Inform. Inspire. Innovate

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Blog related Christmas gifts 2014

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! I've loved seeing everyone's 'what I got for Christmas' post so I thought I'd share some of the blog related pressies you'll probably be seeing featured here a lot in the future. 

If you regularly read my blog, hopefully you say my bedroom inspiration post as Luke and I were re-decorating our room (you can read it here). We're nearly done but I was still doing my make up on the floor in terrible light (and we all know how disastrous that can be), so Luke bought me a beautiful mirrored dressing table for Christmas! I'll try and take a better photo of it when I'm back from my parents house!

Benefit is a brand I've wanted to try for ages but never never have for whatever reason. Luke bought me all of these goodies which I'm so ridiculously excited to try! Reviews to come. 

Luke's parents always buy the most beautiful gifts and this Christmas was no exception. I can't wait to use all the Sanctuary Spa products in this 'box of delights' particularly the scrub and the radiance exfoliator. 

Until now, I've taken all my blog photos on my phone, and to be honest I don't put much effort into them at all but that's all about to change - I hope! I'm so in love with this camera already. I didn't want anything too fancy as I wouldn't have a clue how to use it but this one is a perfect size and the photos are beautiful. All the photos below are taken on it! 

I loved Make Up Revolution from the first try so obviously there was a pretty hefty wishlist given out to family members. These are all my goodies and I can't wait to try them all out!

I'm sure it's obvious from my previous posts how much I love baking so I was mega excited unwrapping all of these beauties! Look out for future posts using the recipes. 

Geeky baking/food product! A little contraption to make food look pretty. Now I just need to work out what would work best with it!

I do love a good tray bake so these are 5 disposable foil trays for all my baking pleasure.

This present definitely excited me the most. I eat rice 24/7 so I've wanted this rice steamer for aaages - sad, I know! 

Send me the links to all of your Christmas pressie posts if you haven't already. There'll be reviews on everything featured in this post soon although I don't actually know where to start! 

Hope everyone has a fabulous New Year!

Love Lauren xx


Tuesday, 23 December 2014


As most of you know, I'm at Events Manager 'by day' and events related rubbish literally take up the majority of my daily thoughts. I've been blogging for 7 months today (Happy Blog Birthday Blonde Vision) and I definitely haven't met enough of you lovely people so after seeing a couple of other bloggers organising meet ups and events I decided to rope in Tamsyn and Amy and get planning a big event to cure all of our January blues. 

The event will be hosted at the beautiful members only cocktail club, Bitter Sweet in Soho. 

Keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow and there'll be a little Christmas surprise! We hope to see you there beautiful people!

Love Lauren xx


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Chocolate chip shortbread recipe

This is literally the easiest recipe ever for the most mouth watering shortbread. If I can do it, anyone can...


115g butter & extra for greasing
115g plain flour
55g cornflour
55g golden caster sugar
40g chocolate chips 

  • Preheat oven to 160 Celsius
  • Grease a tin (9 inch loose bottom tin is recommended but clearly judging by the below photo, I didn't listen!) 
  • Sift the flour and cornflour into a large bowl
  • Stir in the sugar
  • Add the butter and rub it in until the mixture sticks together - that's the messy bit!
  • Add some chocolate chips into the mixture if you want them inside the shortbread too
  • Smooth mixture into tin and prick with a fork
  • Add some more chocolate chips over the top and push them in slightly (I used way more than 40g of chocolate chips!)
  • Bake for 35-40 mins until cooked but not browned. Okay I slightly overcooked mine!
  • Mark into portions, leave for 10 minutes to cool then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
So there we have it (even if mine is slightly overcooked), the best shortbread ever!

Let me know if you give it a go yourself!

Love Lauren xx

Friday, 19 December 2014

Family photo booth fun this Christmas

The best part about Christmas is spending time with my family, particularly my grandparents as one set lives in Devon so I don't see them often. 

My Grandad has been ill this year and I was obviously heartbroken and sick with worry. I was looking back at holidays/Christmas'/birthday's to find photos of us and I realised I hardly had any at all. Sometimes we're just too busy having fun and enjoying the moment, we forget to take photos, but then regret it later on when you're trying to remember. 

