April Favourites (part 1) *

Hello! Just thought I’d write up a cheery post about things I loved using last month. These are a mixture of skin care, beauty and products to improve my quality of life, so there should be a little bit of something for everyone! I was fortunate enough to have received some of these products for review, and as always, I’ll indicate this with an *. I am only ever 100% honest when it comes to reviewing products, and I only ever share my thoughts and opinions with you if I truly, truly mean them. Honesty is the best policy.

There’s a second instalment to come, so keep your eyes peeled!

  1. Greenfrog Botanic Botanical Bodywash*

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I was lucky enough to win these at a recent meet in Leeds, and they are seriously wonderful. Greenfrog Botanic create gorgeously indulgent products that are cruelty-free, vegan, and full of organic products. They ‘live by the four Es: Excellent quality soaps, Environmental and natural products that conserve our planet, Ethically 100% vegan to protect our animals and Exclusive’. Greenfrog’s founders Nick and Julie use Himalayan soap berries in their bodywashes, which have been used for centuries, and are extremely passionate about environmental issues so have done all they can to ensure their products are natural and as environmentally-friendly as possible. I was extremely impressed with these, and particularly loved the Geranium and Peppermint scent. My boyfriend even commented on how soft and less-irritated his skin was after using this, and he never usually takes any notice of anything remotely skincare-related! A definite seal of approval there. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of this.

2. Bee Good Lipbalm*

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I received this at the Leeds meet, and it has become a daily staple! I cycle into uni whenever possible, so this is great for keeping my lips moisturised. It is partly made by British bees, and the scent is just delicious! It reminds me of those drumstick lollies I used to eat when I was a child, and I find myself smiling when I use it. It is colour-free and leaves a glossy sheen.

3. Tangle Therapy

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I bought this to help with my motor skills in my hemi hand (the side affected by cerebral palsy). It is a loop of rubber-coated plastic joints, that can be manipulated and moved with one hand. Not only is it great for working on movement if limited, it’s also really relaxing and ideal if you need something to fiddle with. I also have a Tangle jr. original, which is slightly smaller and not rubberised. Because I have severe anxiety I sometimes find I need something to mess around with in order to focus my attention, or diffuse the anxiety. I keep it in my pocket as the Tangle jr. is discrete enough to take out and about. I love Tangle Therapy one, but it is slightly larger so I tend to keep it at home. As I say, it’s great for working on my right hand. I have also included a picture of the Tangle jr. below, which easily fits into a hand. The Tangle Therapy is chunkier in comparison. The Tangle jr. is really cheap on amazon, and a great thing to try out for the price, whether you’re just wanting a fiddle toy or something to exercise your hand with. They come in all sorts of colours and with all sorts of textures. I think you can also get a smaller Tangle Therapy, but I haven’t tried one yet. I might do!

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4. Loreal Keratin Treatment* (shampoo and hair mask)

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I was kindly gifted this little set by Hays Salon, Hull, and I’m really impressed with it! It smells great, and the mask is luscious and incredibly moisturising which is great for my hair. Hays Salon is really friendly and they always do a great job, and I highly recommend it if you’re near Hull.

5. Viridian Ultimate Beauty Organic Skin Repair Oil*

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I received this in the Leeds’ Meet goodie bag and it’s absolutely fabulous! I already use Viridian’s Organic Ultimate Beauty Face Balm, and this of the same quality and luxury. I used to have terrible acne, so this product is great for softening the scarring. Smells great, too!

6. Kiko Campus Idol Brush*

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I was lucky to receive this at our Hull March Meet, and I’ve been using it ever since! Not only is the face brush brilliant, but it adds a gorgeous pop of colour to my dressing-table. Stunning! There’s no fall-out yet, and it’s lovely and fluffy for picking up product.

I was going to include a colossal 12 items in this one post, but I’ll spilt it up and you’ll get to see the second half later on this week.

What do you think of the products above? Are you keen to try anything?

Have a great week; I’m aiming to get as much dissertation work done as possible…wish me luck!

Heather x

 

 

 

 

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Event: Hugh Rice Luxe*

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Hello! Just thought I’d share a quick event post with you all today. A few weeks ago I was invited to the launch of the gorgeous Hugh Rice Luxe store in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Those who know me fairly well will know how much I love jewellery. I have many pieces of jewellery in my collection, and I’m fortunate enough to have inherited some heirlooms that are very special and mean so much to me. Jewellery can really add so much personality to an outfit, particularly if it’s meaningful and has great sentimental value. I have been very lucky to have received some gorgeous pieces from close friends and family, so an invite to a jewellery store was extremely exciting. I was joined by my wonderful friend Emma who is also a jewellery lover and has a collection to rival my own!

