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My first experience of a medical facial at Array Aesthetics


If you are a ling time reader of my blog, you will know I'm obsessed with skincare. For many years I've had regular facials. These facials are largely a spa type facial- they are relaxing and usually leave my skin with a nice glow for a few days. I enjoy facials because of the calming element so when I was invited to Array Aesthetics for a medical facial, I knew I was in for a different experience!

Array Aesthetics is a new clinic in Belfast City Centre. Located in a private building, the clinic is friendly and warm whilst still being secluded. The clinic is run by trained doctors and highly qualified and experienced skin experts. Array Aesthetics offers a wide array of treatments- from dermal fillers to Botox to advanced skincare. The clinic does have a medical feel but it's not intimdating. Instead it made me feel calm that I was in professional hands. 

Eithne looked after me for my Oxygen Facial. She is a lovely girl who put me at complete ease. With many years experience working in Australia in cosmetic doctors offices, she has a wealth of experience in advanced skincare. We had such a good chat about skincare and things that had or hadn't worked for me in the past. After filling out all of the relevant paperwork, I popped up on to the chair for my treatment. 

The Oxygen Facial is a Cosmedix treatment. The American brand is emerging in the UK with Array Aesthetics being the only clinic in Northern Ireland using it. All the products contain good acids to help the skin to look and feel its best. My skin was first deep cleansed using the Lactic Acid & Peppermint cleanser. This not only smelled amazing but felt amazing. My skin was then exfoliated using a powder exfoliant made from oats. This felt like it felt my skin really clean and smooth. Following this, the oxygen treatment was applied. This went on like a face mask in two steps. I found the first step a little more stingy than the second but it was not painful. It felt more like warm heat. The ingredients work to stimulate the skin to regenerate and renew. 

Following this, serum and SPF were applied. My skin was a little bit red for about 2 hours post treatment. I found that I broke out a little bit in the following days as all of the impurities were drawn out. I found that a week after my skin looked amazing and has remained good- it looks fresher and clearer. I feel like the facial helped congestion around my skin and t zone.

The Oxygen Facial costs £70 - the price I usually pay for my more "fluffy" facials. You also receive a month supply of cleanser of your choice to take home after your treatment. I think this is great value for money. I would highly recommend visit Array Aesthetics- the professional and passionate team are definitely bring a new generation of cosmetic treatments to Belfast. 

For more information, visit: http://arrayaesthetics.com

The face oil/serum debate



There are millions of serums and oils on the market, most of them with big claims- firming, line reducing, skin evening.... but do they live up to what they say? In 2015 I've really seen my skin change from using serums. I used to be all about moisturiser but I now seem more likely to skip moisturiser and head straight for an oil or serum. I know this can seem scary (especially if you have combo or oily skin) but serums have made a huge different to my skin's overall appearance. Below I have detailed some of my favourite serums and oils that you might like to try too. 


Jurlique Daily Moisture Balancing Serum | Best for: oily skin, morning use, under makeup
Jurlique is a Austrailian brand and their products are all great for sensitive skin. This serum is lovely for day or night and leaves skin soft and nourished. It's nothing fancy with big claims but it's a great starter serum if you are just getting into the habit of using serums and oils. I'd suggest this for teenagers and those in their early 20s with problem skin. It is really mild and soothing on any active breakouts. 


Clarins Double Serum | Best for: fine lines, wrinkles, big pores, under makeup
This is one of the most pricey of the bunch. At £69 for 50ml, the bottle dispenses equal amounts of the 2 phase serum in every pump. Made up of lots of plant extracts, the serum is nourishing and I saw results from the first use. It definitely increases the glow in your skin but best of all, I felt it made an amazing under makeup product. At 23, I can't comment on the anti-ageing properties but the pore minimising claims rang true. Don't be scared off this one if you are in your 20s. Definitely one to try if you love a flawless, hydrated base under your makeup that will help give you that healthy, dewy glow. 


Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil | Best for: tired skin, dehydrated skin, night time use
One of the most popular bed time oils on the market, Kiehl's Midnight Recovery is powerful and still represents good value for money (£36 for 30ml). I've had this bottle for over a year and it's still going strong. A little goes a long way and the mix of fatty acids and oils plumps the skin to make it look like you've had a fabulous nights sleep (even if you haven't!). This is a great starter oil if you want to up your routine and give your skin a much needed moisture boost. 


Oskia Resortation Oil | Best for: dehydrated skin, dry skin, unbalanced skin, night time use
This oil firstly smells amazing and the texture is much thicker than others on this list. At £60 for 30mls, this product is definitely luxury but worth if you suffer with an uneven skin tone. I have found this fantastic to use at night, helping my skin to look fresh, glowing and more even in the morning. After a bout a week of use I felt it made a dramatic difference. Like the Kiehl's, a little goes a long way and a bottle would probably last 6 months with daily use making the £60 price tag seem much more affordable. 


Image Skincare Vital C SerumBest for: acne prone skin, scarring, night time use
Scarring loves vitamin C. I first tried this serum when I started to work on my acne scars on my cheeks. This serum is light in texture and smells like freshly squeezed oranges. I feel this serum helped to slowly fade and lighten the scars on my face and leave me with glowing skin. Unlike the others on this list, this oil felt great followed by a moisturiser as the serum itself is very light. 


In essence- invest in an oil or serum to give your skin more glow, more hydration and a better overall skin. Let me know some of your favourite oils by commenting below or tweeting me @GemmaLEBond. 

My Week #3: Tracking, Rapping, Blending and Eating



It's been a quiet week... between the July holidays, a 2 day week at work and frantically trying to write my dissertation for university, I'm still highly unsure of what day it is. However, I still have some little weekly loves to share with you all.

I had a facial on Friday in town (more on this soon!) and on my way back, I may have just accidentally ended up in Space NK. Oooops. I've tried so many makeup tools but never managed to buy a Beauty Blender. They cost £20 so I think the thought of spending that on a sponge constantly put me off. All of the big American beauty YouTubers swear by them to get flawless Kim K foundation. I have to say I'm so impressed by it- it's the weirdest texture. It's firm and the product applies perfectly to the face- I think this is the start of a long Beauty Blender obsession! 


I love me some Slim's when I feel like I want to eat out but not go too crazy. The Express store in Victoria Square has become a lunchtime favourite at work. I love the Mexican bagel - it's so filling and tasty! Their shakes and juices are also great if you are in the mood for something sweet but want to stay clear of the chocolate. 

I have weird music taste. I really love classical music but I also love lots of hip hop and rap. I've been listening to Meek Mill's new album lots and love All Eyes On You ft Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown. It's such a chill song with such a catchy hook. If you like Drake or Rick Ross, you'll love Meek Mill.

I was a bit scared to share this one but it's something I believe so much in that I feel like I should. I've been obsessed with the app Clue all year. It's essentially a period tracking app that's so easy to use but I've also found it really educational. I've spent this year coming off the pill (no I'm not trying for a baby) and the Clue app has helped me keep a track of all the changes that have been happening. I would suggest this for anyone 16 and over to help educate them about fertility and tracking things such as PMS. I have all of my friends of multiple ages using it and they love it too. 

That's all for this Sunday- I hope you've had a great weekend!

My first taste of Galgorm





I had often heard people rave about Galgorm Resort and Spa. From weddings to the spa itself, it seemed everyone had managed to make a visit but me! After announcing their new extension that is coming in September (the rooms are huge suite with their own hot tub.....wow!), Galgorm Resort & Spa kindly invited me and That Belfast Mamma up to see what the fuss is all about.

Located about 30 minutes from Belfast, the drive to Galgorm is quick and easy. The resort itself is big but still very friendly. I kept joking with my mum that I felt like I was on a ranch! It has a very country and homey feel to it. Although luxurious, it's down to earth. We headed to the resort on a Friday over the July Bank Holiday weekend. We firstly headed to the spa. The spa is located downstairs and reminded me a lot of the spa in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The spa is absolutely huge. The changing rooms are great, as are the spa robes and slippers. From entering the spa to the minute we left, the service we received was fantastic. This was something that many of my readers had commented telling me prior to my visit- it's easy to see why the Galgorm has recently been awarded the Best Spa of the Year by Irish Tatler.

