An Evening with Vogue Australia and Enodata Spa…

16th March 2018 / Katy Moore 

During a busy work day and going through my countless emails, one from the holy grail of fashion and beauty publications caught my eye – Vogue’s newsletter, inviting beauty and wellness lovers to an evening at Endota Spa Paddington, including a Q&A with Edwina McCann, Vogue Australia Editor-in-chief.

I was all in and signed myself and my colleague up for what I hoped would be an evening of serious pampering, with a bit of inspirational chat from one of the best in the magazine world thrown in to boot.

I was not disappointed!

As soon as we walked through the door, I was met with what I can only describe as a wave of indulgent and relaxing aromas that instantly made all my work day worries wash away into a feeling of totally serenity. How is that spas have the magic way of doing this?!

We were greeted by the friendly staff, who had just the right balance of enthusiasm coupled with a lulling calm that made you never want to leave. After being escorted into the lounge area, some rather dishy young waiters (an added bonus and sorry I didn’t get a pic) served us little healthy treats and yummy green or orange juices. I had two juices by the way (so I could get double the goodness, obvs) and could feel all nutrients zinging away and reviving me. I must also give a special mention to the absolutely mouth-watering fruit platter, and yes, I got well and truly stuck into that too.

We were then ushered in for a bio face scan, which involved a hydration reading so they could ascertain what products might assist your personal skin needs. Luckily mine was more of a “maintain your skin as condition isn’t too bad”, as opposed to “it’s pretty haggard and you’re likely to need about x20 facials before we can get it back to any sort of normality.”

We were then treated to a heavenly little hand massage, and I bonded with my therapist, who it turns out was from North Wales originally! A little bit of home from home and a great natter added into the mix.

Upstairs is where the highlight of the evening really kicked off though, the Q&A with Edwina McCann, Vogue Australia Editor-in-chief. She talked about how she balances her own wellbeing, having a busy and sometimes stressful job alongside a family. Product wise, she couldn’t stop raving about an LED light treatment, which apparently gives skin a glow like no other, as well as improving serotonin levels. She was literally radiating a sense of calm, so it must be working.

Some further Googling later revealed the therapy is called – New Age Light Therapy:

A non-invasive skin renewal treatment clinically proven to boost collagen, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and defend against the ageing process.

 Feel transformed with this 60-minute treatment as Light Therapy (LED) technology deeply hydrates and penetrates the skin, stimulating cell regeneration and boosting collagen and elastin production.

 Advanced endota spa New Age™ products infuse the skin to further plump and tone. The benefits Skin structure is improved. Skin is instantly rejuvenated, smooth and more youthful.

Might have to start saving for that one!

Edwina also spoke about how having resilience is probably one of the best lessons she’s taken from the people that have become or are successful.

They aren’t necessarily the best at what they do, but what sets them apart is that they don’t let the failures or stresses of life drag them down or make them crumble. They get up, dust themselves off, keep plodding onwards and gain the eventual rewards of reaching the upwards.

The above, along with the quote “This too shall pass,’’ meaning that in the midst of very stressful situations (for her, juggling motherhood and starting as the new Editor of two major publications) it’s important to keep the perspective that the storm will settle, eventually, were the two key takeaways that I took on board. Both inspiring and down to earth, with a flawless composure, it was a fantastic experience to be in an intimate setting and hear Edwina McCann speak.

Last but not least, we enjoyed a super short relaxing meditation, where we were all given a crystal. Ohhhhh so spiritual, I know, but in Sydney crystals are all the rage in the wellness world, I got totally on board. I chose Amethyst, its properties apparently include: healing powers to help with physical ailments and emotional issues, the curing of nightmares and insomnia, and balancing the crown chakra. I am a pretty light sleeper so any help in this department to cure those ‘shopping bags’ under my eyes wouldn’t go amiss.

The Endota spa philosophy, from what I gauged, is all about creating a haven for emotional replenishment. Their focus is on helping you reconnect with your best self through physical and emotional replenishment. Even after a two-hour event in the spa, I could totally see how this gorgeous haven of wellbeing was addictive!

The event was an excellent seller of the spa, backed up by the kudos of having Vogue on board to endorse it. So much so, I found myself in line queuing up to buy the, ironically, eye-wateringly pricey eye cream at the end, which I was recommended during my skin bio scan, so here’s hoping it really does cure those emerging crows- feet! A nice surprise at the till was that the price of our entry ticket was money off the product too, plus we did walk out the door with a jam packed goodie bag, including a wellness journal, so I didn’t feel too bad about splashing the cash.

The recommendation of a monthly facial, now I’m in my thirties eeeek, does seem a little hard to justify, but when one therapist highlighted that it just depends where you put your investment i.e. compared to expensive clothes, shoes, pricey coffees and countless smashed avo on toast brunches that satisfy only momentarily, you have your skin suit on for life. Well, she ain’t wrong there. Maybe it’s just about swapping out a few of those G&Ts and Espresso Martinis for a few more LED light facials?

Korean’s start their skincare regime at the tender age of 13 years old apparently, so we should probably take note, especially in the Aussie climate where the ozone layer is not so kind, and perhaps even more so for us ex-pat Brits, and our love of sunbathing which can cause the ageing process to accelerate – goodbye elasticity and collagen!

On that note, I’m off to deep cleanse my face and pop on the eye cream. Fingers crossed, in a week’s time I will emerge like a butterfly from a cocoon with the skin of a 20-year old!

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3 London-based date spots to hit once you’ve swiped right

2nd March / Abbie Tanner

Single? Live in London? Well with 8 million people and probably most of them without a better half then you’d think that the chance in finding ‘the one’ would be pretty high. Well, think again, the odds of meeting that dreamy fella – if all left down to fate – are one in 394, according to ‘Countdown’ mathematician Rachel Riley, making the whole online dating frenzy a lot easier to understand. Sod fate, get swiping.

