Flower power

Photos by Emer Davidson

It might almost be autumn but I am clinging on the summer with vengeance (Did we even get a summer this year!?). I've noticed that this autumn that bright colours are really popular - bright reds, pinks and oranges. H&M's knitwear is my absolute favourite this season - this pink jumper can easily take you from day with jeans to night with a little leather skirt. 

The real focus of this outfit is the shoes - a recent find from Peacocks! I recently met with the Peacocks team and you will be so WOWed by their stuff for Autumn/Winter. From amazing coats to a velvet suit I can't wait to get my hands on, they are truly upping their game in terms of fashion. 

Is it time to buy my winter coat yet? Autumn my favourite time of year so I can't wait to buy more knits and boots! 

Rediscovering Dermalogica with Urban Beauty & Skincare Centre

Dermalogica is one of those brands I tried as a teen, had a bad experience and it put me off - until now. One of my big beauty aims of 2017 was to try and discover (or rediscover) brands I either didn't know much about or had fallen out of love with. It's really easy to be put off a brand if you are misinformed about it. In my case, as a teen I had been given a product from Dermalogica that was not suited to my skin type. I felt I needed re-educated in the brand as it has so many products that are super active and effective for different concerns. 

With this in mind, I was delighted to be invited by Helen, the owner of Urban Beauty and Skincare Centre in Dundonald to try out a BioSurface Peel. This was in celebration of her winning Belfast's Beauty Salon of the Year at the Northern Ireland Hair & Beauty Awards - what an accolade! Urban Beauty & Skincare Centre do both Dermalogica and Elemis treatments (I'm a HUGE Elemis fan and as a brand they are extremely particular about the salons & spas they go into so the fact Urban had it was a big draw for me).

The salon itself is unimposing - it's a little beauty haven set amongst an ordinary shop row at your drive into Dundonald. I was lucky enough to have Helen do my treatment - it provided a great opportunity to discuss her salon and skincare ethos with me. It turns out she's probably one of the most lovely businesswomen I've ever met - friendly, caring and great craic. She opened the salon when she was 20 and almost a decade & a half on, she remains hugely passionate about her craft. Her huge passion is skin and she has devoted her upstairs rooms for this purpose. The treatment room was so big, peaceful & calm - I felt like I was at a spa!

I explained to Helen my experience with the brand before and she ensured me that I would be wowed by the results of a BioActive Peel. This is one of the most interesting treatments in the Dermalogica family and is delivered by only experts like Helen as the peel can be customised to suit your skin needs. Mine were hydration and my little hormonal break outs on my chin area. The 5 step peel was unlike peels I had before. Peels can often be quite warm on the skin but I found this was not painful or uncomfortable like others I had tried. It's important to note that this is a skin treatment to ensure you looking your most radiant - it's not a relaxing facial. It's practical skincare that really works and the results were something else! Helen finished my treatment with extractions of my blackheads (something I had never hd before!) and application of mosituriser and SPF. The only real redness was from my extractions. I headed for lunch afterwards with my friends who commented I looked really fresh. 

As part of this treatment you receive an After Care Kit which is fantastic - it's a great way to try the products. I have fallen in love with the Multivitamin Theramafoliant - such a simple product to use twice weekly to give you the perfect glow as it buffs away any dead skin. 

My skin has been fantastic since this treatment. I feel my overall appearance is much more even & that it helped some scars I had that bothered me. This treatment is recommended as a course and I know I will certainly return to get another treatment. My face felt so clean after and in a way, I feel like I had the type of glow you get when you come home from holidays. I'm really happy to say this treatment certainly changed my perception of the Dermalogica brand and I want to learn more about it moving forward.

The biggest recommendation I can give you when I try out companies to review is that I would certainly return here as a paying customer - specifically to Helen as I just loved her personality and attitude. Urban Beauty & Skin Care gets a huge thumbs up from me - as does Dermalogica! 

Book with Urban Beauty & Skincare by calling 028 90 484202 or by visiting

*My treatment was provided for free by Urban Skincare. All views are my own. 

My Autumn Beauty Essentials

Autumn means new beauty drops! It also means my skin gets a little bit drier as the temperatures start to drop. My autumn beauty products are hydrating and refreshing to make me look the brightest and best before the serious cold of winter comes!

I have long been a fan of sheet masks and I find the best value packets of masks are from TK Maxx. I have been loving these Vitamin C sheet masks - I think they were £4.99 for 5! I usually do a sheet mask every Sunday night to add some hydration before a long week of 9-6 work makeup! If you fancy a sheet mask, look for versions with vitamin c to add glow to the skin!

Wet n Wild Megaglo Highlighter in Precious Petals
Like the rest of the beauty world, I'm obsessed with highlighters. I like the highlight to be really golden and natural - I'm not into the ones that look really metallic and wet. This highlighter is less than £5 and far out-performs many of its high end counterparts. The colour is great on cheeks and eyes. I love it so much that I'm going to stock up! 
(I buy Wet n Wild in Medicare Nortcott Tesco. It is also available in Medicare, Kings Square in East Belfast)

I've been a fan of drug store brand Sleek for a while & the Au Natural palette has amazing shades for autumn. Full of browns and neutrals (with a little bit of sparkle in some!), the buttery shadows apply like a dream. Plus the palette is only £8.99!

