My life with long hair

We all know I love to change my hair. I've had my long hair for two months and a little (behind the scenes) change has happened! I really enjoyed having La Bella Vita extensions in my hair and I thought I'd do a post about my experience with them. (FYI: I had 250 micro link extensions installed. To read about my installation experience, click here). 

They're surprisingly light
Each bond weighs 1g and they are double drawn meaning they are the same volume root to tip making them very thick. I was concerned about the 250g of hair added to my head but they weren't heavy at all! The only time I felt they were weighty was after washing them as they hold more water due to being very thick. 

They don't hurt when you sleep
I have heard so many people complain that they find it unbearable to sleep or lie down when they have extensions in but from day 1, I had no problems! As long as you put your hair in a low plait or ponytail before bed, your extensions won't give you any bother as you toss and turn. 

You will spend lots of time brushing and drying your hair
This is a fairly obvious point but if you are a wash & go sort of girl, extensions aren't for you. My 20 minute blow-dry of my natural hair turned into almost 50 mins of an upper body work out. You also have to make sure you brush your extensions out throughly. I loved my Tangle Teezer for this. To read about the products I used on my extensions, click here

Maintenace isn't as often as you'd imagine
You need to go back every 6-8 weeks to have your micro links moved back up to the top of your head. I have quite fast growing hair and felt around the 6 week mark was when mine needed a bit of TLC. You will know yourself as you can felt how far down your hair has grown!

You use more shampoo but wash your hair less often
I only washed my hair once every 4/5 days with my extensions in (as opposed to every 2/3 of my natural hair). This was great as it was a time saving measure on a daily basis but when it did need washed, "I can't come out, I'm washing my hair" was an actual valid excuse. I found I needed twice as much shampoo as usual for all of my hair to feel clean but this balances out as I washed it less. 

And lastly... you will feel like Cher, Kim Kardashian and all the long hair beauties rolled into one.
I've never had long hair in my life and I always wondered what extensions would feel like. It was a fairly magical experience and it's made me value my own hair so much more. I had great fun with them and as you can see from the picture above, I had them ultra long then a bit shorter. It really gave me something to strive towards in terms of growing my own hair. If you are someone that has always wanted long hair, try them! It will motivate you to grow your own hair and try out different looks.

Many thanks to Katie at La Bella Vita for looking after me so well.

For more information about La Bella Vita extensions, visit their Facebook, website or ring them on 028 90 480530. 

The yellow concealer you NEED in your life

NYX is now widely available across Ireland and their product range is outstanding. It is easy to see why the range so well loved by makeup artists and celebs. The products are fantastic quality but are very cheap and rival higher end products in terms of what they can achieve. 

I remember years ago seeing a picture of Kim Kardashian with yellow concealer all over her face. I didn't know why she had it there but I knew it must be for a good reason as she always looks flawless. 
On research, I found out yellow concealer is brightening. This was music to my tired under eyes. NYX HD Concealer in yellow is not a typical concealer in that, I apply it on top of a concealer to hide my circles. I almost leave the yellow concealer to the last step. I apply it in a V shape under my eyes and a little bit down my nose. I then pat this in with  my ring finger. I have found that it dramatically brightens my under eye area and makes me look much more awake. I have found that it does not crease or need powdered but if you usually powder your face, I imagine it would work just as well.

This is a great dupe of for MAC Prep & Prime Lightboost which is sold as a highlighter pen. The MAC offering is £18.50 and the NYX version is just £6. A bargain and it works a treat! 

3 Great Cleansers for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin can be the biggest nightmare when looking for skincare products. I've spent more money than I care to admit on ridiculously expensive cleansers, drugstore cleansers and everything in between. Ultimately, it has taken me years to find cleansers that make my skin feel clean and not stripped out or dry. I have used all of these cleansers in combination with each other (double cleansing) and they all work well. I would recommend to anyone to invest in skincare and buy drugstore makeup (if there had to be a toss up!). Makeup is only as good as the skin you put it on!

