Last weekend I finally took the plunge with something I have been wanting to do for quite a while! I went from beach blonde to BLEACH blonde. I figured, if I can commit to something as permanent as a tattoo, then I could take a risk with this. I'm happy to say it paid off! This post is just a little information about the process and how I am now looking after my hair, as I never had to worry about it as much before, but the aftercare for bleached hair is pretty essential.
In my own personal opinion, something major like this needs to be done in a salon, I wouldn't risk attempting to bleach my own hair at home. That's a bit too much responsibility for me. It was worth investing in a trip to the hairdressers, because my hair needed cutting anyway and it made the whole process into a less stressful experience. It feels more like being pampered when you have someone else do your hair for you. I also worked out that with the cost of two boxes of bleach (because I have longer hair), two boxes of toner, silver shampoo & conditioner (not to mention the time it takes to ready all the instructions and not destroy my towels in the process), it wasn't any cheaper anyway!
After a quick conversation with my hairdresser, who I know from previous trips to Hair & Beauty Link (Rainhill), she started mixing the bleach. I had gone in for a skin test a few weeks earlier and shown her some photos of what I was looking for, so it was easier to get started when I arrived for my appointment. I've never bleached my hair before and I know it's not the best thing for you, so aftercare is important. I got some tips from my hairdresser, because this was a long visit taking in total about 3 1/2 hours.
NO GOING BACK NOW
The bleach was applied (which took quite a while because I have pretty long and thick hair) then once most my hair was covered we played the waiting game. It's no fun when you don't have wifi or data on your mobile either, lesson learned. After reading multiple magazines and editing photos on my phone, I began to see the colour lighten, this was when panic set it. Had I made the right decision? I'd been dreaming about white blonde, platinum silver hair for the past few months so I tried to ignore the doubt and thought if the worst happened, I could just go back darker. It's not like trying to get light hair back once you've dyed it dark, I did this in high school and it took years to get my natural 'baby spice' blonde back.
After the bleach had been left on for about an hour and we could see that it had lightened my hair enough, she then mixed up more of it too bleach my roots. Now, because these were completely 'virgin' (untouched by any hair dye products) the bleach took to these a lot quicker and they ended up virtually white (in no time at all). This is why she didn't put the bleach on the whole of my head because we were aiming to get an even colour all over. It's also not recommended because bleach on your skin can get uncomfortable, so I've heard. I didn't have any problems luckily, if anything it felt like a normal dye job, just like my previous experiences when dying my hair at home in the past.
Another 20 minutes later, my hair was finally ready to be washed. She used plenty of conditioner and silver shampoo to tone down any brassiness that was left. There was some slightly blonde parts that hadn't fully lifted (my own fault for all the colour experimenting over the last 12 months. Did you know, pink is difficult to shift out of blonde hair), but all together it was a pretty even tone. This is one of the most difficult things to achieve yourself, especially as you can't see the back of your head.
I only wanted a little trim to get rid of any split ends and a quick cut in the front to frame my face a bit more. It wasn't until she began drying my hair I realised just how light it had actually gone. The colour was very bright! I think now it could have done with some toner on it but I had plans to go out afterwards with my sister. I decided against it because this was something I could work on at home. I didn't take a photo after just leaving the hairdressers because there were still some strong blonde tones, but it was completely fine to go out around Liverpool with in the afternoon. (The pictures below are from the day after). Once it had a couple of washes with the BLEACH LONDON silver shampoo and conditioner, as well as an overnight treatment with some hydrating hair mask by MARK HILL, I was officially a 'Targaryen'.
I'm super happy with the finished result (for now). I can be quite impatient which was why I spent the following two nights shampooing and conditioning to get the colour right. I didn't realise the difference the products would make! Having never used silver shampoo before. I got the BLEACH LONDON silver shampoo & conditioner from Boots, along with the Mark Hill MiracOILous 2 Minute Mask. The mask smells sensational, very tropical and has Moroccan Argon Oil in it.