I have recently been trying some of the Urban Decay skincare range which has been a surprising delight. My favourite so far has been Lip Love, designed to give your lips a hug from wearing lots of matte and liquid lipsticks! With coconut, shea butter and mint as ingredients, I use this both at night before bed and when doing my makeup to ensure my pout is lipstick ready. 

This is hands down the best primer I have tried in my life. I've reviewed Laura Geller before but as the brands gets more distribution, I seem to find more and more products that are fantastic. At £25, this product is definitely an investment but a worthwhile one. It makes my makeup apply like a dream but more than that, the hydrating ingredients have definitely made my skin look better than ever. 

I always keep a perfume in my handbag & this is my go to at the moment. This is an extremely different scent for DKNY and a stark contrast from their Be Delicious apples. The bottle is super cute and scent is full of mandarin, grapefruit, vanilla, musk and (unsurprisingly!), nectarine! It's a little task of summer that's still autumn friendly enough with the musk and vanilla notes. Fans of sweet scents will adore this. 

I love vintage makeup and the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range is true Hollywood glamour. The products are sold in M&S and come in some of the most beautiful packaging ever. If you are a fan of brands like Chanel and Charlotte Tilbury, you need to try this brand, This lipstick & powder compact is so cute and perfect for a night out. The lipstick is creamy and the powder is good for an oily t-zone. It also makes a wonderful gift for a glam lady of any age plus it only costs £16!

Let me know your autumn beauty essentials by tweeting me @GemmaLEBond. 

Get Off My Back

Bag - House of Fraser | Jumper - H&M 

Photos by Emer Davidson 

The past few weeks have been unique. It was a weird morning to wake up and see my face, or rather my body, all over the internet. I never thought a picture of me in a swimsuit would cause such a stir online. My blog followers were such a confidence boost and it was such a pleasure to know I'd helped people in their own confidence journey. Being in other publications, despite not giving them permission to use my images or my words, was not such a delight. It was utterly bizarre to see people comment on my height, weight and looks. Often the mean comments would come from people around my mother's age - that shocked me the most. I can't imagine how someone who might have a daughter or niece my age would take the time to fat shame someone on the internet. I have to admit I did shed a few tears over the bad comments and it was at that point I decided not to read anymore of them and turn off my phone. I am forever grateful for the lovely comments and have turned my back to negative comments. The experience has toughed me up and humbled me. 

My new 'Get Off My Back' attitude meant this jumper from H&M was perfect! I had to pick it up when I saw it. It's very tongue in cheek which is my humour. My Friday Forever clutch from House of Fraser is also a new favourite - reminding me why 6pm on a Friday is forever a glorious feeling!

I can't believe it's September & sweater season again - bring it on! I love autumn! 

The new beauty concession your bank balance needs

I basically live in House of Fraser's beauty hall. I could spend hours swatching products and buying ANOTHER nude lipstick I don't need! House of Fraser Belfast now has a fun counter called Beauty Spotlight. The marble and rose gold counter features products from some of the hottest emerging brands on the market including the must coveted The Ordinary skincare line. The best bit about it is that Spotlight helps feed your beauty addiction without breaking the bank balance! Products starts from around £4! House of Fraser kindly sent me over some of the Spotlight top products to try - I've picked out my favourites below!

There's an array of face masks at the Spotlight counter. From new brand Nugg to Tony Moly, there's a mask for everyone. I adore the Starskin range as it feels super luxurious. They have everything from lip masks to my favourite sheet masks to try. I find all of the Starskin products super hydrating. Their red carpet ready mask is perfect before that special night out so you look extra flawless. 

NIOD is the big sister of The Ordinary skincare range. More concentrated and a little more pricey, the range contains lots of products that specifically target skin concerns. As hydration is always my main concern, I tried out the Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex. I applied this serum to my face each night to clean skin before bed, something before moisturiser and sometimes simply by itself. After 4 weeks my skin looked clearer, more plumped and glowy than ever before. I really recommend this product, especially for coming into the winter months when skin needs a moisture boost. 

These brushes quickly replaced Real Techniques brushes as my most favourite brushes of all time! Firstly, my set (pictured) look AMAZING. They are super chic but more than that, they are great value for money. A 10 piece set comes in at £40. They wash really easily, apply makeup like a dream and are very sturdy. A great brand for all ages but especially for younger girls looking to start out their brush collection. 

Pixi is a brand I've long advocated on my blog. It's a great cruelty free brand as well as having some fab products including the iconic Glow Tonic. I tried out the Glow Tonic to Go pads which were really handy for holidays. I'm also a huge fan of Pixi's brow products as well as their plumping lipgloss. 

Tangle Teezer
If you have thick and curly hair like me, you NEED a Tangle Teezer in your life. I've owned one for a few years and I was delighted to see Beauty Spotlight stock them. They are the easiest way to keep your hair knot free. I also love to use mine in the shower to brush through my conditioner or mask! These make a great stocking filler or little birthday gift. 

I can't wait to see where Beauty Spotlight goes from here - it's great fun discovering all of the little gems it has!

*Products are PR samples. All views my own.