At the spa, I had the amazing VOYA treatment "The Taste of Galgorm". VOYA is an organic Irish brand that the spa stocks along with Aromatherapy Associates and my favourite tanning brand Vita Liberata. My therapist was a lovely girl called Zoe. She had such a calming personality. I find it hard to destress as I'm on the go all the time so this treatment was exactly what I needed. The blissful, head-to-toe ritual begins with a muscle melting back massage with warm organic body oil, followed by a nourishing dual action hair mask. This is then followed by a facial to add an immediate glow to the skin and brighten the eye area with the application of Laminaria eye compresses whilst a relaxing head massage helps to release upper body tension.This ritual is exclusive to Galgorm Resort & Spa and closes with the restorative ancient art of pressure point foot massage. It was the first time in my life I've ever fallen asleep during a treatment! My skin looked great after it but more than anything, I felt so de-stressed and calm!

After my treatment, I went for a swim and session with the sauna. The main spa is spacious and bright. Even though it was the holidays and it seemed busy, it didn't feel over-crowded as it's quite a large area. 

After showering (the showers have all Aromatherapy Associate products in them!) and blowdrying my hair, mum and I ventured to the well loved Gillies Restaurant for lunch. Mum had the gammon and I had the Salt and Chill chicken. The food was lovely and the portion were huge - I didn't need to eat for the rest of the day! Gillies is a fun, relaxed environment, again with that country lodge feeling.

I had a wonderful first visit to Galgorm Resort & Spa and look forward to returning when the new signature suites open in September.

The Taste of Galgorm treatment lasts 85 mins and costs Tuesday – Thursday £105 / Friday – Monday £125. For more information, see www.galgorm.com.

My Week #2: Big lashes, Yogland, jumpsuits & Simply Be

This week again has been busy but it's been a shame that the good weather has broken! 

On Thursday, I was one of the judges for the Belfast heat of Simply Be's Catwalk Contender Competition. They are looking for a gorgeous new face to star in their Christmas campaign. It was great to see such curvy and confident girls in Belfast. If you weren't able to make it down, enter online by tweeting or Instagramming a full length picture of yourself to @SimplyBeUK using the hashtag #CatwalkContender. See here for full terms and conditions. 

I have a bit of a problem with dairy (too much = bad skin), so it fills me with joy when new places open with dairy free options. Yogland is facing Tesco on the lower Lisburn Road and offers tons of tasty flavours of frozen yoghurt, dessert and sorbet. My favourite was the strawberry and lemonade flavours swirled together- heaven! I highly recommend trying it out- it's great fun and super tasty. 

I think in 2015 I have tried about 6 or 7 different mascaras. I like Clarins Truly Waterproof but I was missing my holy grail. I absolutely adore Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. It makes my lashes long, curled, is great on my bottom lashes and I've convinced it makes my own lashes grow. Unfortunately, Too Faced is no longer stocked in Boots (I found this out after trekking to the Royal Avenue and Boucher Road stores) but there is a great counter in Debenhams. Now I've got it back I'm not letting it go- £19 well spent!

Lastly, I picked up this bargain jumpsuit from George at Asda for £18 and it's fab! It's a great length, non-crease fabric and is long enough for my 5ft10 frame. This is a must buy for anyone heading away and it would make a great travelling outfit. I plan to wear mine on a weekend away with some trainers for day and heels for night- a great all rounder! 

I hope you all are having a great July- the year is flying in!

Lisse Design, Lidl handbags & I'm looking for a top model


It's a busy blog week and I've lots to tell you about! Firstly, how gorgeous is the handbag above? It's a total dupe for the Mulberry Pembridge but it costs a fraction of the price.... and it's from Lidl! After launching their successful clothing line earlier this year, Lidl are now dropping some amazing handbags on Thursday 9th July including the one above which is priced at a bargain £9.99. They are expected to be a sell out so make sure to go sooner rather than later!