Over at YSV we’re career-minded women with bustling social lives and an addiction to box sets, so finding the time to date is pretty tough. But, to be in with a chance of finding that dream man (if he exists?) then you’ve got to put yourself or there. By that we mean, date. With Tinder, Happn and Bumble acting as the new Cupid you’d assume it’s never been easier to get online, have a swipe about, enjoy a few drinks, then BOOM: boyfriend. Well trust us when we say we have tried. From Soho to the East end of London and beyond (namely Essex, one of the team has a penchant for the accent), we have explored the latest dating hot spots and have even re-visited some of our favourites (and no, not with the same guy…). So with that in mind, we thought why not share our top 3 London date places with you. So when you’re ready to get get swiping, tapping, or actually meet men IRL then you’ll have a few bars already up your sleeve to suggest.

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Want to impress? After a luxe-but-not-wanky-luxe location? Then girls, this is the place. It’s intimate but not tiny, the staff are wonderful (always poised for a date situation), the bar nibbles are divine and the prosecco is only £20 a bottle. Yes, we did just say £20 a bottle. They also have the most velvety espresso martinis, we can confirm this.

Martello Hall

If you live in East London and haven’t paid a visit to this new drinking and eating establishment then where have you been? We would totally recommend this for a chilled second date or, a day date. Martello Hall shuts at 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, plus they boost a tasty cocktail menu, so if one drink turns into 10 then you can both stay and dance the date away. Sounds like a great night to us.

Rum Place

Dark, intimate and a little bit sexy, Rum Place is a great option for a first date. Situated just off Oxford Street, it has a cool vibe with conversation-starting interiors and a super cool cocktail menu. Don’t let their rum-based cocktail menu put you off if rum isn’t your usual tipple of choice, we went their first hand to sample and can confirm they’re all delicious.

Abbie

5 Christmas superfoods

18th December 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

It’s definitely more ‘naughty’ than ‘nice’ when it comes to our food choices during December, but don’t just think of the obvious sugar-loaded treats such as gingerbread, boxes of festive chocolates or mince pies. There are plenty of ‘hidden’ calorific sins to be found in butter sauces, stuffing, creamy Baileys and food-of-the-season, pigs in blankets. Not to mention all the prosecco and champagne… it’s no wonder the average Brit puts put on 4.5 pounds during the party season, according to research.

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But what if we tell you that on your Christmas dinner table you can find healthy superfoods? We’ve asked Nutritionists to give us their 5 top healthy choices:

Brussels sprouts

“Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that are packed with vitamin K, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium and magnesium. As a valuable source of glucosinolates, they protect our DNA from damage. They can also help to avoid the mid-afternoon slump on Christmas Day, as they are packed with B Vitamins which are essential for energy.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and will leach into the water if you cook sprouts for too long. Try steaming them instead to keep in their goodness and add nutmeg for Christmas twist”, says Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist.

Cinnamon

“Cinnamon is one of nature’s most revitalising herbs. Filled with potent antioxidants – more than almost any other spices and herbs – it may help to reduce signs of ageing, boost metabolism as well as aid digestion, gently warming your stomach, supporting the breakdown of your food more efficiently”, explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, Nutritionist.

Do you have a sweet tooth? ‘Cinnamon is also great for reducing sugar cravings. Add some to a cranberry, pear and clementine juice for a festive pick me up on the go. You can also combine it with spinach or kale for a super shot of festive green goodness’, adds Wilkinson.

Nuts

“Nuts are packed with goodness – high in essential nutrients especially minerals and vitamins. They are also protein-rich so are broken down more slowly and therefore stay in the stomach longer, making us feel fuller and wanting to snack less.

They also help to balance your blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is an essential part of healthy weight loss and management. Nuts are high in calories, so don’t gorge on them, but allow yourself a healthy decent handful a day. Make sure they’re raw and unsalted to get the maximum benefit from the delicate oils they contain”, says Dr Glenville.

Turkey

“Turkey is a great source of lean protein. It is also low in fat and low in calories – ‘turkey is also high in selenium, which supports your metabolism, zinc that helps to boost our immunity and vitamin B6, an essential for energy production”, explains Wilkinson.

Do you often feel like snacking? “Carb cravings are a sign of low levels of the amino acid – tryptophan, which is necessary for the serotonin production, a ‘happy’ brain chemical. It plays a crucial role in sleep and wake cycles as well as digestion. A lack of it can lead to low mood and anxiety. Instead of reaching for stodgy carbs go for turkey – it’s packed with tryptophan”, says Dr Glenville.

Mulled red wine

Red wine is a good source of resveratrol… as if you need an excuse to have a glass. Just don’t overdo it! This powerful antioxidant, which can be found in the skin of red grapes, berries, cocoa and red wine, is produced in plants to defend them from invading microorganisms.

It can not only protect you from damaging free radicals, but it also boosts cell replication by promoting a healthy, inflammatory response in our body which delays the premature ageing process and turns excess flab into calorie-burning ‘brown fat”, says Michela Vagnini, Nutritionist at Natures Plus.

Gabs

 

 

 

This week we tried: Hotpod yoga

6th December 2017 / Abbie Tanner  

Who knew that getting up early on a Saturday morning, grabbing a coffee and sitting in an enclosed hot pod doing yoga with half-naked strangers would feel so god damn great. Certainly not me. As a revived exercise fan (well, sort of) I am all about trialling the latest work out craze; anything that gets my heart rate rising and my non-existent abs squealing, then I’m in.

Know what I mean? Well, in that case, let me introduce you to Hotpod Yoga.

