19 August 2018

Digital Confidence

*This post is a paid for collaboration with the Post Office

Confidence... it's something I talk about a lot on my blog. But digital confidence is something that I've started to think about over the past six months. In my almost 8 years of blogging technology has advanced so much. I used to spend so much time working on my blog posts on my laptop and transferring pictures from my SD card to my computer. Now it can all be done from my iPhone!

As I get older, my safety and how much I choose to share online has become more important to me. As someone who has lots of digital knowledge I feel like I need to share more about keeping yourself safe online whether that be via the apps, safety measures or what you should or shouldn't share. 

One in five people do not feel digitally confident. If I think of that in terms of how many of you like to read my posts, it's a lot! 17% of people struggle with smart phones and 21% of people struggle with apps. And we aren't just talking about my mum who I regularly have to give tech advice to (or help her with her wireless printer!). 21% of 18-35 year olds feel uncomfortable with the pace of technology. I get it - I started my blog with this website and Twitter & that's grown to Facebook, Instagram and a million other different platforms. It's hard to keep up! 

That's why I've partnered with the Post Office & Google for their Digital Drop Ins. I'm heading to London at the end of the month to learn more about getting up to speed with digital confidence. Let me know if there's any burning questions you'd like me to ask the digital Google team by tweeting me @GemmaLEBond. 

If you live in London & would like to attend (I'll be there too!) please sign up to the free workshop on 31st August at this link

The Skin Series: The Treatments

Out of everything in the skincare series, this has been the most requested. As I regularly post heading for treatments on my Instastories (@thatbelfastgirl if you don't follow), I thought I'd finally detail all of my favourite treatments here that I love to keep my skin in tip top condition. 

For getting into a good routine
I've been going to see Deborah Harper in Helen's Bay for years. Her Yonka treatments are glorious, relaxing and soothing. The Yonka range is an amazing routine for anyone at any age. If you've been following my skin series and want to start into a new range whether you are 17 or 70, Yonka is a great place to start. My advice is to head to see Deborah, get a facial and get a new skin care routine on the go. I find the range is super nourishing and hydrating - it makes your skin refreshed and clean! I love the Le Grande Classique facial - deep cleansing and a massage in one! I've been known to drift off to sleep during this treatment! 

For a post holiday or pre event pick up 
If my skin is feeling like it needs a refresh, I love to get microdermabrasion. It's basically a deep exfoliator that uses crystals to blast your skin. I've also found that it really helped my acne scars and bumps from my bad teenage skin years. The treatment promotes new cell and collagen production making your skin more plumped and gorgeous! I love it to make my skin feel brighter before an event like a wedding or when I come back from holidays when my skin is a little clogged from my SPF usage. I get my microdermabrasion at Beyond Skin and they often combine this with some LED therapy to help any redness in the skin. I find that I tend to veer to microdermabrasion more in the winter months when my skin definitely is not as vibrant as other times of the year. A course (3 - 6 treatments) of microdermabrasion can really transform your skin whether your concern is fine lines, pigmentation or light scarring. 

For when you need a miracle
In January this year I had just moved house and job. My skin went completely bonkers and more spotty than I'd been in probably five years. I wasn't eating well, I probably drank zero water and my stress levels were sky high. I headed to my friend Helen at Urban Skin Care where she transformed my skin over a few week using Dermalogica's Bio Surface Peels. Unlike other peels you go weekly and Helen is the queen of extractions meaning GOODBYE black heads and under the skin spots! The combination of resurfacing and extractions helped to return my skin to tip top form. I highly recommend this if your skin is having a moment or you want to get gorgeous for a big day like your wedding.

Treatments are definitely an investment but one worth saving for if you want your skin in optimal condition. Start with a treatment once a season to help with the changing weather conditions that can play havoc with your skin and work up from there. 

05 August 2018

The Skin Series: The 'Power Three'

Skincare can be a fuss. I get that - that's why I did this series. We are taught growing up to 'cleanse, tone and moisturise' but there's so many products on the market that I understand the confusion about where to start when buying skincare.

My skin was good for years - I say good and not brilliant. I had teenage acne, I get hormonal spots - so really, I'm probably like most women. I have what I would call 'normal' skin - I can get a little oily around the t-zone if I've had a long day or dry in the winter if it's very cold. I suppose I never really listened to my skin and what is was trying to tell me until this past year. I feel like I have found my dream trio that has transformed my skin from good to excellent. It's like going from your t-shirt bra into your good push up night out bra - it just takes you to the next level!

I think this is a great combo for everyone but particular for people who have been cleansing & moisturising for their whole life but want to take things up a notch. Welcome to my 'Power Three': exfoliate, serum and moisturiser. It's those two little steps before the moisturiser that have added so much glow to my skin plus it feels smoother & makeup goes on much better.

Exfoliating is key to helping you get a deep cleanse and remove dead skin cells. I've had some bad experiences with exfoliators in the past that have been too abrasive and damaged my skin. Your ideal exfoliator should make you feel like you've had the best cleanse of your life & not strip your skin. Ideally you should cleanse twice a week for maximum results (although I've been known to do it 3 times a week if my skin has particularly needed it if I've been wearing lots of heavy makeup etc). There's two exfoliators I absolutely adore to keep in tip top shape. Firstly, The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion is a great product. It's £18 and as it has Vitamin C in it, it aims to help your skin texture and tone. I found this great to use twice a week as it wasn't too heavy on the skin. My current exfoliator of dreams is Dermalogica Thermafoliant. They describe it as a 'skin polisher' with anti-ageing ingredients. I love this as when it contacts with water it heats up giving you a little bit of the spa at home. I feel this has helped the blackheads around my t-zone a huge amount plus a little goes a long way - a great investment product!

One of the most asked skincare questions I get is 'When do I use serum!?'. To be honest, I love serum far more than I love moisturiser. I actually hate anything in cream formula and use body oil on my limbs! Serum is KEY to making your skin balanced and hydrated. Although I have good skin I realised that my skin was dehydrated - despite drinking litres of water a day! This was causing me to look more tired and baby fine lines were appearing around my eyes. A great all rounder for this anything with hyaluronic acid in it - it will help skin to hold moisture and look bouncy! I've tried and tested lots of versions of this and the best I've found is the Irish brand Pestle & Mortar (I get mine in Avoca). It goes on like a dream and I saw results from it really quickly. I also love BYBI's Supercharge Serum - it's great for day and night. It's light enough that makeup looks great on top of it. A product that I've been OBSESSED with is Skinceutials Phloretin CF. It's an antioxidant serum that I use in the morning. I've been reading up so much more about the damage that pollution can do to your skin and this serum combats it head on. It's expensive but I can truly say I've never seen results like I have from this. It has a range of ingredients (many of which I had never heard of until this serum!) and it balances my skin out hugely. I tried not using it for about two weeks and my skin looked so dull and horrible! It's truly a magic product that has smoothed out and perfected my skin.

In short - there's a million serums on the market. Start out light and work your way up to the big guns! I personally like to use serum morning & night but if your starting out, try it for bedtime and see how your results go!

Moisturiser is the basis of good skincare. Like shampoo, you need to cater a moisturiser to your specific needs. If your skin is dry, go heavier. If your skin is oily, go for a mattifying moisturiser. As I mentioned, I don't love a very sticky moisturiser so I look for lighter formula's that still pack a punch ingredients wise. I love Dermalogica's Calm Water Gel as the formula is so weightless. It's packed with hyaluronic acid and it's great for day and night.

Need a skin update? Try the Power Three: exfoliate twice a week and serum & moisturise daily!