Jurlique Rose Moisture Cleanser, £18.50
Don't let the "foaming" by line fool you on this product. The ultra creamy product smells divine and leaves skin feeling soft. A small amount is all that is required. I was super impressed by the consistency of this product and the anti-oxidant ingredients really help to make it a great cleanser. The whole Jurlique line is very impressive as is the brand's history- it's all created on a biodynamic farm in Southern Australia. This is a great cleanser for both day and night.
Best for: dry and sensitive skin

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, £28
Oskia is a brand, like Jurlique, that I have truly fallen in love with. This cleanser comes in a pump (extra marks just for this) and is dispersed in a thick, orange gel form. The super-powered cleanser includes Vitamins A, C and E and pumpkin enzyeme (hence the colour!). Like all Oksia skincare, the natural ingredients including their special MSM complex make this cleanser a hero products. I prefer to keep this cleanser for night time as it's quite rich. I would occasionally use it in the morning if my skin was very dehydrated or I had a late (*gin induced*) night.
Best for: tired skin

Yon-Ka Lait Nettoyant, £29.50
Since having a Yon-Ka facial with Deborah Harper in 2014, I have not put this down. I'm on my second bottle- always a good sign of how much I like something! As with the other two brands featured, Yon-Ka uses natural ingredients to maximise skin care benefits. I love this cleanser as it can be used on the eyes too. The milk texture leaves the skin super silky. I apply it to damp skin and remove with a warm flannel. Often I will use this as my makeup remover and use one of the other cleansers to make sure my skin is as clean as possible.
Best for: lazy girls, if you travel a lot

Let me know what your favourite cleanser is below or by tweeting me @GemmaLEBond. 

*All of these products were sent to me as PR samples but this is no way influences or shapes my opinion of them

My Seriously Juicy 3 Day Cleanse Experience

I hate fad diets. I think they can be really harmful to your health, both mental and physical. However, I've been so taken with the juicing phenomenon and its health benefits that I wanted to see what the hype was for myself. I was sent the 3 Day Beginner Cleanse from Northern Irish company Seriously Juicy. The juices all arrived by courier , well packaged and cooled with ice packs. There were 5 juices for each day. Additionally, the kit also included green tea bags, epsom salts, a natural loofah for dry brushing and 3 Squeeze Wheatgrass shots. Below I have detailed my journey with the juices. I will preface this by saying I did find it hard. I'm a big girl who likes her food and I also had the beginning of a cold. I also have a pre-exsisting medical condition so it is important to check with your own GP before you undertake the cleanse if that is the case.

A bit of background about me
I have always what I would describer as "weight issues". I can gain and lose weight very quickly under stress. Also, through times of severe stress I tend to have a very varied eating pattern that usually doesn't revolve around three square meals a day! I am really aware that I don't often eat enough which contributes to my tiredness. Before under-taking the juice cleanse I had been feeling under the weather for about two weeks (no energy, no appetite) after a medical procedure on my back. I was keen to see if the juice cleanse would give me back some energy. 

Day 1
The first day of the cleanse was very hard. In the morning, I tried to drink my Squeeze Wheatgrass Shot on an empty stomach (as suggested) but I did not find this easy! They certainly are an acquired taste (for the remaining days I put the shot into my lunchtime Beginner Green juice as this masked the taste). The morning juice was a Mango Tango. This was quite sweet but very heavy on the pepper taste. For days 2 and 3, I added in some coconut water from Vita Coco to mask that taste. Mid morning was a Ginger Zinger and I really enjoyed this juice, especially as I was starting to get a cold. The vast amounts of ginger definitely helped! Lunch, as previously mentioned was a Beginners Green. I love green juices and this one was really nice and easy to drink. Afternoon was Light Mint. This was fine and obviously tasted quite cleansing. Dinner was Pear 2 Beet and like breakfast, I found this a hard one. Again, for the next two days I put some Vita Coco in it to make it a little easier to drink. I was very tired on the Friday evening and slept very well!

Day 2
By Day 2, I had a good bit more energy. I drank all of my juices but I was very hungry on the Saturday afternoon. I drank a lot of water on Day 2 and I think this helped with the tiredness. This also meant I peed a lot- 13 times to be exact!!