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Hotpod yoga is exactly that. Yoga, in a hot pod. It was launched in 2013 by strategy consultant, Max Henderson and yoga teacher, Nick Higgins, and is based in a cocoon-like studio environment which reaches up to 37 degrees. It may sound unbearable but trust me, it’s not. It’s actually really, really nice. The pod is dark and intimate with all classes having roots in vinyasa flow. I am not a total ‘yogi’, but the more I do it, the more I love it. And this sweaty yet soothing work out has by far been my favourite.

The one-hour session was based in their Hackney, London location and was taught by Lucy. Lucy also teaches self-development workshops which follow Embodied Yoga Principles, plus she’s had her writings published in top yoga publications such as Om Magazine and Yoga International, don’t you know!

Her knowledge guided me through the class with ease, and I reached a peak level of concentration which enabled me to stay focused on my flexibility, pace, and breathing technique. It’s a pretty hard task to get me to completely switch off, so well done Lucy.

Hotpod Yoga is not to be confused with Bikram, yes, both are heated, but Bikram can reach a hotter temperature of around 41 degrees and you’ll find that classes usually run for 90 minutes instead of 60. Heated Vinyasa and Bikram yoga are both Hatha-based practices which are made up of asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques), but heated Vinyasa classes will contain a variation of a sun salutation sequence (Surya Namaskar).

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I have never experienced Bikram or heated vinyasa so this was a new and refreshing experience for me. I left incredibly sweaty, incredibly energised and with a clearer mind. This was certainly one yoga class I couldn’t wait to re-book in for.

Who would I recommend it to? This is a great class for all ability levels, it’s super accessible, dynamic and practical so even as a beginner you would settle into it quite easily. There’s no stress if you don’t know each specific yoga term too!

Great for: calming your mind and loosening up your body. Just don’t forget your water.

Hotpod Yoga has their studios nationwide, to find one near you please visit their website HERE.

Abbie

How to feel a tank that’s never full: hunger-busting tips that nutritionists swear by

4th December 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

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If you, just like me, are the unlucky owner of a bottomless pit instead of a stomach, then you know just how hard it’s to beat that constant feeling of hunger. So, if you spend your days thinking about what, where or when to eat, here are some less known tips on how to trick your body and mind into thinking it’s full.

Spice things up a little

Go for Cayenne Pepper, which is a natural appetite suppressant. It will not only curb your hunger due to the chemical capsaicin, it also turns up your metabolism.

Spend an extra hour in bed

Studies have shown that a lack of sleep may cause us to eat 300-400 more calories the next day! And in order to keep energy levels high, we tend to choose sugary or starchy quick fixes. Just one extra hour of sleep each night can increase leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite,” says nutritionist, Lily Soutter.

Snack on an egg

“These make a great snack as the combination of protein and good fat help you feel fuller for longer.  Try boiling them in advance, and keeping them in the fridge as an easy, snack to enjoy on the go. They will last up to a week,” says nutritionist, Shona Wilkinson.

Breakfast for champions

Shona explains, “oats are brilliant for keeping hunger pangs at bay. They are nutritious and contain a good amount of fibre. They have been shown to help balance blood sugar levels, thus keeping sugar cravings and hunger pains at bay. A small bowl of porridge is a quick and easy snack and much better than reaching for that chocolate bar”.

Are you thirsty or hungry?

“It’s actually relatively common for people to confuse thirst for hunger, that’s why keeping your fluid intake up is really important. Try drinking a large glass of water when you are feeling those hunger pains and wait to see if they dissipate” says Dr Marilyn Glenville, Nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.

Go green

“Adding a teaspoon of a super greens mixture to your water or juice can help keep hunger at bay. It’s a great way to boost your nutritional intake with greens such as spirulina, chlorella and barley or wheat grass. These superfoods contain fibre, helping you to feel fuller for longer as well as many energy-giving nutrients such as B vitamins to help you get through the day. Try the Natures Plus Ultra Green Juice,” suggests nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.

Tea time!

“The catechins found in green tea also help balance blood sugar levels. An added bonus is that green tea can help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as the polyphenols can help the body both eliminate cholesterol and stop its absorption. Try having 2 to 3 cups daily, in between meals” explains Lily. Here at YSV, we LOVE Pukka Green Matcha.

Switch it off!

Do you eat your meals in front of a screen? Dr Glenville explains why you should turn it off. “You can eat up to 70% more if distracted by watching the TV or in a cinema.  Research has shown that eating lunch in front of your computer makes it harder to remember what you have eaten and then you don’t feel as full. As a result, you will then be looking for something else to eat. In one study, computer users then ate twice as many biscuits half an hour later than the non-computer users eating lunch!”.

Keep it clean

A study published in the journal Environment and Behavior found that preparing and eating meals in a messy kitchen/living room area can cause us to eat more by… 40%. So, do the dishes, file your mail and chuck old newspapers away before you start preparing your meal.

Drizzle Vinegar on your salad

Shona says, “it improves digestion by keeping food in the stomach longer, reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Vinegar also helps prevent blood sugar spikes after a meal, helping cravings for up to 3 hours after”.

Light a vanilla scented candle

Have you heard of Christmas Dinner Syndrome? This is when the person who has been cooking doesn’t eat as much as their guests because they’ve been smelling dinner all day. There’s a theory that sweet scent reduces sugar cravings and can keep your hunger at bay.

The ‘F” word

“Foods high in ‘good’ fats – such as oily fish, avocados, raw nuts, seeds and cold-pressed oils made from seeds can help slow the release of sugars into the blood and make us feel fuller, preventing cravings,” says Dr Glenville.

Be a smart snacker

Lily explains how: “almonds are rich in protein and healthy fats, giving you the energy boost you need whilst balancing blood sugar. This snack is exactly what we need to prevent carbohydrate and sugar cravings”.

