Friday, 15 July 2016

Everything you Need to Know About HydraFacials

I don’t know about you but I find pre-holiday prep super stressful. While holidays and travel are incredible experiences, there are so many considerations before you even leave for the airport. There are the practical things of course – visas, outfit planning, booking taxis and trains, researching, decanting your liquids, the list goes on. But there’s also the regular maintenance that women need to plan in before being holiday ready. By this, I definitely do not mean excessive dieting or exercising. I’m so against the notion of being ‘beach body ready’, the only things you need to do to be beach body ready are: have a body and go to the beach. I feel like the media places far too much importance to subscribing to one physical ideal, especially in summer. What I mean by being holiday ready is being able to feel good on holiday, for me this means getting my nails done, using a few facemasks in the lead up, lots of hair masks and of course an appointment with my waxer. A few little treats to make me feel good and look good.
On the whole my skin is pretty well behaved due to my rigorous Korean cleansing method, but for the last couple of weeks it’s been looking a bit dull and tired with the odd breakout here and there. Probably all of that pre-holiday stress...! While I normally do a home peel and a couple of brightening and cleansing masks the week before I fly, I felt like I needed something more before I headed to Capri last week. Whilst I’ve had great facials from the likes of Dermalogica and Sisley, they feel like an indulgent pampering treat rather than a treatment, which is what I was after. I didn’t really know what I needed, aside from beautiful skin, so I took to Google and eventually found exactly what I was looking for: the HydaFacial.
What piqued my interest is the comprehensive, almost medical nature of the treatment. And it seemed to be just that, a treatment rather than a pampering facial experience including scented candles and a head massage. A HydraFacial treatment consists of six steps to detoxify the skin, remove dead skin cells, extract debris and provide lasting hydration. It’s the detoxing and extracting that sold it to me, after my uncharacteristic breakouts, I felt like my skin really needed to be cleaned and impurities swept away. I booked into renowned treatment clinic Juvea Aesthetics, who are based on Harley Street, and initially I wasn’t going to put together a post but after sharing some pictures on Snapchat and Instagram, I was bombarded with questions so thought I’d share my experience.

 Juvea Aesthetics is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Oxford Circus so it was super easy for me to get there. My appointment was with the lovely Rhian who took me through a consultation and explained the very high tech looking HydraFacial machine – the machine uses a vacuum-based tip which is loaded with different serums to exfoliate and remove dead skill cells while infusing the healthy skin underneath with cleansing, exfoliating and hydrating serums deep down. This is obviously really different to the layering on of product in traditional facials; it’s much more methodical and thorough, ensuring that deeper layers of the skin are targeted as much as the surface layers.
Rhian started by cleansing my skin to prepare for the facial the she started using the vacuum tip to start detoxing and removing dead skin cells. The HydraFacial machine has four bottles of potent serums which are used to apply a totally bespoke and personalised treatment, so while the vacuum action removes dirt and debris from the skin, the serum infuses it with nourishing goodness. The extraction process uses glycolic and salicylic acid to gently melt away impurities from the skin’s surface layers plus the vacuum to dislodge and remove impurities from deep down. It’s much gentler than manual extraction and so much more thorough. I only experienced a light sucking sensation from the machine tip, which wasn’t unpleasant in the slightest.
Rhian then used the machine to perform lymphatic drainage to help flush out toxins. I use a jade facial roller at night to do a spot of lymphatic massage, which has a huge effect on my face. When I do it regularly, my chin and cheekbones look more chiselled and even my hereditary dark circles look less severe. It’s been a while since I’ve used my facial roller so it was a lovely treat to have lymphatic drainage as part of my HydraFacial.

All in all, the treatment took about 50 minutes. After I hopped off the bed, Rhian showed me a container of grey liquid attached to the machine. This was all of the dirt and debris that had been removed from my skin – disgusting and fascinating in equal parts! Not that I needed the proof that the treatment had worked, my skin felt incredibly clean and refreshed as soon as it was over. I don’t think my skin has ever been this clean! The really great thing about the HydraFacial is that there's zero downtime, so you can leave the clinic and get on with your day. For me, this meant strolling across to Oxford Street for some (more) last minute shopping, albeit much more relaxed and rejuvenated than when I walked in!