Day 3
The third day felt much like the first. I was really starting to think about food a lot and had a rumbling tummy. Also by the third day, I felt like I had consumed so much liquid that I found it increasingly hard to drink all the juices, water and green tea. I didn't finish all of my juices- I left half of my breakfast juice and half of my dinner juice. I was very glad to see bed-time and wake up to a big bowl of porridge!

I ended up losing 5lbs over the three day cleanse which I feel is probably about average for me and what I could loose through healthy eating and exercise over a week. More notably, I felt less bloated and my tummy felt smaller. It's easy to see why juicing is often used prior to a big event. I did feel like my skin looked lovely and a bit more energy.

I feel however, the biggest thing that Seriously Juicy did for me was to reassess my own eating habits and allow me to actually identify my own hunger in a sensible way. I feel like I was stuck in a rut with my bad eating habits and missing meals. I have spent the week after my juicing trying to eat three meals a day and be sensible about my food choices. I would recommend Seriously Juicy for anyone who is in a similar situation- it's really helped me to improve my own diet.

Many thanks to Seriously Juicy for the 3 Day Cleanse. For more Seriously Juicy visit Facebook, Twitter or their website

A fabulous hair experience at Andrew Watson Hairdressing

Andrew Watson Haridressing is quite a recent addition to the Lisburn Road. The road is well known for being a wealth of hairdressers so it can seem like a bit of a nightmare as you don't know where to start! I was delighted to be invited down as stylist Leighann wanted to take part in the big blow-dry challenge. Leighann is an experienced hairdresser in all aspects of the trade but also in the application and maintenance of hair extensions. 

From the exterior, Andrew Watson Hairdressing so a no fuss hairdressers. Facing the police station, its inoffensive exterior sits amongst a row of shops and it could so easily be missed. However, the interior of the hairdressers is one of the nicest I have ever seen. It's not fancy or in your face but rather it is calm, unfussy and quiet. I have to say I've never been in a hairdressers quite like this and even before my hair had been touched, I had a lovely vibe about the place. I visited on a weekday and it was very busy but it was not noisy or overwhelming like many salons can be.

Leighann looked at my hair very closely before she decided what we would like to do. She suggested cutting my extensions as they had a lot of weight at the bottom that was making them sit a little bit too heavy. I agreed and post washing with the Wella range that they use in the salon, she set about chopping into the extensions. I was so happy with this and allowed her to cut more length off them. You can see from the picture that they are much shorter now but I think they look much more natural and they are also easier to manage. 

Leighann prepped my hair with Wella SP Style Resolute Lift which is a blow-dry lotion. She sprayed this liberally throughout my hair and sprayed the ends with Wella SP Luxeoil. I loved the idea of a spray oil as it made life a little bit faster and easier! My hair was rough dried then sectioned. The sections were then blowdried with a medium sized brush and set to cool in a velcro roller. Leighann worked in a New York salon for two years so I was fascinated with her blowdrying technique. This involved lots of movement rather than tension. You could see how much curl she could get just from the brush. This was a sign to me that the blow-dry was going to stay in well! Leighann was great at giving me tips about blowdrying my hair including how to blow-dry the front of your hair forward in order to get it to sit back off your face. There were lots of rollers in my head as you can see and my hair felt very smooth when these were removed. 

She curled the odd section with Cloud Nine straighteners just for a little extra face framing. She then lifted the roots and sprayed underneath with hairspray. This was something I haven't seen anyone do before but it really helped to keep the blow-dry volume in around the front of my hair. Obviously as I have extensions, the roots are more likely to drag down but I feel like she managed to get really good volume in my hair. I will be back to get her to blow-dry my natural hair in a few months as I know she could have it sitting SO huge!

I was so impressed with my blow-dry. I'm currently on day three and it's actually got nicer as the days have gone on. I haven't used any dry shampoo or product in it yet! I have it up in a big curly pony-tail today and I imagine I will get another day or two out of it if I use some dry shampoo.

I honestly would advise anyone to visit the salon. It's such a haven of relaxation and as someone who finds it hard to relax, that's no mean feat! Leighann was a lovely, friendly girl and I know I'll be back in the near future.

Thank you to Andrew Watson Hairdressing for a truly fabulous experience. For more information on the salon, visit: