The lows and the lowers.

I’m talking about vaginas. And it’s very swear-y.

I’ve uhm-ed and ahh-ed a lot about doing this post. It’s rather personal and I had to pick apart why I didn’t want to talk about it and that was because I was embarrassed about talking about my ‘princess parts’. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this page of ramblings helps just one other person get checked out, then it’s worth it.

In my mid-teens I had anaemia really, really bad. At my worst I was fainting and on around 7 tablets a day to control blood loss. I was tired all the time, horrendously moody and just having a not very good time. Fast forward to 2018, and whilst the blood loss isn’t as bad, (or it is, and I’ve just gotten used to it) the pain is a lot worse and I decided enough was enough and that I needed to get it checked out. There have been days where standing up hurts because of the pain in my hips and legs, I’ve felt sick and blood is coming out fast from every orifice. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Naturally, myself and Dr. Google came to the diagnosis that I was dying. I organised to see a consultant who specialised in gynaecology. Nearly crawled up my own arse talking to him about it and what was happening. He asked me why I hadn’t seen a doctor sooner given my severe symptoms. I didn’t have an answer. Embarrassment isn’t really a currency in a hospital, is it?

My consultation made everything very real. Words like ‘infertility’, ‘surgery’, ‘hysterectomy’ and the worst, ‘ovarian cancer’ were bounded about, and truth be told, I completely blanched. I was told that because of my previous blood disorder (anaemia) I wasn’t the best suited for exploratory surgery. Well Jesus be Joseph, man, I didnae remember asking for it.

The consultant asked about the removal of my reproductive organs. This hit me like a truck. I’m 24, I’ve not been out of full-time education a year yet. I’m not entirely sure what I want from the chip shop let alone if I want kids in the near future. It’s always something I’d just assumed I could do, should I want to, at some time in the vague future. I gave him a firm ‘no.’

The next thing to be tested was cancer. Jesus fucking Christ. I’d pride myself on being quite hardy but the triple whammy that this consultation brought, took me to my knees. I left a broken girl and with an appointment for an ultrasound scan the next week.

Ultrasound scans. They’re a funny thing aren’t they? Are you picturing a baby ultrasound scan like I was? Let’s take that idea and put it back in your pocket because holy fuck, was I mistaken. The correct term was a ‘transvaginal ultrasound scan’. Fuck my entire life. I mean, credit to the nurse and doctor that did it, they were great. I think my eyes nearly popped out from aggressively not making eye contact with the doctor as what can only be likened to a submarine’s periscope went up me whilst my stomach was moved about moving ‘the bowel loops’ out the way. My joke of ‘are you going to put them back?’ went flat. It wasn’t as invasive as what I was ready for. I’d heard ‘it’s like a big dick’ and thought that maybe my weekend would be starting early. But that wasn’t the case, it’s more like a twig with a lot of lube on it.

He told me pretty much straight away that it wasn’t cancer and the sense of instant relief was what I can only imagine taking heroin would be like. I’d hadn’t been sleeping properly the entire week before, lost my appetite, emotional and just a bit of a hot mess. I could have cried has his hand not been a good 5cm into my vagina. Idk, I just feel like it would have been weird if I’d have cried then.

Cancer being struck off the list left us with one culprit, and that was endometriosis. I hadn’t heard much about it either. After it was suggested that this is what it could be I became a leading UK expert on it within a week. It fucking sucks. It means that the lining of my womb is attaching to other parts of my body. Weird isn’t it? Obviously, I can’t feel that happening it just really hurts (think white heat). To cure it, you have to whip it all out. As appealing as it would be to pickle my princess parts and put them on a shelf. I feel it’s a bit premature. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have kids either. It just means that I’d have to try harder and be more careful. Every cloud.

The week where my own imagination was left to worst case scenario of ovarian cancer has really resonated with me. We all know to check regularly for breast cancer or any irregular moles/bumps. What do you look for with ovarian cancer?

