Monday, 12 June 2017

What does his text mean…online dating

Tinder, POF, Match, E-Harmony you name it, I've tried them.  Jumping into the minefield of what can only be described as a 'minefield' of online dating a few years back was a huge shock for me, someone married for over 20 years. Yet there I was 43 about to start again and I won't lie, it was one hell of a roller coaster and tested my friends' patience to the limit.

A couple of years on, lots of dates and finally being in one for the last year and a half I can now offer to give my advice back to my friends who've found themselves in the same position as myself.  The biggest hurdle of online dating has to be 'texting'. When I was younger we didn't even have mobile phones and so communication was in the form of 'face to face, handwritten letters (I miss those) or a huge telephone bill, we didn't even have e-mail!

Texting is by far the worst form of communication. It can be misread in so many ways and yet us women put so much emphasis on how a man texts. We analyse and go over and over the same words, giving them countless possible meanings, which is ironic as men just don't give anywhere near as much thought.

So if you're waiting for those 3 dots on their phone to appear, check out a round-up of what I've learnt.

  • You may think that men are chatting to more than one girl at a time, and yes this could be true however, it is normally just one or two. Men simply just don't have the time (assuming you are chatting to someone with a job), to put their energy into chatting up several women.
  • Men are simple and logical. When you write an 'essay' to him on text he will just take one look and his eyes will blur over. He will, of course pick up words such as 'lick, taste, beer etc', and anything that involves an innuendo of sex or alcohol. 
  • As men are simple don't be put off when you write 'a lot of blue' and only one line of 'grey' appears back. They are busy, they have to focus and then cannot at any time multi-task (well again depending on the innuendo text talk, then they can always multi-task….).
  • Men like to do the chasing. It's far better for a woman to hold herself back a little. If you just want a one night stand then fine, but most of my friends would like a relationship. This is when you need to know just how much to give. Take it SLOWLY.
  • Suggestion is far more erotic than full on 'take me now'. You want him to meet you and be interested in you. Not what he thinks he is going to get.
  • I dislike games, but at the beginning it's always best holding off before texting him right back. If he texts you in the morning, then say a 'hello - I'll text later but busy atm', this gives off the vibes that you are interesting and not waiting for those 3 dots to appear. At the same time, it comes across that you don't play games and you're acknowledging his text. 
  • Saying that, it's always important to ask about them - so when you are in throes of text conversation, make sure you ask questions about their day, hobbies etc. Men do like to talk about themselves (known fact). 
  • Those 3 dots, don't just hang around for them - send a text and get on with whatever you are doing, don't make it into a big deal as it's just getting to know each other.
  • WhatsApp - oh I hate WhatsApp, looking at when he was last online, who was he texting at midnight and why has he read your text and not answered. Well here's a surprise. His WhatsApp maybe on in the background, so unless he closes it he will still be online. He may have read your text then had an urgent need for the loo (albeit most men text on the loo) or he may be married and calling out to his wife that 'he's put the bins out'. Regardless try not to read into WhatsApp, it will drive you crazy, like it did me. If however, he is 'typing' at 2am then it's probably an intimate conversation with another woman, unless he has relatives in America. 
  • IMessage - it's a personal choice with the 'read' button. Personally I don't like it, as I don't want someone to know when I've read the text, bit of mystery is always good. Also and again similar to WhatsApp if you don't reply then it can come across as 'playing games'. 
  • When he first texts you after you've both swiped right, and mentions you 'look sexy', calls you 'baby' or anything else personal and IMO cringe then he is only after one thing. He should have enough respect to ask about your day and be interested in what you have done.
  • If you've sat around all day, stroking the cat, watching Come Dine With Me then it's perfectly acceptable to lie. Something along the lines of 'gym (he'll think your healthy), cooking a home-made curry (he'll think your marriage material) and upgrading your Sky to Sky Sports (he'll come right over). All these are good. Failing that keep it interesting with banter and play the 'would you rather a) or b) game i.e. would you rather swim in the sea or pool, eat Thai or Chinese - as you get to know each other this game can be taken up a notch or two and then the fun really begins.
  • If you've not got a specific first meet up date, there is nothing wrong in you suggesting it, as he could simply be shy. However, if he is evasive then give him a couple of days to choose from and leave it to him. If he doesn't come back within 24 hours then leave it. A man who decides an hour before Saturday night that he can see you, usually has been stood up by someone else - you don't want to be second best. 
  • If he wants to see you he will - there will be no excuses and he will set a date. If he carries on just texting without making a definite date, then he is either with someone else or keeping you as a back up - neither are acceptable. 
  • Finally my last piece of advice. Never analyse a man's text or decipher and de-code every word, as mentioned above they don't write the 'in-between' stuff, us women do. Just remember 'simple' (I've used that word a lot in this blog) creatures who have fat fingers - and often make typos - this is why the majority of them like to use Emojis. Also fat fingers are not necessarily drunk fingers! 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


Before I start this, let me explain that I have tried Botulinum Injections (Botox), in the past for a feature, but this was a few years ago and I was interested to see if there have been any developments or techniques in this procedure.

