Lifestyle

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Even twenty-somethings need to be Breast Aware

This is very personal but if it encourages one other twenty-something (or any age) to check their breasts, it is completely worthwhile.

breast-cancer-awareness

I have had a lump in my left breast for many months, six to eight months I believe. While seeing a nurse for asthma in August I casually mentioned that I could feel ‘something’ in my breast, that I wasn’t sure if it was a lump and that I had a dull ache there. She was rude, told me that at my age I should be able to tell if it is a lump, wouldn’t even entertain the idea of checking and said that it is a doctors job.

With this, I ignored the lump. But the pain stayed.

Next time I went to the doctors, two weeks ago, I mentioned the lump. I had my first breast screening and my doctor kindly informed me that I am not ‘supposed to know what lumps mean’ but should be feeling the breasts to identify any changes. He felt the lump and referred me to the Breast Cancer Unit. What is amazing about this service is that you must be seen within two weeks.

So, my doctor had found a lump. It became real and I was scared, petrified even. I developed severe panic attacks and anxiety and in the last two weeks have lost a lot of weight. I knew it was probably nothing but the fact that it could be, well, this was enough to make me incredibly anxious. Nonetheless, supportive friends and family make it that little bit easier.

Today I had my hospital appointment, accompanied by my mum. I had a panic attack in the waiting room and felt like I was going to faint. I was taken to a room and seen by a very gentle and understanding doctor who checked and felt my breasts. Guess what? He actually found two lumps in the breast that I didn’t even think had any.

After more waiting I then had an ultrasound scan. Luckily, the lumps in that particular breast are benign and ‘probably cysts’ and while they are there, they are very small. The lump in my other breast, the radiographer believes is to do with my breast tissue. I now know how to accurately check these lumps and have been told to keep an eye on the size to make sure they don’t get larger. If they do, I’ll need to go back for another scan.

HUGE RELIEF. Massive relief. At the same time it has made me realise that I need to be more aware of my breasts. Although quite ignorant of me, I didn’t think it was that important at the age of 27.

Another good thing is that it has made my mum more breast aware. So, if you are a twenty-something and have never had a breast screening or checked your breasts, have a good feel. Then do it again, regularly, so you can identify any changes. Check to see there are no lumps, bumps or tender areas. If you have ANY concerns, visit your GP. It is so important to do this, even if you are in your twenties.

For further information, visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-information/breast-awareness

Skydiving with vertigo – Sibson, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

I initially purchased a tandem skydive voucher for Jonathan as our 10 year anniversary present but after a little encouragement from friends, I decided to take a leap of faith and jump with him. After buying the skydive vouchers through Virgin’s Experience Days, we booked the jump for July this year at Sibson in Peterborough, Cambs.

I have vertigo and have suffered with terrible inner ear problems which has often resulted in dizzy spells and a fear of heights. Thus, I was a little apprehensive. We had to wait 5 hours to jump due to the weather which only made me even more anxious.

After the short induction where the instructor went through important safety procedures, I knew it would be safe. You see, there is an electronic device or something of the sort, that would ensure a spare parachute automatically opens should the need arise.

Dressed in the ultra glamorous jumpsuit we had to sit on standby and wait for an opening in the clouds. The rain was pouring, there was instant coffee, bacon sandwiches and nervous laughs filling this small portacabin cafe.

Five hours later we sat on the plane and we were on our way. I can’t even tell you how I felt at this point, I think it was a combination of excitement, confusion (why on earth was I about to jump into the sky) and sheer fear. To manage the adrenaline and anxiety I literally spent 10 minutes on the flight meditating – trying to not appear rude when people asked if I was scared. A little tip, don’t ask someone if they are scared when they are moments from jumping from a plane!

Skydive Sibson Peterborough Images Photos Skydiving with vertigo

My ears popped and I screamed the whole way through free fall but as soon as the parachute opens there is a sense of stillness. I tried to take it all in as I knew we would be landing in only a few moments but ended up talking to my instructor about working in events… Skydive Sibson airfield Peterborough Tandem Skydiving vertigo It was the most exhilarating, exciting, crazy experience of my life and I am so happy I faced my fear. I definitely would never have jumped if Jonathan wasn’t there so it was so incredibly special that we experienced it together.
Skydive Sibson Airfield Peterborough Cambridgeshire Tandem

I picked the skydive as Jonathan’s anniversary present as I thought it was the only thing crazier than being with me for 10 years. It was the perfect present.  Tandem Skydive Photo Sibson Airfield Peterborough Cambridgeshire England UK

Another item ticked off my bucket list.