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Em and I have been best friends for around eleven years now (which makes me feel so old!) and I just knew she’d be the perfect person to join me at the launch of Hugh Rice Luxe. Em has treated me to some truly gorgeous pieces of jewellery over the years, and I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist having a peek at the collections on offer. When we arrived at the store it looked bright and beautiful; there were glasses of prosecco carried around on silver platters, piles of tasty canapés making their way around the room, and some rather delicious-looking cupcakes sporting Hugh Rice Luxe’s very own logo! The whole place looked truly luxurious, and to top it all off, we were also treated to some cocktails, or mocktails if alcohol wasn’t your thing. Very decadent, and definitely appreciated after the long week we’d had!

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We had a fantastic time browsing at the collections on offer. I was particularly taken by the range of Daisy jewellery, as I love how delicate and dainty the pendants were. I’m also a fan of Thomas Sabo as I have a few charms and a chain already, and the little charms on display were (almost) irresistible! The Sif Jakobs range was also particularly stunning, particularly the small circular pendants encrusted with crystals.

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It was such a lovely evening and I had so much fun catching up with some of the Hull Bloggers. We even went away with a couple of goodies, so keep your eyes peeled as they’ll be appearing in a favourites post very soon.

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You may have noticed that the pictures in this post are far, far better than my usual, and that’s because Em took some photos of the event and has kindly let me use them here. Em is a really talented photographer and all-round creative, and she’s very nearly finished her final year of a photography degree. Em particularly loves photographing landscapes using mixed media, and her work is truly beautiful. Why not check out her website and give her facebook page a like? You can click here for facebook and here for her website.

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We really enjoyed our time exploring Hugh Rice’s newest venture, and thanks ever so much for having us. I wish you every success, and hope the store is everything you wished for!

What do you think of the store?

Heather x

Giggles at Kardomah 94*

Hello! Here’s another Kardomah 94 review; I know, I just can’t get enough of the place! If you’ve been reading over the past few weeks you’ll know I was asked by the lovely Hannah if I fancied checking out some live shows at Kardomah 94, which is a restaurant and venue space right in the centre of Hull. The first – Backstage in Biscuit Land – was a magical, eye-opening journey into the world of Jess Thom who lives life with Tourettes syndrome. The second – Giggles: Greater Good Project – is a combination of mental health awareness and a heavy dose of comedy to delight and educate in equal measure.
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We arrived at Kardomah 94 hungry and ready to try some of the tasty-sounding pizzas. When we saw Backstage in Biscuit Land we caught a glimpse of the pizzas – huge, stone baked ones, covered crust to crust in an array of toppings – and we couldn’t wait to try one for ourselves.

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We started the night the proper way, with a bottle of refreshing Brooklyn Lager. The atmosphere once again didn’t disappoint; each of the tables was studded with softly glowing candles, a delightful array of art hung up on the restaurant walls, and a soft hubbub and clatter of crockery from the open kitchen. What more could you want?

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Kardomah 94’s menu has a selection of pizzas with something for everyone, and various snacks and nibbles available for those who are fancying something a little different. Their specials board sported homemade favourites like spicy chilli con carne, and I’m positive even the fussiest of eaters would find something they’d love. I’d been running around doing various errands during the day, and a pizza with a beer seemed like a heavenly combination to me.

I went for the aptly named Sir Albert Gelder pizza; a stone baked, thin base topped with crisp pancetta, blue cheese and a honey drizzle. Drew went for the Hullawaiin (because he’s one of those people that thinks pineapple on a pizza is a good idea…it’s not my cup of tea, but it did look great.) Again, this was generously topped, and wonderfully crisp, and both went down a treat with a beer.

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The Hullawaiin
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The Sir Alfred Gelder pizza

What I really love about Kardomah 94 is its setting; overlooking the historic guild hall on the edge of Hull’s historic Old Town, it is truly a hidden gem. Kardomah 94 hold various events every month – some in association with the University of Hull – and it’s the perfect place to come to eat, drink and learn a thing or two.

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It’s bound to be a hit during Hull’s City of Culture Year in 2017!