  • feeling constantly bloated
  • a swollen stomach
  • discomfort in your stomach or pelvic area
  • feeling full quickly when eating, or loss of appetite
  • needing to wee more often or more urgently than normal
  • persistent indigestion or nausea
  • pain during sex
  • a change in your bowel habits
  • back pain
  • vaginal bleeding – particularly bleeding after the menopause
  • feeling tired all the time
  • unintentional weight loss

These were taken from the NHS website. It’s probably nothing, but if you’re having a few of these symptoms just bring it up with your GP. Endometriosis and ovarian cancer don’t discriminate based on age, ethnicity, size, health, whether or not you wear crocs. If you’re having extreme pain, it can be managed. If you’re bleeding so much you’ve gone through 5+ pads a day and would laugh in the face of a tampon, you can get it checked out. You’re your own makers, ladies, and you don’t have to suck it up all the time. I also think you’d be surprised at exactly how many other women this happens to.

As always, if you have any questions or want to talk to me about it more, just ask.

M-urrah for Murad

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I thought I knew a fair amount about skincare, I’ve been trying different products and fashionable fancies for years now both high and low end to find the perfect products for me. However, I’ve never found the ‘just perfect’ fit, one of my favourite parts of blogging though is being able to try a whole host of new brands or products, so I take it on the chin a lot.

Now, being a self-professed Indiana Jones of skincare, you can imagine how excited I was to be invited to Murad in Debenhams Bullring to try a Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel facial. I didn’t really know what it meant but it sounded fancy, so last Friday I skipped along. It was also nicely timed as the launch of their new Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum was happening, and I fancied a look at that! They’re also a fully vegan friendly-PETA approved brand who don’t use fragrances, so that’s a double thumbs up from me.

I met the lovely Murad team, Shaz and Joseph and sat down to have my skin consultation. I’ve never had one before, so I was keen to see the results. Shaz asked me what I thought my main skin concerns were and I have really dry, sensitive skin and I thought I had big pores, so this is what I try to target the most in my skin care routine. However, what hadn’t occurred to me which the consultant brought up, was the fact that I have freckles and that these are pigmentation. I don’t know why but it had never even crossed my mind, so we popped this into the computer too.

For my skin consultation I rested my chin on a stand and two photograph-like shots of light were taken to read my skin. Shaz explained to me that the results would be read on a scale of 1-100, 1 being ‘girl you’re winning at life’ and 100 being ‘yikes’. (I mean she didn’t say it like that, obviously, that’s my interpretation). So let’s see how my results came in:

Wrinkles – 11/100
Redness – 9/100
Inflammation – 22/100
Pores – 5/100 (porefect)
Pigmentation – 40/100. What the actual.

I nearly croaked at my pigmentation score, let me tell you. I was all ready to be told that I was a red inflamed mess and was 100% not prepared for pigmentation. When I think of pigmentation I think of Michael Jackson and Winnie Harlow, definitely not, Ruby, 24 from Birmingham. Panic set in (and maybe a slight competitive streak) of how could I improve my score? SPFs and blue light protection.

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(guess which on the pigmentation screen is 😦 )

I kicked myself a little at SPF, because I know this. We all know this. The UV rays from the sun will damage your skin even when there’s no sun out. I remember pledging to myself months and months ago after a bout of sunburn that I’d wear sun cream every day (which to be fair lasted for about 2 weeks, and in my books that’s longer than some boyfriends, so y’know). Getting back on topic though, blue light caught my attention – what on earth is blue light? Shaz explained to me how blue light is the emission of light from screened devices, like this laptop screen is I’m looking at now, my phone and tablet screen etc. I freaked (again) a bit at this because how hadn’t I heard about this before how is this damaging my skin? Turns out, after I read a bunch of articles on it, we still aren’t sure. There have been many links between blue light and skin damage, but the jury is out over a definitive answer. Genuinely considered going out in a mask at this point. Please raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by life and the environment.

Joseph was ready for me and my facial at this stage and Shaz said she’d give me the Murad Healthy Skin Guide and mark-up which products would help me with my skin whilst I relaxed in the facial area. Ladies and Gentlemen, I love a facial. It’s my all time favourite and I mean Favourite (with a capital F) kind of treatment. Needless to say then, that I have a lot of them, both professionally and at home with a plethora of different kinds of masks. Joseph showed me how to use the Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel mask and how I’d go about using my own at home (yes, folks, you can buy this off the shelf and use it at home!) He prepped my skin and popped on the face mask which comes in two parts:
– Firstly, it’s a ‘retexturizing swab’ which is, in other words, a cotton wool baton coated in lactic and glycolic acid which exfoliates the skin (this is where the brighter and more youthful glow comes in). Joseph said that this part could tingle, but it didn’t for me, maybe it’s because I use glycolic acid a fair amount on my skin anyway, but it’s something to bear in mind for you guys, should you get one yourself.