I was invited to the Court House Clinic to meet with Dr Kishan, a very highly qualified skin doctor with a decade of experience in anti-ageing injections, to find out the latest news in aesthetics.

I was given the opportunity to try out 'Baby Botox', ideal for someone who just wanted a natural, refreshed look without any risk of look 'frozen'. Whilst, some people actively seek the mirrored effect on a forehead that can be achieved with Botox, for me I prefer to be able to have full movement of my face and most specifically, when I cry or laugh that my whole face moves and not just my nose.  It's common to see in the press, celebrities who prefer this look and as such come with headlines such as 'what has he/she done to her face'.  A good indication of successful Botox is one where you wouldn't even know that it's been injected, simply that the person looks like they've taken care of their well-being.

Dr Kishan shared my view, that not only less is more but that Baby Botox (or 'sprinkles' as some clinics call it), was by far the most attractive way to achieve the 'few years younger' look I wanted to achieve.

When I visited the Court House in Brentwood, I was impressed that only doctors were allowed to give the injections. As I mentioned in my previous feature, Botox is a prescription only medicine, thus meaning that whomever administers must hold a license to be able to give out prescriptions, so usually falls under a doctor or a dentist. However, many clinics and salons then follow guidelines (at this present time this is under review and likely to change), that once the prescriber has written out the prescription then a nurse or therapist can administer these injections.  Most concerning should anything go wrong, then insurance companies do not hold the 'injector' responsible rather the 'prescriber', and that current guidelines state that the prescriber must always be present and this is why the Court House will only use doctors to give Botox.

After reading all of Dr Kishans credentials (see below), I was more than confident to go ahead and more so with his holistic approach, encouraged he would be 'gentle' with me. My consultation was over an hour long, and required me to fill out a detailed medical history including any medications I was currently taking. We then studied my face and the outcome I hoped to achieve.

One of the areas I pointed out were lines down by the side of my cheeks however, he explained that for this he would have to use 'Fillers' as these are what fills in lines, whereas Botox relaxes the muscle. I'm not a fan of the look of Fillers and so we agreed, that we would just do a small amount of Botox on my forehead and around my eyes.

He also made sure I was fully aware of any possible side effects such as bruising and 'droopy lid' that can happen if the wrong area is injected. This is incredibly rare and can be rectified as Botox is not permanent.

After lying me down, my face was thoroughly doubled cleansed with antiseptic to make sure there was no bacteria on the skin. He advised that patients should never wear make-up on the day as even the tiniest particles can seep into the injection site and possibly cause infection. Again another reason why he double cleanses the skin.

After marking with a pencil the areas he was going to inject, he then coaxed me through some deep breathing exercises as I'm quite needle phobic. Not that I needed to have worried, as I can honestly say that I didn't feel a thing, in fact I felt the marking of the pencil more than the actual injections. Possibly this is the result of using micro fine needles.

Botox takes up to 2 weeks to achieve its full effect and so I was invited back for an out-patient appointment, so that Dr Kishan could see if I was happy or if more was needed, then this would be injected (this is included in the initial cost).

You can see with the before and after photos the results and I have to say I'm absolutely delighted with the outcome. I didn't need any further treatment and whilst my skin was in quite good shape before, there is a gentle improvement to the extent, even my mother just said I looked healthy. There is no sign of a 'frozen face' and for those that don't know I've had it done, I've received compliments of 'you look well' and 'your skin is amazing, it must be all those products you test'. I have full movement in my face and so my kids know from my expressions, when they've pushed me to my limit.
I was talking about my experience on the radio, and you can listen to the link here. In addition I also sent some questions to Dr Kishan in advance for the radio prep.

Please could you give a short paragraph on your biography i.e. where you studied, qualifications etc, as well as a small paragraph on Court House Clinics?

