Monday, 29 May 2017

Weight, Shame, Unhappiness and Me...

Hey there,

It's me, Aundrea... I know what you're thinking 'It's been 3 years, you don't call, you never write...' I know, I know! The truth is, I haven't really had anything to say. I've spent the past few years being encapsulated in my own little world but I always promised myself I would come back when I have something to say, so here I am.

Most of you know me either in real life, through social media or for my ramblings and reviews in the world of fragrance and cosmetics or at the very least, that one post where I had my bottom and vagina waxed for your entertainment... yeah, they were good times right? Actually, some of the best, but thats not what prompted me to sit down and open up Blogger tonight. Yes this post is about me, but it's the part of me you've never seen. The insecure, lost, and slightly irrational side of me that I have been battling for as long as I can remember.

Last June something happened in my personal life that prompted me to take a long hard look in the mirror, and let me tell you as someone who had spent the past 10 years actively avoiding mirrors, the reflection that stared back at me was not something I was ready for. So you can understand what I mean when I say this let me explain a few things to you.

If you had known me in my late teens, early 20's the girl you would have known was genuinely happy, she was funny, smart, sarcastic, loving and a little bit of a push over. This post is about how I lost that girl, became one I didn't like and found a way to become a woman I love.

In 2006 I met a guy in a bar that my friends and I used to hang out at a couple of nights a week... that night changed my life and would lead to a series of events that would rock the very foundations of the person I was and would have a lasting effect on the person I would become for the next 10 years. I often look back on that night and wonder how different my life would have been if he hadn't joined us at our table...

I have written about my experience with domestic violence before... For me, the daily abuse I suffered while I was pregnant with this mans child is still something I have trouble comprehending. When I talk about it, I feel like in a way I have become so detached from the situation that it almost feels like I'm talking about events in someone else's life instead of my own. I went through things that no man or woman should ever have to go through and as a result it changed the very foundation of the person I am. One person went into that relationship, a very different one came out. A girl who was afraid of confrontation, who saw no value in herself or what she could offer people, someone who was afraid of letting people get close to her, who couldn't take even the smallest criticism without falling apart, who couldn't trust and because of all this, someone who hated what she saw when she looked in the mirror.

It is important that you know this to understand how I ended up at that point last Summer. Yes my life continued and yes I've met people along the way who have shown me that there is good out there, that I can trust and above all know my worth but this battle hasn't been an easy win. My coping mechanism to get from that girl, to a year ago was comfort, and like when I was a teenager my comfort was food. My weight began to creep upward from the moment that relationship ended, and it continued to do so for 9 years until I saw a picture of myself at my daughters communion. I was completely and utterly ashamed of the image that stared back at me. Was that me? Was that what I had become? How did I let this happen?

This led to a couple of months of soul searching on my behalf to try and figure out where it all began and the truth is what I just described above is how it started, I used food as a means to either reward or console myself every single time something went right or wrong in my life. And here I was, disgusted with the person I had become. No self confidence, once again, no self worth, avoiding social interactions, not to mention mirrors. I needed to do something, I needed to take back control of my life and begin to shape myself into the person I wanted to be. Thats when I decided the weight had to go.

This meant having a fairly serious conversation with myself about realistic expectations. I have never in my entire life been what you would refer to as thin, and I never will be. It's not about that, the goal here is my health and happiness. I wanted to be a reasonable weight and in all honesty if I got to somewhere between 12 and a half or 13 stone I would be over the moon. So thats the target I set myself, the next issue was HOW?! I spoke to my GP who I adore, she is literally the most supportive person, the kind that gives it to you straight without reducing you to tears... always a bonus right?! We spoke about a variety of different options and I decided on Slimming World.

I found my local group online and called the number attached, a lady called Sinead was the group leader. My heart was in my mouth as the phone rang out, when she answered we spoke about group times and locations and I decided on a Tuesday group at 7.30pm. That gave me 6 days to mentally prepare myself to attend and face the numbers on the scales. I feel it's worth mentioning at this point that I hadn't stepped on a scales in oh i don't know 10 years?! I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I also knew that this was what I had to do to take control over a situation that was making me desperately unhappy.

Tuesday January the 24th rolled around, it was the day after my birthday... and I promised myself that if I was going to do this, I was all in. I left the house at 7pm, poised for an anxiety attack, worried about being judged and afraid of the harsh truth that awaited me when I stepped on those scales. I'm not going to the the breakdown of the induction and meetings that inevitably come with these weightloss posts because no doubt you've heard it before. Just know that when I stepped on those scales, NOTHING could have prepared me for those numbers that stared back at me. Sinead never batt an eyelid, she asked me for an interim target and told me I could do this, and for the first time in my life, I believed that.