Trick your brain full

When choosing plates go for blue. Why? Research shows that blue is a natural appetite suppressant. The colour is almost never found in natural foods, so our bodies have no natural appetite response to blue. It’s not only colour that matters though. Dr Glenville says that “we tend to put larger portions on larger plates and end up eating more food. If you can’t fit as much on a plate you will automatically be eating less”.

Call a friend

According to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, hearing a kind, familiar voice stimulates the brain to release oxytocin, a stress fighting, mood boosting, “love” hormone. “Reduced stress, on the other hand, has been linked to increases in your satiety hormone, leptin,” Cassandra adds.

One apple a day

In one study in Washington, people were asked to eat an apple 20 minutes before each meal. Without making any additional changes to their diet, they lost an average 1½ stone in just 3 months. Apples are packed with fibre and they keep you fuller for longer. The more space an apple will take in your stomach, the less is left for less healthy dinner options.

Instagram your meal

Dr Glenville explains why: “researchers suggest that taking a photograph of food just before you eat, concentrates the mind to eat not only healthier foods but also less of it.  The photograph seemed to deter binges”.

Start with a soup

If you have soup before a meal you will end up eating fewer calories during the meal. The soup gives you the sensation of being fuller because it remains in the stomach for longer and makes you feel more satisfied. In addition, the soup remaining in the stomach stops the cells in the stomach producing your hunger hormone ghrelin and turns off your appetite,” Marilyn explains.

Gabs

 

 

Erica’s food files: Asheh Reshtey – Persian Noodle Soup

1st December 2017 / Erica Cohen

Ingredients:

500g of Persian ‘reshtey’ noodles

1 tin of red kidney beans, drained

1 tin of chickpeas, drained

100g brown lentils

100g mung beans

Large bunch of coriander, finely chopped

Large bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

400g of spinach

6 medium turnips, peeled and halved

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons oil

Salt and ground black pepper

Kashk (liquid whey) can be replaced with sour cream or natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons of dried mint

2 tablespoons of raisins

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Noodle Notes:

‘Reshtey’ are the special Iranian noodles which make this dish truly authentic.  These flat strips will puff up when cooked, adding thickness and saltiness to the soup.  Reshtey is often branded as pottage macaroni (just to confuse you) and can be found in all Iranian food stores.

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So, let’s begin…

1 – Rinse the lentils and mung beans with cold water, drain and leave to one side.

2 – Boil the mung beans vigorously for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and rinse with cold water.

3 – In a large saucepan, fry half the chopped onion in one tablespoon of oil until lightly golden. Add the turmeric and season with pepper and a little salt.

4 – Add 1½ litres of boiling water together with the mung beans, lentils and turnips. Let this boil for 5 minutes on a high heat. Then lower to a medium heat and leave to cook for 20 minutes.

5 – While the soup is cooking you can prepare the onion garnish. Fry the remaining chopped onion in a small frying pan until golden brown. Add the mint and raisins and stir until the onion becomes crispy.

6 – After 20 minutes, test the turnips with a fork to check they have softened slightly but are still firm. Then break the noodles into 2-inch strips and add them to the soup, stirring continually to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add some boiling water if the mixture gets too thick.

7 – While the noodles are cooking, add the spinach, coriander, parsley, chickpeas and kidney beans and continue to stir. After 8-10 minutes the noodles should be cooked and will be soft and puffy.

8 – Remove from the heat and serve in bowls with a dollop of kashk, Greek or natural yoghurt on top. Add a spoonful of the fried onions mixture and you’re good to go!

Erica

 

 

 

This week we tried: Vinyasa Flow Yoga at triyoga

28th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos 

When it comes to working out, I know the main aim shouldn’t always be weight loss or toning, but general wellbeing and health. The truth is, if I am going to wake up at 5.30am three times a week and drag myself to the gym in the dark, I want to see visible results. Six-pack and peachy bum, preferably, like now, please!

I always thought that a ‘bikini body’ can only be achieved by HIIT and weight lifting. What about Yoga? Surely you can’t get lean from stretching? It’s too slow. And no music? Looks boring. WRONG. After trying Vinyasa Flow class at triyoga I am totally hooked!

tri yoga

With fellow YSV editor and co-founder, Abbie, we deliberately chose the 7.30pm class on Friday, (ultimately to make sure we didn’t get tempted and go out for ‘one drink’ after work). triyoga – we went to the one in Camden – has a very ‘zen’ atmosphere, one that almost makes you want to whisper – it was a perfect way to finish off a stressful week.

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Our class was taught by Marcus, who uses his Dj-ing experience and plays some great, Café Del Mar-like tunes in the background. Even though the atmosphere was very relaxed, it took literally 10 minutes and a few positions for us to start sweating and engaging muscles that we didn’t even know existed.

Vinyasa means ‘to place with special awareness and intention’. Flow suggests a movement that is continuous and smooth. Vinyasa Flow is a popular form of modern yoga that draws from traditions including Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, as well as martial arts and dance (we did feel like we were trying to do some sort of Capoeira/breakdance at some point).

As I am still a beginner when it comes to Yoga, the hardest part for me is to breathe properly and coordinate my inhales and exhales with the movements. Thanks to Marcus, who was constantly reminding everyone to actually breathe, I started to control it more by the end of the class, which is a great success.

I left the class, with a great post-workout feeling: tired, sweaty and happy! Not so happy next day – my core, glutes, hamstrings were on fire, more than they usually are after a HIIT class. It makes sense how Madonna looks the way she does at the fabulous age of 60. It’s mainly thanks to Yoga.

Who would I recommend it to? Those, who’ve done Yoga before as it’s quite a fast pace class and it’s good to know the names of specific positions so you can change smoothly.

Be prepared to work on a deeper (both physical and psychological) level, with more challenging asanas, sun salutation variations, inversions and backbends. Not suitable for beginners!

