Let's talk about (safe) sex #CondomConvo

This is a sponsored post from One Condoms, but all words are my own. I choose to work with brands like this because sex matters, and our health matters. In the past I've collaborated with Gynaehealth and Vagisil (twice - here and here), and I regulary share things related to my own sexual health and period woes. You can read about my implant here, how I fell in love with the Diva cup here. Basically I strongly believe we need to shake the stigma, and help everyone be healthier, sexier and happier in relation to their bodies and their sex lives. Ok, introduction over.

Apparently the first rubber condom was created in 1855. Now the Victorians were a hedonistic bunch, and with more free time than ever before, they invented porn as we know it, and rubber condoms must have been pretty exciting. However, the rubber was super thick and pretty miserable to use, so I'm guessing men quickly refused to use them.  Latex condoms reared their head by about 1920, and lubrication was added in 1957. However it wasn't until the tragic AIDS epidemic in the 80s, that condoms really came into their own.

I've been thinking a lot about sexual health recently. Just in the last couple of days there was an outrage on social media about Boots the chemist keeping the price of the morning-after-pill artificially high, so as to avoid complaints and inappropriate behaviour (last night they apologised and said they'd look into a cheaper alternative, which is amazing).

I also went to my local Sexual Health Clinic this week, to find it closed down, and found out the other local one has closed down too. I'm sad and cross, and worried. making access to sexual and reproductive health harder to get to is bad news for everyone.

Condoms shouldn't be embarrassing, just as sex shouldn't. They help you stay disease free, and child free.

Did you know that,

More than a third of the 118,774  sexually transmitted infections reported in the capital last year were in those aged 15 to 24, according to Public Health England. - Source.

Young people are having unsafe sex, which is making them ill, possibiliy damaging their fertility, and almost certainly resulting in unplanned, and unwanted pregnancies. This stuff matters.

Between consenting adults (or those of legal age) sex can be fun and healthy. It can release happy chemicals in your brain or at least 'scratch that horny itch' in a more exciting way than flying solo (although flying solo is fun too!). But we can't bury our head in the sand. Going condom free should be reserved for those relationships where you have both tested negative, and trust each other not to having sex with unknown and untested people. 

Sex should be fun, and equally pleasurable for everyone involved. Diseases (some are not curable remember) and unwanted babies are definitely the ultimate kill-joy. 

Pimping the salon with an Ella Masters mural

Rockalily_Cuts_UKD_286226_13.jpg

Here is my little salon, my extension of myself sat out in the street for everyone to judge. Since moving salons permanently last year, this shop front has become more critical, but a little neglected. Grey doesn't really represent how colourful we are on the inside. When we're closed, it's fine, we have kickarse graffiti from Binty, but when we're open....dullsville.

A confession. I'd already arranged for my talented pal Ella Masters to give me a wonderful mural, but I got impatient one sunny day and had a go myself. So impatient that I didn't have brushes and had to use salon tint brushes. Lols. Clearly a homemade attempt, it was fun but not satisfying, as it looked so shoddy.

ella masters mural

The salon has a lot of work on its walls from Ella, so having her paint the front just felt so right. I was her keen and enthusiastic assistant, ready to colour in between any lines that I couldn't fuck up.

rockalily cuts and ella masters

We were blessed with a sunny day, and I watched Ella sketch out her design ideas with pencil. Once we were sure, we got going with the outlines. It was so exciting watching it all come together, and I got quite confident with my assistant skills!

ella masters mural shoreditch

In total, it took the two of us about 13 hours I think (over two days)? With a break for lunch and a chat of course. 

ella masters reeree rockette 2017

I'm sure you'll agree it's a million times better than the plain wall, and my shoddy attempt at some pot plants. I just can't create things of beauty, its not a skill my body possesses. But I found it so joyous to be able to take part in creating something this cool. Was good for the soul.

ellamasters

It was just wonderful to spend two sunny days with a good pal, doing something creative. It obviously looks wicked, that goes without saying, but it was lovely to do as well. Forces you to put your phone down for a little bit and focus on the now - very mindful!

rockalily cuts shop front 2017

So a huge Rockalily thank you to Ella, you've given us the face lift we needed. If you want some Ella Masters in your life too, head over to her shop now.

What does £180 worth of facial feel like?