I vowed this Christmas to take loads of photos of us all together (I say the same thing every year and never do), so this year I've decided to be pro-active and set up a photo booth in our house this Christmas. It's so easy to do and seeing as I was getting a camera for Christmas, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity. 

I ordered a photo booth set from Ebay which came with the props and the sticks separately so I've been slowly but surely taping them all together. I'll be setting up my new camera (when I've worked out how to use it!) on a tripod and I plan to find a space in my house with a plain background which may be hard with 8 people, a dog and a LOT of Christmas stuff going on. 

Hopefully this will encourage everyone to get together and take some hilarious photos on Christmas day that we can all keep forever. I'm sure I'll put a couple up on a future post! 

Obviously I got distracted while I was making the props... 

Love Lauren xx

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone..

* photo from Pintrest

This week, I've been inspired by three things; the Miss World 2014 competition, this week's #fbloggers chat and an article on the good old Daily Mail website. They all have one thing in common, charity. 

I love Miss World. I know a lot of people have issues with beauty pageants but I don't think they have a clue what they're actually about. A key part of Miss World is the 'beauty with a purpose' segment. Each Miss World contestant has to set up a charity project in their own country to make a long lasting contribution to society. Since Beauty with a Purpose was set up in 1972, it has raised hundreds of million of pounds. These women have a platform to speak and be heard, much like us bloggers, albeit on a bigger scale.  They use their voice to make a difference by raising awareness and raising money across the globe (they're not all beauty and no brains for those narrow-minded people out there!). You can read more about the wonderful Beauty with a Purpose here

This week's #fbloggers chat, hosted by the beautiful @BeckyBedbug took the usual chat topic away from materialistic issues and on to a much more important topic, charity. The chat made me ask myself why I wasn't using my blog to do more, help more etc. I do have some controversial posts planned for 2015 raising awareness of issues in our society but for me, that's still not enough; I can do more for others, and want to do more. 

Finally, scanning through the daily mail, I came across an article about about Luke Cameron, a fellow blogger who does a good deed every single day in memory of a close friend. The gestures are range from paying for someone's petrol, helping out a neighbour or baking cakes for friends and family. Luke has received some negative comments online about his good deeds, and don't even get me started on how much that disgusts me but we all know how cruel the internet can be! Luke's story made me think about how easy it is to just do something nice for other people, and also how rewarding it must be to know you've made someone happy and made a difference. You can follow Luke's good doing on his blog, here

* photo from Pintrest

We can all make a difference, even with small gestures. So, with all this inspiration to raise awareness of charities and make a difference, I vow to:

Do nice things for others 'just because'
Take every opportunity to make someone's day
Grow some balls and post the controversial charity awareness posts that have been in my drafts for months
Organise charity events in 2015 and encourage charity participation

I already have a list of events I want to organise or activities I would love us all to take part in in 2015 so keep an eye on this space so I can gather up you beautiful people, and together we can make a difference. 

We have a platform to speak and be listened to, use it!

Love Lauren xx


Friday, 12 December 2014

My Breast Augmentation Journey #2; The Surgery and Recovery

As I'm sure you're all aware, I recently had a breast augmentation. The first BA post I did about my decision, the process and all the technicalities of the surgery was so well received by all of you lovely people so thank you for that. If you haven't already, you can read it here.

Going through a surgery like this is such a big decision and I know for a lot of people, the actual surgery and recovery is something that puts them off. This post is completely and utterly honest on my personal experience so it's not necessarily the same for everyone but will give you some idea. 

Here's your pre-warning that reading on will be full of TMI and parts of it probably a bit gross so if that's an issue, you know where the back button is! I honestly feel it's important for the people reading this post because they're interested in or looking to go through the procedure to know exactly what they're in for, TMI or not! 

The surgery

My admission time was 8.00am which I was really happy about as I would have hated waiting around all day. I wasn't allowed anything to eat 8 hours before admission or anything to drink 2 hours before admission so really I hadn't eaten or drunk anything since about 8.00pm the night before. 

