an antibiotic cream and must be prescribed by the doctor! Definitely great for mild acne but not so good if it is persistent and severe.

So many people swear by sudocrem for the skin but when it comes to acne, its a waste of time. It definitely soothes the skin if its sore but it doesn't make the spots disappear or fade, particularly if they are cystic and right down under the skin. This is great for the odd breakout on the surface but for acne, its not a valid treatment.

This one is a good quick fix to dry up any kind of unsightly spots. It contains salicylic acid which really attacks the surface of the breakout and disguises the redness. It is not a long term fix but a great over night treatment to fade a breakout by morning.

Yes that is a haemorrhoid cream... I was so embarrassed buying this that I actually sent my mum into the shop for me lol... although thats super ridiculous as it is something of a miracle product! It is amazing for applying to breakouts. It soothes the redness, dries up the spot and even gets rid of bags under your eyes! This was one of my favourite quick fixes and something that I still use on a regular basis!

I have used every Clearasil product under the sun! They have not worked for me! If your problem is that your skin is too oily, then by all means, give it a go. But with me, my skin is actually quite dehydrated and the drying effect of the Clearasil products seemed to really aggravate it! Definitely not for me but I wouldn't disregard it! I would say it would be ideal, especially for teens suffering from a lot of excess oil.

What I liked about the buffering lotion is the fact that you could feel an instantaneous reaction on a breakout as soon as you applied it. It almost has a stinging sensation which somehow sends a subconscious message to the brain that it must be working. I found this was a good overall treatment for the skin if experiencing a bad breakout but this is definitely more of a short term solution and has a real drying effect if used for a sustained period of time.

I have had facials done in many different spas and beauticians and whilst they were extremely relaxing and great for temporary exfoliation, they didn't work too well for long term reduction of acne. Each one had its own benefits to my skin and were fab for radiance etc. but I just found that they weren't getting to the source of the problem - I also found that, as each salon use their own personal favourite products, they didn't always agree with my skin. Always make sure you go to a reputable salon before getting a facial!

So this was when things started getting serious and my skin was really getting me down! I went to my doctor and she put me on the pill - Dianette. Dianette is a contraceptive pill but the main aim of this one is to balance the hormones and clear the skin. I was prescribed a six month course of this pill and whilst it definitely reduced the cystic acne which is the lumps beneath my skin, I was still getting spots on the surface. I didn't have too many side effects of this pill but later I read that if you stay on it too long, it can effect fertility in the long run which frightened me. Apparently I was in the small percentile of people who don't notice a drastic skin improvement on this pill... typical! But apart from that, this was relatively easy to deal with for the six months with no major side effects.

After my six months on Dianette, I was then changed over to the Yasmin Pill for a further six months. This one had just a slight difference in the hormone content and again is supposed to work wonders for the skin. I absolutely hated this one! I felt like I had a cloud over my head all of the time. I felt down for no reason, I had irregular bleeding and my skin did improve a little but not entirely. I decided to come off this pill after four months as I really couldn't stick the side effects. I know many girls who have taken Yasmin and had no trouble whatsoever but for me this was a disaster and just did not agree with my body! Always talk to your Doctor carefully before choosing to go on the pill for your skin! It is important to find the right one for you!

I had the microdermabrasion treatment in Elite Aesthetics Treatment Clinic and I found it brilliant for getting rid of all of the dead skin cells on my face and brightening up the appearance. My makeup sat so much better on the surface and I just all round felt much better about the appearance of my skin. This did tighten up my pores a little and also helped to fade some of the scarring that I have from previous breakouts. I would highly recommend a series of microdermabrasion treatments for anyone who suffers from dry, dull skin prone to breakouts! I really loved this treatment.

After the microdermabrasion, I then returned to Elite Aesthetics to try out the Milk skin peel. I had two of these treatments, the initial one and a second after two weeks. The peel is applied to your skin and you feel a heated tinging sensation for two minutes. It is then deactivated using cold water. You have a follow up treatment cream called K-ceutic which you use for the four days following the treatment whilst your skin peels very mildly. After the four days your skin feels very soft, smooth and has a totally different texture to what it was initially.
After these treatments my skin did appear to become worse but this is totally normal as the peels draw out all of the toxins from deep within the skin. This is why it is important to get a series of four treatments rather than just one.

As my skin reacted so well to the milk peels, Emma at Elite decided to use the cosmo peels for my last two treatments. These are more medically based whereas the milk peels are more cosmetic. They work much deeper into the skin and give a much more successful peel. After my first one, I had lots of feeling for the four days after the treatment but the skin underneath felt like brand new babies skin. I just had my last peel today so I will definitely keep you guys posted on how this turns out. So far I have noticed a drastic difference in my skins appearance, the size of my pores and the frequency of the breakouts. It is totally normal to have excessive peeling after this treatment but once its finished, you are left with amazing, radiant skin which is much clearer and less prone to breakouts.
This has been the most successful of my treatments for my skin so far but I will keep you guys updated over the next few days so that you can see the progress of the final peel! Add me on snapchat as I will be talking you through it on there - username - sequincinders

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sea Grass Spa @ Inishowen Gateway Hotel