Dr Kishan: Qualifications:
MBChB – Medicine and Surgery
BDS – Dental Surgery
BSc – Experimental Pathology
Dr Kishan is an Aesthetic Doctor from qualifying from Leeds Medical School and also the Royal London Hospital, he began his career in anti-ageing injections and fillers for surgical applications in 2003 and has spent many years since working in Maxillofacial surgery across the UK before developing his expertise in Aesthetic Medicine. He is passionate about treating cosmetic concerns and believes in natural-looking results. He is renowned for his gentle manner and skillful technique as well as his holistic approach to treating his patients.

Dr Kishan has a keen interest in post-graduate education and has undertaken numerous academic and practical studies in order to continue providing his patients with the best possible care. He has been awarded full membership of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.

Courthouse Clinics is the UK's most trusted and Doctor led chain of anti - ageing clinics where the full range of facial and body rejuvenation treatments are offered. Treatments include wrinkle smoothing injections, advanced skin rejuvenation, laser and light therapies, body contouring and nutritional programs as well as intravenous vitamin infusion services. Courthouse Clinic Doctors and Medical Aestheticians are all highly trained and required to regularly update their knowledge and skills to offer the same excellent standards of care in whichever clinic our patients choose to attend for treatment.

Many people contact me as they approach their 40s, as they would like to look 'refreshed', but are scared by the images of celebrity frozen faces, what would you suggest for them?

The frozen look can be avoided by seeking out a doctor who is able to give you a thorough clinical assessment and consultation at the first appointment and working with them to create a treatment plan that you are both in agreement with. This is a key step in achieving great, natural looking results. Botox is the best known format of the Botulinum protein which we use at Courthouse Clinic. It works by reducing the contraction of the specific facial muscles it is injected into which reduces "mimic" moment of the skin overlying them. Results can look overdone or frozen if the injection doses are too high for a patient's muscles so great care needs to be taken at the initial appointment to give the minimal doses expected to give the desired result. Then, if necessary, the treatment can be adjusted further with additional doses at a follow up appointment 2-3 weeks later after the initial appointment. My techniques involve giving very small doses in a specific way to give the most natural looking effect, a look that doesn’t look unnatural or frozen.

Are there any treatments for 2017 and upcoming that will replace Botox?

I'm aware of a "freezing" treatment which lowers the temperature of the facial muscles to bring about a similar type of relaxation to wrinkle smoothing injections. However I understand it cannot be used in all the muscles that Botulinum is used in, and I can’t comment on the results as I have not had experience in it yet. One exciting treatment that we do offer at Courthouse Clinics is the skin remodelling injection treatment known as Profhilo which addresses fine lines and crepiness of mature skin by hydrating the tissues from within. This is achieving great results in areas of the face that we do not use Botulinum in.

If I have a needle phobia, is there anything that can be used as an alternative?

Apart from the Frotox treatment, there are no injection free treatments that achieve the same reduction in mimic lines, that rival the results of Botulinum, and this probably why Botox remains one of the most popular cosmetic procedures globally.

Does Botox hurt, will I bruise?

At Courthouse Clinic doctors use extremely fine needles to carry out the treatment and many of my patients remark that they have almost no pain if not completely pain-free injections with me.  With any injectable medical treatment there is a possibility that a bruise may develop afterwards and we cannot guarantee that it won't happen. However because of our technique, experience and the fine needles that we use, this risks of pain and bruising are significantly minimised.

How long does Botox last?

The real effect of Botox depends on several variables e.g. the pre-existing strength of the muscles, and the anatomy of each individual face. This leads to a wide variation in duration of effect - between 2-6 months.

How safe is Botox, there have been cases of eyelid drooping and so what can be done to prevent this?

Eyelid and brow dropping is a recognised complication of wrinkle smoothing injections and while we can't promise it will not happen, the risk is low and largely minimised by using safe techniques and a good understanding of anatomy from the injector.

I don't want to change the shape of my face, does Botox change the shape of your face?

Botox is active on mimic lines, and therefore can really only affect the surface skin that it is injected under. It does not change the volume or contours of the face unless it is injected into the jaw muscles for a very different indication.

Do I need to prepare for Botox treatments?

It is best to avoid alcohol and blood thinning medications (if not necessary for medical conditions) prior to being injected because the risk of bleeding is higher.

It is important to inject into very clean skin and I take precautions to deeply clean and disinfect the skin prior to the treatment. If possible, avoid wearing make up before the appointment.

What is the after-care for Botox? Can I exercise, drink alcohol, wear make-up etc?