-Secondly, the Moisture Infusion Mask, which is a sheet mask that you keep on for 15 minutes. The mask replenishes and locks in moisture by using hyaluronic acid which is key to minimise lines and wrinkles. For me though, the main use of this mask was the hydration aspect as it adds 400% more moisture into your face. And those kind of numbers, my lovers, give. me. life.

The masks come in a pack of 4 single use treatments and cost £40, however, you only use one a month and let me show you how bangin’ my skin was immediately after and then the next day:

 

As you can see I got a truckload of information out of my consultation with Murad, and I’d recommend getting your skin looked at to anybody and everybody. Particularly those of you who think you don’t need it. It takes a maximum of 10 minutes, do it on your lunch break or whenever you’re next bimbling along through town. You can find your nearest Murad store here: https://www.murad.co.uk/spa-locator/show there are concession stands in most large Debenhams beauty halls and large Marks and Spencer’s, just double check before you go that if you want a skin consultation the one you are visiting has facial facilities.

I’m actually looking to go back to Murad asap to have a glycolic facial (which I saw another couple arrive to do whilst I was there) which costs £35 and gives you brighter, baby-like skin. For those of you that haven’t heard of glycolic acid, it’s often used by celebrities before red carpet events or parties and that’s how they achieve the ‘filter’ skin look without using snapchat like the rest of us…

The products that I’m currently using from Murad are:

Advanced Active Radiance Serum – £80, this has the environmental shield as I work in the city centre every single day, this helps sack off the pollution effects on my skin

Invisiblur Protecting Shield SPF 30 – £60/£80, there’s a reason this has won so many ‘best in beauty’ awards. Not only does it provide you with SPF protection it blurs and corrects fine lines and imperfections.

Retinol Youth Renewal Serum – £70, to only be used at night, the retinol gives my skin a smoother and more youthful glow.

I appreciate that these products are on the higher end of the price spectrum, but these are investment pieces that last a long time and genuinely work. I’d always recommend trying out samples first before going all in and buying the entire range (like I used to do) and definitely speak to the skin consultant about your specific skin needs. Murad specialise in anti-aging, anti-blemishes, pores, sensitive skin and pigmentation. It’s a well trusted dermatological brand founded in the eighties by Dr. Murad that have so many things to offer, that whatever your concern or results they’re able to help and provide you with solution options!

 

All product information is available online at: https://www.murad.co.uk/

Sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads

Right. Let’s have a frank and open chat about not head hair.

I’m writing this and I’m almost embarrassed for myself. I remember a time when I’d have read an article like this and cringed for the author but have read it through perverse curiosity and compared notes. So this article is for you guys. I’ve just had my three year anniversary of laser hair removal and I bloody love it.

So y’might be wondering why, or more specifically where, I had the treatment, and it was my face lads. I’ve the whitest skin and dark hair, it was all fun and games until I hit high school and all I had was what is affectionately referred to as ‘peach fuzz’. One of the biggest regrets in my life (to date) is that I messed with it. If you’re living in the land of milk and honey that is only peach fuzz, please understand that the grass is greener your side. It only took a lingering stare and a bitchy comment in an argument with my first boyfriend and it became the forefront of my mind. In my mind I was the bearded lady and some kind of circus freak. In short, I was mortified. Why the fuck was this happening to me? The thing that I became most embarrassed about was that I thought it didn’t happen to anybody else. I thought I was the sole bearer of this burden. The only lass in the world with a pre-pubescent lad ‘tache and a 5 o’clock shadow.

I’ve come to realise that this is not the case. My Southern Asian and Southern European and trans sisters, I believe, feel me deeply in my pain. After many imposing questions I realised most of my friends and family did too. And probably so do you, curious reader. I’m here to tell you it’s alright. I’m also here to tell you that you are no less feminine/attractive/validated because of it. It’s also massively common. Everybody has hair on their face, this is a wee fact, as humans this is what we have. It helps do a thing or something I don’t know the science behind it, all I know is that we have it. More to the point, it has a variety of variables that make it different for everyone. If you have more testosterone in your body, the chances of you having hair is higher. It’s also higher if you’re on certain types of medication or as a side effect to a medical condition like Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome. Different races have thicker and darker hair. Or, if you’re like me and just have a shitty gene pool. It’s the luck of the draw.