Lunch at The Ritz – Affordable fine-dining

I have always lusted over photos of afternoon tea at The Ritz but I could never justify going. There just wasn’t a special occasion, well, special enough.

Until we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. I booked an extremely affordable deal through Bookatable.com – the Star Deal consisting of three courses and a glass of champagne for only £49 per person.

From the traditionally dressed porters opening the door to the antique furnishings, chandeliers and fine art adorning the walls, The Ritz is quintessentially English. Old English, that is.

The Ritz London Voucher Discount Deal Lunch Restaurant London

We were seated in the restaurant by a waiter who wasn’t particularly welcoming but pleasant enough. As it was a weekday the restaurant was relatively busy but we seemed to be the only ‘tourists’. The restaurant is breathtakingly beautiful, opulent, decedent and everything you would expect for such a fancy dining experience.

Lunch at The Ritz London Affordable Deal Luxury Restaurant Anniversary

I wore a tulle skirt with a respectable knee-length, teamed with a pale blue crochet blouse and low block heels. Jonathan wore a suit as he had just met me from work, although regardless of this a suit is necessary with the dress code.

Quite often when you book a discounted deal with a restaurant, they make a fuss and you have to request the details and/or separate menu. However, this was not the case here. As soon as we were seated a different waiter arrived with a glass of champagne for each of us and our set menu, which had a good variety of options. The service from this moment on was impeccable; classical dining service to reflect the fine-dining experience.

Var Salmon The Ritz Restaurant Lunch London Special Deal

For the starter we both selected the Var Salmon with beetroot, horseradish and orange. The presentation was exquisite, arty even, and the combination of colours, textures and flavours were simply amazing.

Navarin of lamb The Ritz Lunch Restaurant London Special Offer Deal

For the main we also both went for the same dish, Navarin of Lamb served with caramelised shallot, peas and goats curd. Don’t let the small portion size fool you, this was incredibly filling and the lamb the best I have ever tasted.

Cherry Souffle The Ritz London Lunch Restaurant Special Offer Deal

For dessert Jonathan opted for the Cherry Soufflé and I had the lemon mousse. I am a dessert girl but the mousse was a little too sweet for me. At the end of the meal we were served complimentary canapés, including a delightful mini macaroon that was just divine.

I fell in love with the elegant, decedent nature of The Ritz and yes it is pretentious but it is a wonderful dining experience. Definitely look on Bookatable.com for a deal too as it makes fine-dining affordable.

Beauty Advent Calendars 2014 – Liberty, Selfridges, Benefit, Elemis, L’Occitane

Last year I blogged about 2013 Beauty Advent Calendars and it proved to be one of my most popular posts. It is so much fun searching for these little beauties that I am doing it all again. In September, I hear you say? Yes, apparently so.

You see, companies are really starting to pick up on this whole concept of beauty calendars and this relatively new market is growing quite rapidly. Each year a new beauty calendar emerges, a little bit more special and far more chic than the rest. And the top beauty calendars sell out fast.

My top picks for beauty calendars in 2014: Enchanted Spells Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

The Enchanted Spells Beauty Advent Calendar from Selfridges is a must-have with 24 luxurious miniature treats including a selection of fragrances, makeup and skincare from some of the world’s best beauty brands including Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, Kiehl’s, Victor & Rolf and more.

Last year it was a bestseller and sold out pretty quickly, so register your interest on the Selfridges website today to be one of the first to know when the calendar becomes available.

Cost: £85 Benefit Candy-Coated Countdown Beauty Advent Calendar 2014 Debenhams Benefit Website Benefit Cosmetics Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

The theme of the Benefit Advent Calendar for 2014 is Candy-Coated Countdown. So cute! I love this calendar as it’s filled with miniature-sized samples of Benefit’s bestsellers – ideal to keep in your handbag over the festive season!

Buy Benefit’s Candy-Coated Countdown from October 16 from Debenhams and www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk. You can also reserve a calendar by visiting a Benefit counter at your local Debenhams. 