Great for: toning and de-stressing.

triyoga has their studios nationwide, to find one near you please visit their website HERE.Gabs

 

 

 

 

 

Editor’s picks: Monday fashion treats

27th November 2017 / Abbie Tanner

How, how, how is it nearly the end of November? We’re really not sure, but we do know we’re in need of a cheerful pick-us-up on this dull and dreary Monday, and over at YSV we know exactly what will help: online shopping!

It’s Cyber Monday and the sales are out in force so we’ve trawled our favourite sites to bring you the best bits, you’re welcome.

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& Other Stories Boots – Was £125, Now £88

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Zadig & Voltaire Cardigan – Was £540, now £378

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Olympiah Trousers – Was £360, now £216

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Whistles Jumper – Was £99, Now £74.25

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Urban Outfitters Jacket – Was £99, Now £69.30

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Revolve Dress – Was £171.22, Now £82.61

 

Abbie

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Go on, treat yourself! Our top 5 payday buys

24th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

Finally, another payday! So until all bills are paid and direct debits have disappeared from our accounts, we have 3 days to feel a teeny bit rich again. At YSV we pride ourselves on being budget queens (have you read our budget party tips and how to survive until payday articles?) so even our payday treats (and cocktails) are planned and included within the monthly spendings.

Here are our top five things we will be getting this month – cha-ching!

Metallic gym tights, Puma, £35

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We might not be exactly gym bunnies but we do try drag ourselves to the gym; attempting barrecore or yoga at least 3 times a week. So, when it comes to leggings, they need to do 3 things: stay in place (no sliding when we squat please!) cover our bums completely during downward facing dog and be pretty enough so we can get excited to wear them (anything to motivate). These gorgeous metallic ones do all three. Boom!

Translucent loose setting powder, Laura Mercier, £29219

December means one thing: after work drinks. If you put your make up on at 7am chances are, that by 6pm, most of it has gone. Not with this all-time bestseller loose powder from Laura Mercier. It works for all skin tones and contains light-reflecting, micro-refined spherical silica powders that help create a soft-focus appearance while diminishing the look of fine lines and imperfections. Bonus: 29 grams will get you through another 20 paydays. God, we’re good to you!

Statement earrings, Topshop, £14.50

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Thank god big earrings are back in fashion. They’re the perfect ‘desk to disco’ addition. While everyone is currently going crazy for big tassels, we’ve chosen something slightly different – obviously, a red accent is a must.

Espresso spread, Flat Brew, £5.99216

We won’t tell you how much coffee we drink at the weekend while flicking through newspaper supplements and chatting about absolutely everything and nothing over brekkie. Because it’s not normal, and we are not proud of it.

So, to mix it up a little bit, instead of drinking it we are putting it on our toast. Or just eating it straight out of a jar. This espresso blend contains everything we love: Arabica coffee, cocoa butter, cream and… sugar. Oh, well.

How To Be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan, £14.99217

We spend approx. 2 hours a day commuting, one part of it including the apparently ‘pleasant’ overground, also known as the ‘misery line’ or the ‘hipster express’. The only thing that stops us from losing the will to live, is a good book. Ideally, something that makes us feel better about ourselves. Daisy’s book covers everything from how to become more successful and confident at work, to turning rivals into mentors, and learning to enjoy spending time on your own. In a witty and warm voice, Daisy is basically saying ‘don’t worry, you are doing just fine!’. And we love her for that!

Gabs

 

 

 

 

 

Editor’s picks: Monday fashion treats

20th November 2017 / Abbie Tanner

Well, that’s Monday done and dusted, leaving only four, yes FOUR Mondays left until Christmas Day. Woah. Until that revelation sinks in, why not feast your eyes on our top fashion buys – it’s a one-stop shop this week, think party, party, party.

So whether you’re on the hunt for a classic LBD, dreaming of fancy new sequins or after a more casual approach for your Christmas party, here’s a dose of some festive outfit inspiration   – ’tis the season and all that.

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Topshop Dress – £36

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Free People Jumpsuit – £88

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Nobody’s Child Dress – £35

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Ganni Body – £105

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& Other Stories Sweater – £49

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Revolve Dress – was £381.54, Now £107.26

 

Abbie

 

The only treatment that does it all: chemical peels

20th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

Even if you’ve managed to catch some last-minute September sun, it’s most likely, like mine, your summer glow is long gone. According to media and beauty brands, it’s ok to be pale, tan is so 2006 anyway. Well, it might be, but somehow as a nation, we still crave that sun-kissed look: sales of fake tan products have rocketed by almost 40% in last two years!

As much as I would love to say that I’m happy to embrace my pale-going-translucent skin shade, I must admit – I love being tanned. Give me a week in the sun and my skin tone looks more even, blemishes have dried out and skin feels firmer (probably because it’s burnt = tight). Unfortunately, it’s only an illusion of a healthy glow – in reality, our body does not create a tan to be pretty, it’s a response to the mutations that occur in our DNA, which means the skin is being damaged on a cellular level. This can lead to the weakening of connective fibres (read: wrinkles and sagging), the aggravating of acne and the worsening of pigmentation.

Once the glow is completely gone and the tan fades, all imperfections that are caused by sun damage are suddenly more visible. Acne scars and dark spots are likely to be darker than they were before we spent all those hours in the sun.

Usually, November is my month of a ‘skin panic’. Do I desperately try to prolong my tan and carry on with a few cheeky sunbeds to get me through until early spring? Or do I just face the reality, and deal with the damage I caused by recklessly frying myself in a sun? At the age of 30, the second option seems like the right solution. How? Two words: CHEMICAL PEELS.

I am pretty sure every woman instantly thinks of Samantha’s bright red, burnt face from Sex and The City when hearing about chemical peels. However, this regenerative facial had its beginnings much earlier than the ’90s. Did you know? To exfoliate and brighten her sun-damaged skin, Cleopatra used to bathe in milk, which contains lactic acid and tone with wine that includes tartaric acid.

