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Thursday
Feb092012

IPL laser hair removal - my tattoos, and a patch test

I am blogging this as I had a lot of women on twitter keen to hear my experience. I just booked six sessions of IPL laser hair removal, after lots of friends telling me their great experiences. Today I went for my patch test.

So, the patch test was done on my wrist, and after putting on some dark glasses, she zapped the area. I felt nothing. She did it three more times, increasing the intensity each time, until I could feel it. She explained that they want to increase the intensity each visit if possible. On the third zap, the one I felt, it just felt like a quick sting. Definitely not as bad as getting tattooed.

She shaved the area on my wrist, to the side of my wrist tattoo, but once I left I noticed that as she moved the zapper (after the three attempts) the red bit of skin seemed to be on my tattoo. Which got me thinking....

This article seems to say that the IPL laser is attracted to the black ink in tattoos, and it will release an excessive amount of heat energy if it hits it. This, apparently, can lead to the tattoo blistering or turning the tatttoo black (where there once was colour). Or scarring. Ick.

The article says that the laser treatment shouldn't be done near a tattoo - one inch away. It also says that if it just lasers the tattoo a little it may just cause it to fade.

Which is all a little scary! Twitter tells me that IPL laser treatment definitely does fade a tattoo, but luckily no one on my timelime has encountered the blistering and scarring that seems possible.

I am getting my underarms and bikini line so it luckily will only be near one tattoo (near my bikini line), but is something definitely to be aware of. 

As I waxed recently, I have to wait another 3 weeks before I start treatment, as it needs the hair roots to be fully grown in. I am not allowed to pluck or wax for the full 6 treatments (all 4 weeks apart from each other), but you are allowed to shave (as its the root it needs to kill, not the actual hair).

I will keep you updated!

Wednesday
Feb082012

Real Thighs - What do thighs really look like? Can we love our own?

This morning I watched the new Gok Wan show, focusing on teens and their bodies. In particular one girl's story struck me with sadness, a slim and very pretty girl who was obsessed with looking at online images of girls she wanted to look like. Her main focus was that she wanted (or felt she needed) her thighs not to touch when she stood up. She looked at normal fashion sites, as well as pro-ana sites (which included mentions of 'that' gap).

 

 

 

The idea that thighs should not touch in the middle is an odd one, and surely quite a modern one? I am very aware that some naturally slim women have 'the gap' which is absolutely just as valid as not, but it seems a weird obsession many women (and teens) to have (if they do not have it naturally).

 

 

 

 

What exactly will happen to their lives if their thighs no longer touch? Do the become happier? Richer? Sexier? 

 

 

In my experience, most female thighs are soft, sometimes squishy and wobbly, and yet many of us are taught quite early that it is somehow 'disgusting' that they squash down when we sit, or if there is no gap between them when we stand. When did it become normal for the thighs we see that are deemed beautiful not to meet in the middle?

 

These pictures are what happened when I asked twitter to send me pictures of their real thighs today. Aren't they all awesome?

Some are firm, some soft, some have dimples, and some touch in the middle.  Some hold children, some enjoy showing off with tattoos or stockings while some are more shy than others.

Yet aren't they all awesome? Aren't they all sexy and fabulous and do their job pretty well (to hold us up and let us sit down?).

On the Rockalily facebook group a discussion of thighs ensued.

Sadly many women there saying they hated their thighs, too fat, too big, too wobbly. I certainly used to hate mine too, and it probably took the rather extreme action of getting a tattoo for me to start seeing them differently. I now work hard to remember that my thighs are just fine the way they are. They are meant to look different when I sit down, and they are allowed to have a few stretch marks and dimples.

When will we start seeing more 'real' bodies - thinner, fatter, rounder, firmer, all real and valid body shapes,  so that we can realise that our own bodies are ok too? 

 

 If we are concerned about what the other sex think of our thighs, I like to consider what I enjoy about men's bodies. I like the elements that make theirs different to mine. They have firmer thighs, I have yummy squishy ones. They may have a firmer stomach than my soft one, but they can both be pretty sexy in different ways.  I would like to imagine that many men also enjoy our differences in bodies too.

How do you feel about your thighs? Are we subjected to too much pressure to look a certain way? To be a certain size and shape? What can we do to help our teen girls to accept their bodies as pretty awesome?

 A massive thank you to all the ladies who sent me their thighs today ;-)

Can you spot mine?

If you sent me your thighs and they are not published here, they may have been swallowed into my computer. Please nudge me, as I will be adding anymore that get sent to me. All thighs welcome and accepted!


Wednesday
Feb082012

Rockalily Style: Wrapping up the Rockabilly Way

 

I hadn't taken a Rockalily Style post today before almost leaving the door, so here I am, complete with leopard print coat!

 

Tuesday
Feb072012

#ZOMGbloggersbash - The video

I can only apologise for how nervous I get in front of a camera! I ramble on and sound weird. Eeek. I promise I'm not really a sad and lonely girl!

Tuesday
Feb072012

Learning to use Twitter for a business - A summary of my 'expert' advice

This evening I was a guest expert at an event for business women wanting to improve their use of twitter. The event was hosted by More To Life Than Shoes, a networking group, and there were four guest twitter 'experts', me being one of them!

We gave general introductions, and then separated off to talk to each of the four tables in a round robbin fashion. Each table had a speaker leading them, and then each speaker swapped round.