Now the silver shampoo says to leave on for 5 minutes but I left it on for closer to 15 (for a more intense colour). Then I used the silver conditioner afterwards and these worked wonders on toning out the remaining brassiness. In certain lighting there are still more blonde bits than I would like, I'm hoping that by using more of the silver shampoo and conditioner in the coming weeks, I can get it to the silvery finish. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the process, it wasn't as complicated or nerve wracking as I had been anticipating. Bleaching can seem like a daunting experience and after watching some blogs were people had struggled to do it at home I opted for a salon, and found it to be an exciting makeover. I've since slept in my MiracOILous Mask a few times and it really has helped the silky smooth condition of my hair. I can't wait to get out and take some photos for future posts with my new do.
Not going to lie I do feel a little like a member of 'The X-Men'. I've already had one friend tell me it makes me look like a superhero, another call me Casper and the obvious 'Game of Thrones' reference (Daenerys Targaryen). You always worry with this stuff you won't like it but wheres the fun in life if theres no risk involved. I would definitely recommend both the Mark Hill Mask and Lee Stafford Coco Loco Hair Mask (with coconut oil). I've invested in both and they've worked wonders for me, I tend to alternate and use the Mark Hill one to sleep in once a week. I'm using the silver shampoo for every wash (at the minute) but will begin alternating to keep the colour from getting a purple tint. This lighter, blonder me does mean that I can now experiment with colours. The temptation is strong but I'm staying blonde for now, just excuse me while I go browse the BLEACH LONDON colours collection.
🍑 A B Y
This is a particularly personal and difficult post to write. Looking back on 18 year old me I don't feel any connection to her, she doesn't look or feel like me and I'll tell you why. In the last few years I've lost a significant amount of weight (4 and a half stone to be exact). Before I start, this isn’t to say there is anything wrong with being a bigger or curvier figure, as long as you are healthy and happy. For me that wasn’t the case. After just finishing college, one shopping trip I found myself squeezing into size 16 jeans. I broke down, cried and realised something had to change.
I wasn’t happy. I always strived to be the best in my work and succeed academically, but after leaving high school I completely lost control of my weight (puberty didn't exactly help matters either). It’s funny how it only takes one photograph, or one nasty comment, to make you suddenly miserable. I’ve spent the past few years trying to become happy with my appearance. I’ve slowly come to the realisation that it’s impossible, but that's OK.
I’m now a size 8, but to be completely honest I'm more paranoid about my weight and appearance today, than I ever was before. It doesn’t help that we live in a world where size, in the media at least, seems to be the only thing that matters. We try to promote body confidence, celebrating plus size models, but when a slimmer celebrity puts on weight we instantly bring them down for it. At my lowest point, I was working out 5 days a week and eating less than 1000 calories a day. I spent all my time being meticulous about what I was putting in my body, avoiding carbs, chocolate and anything I wanted because I assumed that if I wanted it, I probably shouldn’t have it.
At my heaviest I was around 13 stone 7 pounds (I’m about 5 foot 5 inches just so you know), at my skinniest I was approximately 8 stone 10 pounds. I’m now sitting somewhere around 9 stone 7 pounds but it goes up and down. I run a lot and workout, which can be stressful because whilst my body isn’t necessarily getting bigger, the number on the scales is (muscle weighs more than fat remember). I was always fighting myself, to improve, get healthy, get skinny (more importantly) and I did it. In the process I got comments like ‘you’re so skinny’ but people would also ask ‘Do you not think you’re taking it a bit far now?’ Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Now this isn’t a rant at anyone in particular, I just wanted to share a little insight into what losing a lot of weight is like and the impact it can have on you mentally more than physically. I often get told that the pictures don’t look like me; people don’t remember me that way, it's a nice sentiment. I guess. Exercise has helped me to accept myself more. When I run or workout, I feel healthier and that overshadows my need to be skinnier.