It's been 4 months of my weekly Tuesday night meetings, and my life has changed exponentially for the better. Already I have more confidence than those 10 years lost combined, I'm a happier person, I'm a healthier person and I am also happy to report that I am also nearly 2 stone lighter. Some of this I had hoped for, dare I say expected? But the one thing I didn't expect was the love and support that have come my way since making the decision to join that group. The women and men that I have met have become family in a way. We are there for each other each and every week, we're genuinely delighted for the losses and targets achieved and we feel the pain of those bad weeks and gains, my group have taught me that I'm not alone in this struggle and that I have people there to lean on in times of need and who I can support and encourage in return in their times of need. It is honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made.

My life has already changed so much, I still have a long way to go, but knowing how great it feels to have come this far and seeing those positive changes in myself as well as my body is really the best gift I could have ever given myself. I feel like I have become fully aware of who I am, and the person I will continuously strive to be, because I know how shitty it felt to be so utterly lost. Thats why I wanted to write this post, it is in a way, a testament to myself and how far I have come in a year. I can look in the mirror and know that instead of hating the person looking back, I can be proud of the one I've become. It has taken a lot to get to this point and it'll take a lot more to get to where I want to be, but I'm a work in progress and there is nothing wrong with that... it has taken me a long time to learn to be kind to myself and show myself some sort of love or encouragement. If even the smallest part of this post sounds familiar to you, or prompts you to try and improve your happiness then writing this post has been worth it.

Deciding to take the steps to work and improve on yourself is never easy, but one of the most important relationships we have in life is with ourselves... don't you think thats a relationship worth cultivating? I certainly do, my only regret is its taken me so long to do it.

If you've gotten to this point, thank you for reading. Be kind to yourself, and if you've been trifling with the idea of some self improvement, my advice is go for it! You never know where it may lead you...

Aundrea x

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Think Pink with Yves Saint Laurent - Rose Glow Collection

Hey Ladies,

I hope you're all well! My infinite infatuation with YSL reigns supreme today with a look at their incredibly beautiful Rose Glow Collection. "My favourite colour after black, is pink" - Yves Saint Laurent, a man after my own heart. At it's heart, it is nothing if not a stunning rose gold collection, reminding us that a touch of rosy pink with subtle underlying gold tones is the secret to a universally flattering, youthful glow. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

First up lets take a look at the exquisite Rose Gold Primer, this I have found to my absolute delight has a multitude of uses, you can mix it with your foundation for an all over glow, over foundation as an added highlighter, or my favourite use, is to wear it on its own, once applied to a well moisturised face it gives you the most fantastic dewy look, and it's subtle rose gold flecks lends you a beautiful glow without the disco ball side effect.

The Rose Gold Highlighter is a new look to an old favourite, Le Touche Eclat has been a staple in my makeup collection since a time where my entire makeup collection fit into a small makeup bag... This re imagining gives us what we love about the Touche Eclat but with an added surge of pink shimmering light, it really is just beautiful. I can only hope that YSL choose to make this a permanent product in their collection.

And now for the piece de resistance, The Rose Gold Blush *swoons* I am head over heals about this product and it is absolutely my favourite from the collection. Here we have a light pink shimmer incased in a burst of cerise perfection. This, is a show stopping blush. A light hand gives you just a subtle flush of this gorgeous colour, but if you're brave (and I recommend your are when it comes to this) what you're left with it, is the most incredible pop of pink on the cheeks, it really is unique and unlike anything I have in my collection, and that my dears, really says something!

My final thoughts? In my opinion YSL have proved time and time again that they can do no wrong when it comes to their collection of truly stunning permanent and limited edition products and this is no exception. If you're a fan of YSL & a fan of Rose Gold, I highly recommend you check this collection out, it doesn't disappoint!

Thats it for now ladies,
I hope you enjoyed,
What are your thoughts on the collection?
Are you tempted?!
As always,
Let me know below!
Until next time 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Ziaja - Manuka Tree Purifying Range

Hey Ladies,

I hope you're all well! Back to one of my all time favourite topics today, skincare. My second favourite topic vis a vis skincare is how Ziaja keep managing to knock it out of the park when it comes to affordable, reliable and effective skincare ranges. Today I'm taking a look at the newly launched 'Manuka Tree Purifying Range' for oily and combination skin.

First up we have the Normalising Cleansing Gel. Full disclosure up front, I am not a massive fan of cleansing gels, I find them sticky and generally unpleasant to work with, I much prefer cream cleansers. This was good though, it felt really nice on, almost cooling on the skin. I've taken to using it with my Clarisonic to get the full effect because my skin has just been atrocious lately. I have to say, for a gel cleanser, it wasn't the nightmare I was expecting, there was no sticky residue and zero tackiness which was great. It left my skin feeling clean and soft, what more can you ask for?