This old as hills treatment really does it all. Improves the texture of your skin and minor scarring, decreases hyperpigmentation, unclogs pores, helps clear up acne and reduces fine lines. And, it’s still one of the quickest and simplest facials out there. ‘A chemical peel consists of applying an exfoliating solution to the face, neck and decollete. It improves the appearance of the skin by removing the top layers of the epidermis in a controlled manner and accelerating cell turnover’, says Dr Krystyna Wilczynski, skin expert at Blush + Blow.

Depending on types of acids used, skin usually starts peeling 2-3 days after the treatment and within a week you are ready to party again. For best results, dermatologists recommend a course of 4-6 peels, every 2-3 weeks. ‘Chemical peels are great for autumn, as they brighten and refresh the skin greatly in anticipation of winter. It’s important to thoroughly protect your skin from the sun for 4 months after chemical peels, so autumn is, in fact, perfect for a course’, suggests Stefanie Williams, dermatologist and author of Look great, not done!

According to Dr Rabia Malik, an aesthetic doctor at Grace Belgravia, peels have been largely under-utilised in the UK. Even though their new formulations mean less downtime with quicker and better results: ‘Peels, particularly in combination with other modalities such as micro-needling, are a great way of stimulating one’s own collagen.’

Peel formulations have evolved over the years and we now have some very sophisticated options that combine different acids with other active ingredients including fruit enzymes and amino acids, to enhance efficacy. Correct combination peels mean that lower strength acids can be used to deliver the same results with comparatively less downtime. Newer formulations are often referred to as ‘metabolic’ peels – they don’t just strip the surface of the skin and leave your skin physically peeling off, but they stimulate new skin cells, are less inflammatory and result in ‘micro-peeling’ where old skin cells come away gradually and less noticeably, while delivering a better end result’.

Which peel is right for you?

The best way to choose the right peel is to seek advice from a specialist, as they will be able to tell which peel will work better for your skin type. However, if you don’t know where to go, we’ve peeled our skin at few places, so are on hand to give you some great recommendations – you’re welcome!

If you are struggling with pigmentation: NeoStrata Retinol Peel at EUDELO Clinic.

When applying Retinol, also known as vitamin A, to your skin, you help increase cell renewal and boost collagen production. It also slows the production of melanin and helps to reduce hyperpigmentation. The NeoStrata Retinol Peel contains 3% Retinol and a specially developed Retinol Boosting Complex™ to reduce fine lines and promote a bright, even complexion.

If you want your radiance back: Get The Glow Glycolic Peel at Blush + Blow.

If your skin looks dull and is in need of that ‘glow’ factor, then glycolic acid is your best option. With hardly any downtime and minimal redness, you can expect instant radiance, smoother texture and a brighter complexion.

If your skin is sensitive: Hydrating Peel, The Peel Boutique.

This is a perfect choice for dry and sensitive skin. A combination treatment containing a pomegranate, papaya and pineapple enzyme peel base with a chirally correct lactic acid, followed by a hydrating mask infused with green tea, lemon peel extract and R-lipoic Acid. This treatment nurtures, treats and hydrates while soothing and brightening the skin.

If you suffer from acne: Dermaquest Salicylic Acid Resurfacer at SK:N Clinics.

This treatment uses 20% Salicylic Acid to effectively exfoliate the skin by controlling congestion and relieving inflammation. It also targets blemish-causing bacteria and prevents future breakouts, stopping acne-causing oil in its tracks.

If you are looking for an anti-ageing solution: The TCA Skin Peel at EF Medispa Spa.

This trichloroacetic acid (TCA)-based peel works to tighten loose skin and refine lines. TCA acid is a more effective and longer lasting than the sugar and citric acids, as it goes deeper into the dermis and can treat more skin problems. Recently, it has even been used by doctors to treat, remove and lighten tattoos!

Gabs

 

Blocked shower drains alert! Why does our hair fall out in winter?

17th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos 

I bloody love sharing a house with 4 girls; countless film nights in (usually with bubbles, let’s be honest), 3-hour long brekkie chats on Saturday mornings and clothes that circulate from room to room (you know, one person’s trash and all that). But there is one thing that is becoming a massive pain, especially lately: permanently blocked shower drains. Unfortunately, we’ve all noticed that we have been losing more hair than usual.

Let’s not panic yet though, according to scientists we are not going bold! Hair loss during cold months is completely normal. So here’s how it goes: your hair grows between 2 and 6 years. At any time, 90% of it is growing and only 10% is in a resting state for 2 to 6 months, before it finally falls out. The hair follicle then rests for approximately 3 months and the whole process starts again. According to researchers, we have the highest proportion of resting hairs in July and they start falling out around 100 days later, which means, now.

If you are like me and are a bit of a geek, then you probably want to ask – in the words of every 3-year old – ‘but, why?’ There are few theories… some scientists think that this seasonal hair loss is occurring to protect the head from harmful UV rays in summer by holding onto hair longer and releasing them once it’s cloudier. Others believe that this pattern might be evolutionary and it’s something we’ve inherited from our furrier ancestors.

In addition, according to doctors, when the temperature drops our body focuses on keeping blood going to the vital organs first, leaving the hair follicles to become its least worry, as we don’t need it to survive.

As you can see, we can’t really stop this process. However, there are things we can do to make sure our hair is in top condition all year round. We’ve asked Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist and Hair Care Expert at Philip Kingsley to share her top tips with us:

Keep it clean

You cleanse and moisturize your face in the morning with products for your skin type, so start your day by shampooing and conditioning your hair with products formulated for your hair texture. Physiologically, hair health is closely interlinked to scalp health, so frequent shampooing cleans and optimizes the scalp environment. In addition, clean hair also reflects light much better than dirty or coated hair.