As with all clinical procedures, please make sure you visit a reputable clinic for your treatments and do plenty of research beforehand. I had my HydraFacial at Juvea Aesthetics on Harley Street and couldn't recommend them highly enough. Slightly terrified of posting before and after pictures, particularly as my after picture was taken first thing in the morning and I feel very naked without even a slick of concealed or eyebrow pencil..! I wanted to give you a fair and proper comparison though so here you go! If you have any questions, just email or tweet me at Reena_Rai.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Travel: Arriverderci, Capri

Today, I’m stepping out on my longterm lover London and indulging in a little Italian adventure. I love Italy, especially in the summer. Good food, great wine, sunshine and cute Italians, what’s not to love? Last year, I had the best time exploring stunning Tuscany and I was tempted to return and explore some more little villages and sample more Montepulciano wine but variety is the spice of life so they say, so I decided to explore Capri this time. Favourite of Roman Emperors and Hollywood stars alike, I’m so excited to explore this beautiful little island. Follow my adventures on Snapchat (Reena_Rai) and Instagram (Reena.Rai).

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Top Five: Wimbledon Whites


It’s that time of year again when tennis fans and Londoners alike descend onto a little corner of South West London to take in one of the best tennis tournaments in the world. Whether you’re into the tennis or not, it’s hard not to get drawn into Murray Mania or be entranced by Serena Williams’ incredible skill on the court. As homage to wonderful Wimbledon, I’ve put together my top five edit of whites from your favourite high street stores
  1. Oasis cheesecloth midi dress - £42 Embrace the 70s vibe this summer with this lovely floaty cheesecloth dress with a flattering nipped in waist. With cute tie-up straps on the shoulders, this breezy dress is perfect for summer…if it ever arrives in London!
  2. River Island caged neck peplum top - £30 It’s been a while since I’ve seen peplums on the high street but I love the silhouette they create. The caged neckline gives this top some edge and stops it being too girly.
  3. Glamorous sundress with lace trim - £28 
    How unbelievably stunning is this little dress?! And how crazy is it that it’s only £28?! You get the best bargains on ASOS. I’m utterly obsessed with this dress, I’m sure it’ll find its way into my wardrobe very soon…
  4. Topshop scalloped hem mini skirt - £30While feminine pieces look so pretty in white, there’s something about a crisp, white minimalist piece that just looks so chic. I love the scalloped edge of this skirt, a little nod to pretty white but still super cool
  5. Minna Parikka bunny ears trainers - £225I know these have been around for years but I still want them so badly! HOW cute are the bunny ears and little pom pom tail?! 

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Shots of Red

After confessing how nervous I was to post last month’s outfit post and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response via social media, it’s a little ridiculous that I’m once again nervous about posting this little outfit. Thank you so much for your kind messages, tweets and comments and encouraging me to continue with outfit posts. Kudos to style bloggers, I doff my hat to you.
So last week, while out for a walk I had a little accident. While admiring the scenery my shoe got caught on something and I tripped, luckily instincts kicked in at this point and I put my hands out to break my fall. I should probably point out that I went for a walk in Harrods, the ‘scenery’ I was enjoying was handbags and my card was in my hand and ‘accidentally’ found its way into a card machine which was handily around to ‘break my fall’. And that is the story of how I accidentally bought Saint Laurent’s beautiful lambskin monogram satchel. I didn’t intend to buy it you see, it just happened.