DMK Therapy review london

In my 20s I pretty much ignored my skin. I regularly slept in makeup, and it always just bounced back. I turn 35 this year, and through my blog I've become a little bit skincare obsessed. Being sent products to review has given me the opportunity to try items I wouldn't have bought, and at price points I'd have been nervous about. I have learned that skincare matters (if you care about that sort of thing of course) and that it makes a difference. Expensive isn't always best (there are some cheaper brands that use ingredients I still love) but you do often get a higher concentration or quality of ingredient when you spend a little more.

I share on social media about my self-diagnosed rosacea cheek, which I've found has responded very well to the hylauronic acids and retanoid creams I've been using, but I've never actually asked for any treatment for it. It's very visable without make up, but my makeup covers it well enough that I tend to just shrug it off and live with it.

A post shared by ReeRee Rockette (@rockalily) on

I was offered the opportunity to review a facial from Skin Aspirations, and thought it was the perfect opportunity to have an expert look at my cheek and see if my self-diagnosis rang true. So off I popped to the posher end of London (Chelsea darling) to see what spending £180 on your face could offer. This treatment was given to me free of charge, but all views and words are all my own.

Enzyme therapy review

What struck me immediately that this is a medicinial experience, rather than a spa-based facial which is much more about the relaxing experience. This was much more like visiting a private doctor, and being prescribed a treatment.

My therapist Simona completed my consultation, and after hopping onto the bed, she studied my skin under the bright light. She confirmed my rosacea, and we chatted about the cause being unknown, but the range of treatments available. She made me consider that I really wanted to ensure it didn't get worse, and that perhaps ignoring it will bite me on the arse one day! Ha.

The products are from a brand called DMK (Danné Montague-King), an American skin company that uses botanical-based paramedical products and methodologies. I'd not heard of them before, but I'm not someone who's had a lot of spa treatments so that didn't surprise me! 

After a cleanse, I had a the Quick Peel -  "a cinnamon and cassia based peel used effectively on inflamed acne, and sluggish skin. Its antibacterial ingredients help flush stagnant capillaries, working on rosacea and pigmented areas as well as acne." I was warned it would get hot, and handed an extra fan to help my skin cool. I had memories of Samantha from Sex in the City flashing through my mind, and yes it got hot! All good though, no actual peeling. The ice cube that was rubbed on my face afterwards was joyous!

I enjoyed how scientific it all felt. Powders and lotions were made for my skin, and it was a million miles away from the relaxing facial massages I've had. This definitely felt like I was doing something to treat my skin.

There were a few more stages, including some Vitamin C powder carefully placed onto the skin, but it wasn't long before the mask. This stuff was nuts!

The enzyme mask is designed to stimulate blood and lymph circulation, bringing nutrients and oxygen to the skin, and by gosh it gets tight. I could feel my heart pumping through my skin, and as the mask contracted, it pulled my face down - giving my eyes a fascinating droop. I couldn't move anything, it was so weird to be 'stuck' under it all! I feel like I now know what I'd look like at an open casket!

The mask was left on for 45 minutes, and I could browse my phone and nap. I definitely snored a little due to the odd position of my neck! 

This is after the mask was removed with 3 or 4 cleanses. Firstly you can see my rosacea patch much more clearly on the picture on the right. That red area never really goes away, and a flare up involves it erupting into little spots, like acne. It's pretty flat at the moment, which is when its most happiest.

Secondly, you can see what DMK call the plasmatic effect. See those red lines on my nose, forehead and cheek? They're the capillaries opening up, allowing more oxygen, blood and nutrients to the skin.

The total treatment lasted just under 2 hours, and contained 18 steps. It would have cost £180, or £150 without the peel. 

I loved how bespoke the treatment felt, and it didn't trigger a rosacea flare up, which is always a fear with new skin treatements. I left feeling like I'd never had such a sparkling clean face, and that my skin had definitely had something done to it. Elements of the treament weren't pleasant, but in a weird way I really liked that aspect of it, as it really felt like we were doing something, rather than just a standard facial oil being rubbed into my skin. However, I was completely able to walk out, and not look like I'd just peeled my face off! The redness settled by the time I was out of the door, and my face felt plump and healthy.