Go halfway up

One of the most common causes of limp hair we see is an incorrect application of conditioner. Only apply conditioner to your mid-lengths and ends, where the hair is older and it’s needed the most. If you use it too close to your roots you will simply weigh them down.

Look at your diet

At least once a day we have someone sitting in our consultation room professing they are eating an incredibly healthy diet. They do not snack and have fresh fruit for breakfast followed by a salad for lunch with a bit of chicken or fish. While this may be fine for your body, it’s simply not enough for your hair – and the wrong diet is a very common cause of excessive daily hair loss.

While hair is incredibly important to us psychologically, physiologically our body could not care less. Any nutrients ingested first go to essential systems, with hair (a non-essential tissue) receiving whatever is left over. To help ensure you are in-taking adequate nutrients for hair growth, eat at least 120g of protein at breakfast and lunch as hair is made primarily of protein (think: eggs, fish, beans, nuts, cheese). Energy to form hair cells drops four hours after eating, so if longer than this is left between meals, snack on a nutrient dense carbohydrate, such as fresh fruit or whole grain crackers.

Brush it… up! 

Incorrect detangling can cause a lot of breakages, which can lead to thinner mid-lengths and ends. To detangle, start at your ends and gradually and gently work your way up. Brushing from the top can worsen tangles and snap strands.

Colouring done right

Colouring your hair can give it depth and warmth. Highlights may also make fine or thinning hair appear thicker as they add texture and swells strands. You just have to ensure that the benefits of colouring are not negated by damage. Try not to process your hair more than every 8 weeks, or you will notice your hair overlapping and breaking. To keep your hair healthy in-between colour, use a weekly intensive pre-shampoo conditioning treatment. However, there is no evidence to suggest that colouring hair causes it to fall out more, or lead to thinner hair diameters.

Gabs

 

 

How to be a girl boss: Natalie Powell from Parcel London

18th October 2017 / Abbie Tanner

Your Style Vaults meets… Natalie Powell

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Are you always on the hunt for that perfect pressie? A gift that combines style, thought and a little edge? Yep, we know, it’s a tough task! Enter Natalie Powell, Founder and Director of the luxury gifting service, Parcel – this brand new concept is sleek, time-saving and unique.

Natalie lovingly sources a selection of luxe, innovative brands in order to create bespoke gift ideas, which have already been a hit with top bloggers. These are top-notch gifts (our personal favourites are ‘Besties’ and ‘Pamper’) and ones we know people would love to receive – with Christmas around the corner, could this be any more perfect?

So, without further ado, let’s meet Natalie, see what makes her tick and how Parcel came to be such a god damn awesome idea!

YSV: So tell us, what is Parcel and how did it all begin? 

Natalie: Parcel is an online service which offers pre-curated gift boxes full of lovely presents for women. I’ve always been obsessed with giving (and receiving) gifts but it’s hard to find the time when you’re busy with work and distracted with everyday life, to pull off an amazing present with all the little extras. I decided to set up a website that does it all for you! We choose gifts from loads of lovely brands, wrap them, write the card and deliver them to the doorstep. We get the gifts, you get the glory.  

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Besties Parcel, £85

YSV: What was your background before going it alone?

Natalie: I’ve had quite a varied career but always based in Fashion. After graduating from London College of Fashion, I started out as a make-up artist and then eventually transitioned into shoot direction and production, most recently at Net-A-Porter. I’ve been very lucky to be exposed to incredible brands and products which has helped me to pick gifts for Parcel which I think people will love.

YSV: Who was a big part of helping you embark on your new career? Be it inspiration or support? Family, friends, an icon?

Natalie: My fiancé Mark was an incredible support to me, he was my 24-hour sounding board, as well as helping with all the real-life things that I didn’t have the time or brain space to do during the start-up phase (he’s now head chef at home!) but mainly his unwavering belief in me, you definitely need that in times of fear! I also have an amazing group of friends and ex-colleagues that helped me out with so many important things such a branding, copywriting and digital, they’re wizards! It can be a very lonely time when launching a start-up so it was lovely to have my friends around me to help – especially when they’re so talented in their fields. 

YSV: What is your number one tip for anyone wanting to embark on setting up their own business?

Natalie: Keep a side hustle for as long as possible! There are so many different parts of setting up a business that are scary, the main one being that you often can’t avoid spending lots of money, so if you can keep a small income on the go while you’re finding your feet, it can really help to take the pressure off. I think the tip for this is to pick something that leaves a realistic amount of time for you to concentrate on growing your own business rather than distract from it. 

YSV: What do you wish you knew before you started Parcel?

Natalie: That no decisions are set in stone. When you first go it alone, it’s an amazing feeling not to have a manager to answer to, but I was paralysed by indecision, thinking every single tiny choice had to be underlined in a notebook and never changed. Once you get further down the line you realise that every good business is constantly changing and evolving. I update something every day based on feedback and hindsight, so there really was no need to worry so much before the launch!

YSV: Tell us about the brands you have curated for each box? How do you choose who to work with and why?

Natalie: The quality of brands included in each Parcel is what I’m proudest of and the part which took the most work. I’m very conscious of the types of brands I work with and am a huge supporter of independent and innovative makers. Some of my favourites, which are all based in London are chocolate experts – Land, leather and stationery brand A L’aise, handcrafted candles from Join and Guy Morgan Apothecary who create the most gorgeously packaged natural skin care. When I set out to create Parcel my main aim was to create gifts that not only looked beautiful when you open them, but that are also great quality. The question I asked myself in the early buying stages was ‘would I buy this myself, for myself’ if the answer was no, then the product wasn’t included. 

What was the best piece of advice you ever got? And, the worst?