It’s funny that in losing the weight I have lost that self-confidence I used to have. I don’t ever remember thinking this much about how I looked to everyone else. When relationships have failed I often blame myself, I’m not pretty enough or skinny enough (especially that) and I punish myself after, not eating properly for days. It surprises a lot of people that I'm so insecure about my body, especially whenever I start a new relationship (even more so when its a romantic or physical one). I don’t really want people to know how I used to look, because I don’t want to remember.
I’m training myself to become stronger, putting weight on and remembering it is muscle is harder than I anticipated. In the last 2 years I don't really recognise myself, I'm not the same person and I find it hard to relate to the me, that I used to be.
I have this weird relationship with food now though that I can’t shake; for the most part it’s good. I eat a super healthy diet 90% of the time. However, the days or weeks when I eat the bare minimum and then run to burn off the guilt, still happen intermittently. ‘The Internal Struggle’ as I often call it, do I eat the dessert and have to run 6 miles? or just not indulge. Don’t get me wrong I go out for food, buy icecream, appreciate pizza as much as the next person. There was a point when I wouldn’t even touch these because in my mind it wasn’t worth it. I’ve come a long way since then. Working two jobs (3 if you count blogging), running, hiking and training as well as socialising with friends and family, I know my body needs fuel to keep me going.
'There’s this person inside my head. She’s brilliant, capable, she’s me only so much better. And I’m afraid I’ll never become this person.’ – Meredith Grey
My Instagram is full of travel, fashion and the outdoors (I always seem to be running), but social media doesn't show everything. When I have those days that I can’t bare to look at myself in the mirror, I try to remind myself how far I have come. Take a step back and appreciate what my body has done for me. Taking part in Tough Mudder, mountaineering and hiking... I am in awe of the strength I didn't think I'd ever have. A couple of years ago I couldn’t run for 5 minutes. Now I can run 5 miles without breaking (too much of) a sweat. I don’t hate my body, but I’m pretty sure I don’t love it either (most of the time).
I’m at my happiest when doing the things I love. I want to fill the next 5 years with adventures, focus on being healthy and having new experiences. I’m not looking to settle down anytime soon, why when there’s so much of the world I’ve yet to see. I’m finally in a place where it feels like I can actually do the things on my bucket list. My size doesn't hold me back anymore.
Losing the weight has made me jump out of my comfort zone, and I’m so thankful for the drive it has given me. Was it worth all the hard work? Absolutely. Nothing in life is easy but I'm writing this because without going through it I don’t know who I’d be right now. It’s shaped me (literally) into the person I am. But here is the point I want to make being skinny isn't what makes me happy. What does is travelling to new places, exploring, challenging myself and appreciating those moments with family, friends and boyfriends. If I hadn't lost the weight I wouldn't be here. While I love fitness and being healthy, no one judges me as much as I judge myself, I know that. Don't live in fear of the number on the scales or what dress size you wear, there is so much more to life.
‘People can live a hundred years without really living for a minute.’ – Logan Huntzberger
I’m beginning to accept myself and focus on filling my time with experiences rather than living in the gym. I want to start vlogging but that means getting in front of the camera, which will be nerve wracking. There are things everyone wants to change about themselves. I've learnt that the problems I see with myself, most other people don't. I'll never look the way I want to in my head, it's an impossible goal, because we tend to focus on the negative.
My career, my family, relationships are so much more important. Fitness is part of my routine now and I know that I'll never be that person again (I don't understand how I ever was). Yes, I still have days when I feel very insecure about my appearance. It's not about having a perfect body, what's perfect? Would I be happier looking like a Victoria secret model, maybe for a little while but I highly doubt it would last. It's about accepting my body now, not being too harsh on the flaws that I have and owning it. Your life is so much more than numbers.
🍑 A B Y
We're Going Shopping!
Yesterday we decided to head over to the Trafford Centre in Manchester, on the understanding that after I had done my mini shopping haul, food and Spider-man: Homecoming were on the agenda. The sun was shining when we arrived just after 10am. After a quick stop off for our daily caffeine fix, I was off to find some bargains.