Cost: £60

Elemis 12 days of Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

Elemis Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

12 Days of Beauty is the focus of this luxurious beauty advent calendar from Elemis, filled with indulgent skincare surprises that are sure to delight ladies of all ages:

  • Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm 20g
  • Pro-Collagen Marine Cream 15ml
  • Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream 15ml
  • Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm 7ml
  • Papaya Enzyme Peel 15ml
  • Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules 14 caps
  • Revitalising Babassu Facial Wipes 4 sachets
  • Frangipani Monoi Shower Cream 50ml
  • Frangipani Monoi Body Oil 35ml
  • Skin Nourishing Shower Cream 50ml
  • Pro-Radiance Hand & Nail Cream 20ml
  • Treat Your Feet Foot Cream 20ml

Available to buy online now at www.timetospa.co.uk/elemis/elemis-12-days-of-beauty-gift-set/.

Cost: £59.50

Liberty Advent Beauty Calendar 2014 Luxury

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

A design based on a replica of the iconic store combined with the quintessential Liberty print makes this a beauty calendar like no other. Packed full of luxurious beauty products from Laura Mercier and NARS to Diptyque and Eve Lom, this is a highly-coveted calendar that will look super chic sitting on your kitchen side at home!

Available in store and at www.liberty.co.uk from November. 

Cost: £125

L'Occitane 13 Pampering Treats from Provence Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

L’Occitane Beauty Advent Calendar 2014

Let’s stop a minute to fully appreciate this L’Occitane Advent Calendar, packed with 13 Pampering Treats from Provence. It may not be the standard 24 products but there is a special reason for this – in Provence, it is a holiday tradition to have 13 deserts on the festival table. A collection of luxurious L’Occitane fragrance, skincare and body beauty treats to delve into over Christmas, what’s not to love?

Available to buy from November 3 at uk.loccitane.com.

Cost: £45

You Beauty Discovery Advent Calendar 2014You Beauty Discovery Advent Calendar 2014

Worth over £240, the You Beauty Discovery Advent Calendar is bursting with a host of premium products and it is available to non-members and members. This beauty calendar will give you more than what you pay for, packed full of products from sought-after brands including Laura Mercier, Sisley and Glam Glow, James Read and my favourite tan, Vita Liberata.

You can purchase the calendar now online at www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/luxury-boxes/adventcalendar

Cost: £49.95

Other Beauty Advent Calendars available:

No7 25 Days of Beauty Secrets, £35, available at Boots from October 29

Ciaté’s Mini Mani Manor, £45, available at Selfridges, John Lewis, ASOS and ciate.co.uk

10 Things I miss about uni

You know those annoying links to pointless and unnecessary stories that always appear on Facebook? Well, one actually inspired me today. 10 things I miss about uni.

I was a University of Birmingham student from 2005 – 2008 and while there are a few things that I don’t miss, there is a lot that I do miss, everyday:

1. Living in a shared house with girls completely different to me but so similar in other ways. We laughed, cried and shared an amazing experience together. It was so much easier to meet new people and make friends at uni. This, I do miss.

2. Daily naps. I was the queen of naps, whether it was at 12.30 in the afternoon or 6.00 in the evening. They were an integral part of my uni lifestyle.

3. Pre-drinks. No-one does better pre-drinking than a student. Pre-drinks often included hair in rollers and my friend Shreena playing MUA for a bunch of tipsy girls. Too much fake tan, short hemlines and high heels in a judgemental-free zone. Amazing.

4. Fancy dress. Playboy bunny ears and hot pants to fairy wings and even superman pyjamas; fancy dress epitomises uni nights out.

5. Junk Food. I remember in the space of 24 hours we ate pizza at 2am after leaving a club, followed by an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet the following lunchtime and an Indian takeaway later that evening for dinner. We ate £1.05 chicken and chips and £1.99 huge pizzas. It was bad for us, we knew it, and we loved it.

6. Using my brain. Last-minute essay writing in Strathcona, researching using BOOKS  in the library and not the internet (although Wikipedia came in useful occasionally) and actually learning from theorists like Edward Said. Not relying on the Daily Mail for lunchtime reading. Yes, this is definitely something I miss.