I’m actually super glad I had the unintentional foresight to buy myself a little treat. Since Friday, I’ve been experiencing the Brexit blues. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten political on the blog but it has evolved to reveal a snapshot of my life and it’s safe to say Brexit has heavily impacted my life. To say I was devastated at the result of the referendum is an understatement. It seemed so inconceivable that the majority of the country would vote to leave the EU, with its benefits for travel, free movement, trade and the economy. But the unbelievable happened. Hearing the result announced on Friday morning felt surreal. Since then, the days have been unfolding like a nightmare and watching the country I call home slowly unravel has been heart-breaking.
Since the result of the referendum was announced, the prime minister has resigned, the Labour party has launched a coup to get Jeremy Corbyn out, the pound has twice plunged to a 31 year low and the FTSE has plummeted. The economic and political implications have been swift and far reaching. On a more personal note, the increased racism across the country is extremely worrying. There’s a distinct sense of nervousness in the air, both from people of colour like myself and the many Europeans who call London home. The result has acted like validation for xenophobes which until now, have remained as an undercurrent rather than overt. Repressed racist and nationalistic viewpoints are now spilling into the fore, with reported racist incidents up 57% since Friday. That’s reported incidents, which are often a small percentage of actual occurrences. The national flag has gone from a symbol of pride to a threatening sign in one day. I’ve afraid for myself, other people of colour and Europeans who call the UK home.

I’m taking comfort in the fact that the result was announced just days ago, everything from emotions to economics are volatile at the moment. Hopefully the dust settles and my home returns to the place I know and love – happy, hopeful, inclusive and welcoming. Until then, we have no option to adopt the very British mentality of ‘grin and bear it’. Or keep calm and carry on. And in that vein, I wanted to share a little outfit post featuring the bag that has been making me smile despite the post-Brexit chaos. It’s funny how inanimate objects can elicit such joy.

 As with my previous outfit post, I’m wearing lots of old favourites along with the cherry red Saint Laurent bag. And yes, you would be correct in thinking that’s a genuine, vintage Michael Jordan jersey. During my teens, I was vaguely into basketball. Until I started dating a guy who was majorly into basketball. Suddenly, I became a Lakers fan, Kobe and LeBron were the best people on Earth and I found myself watching street ball matches and And1 mixtape tours. I found this Jordan jersey some years later at Rokit Vintage and had to snap it up. The jersey is a little oversize so I paired it with a pair of Miss Selfridge jeans that I customised myself. They were distressed before I got my hands on them and I slowly began deconstructing them until they were more holes than jeans! I finished my outfit with bejewelled heels from Rupert Sanderson. His Showgirl heels are literally my favourite shoes right now.

 Next outfit post is coming in a couple of weeks, I’m hoping the world will be a much happier, settled place by then.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Top Five: Selfridges Sale Steals

Ah, late June. My favourite time of the year. The weather is hotting up and the the sales are all going into further reductions. Just this morning, Selfridges reduced their sale prices even further. While they aren’t advertising a specific percentage off, unlike Harvey Nichols who are now at 60% off, there are some great savings to be had. I’ve trawled through the sale and put together the hottest pieces that you need to snap up now before they’re gone. 

  1. Chinti & Parker pom pom cashmere sweater - £75 from £350Snapping up knitwear in the summer sales can be a very savvy investment, particularly if you’re buying premium wool like cashmere at a huge discount. Pom poms are one of the biggest micro trends and sure to continue into the autumn/winter season.
  2. Alexander McQueen ruffled silk-crepe maxi skirt - £295 from £1,995At a whopping 85% off, this Alexander McQueen skirt is a beautiful bargain. Even at the biannual sample sale, you’d be hard pressed to find pieces that were 85% off and in pristine condition. A no-brainer for black tie events, I would also dress it down with a plain tee and simple heels.
  3. Self Portrait off white knit midi dress - £50 from £295Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Self Portrait is one of the most covetable brands on the planet. Though best known for their lace-detailed occasion dresses, their daywear is also top notch.  The off-the-shoulder trend is set to carry over into autumn/winter so this is a very savvy sale buy.
  4. Stella McCartney faux fur gilet - £150 from £965Ideal for layering up in the colder months with the added benefit of being cruelty-free, I’m utterly obsessed with this gilet. I haven’t found many decent faux fur iterations of the classic fur gilet in my travels, let alone that looks so luxe. Also available in a cream colour.
  5. True Religion Halle motorcycle jeans - £50 from £270I can’t possibly do a sale bargain round up without including a pair of jeans, premium denim is such a great investment as it lasts years. I love the super sexy skinny silhouette of these jeans, the slightly cropped length and the ankle zips.
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