The Trafford Centre is one of my favourite shopping destinations! It's not often I get to go and I always try to be sensible, but with so many stores under one roof its difficult to leave empty handed. It is an absolutely stunning building offering a unique shopping experience because of its unorthodox style of architecture. The centre is filled with all the biggest brands and labels from food to fashion which attracts the majority of shoppers. When it originally opened in 1998 it was the largest shopping centre in the UK. However, it lost that title soon after in 1999.
First stop, TOPSHOP! My go-to store, I always find that their collections suit my particular sense of style and combining that with a SALE, I figured I couldn't go wrong. It actually turned into a pretty disappointing selection this time. Nothing quite jumped out at me and I've been on the hunt for some statement pieces lately, anything out of the ordinary, that will really stand out over summer. I did manage to find a delicate little gold typographic necklace with the word 'mermaid' on it and an iron on pearl stitched shell patch. I instantly fell in love with these, on my third lap of the store, but my phone died before I could get a picture. As the queue was ridiculously long, I missed out on purchasing them but will have a browse online to see if I can find them!
Next PULL & BEAR caught my eye. This store is a perfect blend, I find it is affordable like H&M but offers way more in the way of fashion similar to Topshop. They have a huge selection of quirky illustrative tees, hoodies and sweatshirts. As well as the more adventurous patterned pieces, including tulle shirts and a shell print bra top, that made me feel like a mermaid for a minute. A quick visit to the changing rooms proved unsuccessful, but I did find some cute items that I considered buying.
Including a grey sweatshirt that had the phrase 'Yes But Not With You' written across it, I was tempted by this but managed to resist as my collection of hoodies is already pretty substantial. There was a cool camo shacket that was on sale for just £9.99 and a tulle oriental print blouse, that was sadly a little too transparent for my taste. In store I was completely in awe of a pair of mom jeans that I knew I wanted! They came in a bleached denim with paint strokes splashed down the legs, and ripped patches. Unfortunately, they only had these in a 6 which were a little too snug of a fit, or sizes 14 and up so I was forced to leave them behind. This did influence the rest of my shopping trip and spurred me onto a hunt for the perfect pair of mom jeans...
I then ended up in ZARA, after a few other fashion store stops along the way still not proving fruitful. I have only a couple of items from them but they really do have some out there fashion choices available, perfect for what I wanted. I always forget to check out Zara online when I am shopping but after today I think it will move further up my list! The SALE signs were bold and I was staying optimistic, despite the day so far being a bit dissapointing.
You really can't beat those red stickers though! Finally I found what I'd been searching for. A stunning pale pinky peach blouse, that was similar to an oversized tee but in a heavier cotton blend, with fluffy trim sleeves. It instantly caught my eye and I was in love, I knew I had to have it! It helped that the top had been reduced to just £5.99 and there was one left in a small, it was fate. Next, I made my way over to the denim, still lusting after the Pull & Bear jeans. It was quite the gold mine, so much so I bought not one but two pairs!
The first wear a standard ripped and pleated mom jean with a cutout ankle, these were just £9.99 reduced from £29.99. The fit was great and paired with some heeled boots I knew they were exactly the cut I had been looking for. They were lacking the paint marks but I figured I could always get a little creative with them myself, not that they need it. My favourite purchase of the day had to be a stunning pair of floral embroidered cropped fitted jeans. ZARA had large selection of embroidered denim on offer, but the pink palette and delicate flower bouquet on this particular pair was super pretty. These had also been reduced to £19.99 from £39.99, an absolute bargain and in my opinion I was basically saving money. Especially as I have always loved embroidered jeans but find they are often way too expensive, usually around the £50 mark in TOPSHOP and RIVER ISLAND.