The whole treatment definitely felt like a treatment, rather than simply a relaxing treat, but it was still relaxing! I think taking time out to focus on yourself always feels luxurious. 

enzyme peel london

This is me, all finished. You can see a few of the open capillaries on my shoulder, but my face is definitely public-ready. I think my skin looks pretty darn fresh and fabulous! It looks calm and happy, which considering everything that happened to it, must prove the anti inflammatory properties of the steps nearer the end.

Thanks again to Skin Aspirations for letting me review this treatment, and let me know....what's the most you've spent on your skin?

Highlighted blonde to white blonde bombshell with Olaplex

highlighted blonde to platinum white blonde

It may seem like it should be easy to go from a natural highlighted blonde to a more striking platinum blonde, but it takes commitment and patience. The picture on the far left is 3 months ago, and the far right picture is on the 3rd colour appointment.

The middle picture is the colour we achieved in the first appointment, and we knew it was a transition shade! Appointment two isn't shown here, but we played with going pink, as we continued to try and even out all of the blonde tones.

The gorgeous creamy platinum was achieved with regular trims (every appointment), Olaplex and patience. We can't always get the hair we want full stop, but we can sometimes if we're willing to commit to a process. This level of blonde requires appointments every 6 weeks - find out why here, if you want a clean even tone you can't get lazy!

Do neck tattoos hurt?

getting your neck tattooed

I booked this tattoo appointment about 6 weeks ago. I'd discussed having a rose on my neck, but both me and my tattooist acknowledged that this is a b.i.g d.e.a.l and he said we could always test the stencil out, and then change our mind on the day, and tattoo elsewhere.  He had a neck tattoo, but there were certainly others tattooing in the shop who did not.

I was definitely a little more anxious today than other tattoo appointments. I've been a heavily tattooed person for about 7 years I'd say, and I've got my legs, arms and hands covered. But there is something about a tattoo that people look at constantly when talking to you. Anyhoo, here I was. 

I'd spotted Dani Queipo's work years ago, and I'd always known when I was ready to get an important tattoo again (e.g hand or neck), he'd be my guy. Over the last ten years the world of tattooing has been improved vastly by the world of social media. I remember being limited to the tattoo shops I happened to live near, and Tumblr. Thank the lord for Tumblr. Social media has allowed people to discover how good tattoos can really be, and it has raised the bar. And the bar needed raising.

You get a great tattoo by finding an artist where you just love everything they do, even if you wouldn't have the exact design yourself. I knew Dani would deliver something I loved, even if I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted. He also works in a shop I love and trust, so winning all round.

do neck tattoos hurt

I'm writing this, just a couple of hours afterwards, so I don't forget what it really felt like. Because fuck me, it was intense. The first 10 minutes of a tattoo always hurts a lot as your body is shocked, and in fear. Your brain is sending all of the signals to run away or fight for your life. It's in pain and thinks something terrible is happening. There was an extra element to this, with my neck, and that was having your windpipe pushed upon while this was happening.

I was trying to think of way to describe it, and the best I could come up with was "Triggering". I can imagine that having a man pushing down on your neck for two hours could well be triggering. It's hard to get the skin taut enough to tattoo well, so your face gets smushed and your windpipe gets smushed. And it hurts. Some areas more than others, but the pain being so close to your face, seems to intensify it.

I focused on breathing. Having my neck pushed made me a little stressed at first about oxgyen levels, so I just tried to breathe a lot. Ha. Great life advice from me. For the outline, my knees knocked for most of it, which felt weird and was vaguely hilarious! Like fear and adrenaline. I kept topping up my sugar levels, and it seemed to settled once the outline was finished. 

Obviously it is bearable or I wouldn't have finished it. Not being able to distract yourself was hard, I couldn't browse my phone, or read a book, due to the position of it all. But here we are. All done.

rose neck tattoo

It's sore, bruised and will be swollen soon. I had to go a lovely event straight after, but all of the blood was pretty embarrassing so I left after a while. But here are my instant thoughts, it's pretty exhausting having all of that adrenaline pumping round your body, and its late, so I'm off to bed, and see how this bad boy sleeps.

Oh and P.S - Of course they fucking hurt. Stop asking the internet stupid questions.

Transforming my studio flat with Little Greene Paint (the struggles of renting in London)

little greene paint review

I recently moved. Back when I lived in North London, I had a teeny studio flat that I lived in for 4 years, then I lived in a shared flat in Shoreditch for 2 years. I'm now back in North London, and back in a teeny (but a little bit larger than last time) studio. I'm so over sharing a living space, just far too old for that!

