Exploring ahead of ABC Style Week

*In association with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council*

I'm so excited to be a part of ABC Style Week! I will be holding a workshop in Portadown Town Hall on Wednesday 11th October at 7pm. My workshop is called 'Get Styled, Get Body Confident'. Tickets are only£5 and can be purchased from: 

Ahead of my workshop, I visited Lurgan and Portadown to check out what they had to offer in terms of fashion. I knew Lurgan quite well after a visit many years ago & numerous return visits to Alana Interiors (it's seriously worth the drive!).

We started out in Lurgan at Perfect Day - a bridal store. My mum recently got engaged so I am going to a bridesmaid next year. I tried on some styles to see what she might like - I absolutely loved the fit of the navy style I tried on. They have lots of great formal wear as well as bridal choices. We headed on up the town to The Curiosity Tea Room - they also sell cute scarves and bags. I loved the designer inspired fringe number! We also called into new beauty salon Pin Up - I spotted someone getting their nails done and they looked great. Their wall murals are perfect for selfies! Elegance Boutique also had amazing items - I wanted to bring the green sparkly bomber jacket home with me! We of course had to pop up to my favourite, Alana Interiors for a Mars Bar scone and a nosey around their clothes & gift section. I adore the brand Kate Loxton - they have gorgeous candles and clutch bags with cute sayings, making them perfect for presents! We also nipped to the gorgeous Chantilly Lace for more bridal goodness - I spotted the sweetest little flower girl dress. We also went to Jack in the Box which was so nostalgic for me as my grandmother was an avid knitter when I was a little girl. 

We then drove over to Portadown. I love the girls from The Bottom Drawer - a lovely sister duo with a great eye for gorgeous things. They sell great brands in terms of clothes and have lovely gift options. In the same street as them, Sitara Morgan has stunning shoes from brands such as Moda in Pelle and Marian (a fab Spanish brand). I took a shine to a pair of pony skin leopard heels! Not leaving out the men in our lives, Statement Menswear has fab gift options for the Christmas season as well as some of the nicest suits I've ever seen - definitely one to consider if you are getting married!

I cannot wait for my event in Portadown - I hope to see some of you there!

Why the Aviva Community Fund 2017 can make a difference

In association with Aviva Community Fund 2017

I love the ethos of community. It one of the very reasons I stared my blog - I love the people of Belfast and how we support one and another. Given this, I was delighted to go and see a group that benefited from the Aviva Community Fund last year. I visited the team at Girl Guiding Ulster at their home in Lorne Estate in County Down. The estate is magnificent - with walking trails, archery, abseiling and accommodation, it’s a little hidden gem just off the main Belfast to Bangor carriageway. I met their managing executive, Claire at the estate to hear why Girl Guiding Ulster decided to submit for funding and hear how small things can make a big difference to local community groups.

The team at Girl Guiding Ulster benefited hugely from receiving £5,000 in funding which enabled them to buy Resusci Anne dolls  dolls to teach both adults and children much needed CPR skills. This is an investment that not only will help the girls to reach their first aid badge but give them skills for life that could save someone when they are extremely poorly. 

I am delighted to be partnering with the Aviva Community Fund to encourage local groups here in Northern Ireland to apply for funding. Whether you are a local football team, mental health charity or a school that needs a new library, the Aviva Fund is open to all sorts of projects to. 

Aviva is offering four funding levels, from up to £1,000 to up to £25,000 To apply for funding, just tell Aviva how your project will make a positive change in one of these categories: 
• Health and wellbeing 
• Skills for life 
• Community support 
• Inclusivity 

You need votes to get your project to the finals, so start rallying friends, family and neighbours now! 

However, Aviva knows how much work it can take for volunteers in smaller projects to pull their entries together and rally voters. 

Most smaller projects ask for funding up to £1,000, so to recognise all their hard work, Aviva will automatically give the first 200 projects to reach 1,000 votes in this funding level the funding they ask for. If you’re one of the lucky 200 projects, Aviva will let you know. If you’re not one of those 200 projects, you’re still in with a chance of winning your funding. See terms and conditions to find out more. 

To get involved, submit a project or vote visit Entries opened on 12th September, closing dates for entries on 10th October 2017.

My beauty philosophy

Photo by Emer Davidson 

2017 is the year I've really learned to like myself. It's probably the most time I've spent on my own as an adult, trying to figure out what makes me happy and what I appreciate in myself. My blog focuses a lot on products you put on your face but also the beauty inside you. I've written my new beauty philosophy rules below. I hope these will be things I remember as I grow older (and hopefully wiser!).

1. Skincare is key
I will sound like a broken record but skin care is everything. If you are a fan of my live streams, you'll know I invest a lot of time in my skincare routine - from cleansers to masques, I love everything skin! I find my skin has started to improve the more I look after it - especially when I take my fish oil tablets every day (they make a huge difference - such a good investment!). I am also a fan of regular treatments - whether that be a facial or a peel. Take care of your skin - you only get one face!

2. Water baby
Like skincare, this is the oldest trick in the book. I find it takes 2-3 litres of water a day to keep my skin looking its best. Water combined with skin is my best combo to have me feeling my prettiest. 

3. Less is more but more is fun too
As I've grown up, I find myself wearing less makeup. At the weekend I love a bare face with loads of moisturiser. I have even been known to turn up to work minus my face after a facial or a peel. I think as I've learned to accept myself, I don't want to hide my face away behind very heavy makeup. That said, I do now really appreciate doing my makeup for a night out. I love a glitter eye and over-lined lip but to me, this makeup is fun & a bit theatrical. If I wore it everyday, I don't think I'd enjoy doing it so much. 

4. Your heart is your beauty
As a teenager, I was so insecure and thought I wasn't pretty. I was bullied in school and defined my worth off what I was physically judged on. I have realised my worth is actually my goodness and my patience - not my face or my makeup style. This has been the thing that has changed my beauty philosophy forever - if you can appreciate that your beauty comes from within, you're already a little bit winning at life.

What's your beauty philosophy? Tweet me at @GemmaLEBond to let me know!

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.