Avoid exercise, hot baths, saunas, steam rooms and drinking alcohol after treatments as complications such as bruising may be more likely. Make up can worn once the needle entry points have started to heal but best to leave the skin clean for as long as possible immediately after injection.

There are many salons and in-house therapists, which offer Botox - is this advisable even if my friend's results look good?

Ultimately patients choose where to treatments based on their own decisions. I personally believe that Botulinum injections are medical treatments best delivered by medical doctors for reasons of safety, after care and of course optimal results.

I would actually advise people to look for 5 important things when considering Aesthetic Medical treatments:

1.             Feeling confident in your doctor is vital, for example, are they well qualified and suitably experienced to treat you? Do they have a good standard of knowledge about facial anatomy and skin? Do they spend time studying your unique anatomy and do they seem reassuring to you? Do they explain the treatments carefully to you? Lastly they should never make you uncomfortable or feel pressured into having a treatment.

2.             Are they carrying out these treatments regularly and do they devote time and energy in keeping current and offering you the best standards in practice?

3.             Is the treatment being offered in a clinical, safe and hygienic environment that is subjected to regular checks from patient protecting bodies such as the Care Quality Commission?

4.             Has the doctor been recommended to you from reviews or have you seen positive reviews from other patient experiences?

5.             Are the outcomes of the practitioner you choose regulated by an external standards body that is protecting patients, such as the General Medical Council?

What are the advantages aside from looking younger with Botox?

Some of the features we address with Botulinum are less about looking older, more about looking fresher and "softer". For example the furrows that develop between the brows can give rise to a 'concentrating' or even 'angry' facial expression. Relaxing these particular wrinkles gives a softer, more relaxed facial expression. Botox treatments should leave you looking like yourself, just more refreshed and softly rejuvenated.

People get confused with Botox and Fillers, please could you explain the difference?

Botox works by softening surface wrinkles that lie on overly active facial muscles, whereas dermal fillers are different formulations of hyaluronate gel which has a wide range of applications. Depending on their viscosity, dermal fillers can be used to ‘fill’ facial lines, recontour facial features, augment lip shape, give the appearance of a straighter nose, and even give glow to the skin in ‘skinbooster’ treatments. Dermal fillers are very popular because of their multiple applications and formulations.

Often people are scared the Botox is 'leaked' into their bodies and can cause side effects, is this true?

Botulinum protein needs to be injected within specific muscles to carry out its effect and only act locally.  It is a very safe protein that has been used for years in other numerous medical applications including migraine, excessive sweating, abnormal muscle and bladder function with very low risk of side effects or toxicity.

Is Botox regulated, if so by whom?

Botox is a prescription only medicine, and therefore can only be procured by a prescription from an appropriately qualified medical person. Doctors in aesthetic medicine are not only regulated by the General Medical Council for carrying out these procedures, but also, as part of the mandatory appraisal process, they have to annually demonstrate commitment to maintaining standards and improving practice by studying and updating knowledge. I personally submitted my log of 201 hours spent in educating myself this year (around four times the recommended amount)!

Is there anyone who shouldn't have Botox or who could be taking medicine that could contraindicate with the treatment?

Pregnant patients and individuals with active skin infections, and specific neurological conditions should not be treated with Botulinum.  This should be looked into carefully as part of the consultation process.

What is the cost of Botox?

£200-£400 depending on the doses required and the areas selected for treatments.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


For the past few years I've been an avid fan of gel varnish, what's not to love? Colour that stays put until you take it off, a high variety of shades and glitters to choose from, nail art to let your imagination run wild and of course the biggie, no drying time. Gel nails have never been so popular as they are now, with almost every nail brand bringing out their own range.  So as I said what's not to love?

Well if you saw the state of my nails today, you'd probably be rather shocked. Having picked away the last few gel polishes (acetone is time consuming and it stinks), it's left my nails in quite frankly a complete and utter fragile mess.

Shockingly, when I removed my toe nail gels (having been on for nearly a month), 2 of my nails lifted completely from the bottom of my cuticle bed - hence panic as I'm trying to locate Steristrip Plasters to protect the nails from completely coming off (albeit as both are lifting from the nail bed there's not much hope there).