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After our dinner and drinks, it was time for the event itself. Mental health – and mental illness – are very close to my heart. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression for a while, and know people close to me who have really suffered in the past. Events like these are essential to spread awareness. I think we’ve come incredibly far from our draconian views on mental health, and though this should be celebrated, we should always strive for more. I’ve been on the receiving end of comments – even from people who know me – which illustrate a complete lack of understanding. I’ve been told to snap out of it; to stop crying. To stop worrying because there’s nothing to worry about. To cheer up; to buck my ideas up. That – though I may not believe it – other people have it worse.

If only it were that easy.

I don’t talk about what triggered my mental health problems on here, but it wasn’t easy, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. The amalgamation of certain things in my life – including the traumatic event, living with chronic pain and a brain injury plus everyday stresses – are a difficult and turbulent mix. Telling me the above things is no use. It doesn’t help. If anything you’re just making the situation worse by adding a healthy dose of guilt and self-loathing into the mix.  

You are talking to someone who can cry for hours at a time, or – on very bad days – won’t leave the safety of my bed. Telling someone with a mental health problem that they are better off than somebody else completely undermines the difficulties they are having. It is not useful.

It probably is true. But it does not solve the issue. It does not stop.

The Giggles event was founded to raise awareness of mental health. I’m becoming more confident talking about my difficulties, but some people aren’t so keen on sharing. Mental illness still conjures up images of strait jackets and ‘mad-woman-in-the-attic’ imagery, but is many as 1 in 4 people will have a mental health problem in any year. That’s a huge number. And yet – for many – it is still incredibly difficult to talk about. I’ve been met with resistance when I want to talk about my problems. I’ve been warned that people may prejudge me because of my mental health problems, and that I should stay quiet.

I don’t want to. I shouldn’t have to, because my mental health problems are just another facet of my experiences, just like having cerebral palsy, or the fact that I’m a fiend for chocolate and gin.  Events like these are exactly what we need, and so many of us need to know that it’s okay to speak up.

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The venue space was again rustic and cosy, and as we sat down in our seats we knew we’d be in for a great night.

Gary – the compere and founder of the event – opened the show, and had us all warmed up for one of the more ‘serious’ parts of the show. Fay came on and openly discussed her experiences of living with borderline personality disorder, or BPD. She explained the ‘black and whiteness’ of the disorder; the perpetual conflicting emotions she has over seemingly everyday events. She was eloquent and open, determined and steely with a refreshing outlook on her own experiences. As she noted, many people have heard of depression and anxiety, but it is these mental health problems – the ones that are most misconstrued and misunderstood -that become truly difficult for people to talk about. It was incredibly wonderful of Fay to come and share her story with us, as though these things need to be discussed they aren’t necessarily easy to share. I think I speak on behalf of the audience when I say I was incredibly touched to have a brief insight into her world.

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Next up we saw a myriad of comedians, some of which have had their own mental health problems in the past. These comedians spoke frankly about their experiences, but left us laughing. We also participated in a raffle, and all of the proceeds went to Mind, who do a fabulous job providing services to people with mental health problems when they need them.

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It is a scary time for people who rely on mental health services to get by. This year will see yet more cuts to mental health services across the country, and as someone who has had to access such services multiple times it’s really worrying to think that these vital services may be taken away. These services are there for me when I’m at my worst, and allow me to discuss my darkest thoughts when I fear no one else will listen.

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Although we had a laugh and a giggle at the event, mental health problems are no joke.

At their most devastating, mental health problems can be life-threatening, and I will always support events like this. Now more than ever we must try to find a way to overcome the issues we face; and supporting local services is one step forward. Hull and East Yorkshire Mind strive to do everything they can for people in the local area, and with our help they can continue to implement support and strategies to help those who need it most.

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Thanks so much to Kardomah 94 and the Giggles: Greater Good project for having me; I can’t wait to see when you’re next hosting an event.

What do you think of events like these? Would you be interested in attending something similar?

I hope your day is going well!
Heather x

Santoro Goodies*

Hello! Just a quick one today. At the #HBMarchMeet we were all extremely lucky to receive a mixture of goodies from the brilliantly quirky brand Santoro. Admittedly Santoro hasn’t really been on my radar before, so it was great to be introduced to something new. Santoro produce a range of products and accessories each with gorgeous illustrations and designs that belong to a particular collection. I was extremely lucky to find a gorgeous iPad case in my goodie bag, and I thought I’d share it with you.

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This is a gorgeously illustrated neoprene case that fits an iPad2 snuggly inside.

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The cover features a sweet illustration of a girl gazing up at a huge fluffy creature, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The design covers the front and the back and is highly detailed.