Secondly, I have an exclusive That Belfast Girl offer to share with you. Last summer I had the amazing Lisse Design treatment done on my hair at Jason Shankey (read my full review here). This is a smoothing treatment and it's perfect if you have thick hair that can get out of control in the heat. I highly recommend this treatment, especially if you are going travelling or to somewhere very humid. It also reduces blow-dry time- no brushes or special lotions are needed for a sleek blow-dry. The picture above is of me last summer after blast drying my hair- amazing! If you fancy this smoothing treatment for your unruly locks, call Caroline at Jason Shankey Lisburn Road. She is offering £50 off exclusively for my readers making it £100 for short and £150 for long hair. Although it's a pricey treatment, it's worth every penny! To book quote 'That Belfast Girl' and call Caroline on: 028 90 681291. 

And lastly, this Thursday from 11am-4pm I am looking for a top model! In association with Simply Be, Milk Management and Cosmo we will be scouting for a gorgeous Belfast girl to feature in Simply Be's Christmas campaign. Think you have what it takes and are over 5ft8 and a size 12? Come down and meet us in store. If you can't make it, you can enter online here

My week #1: Ships, sun, tea and tan




I've wanted to start a sort of "Sunday column" for a long time. I'm always out and about or trying news thing that sometimes aren't long enough for a post of their own but I still want to talk about them so here is my new Sunday offering entitled "My week".

Last Sunday, myself and my mother were kindly invited down to Avoca Belfast to experience their afternoon tea. I've tried many afternoon teas in my time and I can honestly say this was the best one.  From stunning sandwiches, savoury scones and mini quiches to an abundance of sweet treats, the afternoon tea was friendly luxury. It was tasty without being too pretentious like many other afternoon teas. I really enjoyed my Mango & Strawberry tea as well as the cucumber and mint infused water that was left on our table. Not only was the food delicious, it was filling and offered great value for money. The staff were great and the service was fantastic. The Afternoon Tea runs from Sunday - Friday and costs £18.95 per person or £21.95 with prosecco. Advance booking (at least 24 hours) is essential. Call 028 90 279950 to book. 

Summer weather
I have been in a great mood this week because of the amazing weather. My face currently resembles a giant freckle as the sun loves to bring them out. I used to hate them as a child but I'm slowly learning to love them. I love the picture I took in my friends garden of a bee- the iPhone 6's camera is amazing!

Mani & Pedis
I used to be religious about my nails but I got into bad habits with them. But I now have a standing appointment for my nails and feet every month. I get acrylic on nails with gel polish on top. I also got gel polish on my feet for the first time ever and love it. I opted for an orange red as I was feeling summery. I go to Erin at The Dolly Rooms in Newtownabbey for my mani/pedis. She's lovely and I love the huge pedicure chair they have to sit in. It's so relaxing!

Tall Ship banter
I was lucky enough to be invited to a very special experience by Lidl onboard one of the Tall Ships on Thursday night. It was amazing to see such a great event in Belfast and as the weather was stunning, everyone was in great form! We had great fun having drinks and snacks whilst listening to amazing music and watching an aerial artist come down the sail of the boat! It was truly a special experience and a night I won't forget. Many thanks to Lidl & Susan for a great evening. 

The Tan
I was sent some new tanning goodies from Irish company The Tan this week. Created by the owners of salon The Vanity Rooms, the super hydrating formula comes in gel format making it easy to apply. Akin to St. Tropez or Fake Bake, it applies easily and is showered off, leaving behind a great colour. I've used this already and loved it. There also isn't much smell off it. They also do a complimentary gradual tanner than they suggest using between full tanning application. This was a fantastic product for my legs which are naturally very dry and can go patchy easily. It made my legs the perfect bronze colour and it has worn off beautifully. Definitely one to try for any of my dry skin girls. Visit www.the-tan.com to purchase.  

I've had a fabulous week and I hope you have too- long may the good weather stay!