Along the way I stopped into a few of my other favourite stores. Trying on some summer shades in RIVER ISLAND, I have recently purchased a couple of new pairs but I think they're my new weakness. The 'Old Sweet Shop' which had brand new vanilla latte pop tarts, it was difficult not to walk away with the whole stand. LUSH smelt just as amazing as always but my bathroom is so full of bits from my last visit, I gave it a miss on this occassion. SELFRIDGES always gets a look in, more so for the Food Hall and Art Prints sections personally. I've been on the hunt for these prints by Fred Birchal, after getting a 'Back to the Future' one the last time I was in store. As you can see below he creates graphic fashion prints based on popular characters from tv, film and music. I've been keeping an eye out for the 'Fight Club' one but not been lucky enough to find it yet. I was definitely considering the 'Indiana Jones' and 'Star Wars' one, but for now I'm holding out.
Love at First Bite
After working up an appetite from all the shopping over the last couple of hours, it was time to eat! We decided to try the Italian restaurant Est Est Est, it was a good choice. Danny had the Calzone A Vedura, stuffed with roasted Mediterranean vegetables & mushrooms in pomodoro sauce, he opted for it without the cheese (he's not a fan). I went with the Zucchini 'Spaghetti', spiralized courgettes with goats cheese, Mediterranean roasted vegetables, fresh basil and olive oil, accompanied by a salty side of olives.
The service was really good and the food itself was delicious! I've never had 'courgetti' before and was pleasantly surprised, it reminds me more of noodles and isn't as heavy on the stomach as normal pasta. The goats cheese and roast vegetables complimented it well, it was quite a healthy choice that left me satisfied without feeling stuffed like I usually do with pasta dishes. I also ordered a Strawberry & Basil Smash, a mix of strawberries, basil and a dash of agave lengthened with soda water, a great alternative to sparkling water. There is so much choice in the food hall at the Trafford Centre that it can be difficult to make a decision, I find every time I go we eat somewhere new. Although they have such a wide range, no matter what you fancy I'm sure you can find somewhere to cater to you. I would also recommend trying out GIRAFFE you won't be left hangry.
Popcorn & Peter Parker
After lunch we had a an hour to kill before the movie started and this gave us chance to go for another quick browse. Anyone who has seen my tattoo post will know I recently got an inking of the little blue alien Stitch. The DISNEY STORE had so much new merchandise I couldn't help snapping a few cute pictures. SELFRIDGES had also got in on the Disney action with some cute Mini Mouse themed cupcakes being sold on one of the pop up stalls, at the front of the store. I didn't pick anything up because I couldn't decide on any single item, so to prevent coming home with a bag of Disney magic, I managed to keep my spending in check.
It was soon time to head back over to the ODEON for 'Spider-Man: Homecoming', popcorn and pick & mix in hand, I was pretty damn excited! I've always been a pretty big fan of marvel, the 'X-Men' franchise is my usual go to. Either that or 'Guardians of the Galaxy', and after enjoying the previous Andrew Garfield 'The Amazing Spiderman' films I was optimistic about this one.
The film itself was the perfect blend of action & comedy, unlike the more recent marvel films, this one focused on the main character. It didn't get too distracted by pulling in other heroes from the marvel universe, but rather gave an insight into Peter Parker both with & without his Spider-man persona. I won't say too much on this because I wouldn't want to produce any spoilers, but stay for the after credits scene, both of them. As a graphic designer, I really have to mention the end credits animation! This was really well executed, in a collage scrapbook style of comic, the colour was eye catching and the imagery had a really sketchy feel. The soundtrack was awesome, since the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' playlists I have found myself just as excited for these, as the film itself.
The guys in charge of the soundtrack never fail to reintroduce me to some classics I have forgotten about, as well introduce me to some new gems I wasn't even aware of.