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Though made for an iPad or similar tablet, I’ve been loving using it to cart around a planner or my beloved Filofax and Kindle, which makes them easy to find when in a handbag or rucksack. The case is fairly stretchy so both fit snuggly inside, protected from the elements.

I’d really recommend checking Santoro out; I definitely have my eye on a few more items that are absolutely stunning! I’ve never seen accessories quite like this before, so if you’re wanting something  unique, beautiful and practical, look no further than Santoro.

What do you think of the case?

Remember to follow me on twitter, instagram and snapchat. Find me as @htlcy ; I’d love to connect with you!

Heather x

Backstage In Biscuit Land at Kardomah94*

Hello! This is a post I’m really excited about sharing with you. A few weeks ago I was asked if I’d like to attend a couple of events at a local venue, and when I found out the subject of the events I absolutely had to accept! This was the first of the events (the next is in a couple of weeks)  and is an award-winning show that has received fantastic reviews from critics and the general public. I knew I was in for a treat, but this show completely exceeded my expectations!

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When we arrived we sat for a beer and admired the lovely food coming from the kitchen – the pizzas looked INCREDIBLE – and the atmosphere was really lovely and ambient. Kardomah94 would be a fabulous place for a spot of dinner! The show space was fantastic, and we picked a lovely spot with extremely comfortable bucket chairs.

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Backstage in Biscuit Land is an extremely powerful show, containing equal measures of comedy and emotion. It is a show unlike any other, and is something that will stay with me for a very long time. It was shown as part of the Heads Up Festival in association with the Battersea Arts Centre, which presents some of the most exciting contemporary British and international theatre in some of the best venues in the city of Hull, of which Kardomah94 is one.

Through a mixture of puppetry, comedy and song by the aptly-named ‘Touretteshero’ Jess Thom – and her sidekick Chopin – we are given a poignant and at times intimate insight into life with Tourettes. You see, Jess Thom has Tourettes, which causes her to say ‘biscuit’ 16000 times a day.

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Tourettes is a condition often trivialised by the media. We’ve all heard jokes about people swearing loudly then blaming it on Tourettes, and most of us – myself included – understand very little of the condition, so it was incredibly refreshing to be introduced to something I know very little about.

The set itself was like something out of a dream; huge cardboard cutouts of trees, a loaf of bread, dolphin puppets, an assortment of biscuits and twinkly lights, and as we sat down in our seats we heard a muffled voice projecting a stream of assorted words from the wings. Chopin welcomed Jess onto the stage, and explained that her tics would  – inevitably – contribute to the show and its content. We were encouraged to laugh at the tics if we found them funny, and sure enough some were so unusually wonderful they were difficult to ignore. As is turned out Chopin – real name also Jess – is referred to in that way as a result of tics!

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Jess explained how tourettes is an awful lot more than the media-portrayal of incessant swearing that we’re all accustomed to. Jess needs to have a care plan sheet, which informs a reader of the steps needed to take when she has a fit as a result of the Tourettes and constant physical and verbal tics, which become completely exhausting. This is another of the realities of tourettes we don’t often hear about; sometimes her tics become so intense she loses the ability to communicate with others. This was extremely interesting to hear, and made us realise how hard life can be with constant physical tics. Jess revealed that her vocal tics have also made life very difficult, and recounted a time where she was asked to leave a theatre as she was apparently disturbing others. This was incredibly emotional – in essence the episode made her feel that she wasn’t allowed to be herself – and this really got everyone thinking.

Anyone who knows me will know how personally invested I am in societal perceptions of disability. My MRes explores disability through literature and the impact this has upon cultural attitudes. Though I have a form of cerebral palsy and other conditions – which aren’t always noticeable – I have been treated disrespectfully and without care by members of the public. It can be really upsetting, and Jess’s story really resonated with me.

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The whole show was a spectacular journey of incredible highs and gut-wrenching lows, and when I went to meet Jess and purchase her book and a T-shirt emblazoned with a selection of tics, I was completely overwhelmed. Her work is so integral – so vital – to thousands of people who face prejudice every single day for disabilities they have. Awareness is key; disability doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care where you’re from, or who you are. And I firmly believe that sharing experiences is key to advancing understanding of disability. Disability has many faces and forms, and the more we discuss it the more we can begin to understand.  I left on a complete high, and feel privileged to have had an insight – albeit small – into her world.

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Jess and Chopin are currently touring their Backstage in Biscuit Land show around the UK. You can see the tour dates and locations here.