If you're nails are dry, brittle, breaking and thin from all the over-filing, UV/LED light, polish and general wear and tear, check out these tips!
  • When removing gel nails, never pick as I do. I've recently tested the new elliona Gel Off, a brilliant innovative gel remover, without acetone to gently lift of colour.  (Check out my review below).
  • Always remove gel polish after 2 weeks, the longer you leave it on the harder it becomes to remove.
  • Give nails a break from any gels or acrylics at least one week per month. In fact expert nail technicians and dermatologists suggest only applying twice a year!
  • During this time treat nails to a strengthening treatment, and regularly massage oil into the nail bed. You can buy specific oils but I keep a huge jar of Coconut Oil next to my sink and bed, and just massage a dollop in twice a day.
  • Always wear gloves to protect nails from harsh detergents when doing the cleaning etc.
  • Personally I avoid any salon, which chooses to use harsh drills etc to file nails - these often damage the nail beds and can cause injury to the cuticles before any polish is applied.
  • Always choose a reputable salon to have your nails done. There is no legal requirement at present to have qualifications or health & safety certificates to be a manicurist. Always check the hygiene levels too as cross-contamination can cause a variety of skin disease such as fungal infections. 
  • UV light as it does with skin, can raise the risk of skin cancer - yes you can get cancer under the nail bed.
  • When choosing a strengthening treatment look for products, which contain protein (Keratin) and calcium to bond the nail layers so they make them tougher.
  • Supplements again can help speed up the process of strengthening both nails and hair (again look for Keratin). 
However, the most important step is removal of nails.  I was sent the new elliona Gel Off to test. This gel sits on the nail bed and unlike acetone doesn't sink into the skin.  It's being hailed as the safe method for removing gel, and lessens the likelihood of dermatitis and skin sensitivity like other methods.

It was simple to use, but did take a few trial and errors to get maximum benefit. Firstly with a nail buffer, gently buff the nail gel colour to take off the sheen. Then apply a small amount of the nail gel directly to the nail, ensuring the whole nail is covered. Wait about 45 seconds until the gel goes slightly cloudy, and then removing with the remover tool (elliona have their own elliona Gel Polish Remover Tool, or you can use a wooden hoof stick), gently push the colour away.  I was left with some colour on my nails, but not much and this can be buffed gently off. 

The elliona Gel Off is available for £4.75 from and QVC.

I also have been testing the new Leighton Denny Bio-Build Shield Kit for weak and fragile nails. This was an answer to prayer and already my nails are thanking me for applying just a couple of coats a week. The system contains a polish remover, which preps the nails without drying or damaging the nail plate; a serum treatment to help strengthen the nail beds and combat dehydrated and dry nails and finally a base coat that can be worn under nail colour or alone to seal in the serum. The unique ingredients contain a complex of Bio-Active glass for strengthening, Argon Oil to help thicken nails and Sumatron Benzoin again to help nourish and give a healthy appearance.

The Leighton Denny Build Shield Kit costs £23.50 and is available from 

As I mentioned earlier, I'm giving my nails a break from gel-nails and so have since had to resort to wearing normal nail varnish. Now I admit I can't stand the upkeep of nails smudging etc however, on my toes I've been painting them with Toma nail colours. I love the huge range of metallic spring colours on offer, and as nail varnish is easily removed I can swap as my mood dictates accordingly (usually changes with the weather).  I love the Toma range as you will see from the website, that the colours are pigmented to a high metallic sheen, look ultra classy and incredibly pretty in an array of pinks and deep mauves, ideal for spring and summer

You can buy Toma from £7.50

On my toes today,  I'm wearing Crystal by Joan Collins Timeless Beauty. I've tested a couple of the shades before and like how the brush easily coats the nail with one swipe, and you only need one application for solid colour.  The deep red is perfect for holiday toes and with a tan, but also is a colour that suits all skin tones from pale to dark.  It's worth mentioning that the 'pearl glitter' polish in this range is the best I've tested (and I've tested many), as it leaves any colour with a slight iridescence rather than full on glitter and ideal for transforming any shade into a sparkling, eye-catching colour.

Check out the full range at £13.50

If you're heading out for the evening, or want to simply inject some fun without the commitment acrylics have, check out House of Hollands new range from Elegant Touch. Choose from this seasons gingham pattern, nudes or grungy metallic foils.  Treated with care they can last up to 10 days (my daughters tested these and on day 3 there's been no pinging off) and come provided with the glue. My favourites are definitely the Foil Fade, an eye-catching graduated nail with a spectrum of dark teal, navy edging towards a deep, shimmering magenta. You can also purchase 'Nail Guards' that prevent nail damage and make removal easier (note I haven't tested these).

With many styles to choose from, and for every occasion you'll be spoilt for choice, and an easy way to update to this seasons trends.  Check them out at Prices from £8.50.