Finally, after a very long day we headed home. Stopping at Mr.Pretzel on our way out for a bag of cinnamon sugar pretzel bites, these tasted so good! There were even a couple of extra bites buried beneath the sugary sand at the very bottom of the bag. Saturday calories don't count right? I picked up a Blueberry Blast Smoothie from BOOST for the sunny car ride back as well, my sugar quota for the week was well and truly met. Any trip to the Trafford Centre turns into a full day event, I'm thinking another trip before Christmas is on the cards. I love Christmas shopping and with such a selection under one roof, I can usually get the whole family done in just one visit! Maybe I will nip to do a final Trek America shop for supplies as well, any excuse to do a bit of shopping...
🍑 A B Y
Hey, this is my very first blog post!!! (I want to build a sort of back catalogue over the next month, of what I've been up to the last 6 months). I have had such an insane start to this year and found myself really motivated to do more with my time, be adventurous, travel and step out of my comfort zone. What better way to document it all than on my very own blog.
This is a quick little intro with ten things to know about me. Not the boring profile stuff like age, hair colour... This hopefully just will give you an insight into my life, who I am as a person & what I like to get up to. I can't wait to share some photos from the past 18 months, but also start planning more for the future to keep you guys reading! (If anyone is even there).
So lets get to this list:
ONE. I suppose I can start with the fact I have 5 tattoos, I may do a post about them later. I got my first one on my 18th Birthday and the latest just last week. Each one is very personal and they tell a part of my story which I feel is important with tattoos for me personally.
TWO. There will be a lot of running posts here but what people don't generally know is that I used to be quite overweight. About 4 to 5 years ago I decided to make a change and began working out at the gym constantly. In total I lost around 4 stone which has had a massive impact on who I am today.
THREE. I moved into my first flat at the grand old age of 23, in April this year. To say the least it was an eventful experience! I love having my own space but it has been a lot to take in lately. With working, saving for holidays and being generally a very active person, I have found the home improvement stuff takes a back seat. I really need to get stuck into putting my mark on it!
FOUR. I work for a publishing company in Knutsford, anything I do online is just because I enjoy it. The blogging is more for me to look back on rather than me pursuing it as a career. I like the idea of having an outlet to go with my Instagram and Twitter, where I can really write about my experiences rather than just post a photo.
FIVE. I am a graphic designer and although I don't actively do much freelance I also this year put together my first official website. I will link it to this blog but it is abydesign.co.uk, you can buy prints and stuff on my Society6 page but it is just a bit of fun (at least for now).
SIX. I have two sisters, they're called Hannah and Lara and I am the oldest. I am 24, Hannah is 21 and Lara is almost 19. We are all completely different and its been strange all of us living separately now after growing up together. I am sure they will feature on here at some point.
SEVEN. I would probably say my favourite city is Manchester, at least at home here in the UK. I don't live too far away and spend time there whenever I can. It's just such an exciting place and there will be plenty of posts featured around it in the future I am sure, not to mention the Northern Quarter has amazing food and drink on offer.
EIGHT. I lived in London for a while, doing a placement working in digital publishing. It was my first experience being away from home and I absolutely loved every minute! Despite moving back up north and being in a much more rural area now, I thrive in the city atmosphere. It just has this buzz about it. There are lots of little hideaways I plan on writing about and sharing with you all.
NINE. In the last year I have become a budding mountaineer! In love with nature and camping I have been climbing mountains in the UK, most recently Snowdon. I did that for my birthday just last week with Danny, in less than ideal conditions! The Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Wales and Scotland are such beautiful places that I can just never get sick of. Sometimes you forget what is right on your doorstep.
TEN. Finally, I studied Photography and English Literature whilst at college. I always wanted to get into photojournalism and documenting things, so I suppose in a way it has come full circle. I have been so busy working in the design industry. But now I am settled in my career and adulting successfully I feel it is the perfect time to create something like this.
I promise much more of a visual post next! As I mentioned I turned 24 last week and so a lot of celebrations included visiting a new restaurant/bar in Manchester, camping in Beddgelert, climbing Snowdon, getting tattoo number 5 and doing the Manchester Color Run...
... so I am going to get stuck into writing some more blog posts now.
🍑 A B Y
Aby, 24. Northerner.