Thanks for having me Kardomah94 ; I can’t wait to visit in a couple of weeks for another fantastic show!

Hope you’re having a great evening,
Heather x

#HBMarchMeet at Al Porto, Hull

Isn’t it strange how quickly things creep up on you? That was certainly the case when it came to the hotly-anticipated Hull Blogger’s March Meet. The last meet was a huge success, and we enjoyed an afternoon of drinks, demos from brands such as Lush, Weleda and Viridian and – of course – plenty of chat. Though the March meet was smaller with just under 20 attendees, it was by no means any less fun, and I came away feeling grateful to be a part of such a welcoming and warm community.

The event was held at Al Porto, a gorgeous little Italian restaurant situated on Hull’s marina. You may recognise the name of the place as not only did we hold the Hull Blogger’s summer meet there, but I was also asked to review their delicious Christmas menu with a couple of the girls. You can find these links here and here.

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Al Porto has become a favourite with the Hull Bloggers; it serves authentic Italian food in a gorgeous rustic setting. We enjoyed a drink – including wine, if that takes your fancy – and a very hearty portion of delicious food from the lunch menu, which is sure to cater to everyone’s tastes. Their lunch costs £8 a head, and it is well worth it. I can definitely recommend the salmon pasta. Find their lunch menu on their website here.

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Al Porto’s food is always beautifully presented and extremely delicious. The winter salad was also a hit with the other bloggers, and I will definitely try it when I go back!

As usual we came away with a fantastic array of goodies. Here’s just a few photos of them, and I’m currently busy reviewing them so hopefully you’ll see the whole selection soon! A massive thank you to all the generous brands who got involved.

There are many other lovely little things so stay tuned to see what I think of them!

As always a huge thank you to the wonderful bloggers who make these events so worthwhile. Sadly Kat (who did an AMAZING job with everything) was too ill to attend, and we missed her very much! You can check out Kat’s blog  here.

I can’t wait to review all of the wonderful things for you.

Hope you’re weekend is going well,

Heather x

Review: Wella’s System Professional at Unique Salon*

Hello there! It’s very busy over my way. I’m trying to apply for as many PhDs/jobs as possible and it’s all a little time consuming and stressful. I know what I want to do but money is the biggest obstacle at present. Wish me luck!

With all this in mind you can imagine my relief when I got a lovely email inviting me to try out the newly launched System Professional range at Unique salons. It was just the little pampering treat I needed.

I decided to attend Unique’s Beverley branch, and made a little day out of it. I got in early, had breakfast and explored the shops. Beverley in East Yorkshire is historic and beautiful, and is well worth a visit if you’re around Hull. It was nice to head somewhere a little different; I love where I live as it is so convenient but things do begin to become a little bit mundane after a while!

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Unique’s Beverley store is nestled right in the centre of town and is really easy to get to from the bus station. When we arrived it began snowing very heavily which was quite unexpected! Typically I hadn’t really dressed for the weather so I was more than glad to get into the warmth of the salon!

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The staff were lovely and welcoming on arrival, and I was offered a hot drink which was most definitely appreciated! I was asked to fill out a form regarding what I expected from the appointment, and the lovely John made sure to ask lots of questions regarding my hair type, current hair care regime and past treatments. He noted all my answers on a tablet which the calculated my ‘Energy Code’, allowing us to work out what treatments would prove beneficial to my hair. This process ensures the correct combination of products for optimal results.

Next my hair was washed using the appropriate products; the System Professional Balance Shampoo, the System Professional Smoothen Conditioner and System Professional Reconstructive Elixir. This was a wonderfully relaxing experience, and I felt totally at ease with the friendly staff.

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The salon itself was really beautiful, and made the whole experience feel like a very special occasion. After having my hair washed and prepped, John blowdried my hair to see the results.

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My hair felt really bouncy and healthy, and it was lovely to have a professional blow-dry. I really struggle to dry my hair with my hemi hand, and often end up unable to do it, so it was lovely to have it done for me.

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My ‘Energy Code’ combination was noted down for me so I know what to ask for when I head back!

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All in all I was really impressed with my experience at Beverley’s Unique salon. The System Professional range looks extremely promising and I can’t wait to try out the samples I received.

Many thanks to the wonderful Unique Salon Beverley team for making me feel so welcome; I’m sure I’ll be back very soon!

Why not check out Unique Salon on twitter? Search @UNIQUEsalons

You can also find out more about the System Professional range over on their website.

I hope you’re enjoying your Monday,
Heather x