Natalie: The best advice is from my parents who told me to ‘just go for it’ because it will be worse to regret never trying than to fail. The worst advice – that it would be a viable option to plan a wedding and start a business in the same year. It. is. chaos. 

YSV: When you’re not working, where do you like to hang out in London?

Natalie: Before moving to Surrey, I lived in East London and this is where I feel most alive! I love that everyone has such a sense of personal style and open attitude. My favourite place is Broadway market on a Saturday afternoon, you can wander around for hours, looking in bookshops and eating the worlds BEST chicken burgers from the stall right at the end.

Finally, for some fun…

YSV: Handbag essential number 1?

Natalie: Paw Paw papaya moisturising balm. It’s actual magic!

YSV: That one song which brings all the memories?

Natalie: Kevin Lyttle – Turn Me On. It instantly takes me back to teenage holidays with my best friend Sophie.

YSV: On top of your bucket list you have…

Natalie: To visit the Galapagos islands, I’m obsessed with wildlife documentaries!

YSV: Last three things you bought on your credit card?

Natalie: Pink velvet Gucci loafers – Swoon / A flight to Dubai – Excruciatingly hot / Coffee and cake – because I never sleep or carry cash.

YSV: Give us your usual coffee shop order

Natalie: Almond milk cappuccino.

View the full Parcel gift collection here.

 

Abbie

Editor’s picks: Monday fashion treats

30th October 2017 / Abbie Tanner

Well, hello arctic blast! It’s set to be colder than Russia over the next 3 weeks which means if you don’t have your winter wardrobe already sorted, you better start, pronto.

We thought we’d do the hard work for you and have picked our top cold-weather buys to survive the big freeze in style…5Topshop Jacket – £75

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Reserved Jumper – £24.99

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Acne Studios Jumper – £36

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Jack Wills Scarf – £44.99

9H&M Coat – £79.99

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Finery Jumper Dress – £95

Abbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter skin survival guide by Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist

10th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

There is no way back, winter is here, and as much as we love cosy jumpers and Christmas markets, it’s actually the most challenging season for our skin. Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist and founder of D.Thomas clinic explains, “it doesn’t like the contrasting temperatures of centrally heated buildings and the cold outdoors – both of these environments are drying and the chopping and changing of temperatures affect the barrier function of the skin”.

Unfortunately, once the barrier stops working properly, no matter how much moisturiser you whack on, it simply evaporates without nourishing the skin cells properly.  Damn.

“This is usually the point when most people would reach for an oil or a thick greasy cream, don’t! These actually further compromise your barrier function and confuse your skin. It does not use oils to nourish itself – it needs water instead, and the only way to really get water into the skin is from the inside out”, says Debbie.

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Image credit: Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist 

When you slather greasy or oily products on the surface of your skin, you trick it into thinking that it doesn’t need moisture, so it stops absorbing water from the body.

Debbie states, “face oils and heavy creams basically plump the soft, dead layers on the surface of the skin, as well as the starved, dehydrated, living layers that are deeper in the skin”.

Think about how after a while, your skin stops responding to your cream and you either feel that you need to apply it more regularly or get a thicker cream to get rid of the tight, uncomfortable feeling. “This is because the skin is becoming more dehydrated with each application. I often find that oils also agitate conditions like Rosacea, perhaps because of the deeper dehydration that can also weaken the skin”, Debbie explains.

So what’s a girl gotta do to keep the summer glow all year round? Simply follow Debbie’s five golden rules:

Think: antioxidants

Start using daily a serum packed with antioxidants. These neutralise free radical damage to the skin, strengthening and protecting it at the same time, Medik8’s Thione is great for younger skins. If you are intolerant to Vitamin C then I highly recommend NeoStrata Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum.

Shed those dead skin cells

Include an exfoliation using chemicals, not physical exfoliation, in your daily skincare routine. Sound harsh? It doesn’t need to be! A chemical exfoliant covers everything, from mild fruit enzymes, like papaya, to stronger natural acids like glycolic, as well as retinol-based products. These can all help with the shedding of excessive dead skin, allowing your topical products to penetrate deeper and promoting healthy skin function. Don’t overdo it though, the last thing you want is a red irritated face.

Invest in a serum

I really promote active serum based skincare. I don’t use any creams myself, instead, I just layer 2-3 serums daily. You need to find the serum that has the right ingredients for you; whether it’s hydrating hyaluronic acid, growth factors, resurfacing acids or peptides – serums are packed with more concentrated active ingredients which treat and correct the skin. I recommend Bioeffect serums to everyone – it’s both, nourishing and anti-ageing.

Repair with building blocks

If your skin is flaking, irritated and dry then you need to repair the barrier function, and products containing ceramide are perfect for this. I recommend SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Repair. It’s the perfect balance of lipids that will help repair the barrier function and retain essential moisture. If your skin is oily or acne prone, try Medik8’s Beta Moisturise, the probiotics in it also show skin health-boosting properties.

It might be cold, but…

Sun protection is needed all year-round – UVA sun rays are not filtered out by clouds. Good quality products can also protect you from infrared damage caused by computer screens as well as protecting you from the ageing. I highly rate PCA’s sun creams – they have many skin boosting formulations, including very light, oil-free ones which are endorsed by the skin cancer foundation.

Gabs

 

Editor’s picks: Monday fashion treats

30th October 2017 / Abbie Tanner

Whether your weekend was firework-filled or spent in cosy pubs, dragging your arse out of bed this cold Monday morning was no doubt a struggle. So why not kick-start your working week with a good old fashion fix? Ease yourself into Monday with these 6 stylish buys…

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& Other Stories Jumper – £49

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Topshop Coat – £65

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Saint Laurent T-shirt – £275

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Free People Dress – £108

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Next Boots – £38

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Miss Selfridge Dress – £49

Abbie