7. The emergence of Facebook. While I was in the first year of uni, Facebook was growing in popularity in the UK. However, at this time users joined the site as a student and we were differentiated by the university we went to. It was essentially used for uni students, not mums, dads, great aunts and distant cousins. I liked this time.

8. Money wasn’t real and we had a complete lack of responsiblity. I never looked at money like it was real, it was simply a way to fund my student lifestyle. This was particularly evident when student loan day came. Although this is not to say that we didn’t work – I had part-time jobs in the first and second year. I thought they were ‘hard work’ at the time. Little did I know what real life would be like.

9. Cheap as chips. Everything cost half the price as a student – food, living costs, clothes, nights out. From £1 vodka red bulls at Vodbull to 20% student discount at Topshop, life could still be good on a student budget.

10. Procrastination. There was always something to do, people to see, a book to read and an essay to write.

 

 

Sparkling Beauty Discount – 50% off facials

Couture Beauty Cambridge www.couturebeautycambridge.co.ukLadies, my friend Gemma has a fab seasonal offer at her salon Couture Beauty, one of Cambridge’s top independent beauty establishments!

Start the New Year with an indulgent pampering session and book a facial treatment with 50% off the original price. As a Dermalogica-accredited salon, you can rest assured that you’re in the best possible hands and Gemma really will make you feel comfortable.

Couture Beauty promises to bring out the best in you – leaving you refreshed, rejuvenated and feeling fabulous!

A Dermalogica facial treatment lasting 70 minutes will cost just £21 with the 50% discount and must take place in January 2013, subject to availability. You can book an appointment by calling 07734 322067 and visit the website to view the full treatment menu www.couturebeautycambridge.co.uk. Also, do pop over and like their Facebook page for regular offers and photos of all the latest shellac designs!

PS. This is not a sponsored post, I do genuinely recommend Gemma and Couture Beauty – it’s a fab salon in the centre of town!

Kylie Minogue Bedroom Collection – Glamorous Bed Linen

Kylie Minogue Malay Bed Range

As I’m moving house soon I have been looking for bedroom design inspiration, which has come in the form of the Kylie Minogue at Home bedroom collection.

The range is the epitome of bedtime glamour – luxurious detailing, sparkle and sequins and beautiful pearly, metallic hues.

But what I love most is the combination of textures – padded bedspreads, taffeta, organza, lace detailing, embellished appliqués and faux fur throws. The photo above shows the Malay bed linen which is at the top of my wish list. It’s the kind of bed set that looks perfect for Sunday morning snuggles.

I would team a Kylie bed set with a chandelier, extra long flowing curtains and some sort of baroque headboard for my very own princess boudoir.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I was recommended A Thousand Splendid Suns by a friend and it was so incredible, I read the book within a week.  This is a story of the harrowing life of two extraordinary women living in war-ridden Afghanistan.  Starting with Mariam as a young child, shunned by the father she so deeply doted on, she was forced into an arranged marriage full of misery.  However, it was the second wife Laila that offered some happiness in Mariam’s life.  The growing friendship between the two main characters – Mariam and Laila – touched my heart.  Through the poverty, suffering and pain, their spirit and love became something stronger than any companionship I have ever witnessed in life.  The second prominent part of the book is the relationship between Laila and Tariq which proves to be the very essence of true love.  The story switches from brutality and horror to love and hope.  Written so well, I became so enthralled with this book that I found myself praying for some sort of happy ending, which sadly turns out to be bitter sweet.  Beyond amazing.  This is a book I will never forget.

An Arabian Princess

Princess is a true story detailing the life of a Saudi Arabian Princess, the life behind the veil.  Of course this is anonymous, that is given, particularly due to the cultural constraints in most parts of the Arab world.  However, this story is so heart-wrenching, it opens your eyes to the depths some countries, cultures and religions go to, to protect their beliefs. Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive.  Women are not allowed an education (although I think this is slowly changing?).  Women who commit adultery are stoned to death.  Read Sultana’s life from her childhood to becoming a wife and mother and her continuous glimmers of hope.  Luxury doesn’t mean freedom.  Freedom doesn’t mean travelling the world, it could literally be having a choice.  A story that will make you laugh, smile, giggle and cry and evoke feelings of happiness, anger, confusion and hope.  I loved this book and will definitely be reading the next two.