When I arrived at the hospital I was taken up to the ward straight away and changed into my gown with a very sexy pair or knickers and a hat (there's a photo on twitter if you all want to laugh at me!). The nurse came in and asked me to do a pregnancy test - pretty hard since I went to the toilet before I left home and hadn't drunk anything since the night before! 

I had all my obs taken and she said my heart rate was extremely high (well duhh!) so I tried to lay down and relax. The anaesthetist came down to see me about 9.00am dressed like a million dollars - think I'm in the wrong job! He explained how everything would work and said he planned for me to wake up as the surgeon was putting in the last stitch and then went through all the side effects I might have like sickness. This obviously scared the crap out of me so I tried to put it to the back of my mind. I then signed forms to say I understand there's a tiny chance I won't wake up from the anaesthetic, all that scary stuff.  

My surgeon came down to see me about 9.30am to mark me up. He drew exactly where my implants would be placed, partially under the muscle, and where his incision cuts were going to be then I was all done!

I expected to be going down to theatre about half 10 but I didn't go down until 1.00pm so obviously by this time I was a nervous wreck, starving and had a headache coming on from stress and not having had a drink for so long. Watching Luke have a nice cold drink in front of me was torture! I'd mentioned to the nurse I was scared of needles so she put a numbing gel on my hand which was a god send. 

I walked down to theatre and into the operating room but it's all a bit of a blur now to be honest! I was so scared of the IV, I don't even know why, just irrational! I remember them saying it won't hurt and I'll feel stupid for being so scared afterwards! They were right, I didn't feel a thing, and I felt stupid for being so scared! My heart rate was still mega high, they said they couldn't put me under in that state so gave me some gas. I just remember my body feeling really heavy and my face went all prickly and tingly... next thing I know I've woken up in the recovery room!

I remember waking up and chatting the nurses ear off about god knows what, I was shaking so badly but she said it was normal. As I was being wheeled back up to my room I was crying my eyes out! I guess it was a mixture of the anaesthetic, shock, relief - a bit of everything really. Luke looked really scared when I got back in the room and he left to be sick bless him! 

I was in a bit of a state for about half an hour either shaking, crying or asking Luke why on earth I put myself through it but after a while I was absolutely fine again. I wasn't in any pain, just a bit of discomfort, particularly where I had drains inserted. 

The nurses got me a drink and some toast, as soon as I could show them I could eat and drink without being sick and go to the toilet on my own, I could request for my drains to be taken out and go home. I was absolutely paranoid about being sick straight after my chest muscles has been sliced in two so took everything really slowly. The first time I got up to go to the toilet I got so faint and queasy I had to sit back down. The shock of how heavy my implants felt didn't help!

I was dreading having my drains taken out, the whole thing is just so gross. First of all she had to pull back the strapping which was like having a wax, not a great feeling after surgery. One hand on my shoulder keeping me straight she pulled them out quickly although it felt like it took ages. That was honestly the worst bit of the whole experience because I felt everything. Once they were out and I was all patched up again I was good to go home. 

We ended up leaving about 4 hours after I woke up from surgery so not bad at all considering. Luckily we don't live too far way but if you live quite far from your hospital they make you stay overnight so keep that in mind when choosing a clinic!

Also should say that my surgeon uses drains and then tapes up the whole area for a week after surgery. As far as I'm aware, he's the only surgeon that actually does that - most people just have dressing over their incisions!

Recovery - week one

I was really nervous about recovery having listened to some horror stories from other girls saying they were in so much pain they were passing out going to the toilet. I'm the biggest baby in the world and I can honestly say I was so shocked at how pain-free I was. There was discomfort of course, and it felt like an elephant was constantly sitting on my chest but I wouldn't call it pain. 

Generally, if you have implants placed over the muscle the recovering is usually a lot easier and quicker than if you have unders because with unders your muscle is actually cut. 

The first few days I couldn't really do anything for myself, I couldn't lift a glass, I struggled even pulling my knickers down to go to the toilet - I think Luke and I's relationship was taken to a new level of gross! The first couple of days I just stayed in bed occupied by you guys on twitter or Netflix, no sure what I would have done without those two!