There was a twitter fall (a display of all tweets with the hashtag #shoesrocks on the wall) so it was awesome to see some of my followers engaging with the event from afar.

I thought I would do a quick blog to summarise some of the things I got asked more than once, and to give my response to some of the hashtagged questions too.

I am very aware that there is no one-fix solution for all, but I can only give my advice based on my own experiences. Feel free to disagree!

I tended to use my time with each group to explain the basics of Hootsuite/Tweetdeck and the benefits of jumping straight in with a platform. I talked through each of my main ten streams, and why I had each one. Depending on the questions asked by each table I varied my input, some wanted more basic things addressed while others wanted more strategy type questions answered. I hope I helped in some small way!

1. Keeping a business life and a personal life separate on twitter. My personal response is that I use twitter primararily for business. Yes, I love it, and I make many friends from it, but twitter is still the main way people connect with me and my brand. I never forget that. My personal life is best kept for real in the flesh people.

2. How conversational can a business be on twitter? I think if you aren't conversational you are probably missing the point of twitter. Twitter is about engaging, and being social! But you can decide to focus on topics of conversation that support your business brand, and won't jeopardise it in any way. I used Mark Zuckerberg as a great example of this, although there are many I could have chosen! Mark set up a facebook account for his dog, and updates millions of fans with photos of what his dog is up to. It gives Mark's fans a way to feel connected to him, without Mark over-sharing. It also doesn't impact on how seriously we take him as a business man.

3. Is it ever acceptable to publically 'out' a company with bad customer service? I think this has two elements to it. Firstly, I would want to make sure I had given the company a fair chance to rectify the situation. I would hope for the same if I ever made a mistake. Secondly, does the tweet support my personal twitter brand? What do I get out of it, and what do my followers get out of it?

4. How can you sell yourself without sounding like a machine? I think Twitter works best when you are not focusing on your direct selling. It is a longer game than that. My advice would be focus on connecting first, and the selling bit can come a little later. 

5. How important is it to interact with followers on a personal level? Crucial, and that really is the heart of what makes twitter amazing. We get to connect with people in ways we never did before. From a business point of view, if you connect with someone personally they are pretty likely to remember you. They may want to recommend you to others, or may one day want to buy from you...or not. But they at least know who you are.

6. How do you find the right followers to allow your twitter voice to be heard? To start with, you need to go and speak to them! Find someone who shares a customer base (not necessarily your competition). If you sell wedding packages, you could start by looking at some hen party tweeters for example. 

7. Does anyone plan their tweets? Use spreadsheets? Or do you go with the flow? Personally I don't schedule any tweets, but I do know some people who do. My only word of caution would be to consider what outcome you want from a tweet - if its scheduled and you're not on twitter.....when will you be available to engage with any response? It can work well though, just think about it first!

8. Why do people follow mega corporations? What do they get out of it? Some offer a sneak behind the scenes, some offer discounts, some offer information before it is leaked to any other sources! They may be funny, or interesting. Or perhaps even useful. 

9. Are there any RT (retweet) rules? I suppose there is! I think on the whole twitter is against RTing every compliment you ever get, but many businesses do manage to and pull it off. I RT quite a lot of mine, as I know people find it helpful when buying a product unseen, but I may well reply in the RT, or add a link, to make it more useful to my followers. 

10. How do you introduce a new business on twitter without being annoying? Remembering that most people aren't as interested in your business as you are! My advice would be to focus on engaging first, joining conversations, and talking to people in the industry, without mentioning it too much at all! Twitter is a slow game, and you won't suddenly have an amazingly successful twitter account. Be patient!

I hope I managed to cover with the groups some discussions about personal branding, twitter basics, twitter content, expectations, and a general response to 'what, why and who'.

 


Monday
Feb062012

Why I love the modern coffee shop.....

I am old enough to remember life before coffee shop culture hit. As a teenager we didn't do Starbucks, or swan around with a happy caffeine buzz. We had the park bench pretty much......or visiting pubs before we should have been. I would have loved the chained coffee shops as a teen!

Then coffee culture hit. I was a little late to get into it, never having been a tea or coffee drinker, but gosh once I found it, I snuggled in and made myself very very happy there.

It started off as a treat, usually when shopping, but soon grew into a little bit of a addiction (I prefer the world habit!). I can now regularly be found enjoying a coffee shop, usually working, but often reading as a chill out zone away from home.

I am often torn between local shops and chain shops, and actually am pretty loyal to both. I love the customer care in my local shops, and their food options are usually better too. However, the chains serve bigger drinks (my locals won't serve me big coffees) and often have more wifi and plug points.

Looking around me now, I can see a few of us tapping away on laptops (wonder what they all do for a living?!), parents having a break from being at home as well as friends catching up.  I love the little buzz a coffee shop can have, where everyone is in their own little bubbles.

I love the little communities that can form, the ability for people to come to a communal space, rather than all of us being at home. I love the sense of a treat that comes from buying a pretty expensive cup of coffee. I love that we can sit here with no one rushing us on.

Are you a coffee culture fan like me? 

Monday
Feb062012

Rockalily Style: Tropical Prints in Winter

 

Today I am off to give a talk to some business women (about twitter) so this is a somewhat 'smart' outfit.

I'm wearing a new Collectif dress with a black jumper and belt over it. I have a hair flower in, and my Pip Jolley necklace on.