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to the Sea Grass Spa at the Inishowen Gateway hotel to try out some of their treatments. I don't often get time to relax at a spa but when I do, I get so excited just to switch off for a few hours and chill out.
I was met by Joanne who showed provided me with robe and slippers and after I got changed, she directed me into the relaxation room to get into the zone whilst my first treatment was being prepared.
I started with the Seaweed hydra bath which was the perfect way to wind down and get my mind and body relaxed. The water was the perfect temperature with just the slightest smell of seaweed in the air. Once the jets were switched on, I felt like I was being massaged in the water and when I was finished, my skin felt so silky smooth with the effects of the seaweed. 
I then made my way into another treatment room for a back and neck massage. This was by far my favourite part. I always said that if I ever win the lotto I will hire someone to follow me around and massage me lol. I very nearly fell asleep as it was so relaxing.
Then, to complete my pamper session, I was shown into their fab hair salon where Joanne presented me with a glass of bubbly and worked her magic on my locks.
I got a curly blow-dry and I can safely say it was one of the best I have ever received (pictured above). Three days later it was still going strong, full of body and bounce with no rollers or back combing involved, just good old fashioned hairdressing.
I have to say I had the most amazing experience at the Sea Grass spa, I live just around the corner from there and I am disappointed in myself that that was my first visit, but I can guarantee that it will definitely not be my last. It truly is a hidden gem in the town of Buncrana and the Therapist/Stylist Joanne is one very talented lady.
I would like to say a huge thank you to her and the team at the Inishowen Gateway for such a lovely experience and I cannot wait to return.
Nicola x

Before I started the treatments

Friday, February 19, 2016

Monochrome in Motion

In the cold dark days, I tend to live in polo-necks. Every style or colour, yet always a high neck. They are like a safety blanket against the cold and yet can be super stylish if paired with the right thing.
I dug out this Arrogant Cat Asymmetric skirt last week from a hidden rail in the attic surrounded by clothes that I once loved, haven't worn, yet don't have the heart to throw away and I was pleasantly surprised at finding this little gem amongst the treasures. I bought this about ten years ago and yet it is just as stylish now as it was back then.
The skirt itself tells a story so the rest of the outfit needed nothing other than simplicity. My beloved black polo-neck, black tights and a simple par of black heels. 
Classy and simple with just the right amount of pizazz.
The photos are perhaps a little blurred as I couldn't resist showing the fluidity and movement of the skirt... Monochrome in motion.
Nicola x


Monday, February 8, 2016

Solo Shoes

I shared some images of these pieces with you during the Winter but I never thought they would still be so relevant in the first week of Spring. The Irish weather has been worse than ever over the past month or so and with storms Desmond, Imogen, Henry, Tom, Dick and Harry battering us each week, it isn't time to pack away the Winter woolies just yet.
This gorgeous yellow hat with a faux fur bobble and the beautiful two toned faux fur snood are both from Solo Shoes in Dungannon and are perfect pieces to keep you warm and cosy whilst still looking super fashionable!
The great thing about these pieces is that they do not have to be worn with wooly jumpers, in fact people are wearing the beanie hats with funky t-shirts nowadays so call into Solo whilst they are in stock and pick up one for yourself, but you better avert your eyes or you will end up leaving with a hat, a scarf, a bag and three pairs of shoes! You have been warned!
Nicola x

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Villa Rose Wedding Fayre

On Sunday past I had the pleasure of attending the Villa Rose Wedding Fayre in Ballybofey thanks to an invitation from the lovely Leona who is their Marketing Manager.
My Boyfriend and I arrived at the hotel on time to check into our beautiful room and begin the journey around the incredible wedding fayre that had been set up in the reception area, the function room and the civil ceremony room. Or I should say that I looked around the wedding fayre... as my boyfriend abandoned ship and cleared off to the spa! (And judging by the faces of most of the poor Grooms to Be, I'd say they would have loved to have joined him!)
There was stall after stall of every kind of wedding necessity and accessory imaginable from the ordinary to the completely extraordinary... From wedding dresses, cakes & invitations to Magicians, fires & thrones, there was something to suit every type of wedding and every type of Bride (and groom if they are allowed an opinion lol).
Although I am not planning my own wedding, it was amazing to see all of the different ideas available for weddings nowadays. There were so many different special touches on display, things that I had never even imagined would be available for the ceremonies never mind the receptions.
I know that a lot of you guys actually made it to the wedding fayre yourselves and had a wonderful day. I even spoke to some of you who made lots of bookings for your own weddings on the day which was amazing. Some of you couldn't make it on the day so you had asked me to share as many details as possible. I tried to take pictures of every stall on display and have attached them below along with the companies names but if you have any enquiries or need any further details just message me on Facebook - The Sequin Cinderella or contact the Villa Rose directly.
I cannot thank the team at the Villa Rose enough for having myself and my boyfriend. They gave us a wonderful welcome, stunning room, gorgeous dinner and a beautiful breakfast delivered to our room in the morning. Such a lovely way to spend a Sunday night and a great cure for the Monday blues waking up in a beautiful hotel like the Villa Rose.
If you would like any more details or would like to make a booking - check out their website HERE or add them on Facebook HERE.
Nicola x 
Gerard McGirr Wedding Cars
Villa Rose Wedding Setting
Evoke Weddings
Ballybofey Florists
Ultimate Touches
Ultimate Touches
Ultimate Touches
North West Photobooths
North West Photobooths
Kates Flowers
Nicole - Spa Therapist and Mariana - Spa Manager
Civil Ceremony Room
Truly Scrumptious
Belle Mariee Bridal Wear
Secret Little Treasures
Secret Little Treasures
Hat from Wysteria, Letterkenny
Selection of Mens Wedding suits from McElhinneys
Rhonda Gillespie - Senior Manager hard at work booking weddings
McElhinneys Bridal Room
For Goodness Cakes Donegal
For Goodness Cakes Donegal
Leona McGee - Marketing manager in the Villa Rose & Myself
Mr Majestic
Mr Majestic