Everyday there was a noticeable difference in how I was feeling and what I could do for myself. By day 3 I stopped taking painkillers as I didn't see the point in loading my body with ultra strong drugs when they weren't making any difference and by day 4 I was able to do most things just a bit slower than usual. I still wasn't allowed a shower and I looked like utter crap so was trying to wash with baby wipes as much as I could! 

On day 5 I started to get pain on my right side which I felt was coming from where my drains were pulled out but because of my strapping I couldn't see anything so decided to wait until I went back to the nurse on day 7 to have my strapping removed.  

I noticed in the first week the swelling had definitely gone down, I was so itchy, I couldn't wait to get the strapping off! I was a bit of an emotional wreck the first week, crying at the drop of a hat but Luke was amazing the whole time. The photo below was taken just before we left for the hospital.

The unveiling of my new additions

I was definitely more nervous going to the hospital to get the strapping off than I was for the actual surgery - so stupid! The consultation was really quick, I had the taped ripped off, yes ripped - imagine a wax on your already sensitive post op nipples, ouch!  

When it was off I came over to queasy and was so scared to even look at them, I just wanted to wait until I got home to look at them in my own time - weird I know. I just looked down for the first time and didn't see my own body. Obviously I was expecting to see big new boobs but it still messes with your head nevertheless!

Once I got home I had a good look and got massively freaked out by some marks all over them, I cried for pretty much the whole day thinking they were stretch marks - it looked like I'd been clawed by a cat! But after lots of research, asking the other girls on the forum, and sending photos to my nurse, it was just cuts from where the strapping had been ripped off so panic over - they're going to disappear, I hope. 

Recovery - week two

So now I'm almost at the two week mark, I would definitely say for me personally, this week has been the hardest. The first week I was strapped up and was told loads of bed rest, don't really do much blah blah blah which was fine, I was in minimal pain so I just chilled out and watched TV! 

This week I needed to start getting back to normal life which is harder, and scary. I keep treating my new boobs like glass and I really shouldn't. When they were strapped up I couldn't see anything, didn't know what was going on down there and couldn't do much about it. Now it's like I've been given full custody of them and without the safety blanket of the strapping it's been tough getting used to. Made worse by the cold/cough/headache/sore throat passed on from Luke that I woke up with Monday morning - try coughing when your chest muscles have just been split in two. 

So now obviously I panic when I get a random pain, which I know is totally normal but I panic anyway, I'm a panic-maniac. I'm doing everything for myself again except lifting anything heavy or reaching up high, it just takes me longer. I'm not getting any pain whatsoever in my left side by a fair bit in my right particularly under my arm and in my incision. 

When a BA is first done, the implants sit really high up in the chest, they then (in their own time) drop down into the pockets the surgeon has created and 'fluff up' going from big stuck on rocks to natural soft boobs. My left side (the one that doesn't hurt) has started to drop already and I'm loving the shape but the silly right side is still sitting high being annoying but it'll get there! It's a long process but we'll get there in the end. 


Writing this post has definitely made me think about how much harder mentally than physically this process has been. The majority of my friends and family didn't agree with my decision for surgery and didn't hesitate in being fully honest in their opinions which obviously hurt; especially not having had support from people close to me. The massive change in my physical appearance has been hard to get used to even though obviously I knew it was coming. As it takes between 3 and 6 months for new boobs to properly settle, they aren't the prettiest looking when they're first done so it takes a lot of getting used to and I wouldn't say I'm completely there yet!

So we're almost at 2 weeks post op and I love my little monsters more and more every day, particularly as I'm pretty much back to normal day to day (except lifting my arms high).

I hope this post has helped those of you either considering surgery or already in the process. Just don't underestimate the mental and physical effects of the surgery. I plan to do another update just before Christmas as I'm reaching the one month mark with updates and a discussion of surgery complications as I know this is something many people worry about. 

I've been asked quite a lot for photos, while I didn't feel it was right to put a full frontal on here (even I think that's crossing the line!!), please contact me if you'd like to know more/see their progress and I'll be more than happy to share - privately! As always, please contact me if you want to know anything else.

Love Lauren xx 

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