If you've rented in London, or had a look at online listings, you'll know how depressing it can get. Spaces are tiny, and often shoddy. If I had a partner to share with, I could maybe up my rental game a little, but probably not by much! See the rental scam I nearly fell for here. 

So I've become pretty skilled at making the best of what I can rent, and making small spaces slightly less claustrophic. I think there's a lot to be said for sharing pictures of our homes that aren't blogger-perfect, because when you rent especially, you just have to work with what you've got. I don't have a blogger perfect house, but I live in London, and I think I manage to make my rented spaces feel like home. So here I am, sharing my rental reality.

When I looked at my new place, I instantly burst out that that I'd need to paint the kitchen/dining area. Who on earth moved into a small space and decided to paint it deep pink?? The tennant before me is who!

The fabulous people at the Little Greene paint company offered to send me some paint to transform my little dining area, and I quickly received a paint chart in the post. I ended up choosing a colour very similar to the paint I use in Rockalily Cuts, so its obviously a colour that calls to me! I ended up choosing Brighton, from their Colours of England range. I know you shouldn't pick a colour based on its name, but having lived in Brighton for 4 years, it just felt like fate.

little greene blog review

I painted the hideous pink with a white undercoat first (confession; it may have been just white paint, rather than a specific undercoat, but whatevs). I found the blue paint covered really well, and again I sort of cheated. Instead of doing a full second coat, I just patched up any areas that just needed a little more love. I'm lazy ok? And it looks great.

I do have a new blind too, but I need help to hang it, so that's a work in progress!

decorating a small flat

I've been obsessed with 3M picture hanging strips for years, and they're just so so so good for renters, or even for home owners who don't want to bother with making holes in the walls. They allow me to add pictures really easily, and I've even used them to distract from the tiles that cover the walls of the kitchen area.

decorating a rented kitchen

I can't change the fact that this wall has a meter and fuse box slap bang in the middle of it. I may well get it boxed in at a later date, but for now, I've shoved a faux flower pot on it. Winning camouflage I'm sure you'll agree. 

using 3m picture strips on tiles

You can see here I've used 3M picture strips to hang some light items on the tiles. It just helps to personalise your space, and tiles used to be so limiting. Thank you 3m! (not sponsored, just a genuine thank you!)

d c fix stained glass window sticker

Another cheeky tip for renters is that sticky back plastic you can add to windows. I'm on the ground floor and quickly realised the people living next door can see into all of my windows. I needed a cheap and quick way to make my windows opaque. I bought this sticky plastic from Wilcos, and its called D-C-Fix Original Deco Self-Adhesive Film Minster. It was super easy to apply. The only downside is that it wasn't tall enough for the window, so there is a silly gap at the top! Ha. I may well look into finding a taller roll and re-do it at a later date.

decorating a studio flat

Was it my childhood fantasy that I'd be renting tiny studio flats in my 30s? Hardly. However, the world is what it is, and we can make the best with what we have. Currently I'm adoring having a garden (see my garden make-over here), and I'm always much happier living alone. It's great to have a proper desk, that isn't in my bedroom, and I'm finding my productivity levels have increased. I ordered the world's smallest sofa so that I can relax and watch tv. If you're curious about my digital set up, I'm a double-screener, with my laptop and the flat screen. Once you go double, you can never go back.....allllll the tabs.

It's actually crazy hard to get pictures of such a small space, so I've done what I can. But the power of painting a rental flat is huge. I find that assuring the landlord that its a free upgrade for them works wonders, or ensuring its an inoffensive colour. They generally just say to paint it back white at the end of your lease, but if its a nice improvement on what was there before, you can expect to be able to leave it. At my last flat I think I even got a small amount of my first rent as I promised to paint the dark blue (what is wrong with people?!) kitchen white for her. Saved her the bother!

Mermaid Wigs - Unboxing Video

wig unbosing review

I own a lot of wigs. I enjoy owning a lot of wigs, and I'm harming no one, so I'm fully onboard with treating myself. You may have caught my washing line of wigs on Instagram Stories recently. I still had a whole drawerful inside....eek!

washing wigs

There was something about the summer heat, and the desire to procrastinate from data inputting that took me to a wig shop. So I did a wig unboxing. Enjoy.