The Astringent Face Toner is one of my favourites from the collection, it feels almost lotion like, very luxurious and smells just incredible. It contains organic acids which makes it an exfoliating toner, it's by no means harsh though, it's a real treat to use. My skin always feels squeaky clean without feeling dried out or tight. It's terrific if you're having any sort of a breakout, it really does the trick with preping the skin for any further treatment.

The Normalising Day cream, I have found is a great base for under makeup. It seems to keep my t-zone woes under control, and you can't fault that. I do prefer something with a higher SPF in it though, so I've been mixing in my current SPF of choice if I know that I'll be out and about that day and it holds up really nicely.

The Gently Exfoliating Night Cream I just love, love LOVE! This is an absolute pleasure to use, it contains 3% Almond acid which helps to exfoliate the skin and assist with the regeneration of new cells. Like the rest of the range, it smells amazing. This applies like a dream, and sinks in quickly, I honestly cannot fault it, my skin has improved so much with persistent use.

The Deeply Cleansing Peeling Paste is the stand out product from the range for me. Here's the thing, the first time I used this Glam Glow came to mind, it dries in the same way, and it sucks all the crap out of your skin in an even more explosive way than GG. With Ziaja you get a whopping 75ml of product for €4.99 vs €60 from Glam Glow, it's exactly the same effect and I have tried every GG Mask. Trust me, save yourself €55 and you'll be bowled over with the results. I found it incredible.

All in all, I give the Manuka Tree Range from Ziaja two very enthusiastic thumbs up. For just under €30 you have yourself an effective and well stocked skincare regime. Whether you're having trouble with acne, oily skin or you know a teenager who is going through a rough time (we all remember how much fun that was right?) It's such a terrific range and I honestly cannot recommend it enough.

That's it for now ladies,
I hope you enjoyed!
Any stand out products above that you feel
you might like to try?
As always,
Let me know below!
Until next time

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

La Vie est Belle - L'Absolu de Parfum & Illuminating Fragrance Oil by Lancome

Hey Ladies,

I hope you're all well! I have new products from a fragrance line that I just adore to share with you today! You all know by now of my obsession with La Vie est Belle from Lancome. I'm 5 bottles in with the original fragrance the EDP, and on my second bottle of the L'EDT. So when I found out there was to be a new L'ADP & Fragrance Oil to be released, I jumped on that bandwagon without a single moments hesitation. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

First up lets take a look at the L'Absolu De Parfum. More intense and more luxurious than the original L'ADP takes the best notes and intensifies them to the point of swoon worthiness. Once again perfumers Dominique Ropion & Anne Flipo have worked their magic to give us one of the most incredible scent experiences of 2014. The top notes of the fragrance are pear and blackcurrent, it has a heart of iris, orange blossom, damascus rose and jasmine. The base notes are what really makes this fragrance something special for me, tonka bean, praline, cashmere and if I'm not mistaken a hint of Vanilla. The key ingredients for an 'Aundrea will love' fragrance. What I adore about this new take on  La Vie est Belle, is that Lancome have found a way to keep it constantly evolving on your skin. That initial spritz has a beautiful powdery feel to it, but once you leave it to do it's thing, you are rewarded with the most intense infusion of sweet meets woodiness, mingling elegantly together in a way that only Lancome's La Vie est Belle can seem to accomplish in the oh so effortless spritz of a perfume. It really is incredibly beautiful.

The Illuminating Fragrance Oil for me, is a no brainer 'you need it, and you need it now' sort of product. It's a non-greasy dry oil infused with the exquisite scent of the iconic La Vie est Belle fragrance. Lancome have enhanced it with three of the most active natural oils. Sweet Almond plant oil, for its softening and nourishing properties. Apricot oil for it's fatty acids and antioxidants which help repair and tone the skin. And Sesame Oil for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. I should also mention that this is a multi use oil. I like to use it after a long, hot bath before bed, the scent is so incredibly relaxing and because it's one of my all time favourites wearing it feels like coming home, which pretty much guarantees a blissful nights slumber! You can also use this as a hair oil, I find it fantastic for dry ends and it gives a terrific shine without looking greasy! 

Both of these new additions to the range are so luxurious, and such a beautiful way to spoil yourself! There really is no excuse not to run out and buy one if not both of these, especially if you're a fan of the fragrance range like I am. My only hope is that Lancome will bring out a La Vie est Belle Bath Oil, and maybe a linen mist too?! I can't seem to get enough of this fragrance. It's l'absolu love (see what I did there?! I'll get me coat).

That's it for now ladies,
I hope you enjoyed.
What are your thoughts on Lancome's newest additions?
Will you be purchasing?!
As always let me know below!
Until next time