I’ve seen a few articles and YouTube videos now where women are refusing to remove their facial hair and part of me is like ‘fucking yas, you do you’ and I’m jealous of their self-confidence and liberalism. I truly understand why they do it, looking in the mirror every morning and seeing something that is so rejected within society, really fucking gets you down. It made me feel ugly and like some kind of burly bloke. But it’s a part of who you are, whether you choose to love it or hate it. They chose love it and embrace it, and that’s something I fully support. Personally though, I couldn’t wait to give it the final fuck off a moment longer.

I went through a variety of methods. I tried waxing, shaving and threading before laser. Those viral make-up videos I’ve seen going around encouraging young girls to shave their faces before they apply make up is the biggest lie and most misleading thing I have ever seen. When they say ‘the hair doesn’t grow back’ or ‘it just comes back the same’. Fucking bullshit hun, just ask anyone that shaves their arms what it comes back like. Or any bloke. It’ll come back darker (or ginger, hair colour dependant) and brittle. You’ll be sporting a full beard, maybe not a wizard-esque one (which is kind of a shame really) but stubbly bits will be there. I’ve no reason to lie to you, all self-preservation and dignity at this point is out the window.

Waxing and threading really fucking hurt. The skin on your face is sensitive (obvs) and whilst the hair comes back maybe softer or less, it’s not a permanent solution. Shaving damages the skin and as it doesn’t remove the follicle of the hair entirely, the broken hair where it’s cut off BY RAZORBLADES ON YOUR FACE  makes the regrowth quick and the hair stronger and more brittle. It’s fighting a losing battle, and I’m not doing it for life, lads. I’m too lazy. Talking about female face-shaving is the most difficult part of this that I’ve written so far. The big taboo that girls don’t talk about. We’d sooner own up to shagging some minge-cringe of a lad at uni than picking up a Gillette. But there you go, I’ll take on for the team.

I started looking at more permanent forms of hair removal and bar cutting off my face, laser therapy sounded like the most effective and reasonable solution, but it sounded painful and expensive. With a few very close friends I talked about it and they all assured me that it wasn’t necessary and they couldn’t see what I was on about, ‘you don’t need it, Ruby’ they cried. But they hadn’t seen me pre-8am.

January 2016, when I found myself physically upset over the state of my face, I was just getting more and more self-conscious. I called The Laser Clinic in Menai Bridge (http://laserclinicnorthwales.co.uk/) just to enquire because enough was enough. This is going to sound like an outrageous advertisement/endorsement for them, and it is, in a way, I guess. Ruth and Ellen changed my life. I had a consultation and my first treatment on the same day and I haven’t looked back. I was so preoccupied with how embarrassing it was to go there and the state of me, I didn’t realise everyone else was in the same boat. For my entire lower face I paid around £60 a pop, because that’s the bit we all wanna know right? That and ‘does it hurt’ – well. Yes. Like the title of this post, I have frickin’ laser beams pointed at my face. (It was an Austin Powers reference, if you missed it).

‘But what does it feel like?’ My openness about the whole situation with those I’m around when I say ‘I’m off to get my face lasered’ is often met with curiosity and then being used as a confidant. ‘Wait? Do you have a moustache too? Is that how you get rid of it?’ I’m no Houdini, ladies, it is indeed an achievable super power, me and my aerodynamic skin. But back to the main point. What does it feel like? Hm. It’s hard to explain. You’re made very comfortable, lying on a treatment table, eyemask and goggles on – I can only imagine I look like an FHM Top 100. They pop a thick gel over the area that going to be treated and then the laser is like hot pokes with an elastic band (?). Really hot. That move periodically across your face. And you start to smell like burning hair, because that’s what it is. It only takes 5-8minutes to do my entire lower face, some areas are worse than others. Upper lip really fucking sucks.

To put it into perspective though, I would have my upper lip done 400 times in a row for the results it gave and the difference it made to me in my day-to-day life. I had to pop back at first every 4 weeks, then 6 weeks and now I’m on 12 weeks, and then I’ll be done. Maybe a top up every couple of years, if needed.

Laser treatment isn’t just for hair removal (and they can do it anywhere by the way) but it also treats acne. A top tip for any of you out there. Also totally ok for lads too.

A solid two thumbs up from me. If you’ve any specific questions hit me up.