The 10-Minute Laser Facial

I know what you’re thinking.

Why on earth would you purposely put lasers in the vicinity of your face?!

Say it with me: ‘eternal youth’

As anyone who has spent any amount of time around these here Blonde In Grey parts will know, I’m a sucker for each and every skincare craze I come across. From facials to microneedling (spoiler: it really should be left to the professionals) I love to try new things, especially when they promise to leave my skin looking healthy, glowing and any amount of years younger.

It’s no surprise then that when I heard about the Skin Laundry 10-minute laser and light facial I was intrigued (yes, even though it sounds like something that was created for the Fourth of July or a KISS concert).

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Skin Laundry promises that the treatment is the perfect amount of laser power and light energy to deep clean the skin from the first treatment and that the more you go the more dramatic improvements you’ll see – acne scars will fade, the skin surface will get more smooth and even, fine lines and pores will be reduced…the list is lengthy!

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So, how does it actually work?

From the website:

Our unique method involves using a YAG laser and IPL (Intense Pulse Light). The laser actively vaporizes excess dirt, makeup and bacteria from your pores first and foremost; the long-term effects of the laser can help with pigmentation and collagen production. The IPL works with the brown and red tones of the skin to even out the skin tone as well as stimulate the natural collagen that lies down in the dermis. The combination of laser and IPL clears tones and conditions the skin. The pores are also minimized so they appear less visible.

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What is the treatment like?

The first treatment (which is always free, that’s how sure they are that you’ll love it!) is a bit nerve-racking as you’re really not sure what to expect. The Skin Laundry ladies are really lovely though and talk you through the whole thing. First they cleanse your skin to remove any makeup and put on protective goggles (very similar to what you’d wear at a tanning bed, from what I remember of my misspent youth. My poor skin!!) They warn you before they start, using this scary looking thing:

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They start at the centre of your forehead and run the laser up and down one side and then the other. The sensation is a slight tickle – nothing painful at all – and it’s warm. From the forehead they move to one cheek, across the chin, across the other cheek and then over your nose. There’s a brief pause and then they start all over again. The only disconcerting thing about the laser process is the faint smell of burning. Don’t worry – that’s just dirt and grime being blasted our of your pores! (Gross)

Once the laser is done they apply a wonderfully cool gel across your face. They then start with the light portion of the treatment, which is a series of incredibly bright (even through the protective goggles) red-looking bursts as the light is dabbed all over your face courtesy of this beast:

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Almost as soon as it starts you’re done and the gel is being wiped off your face (though this is usually done with what feels like a spatula – I can’t tell, I have goggles on! – which I don’t love as it doesn’t feel like it’s all actually come off before they put moisturiser on). You’re then good to go as there’s absolutely no down time with the procedure!

Overall thoughts

I love that they give you the first treatment free (value: £60) and I did totally cave and buy a course of treatments because you get a discount if you buy them the day you have your free treatment (so sneaky!). My reasoning is that it takes time to really see a difference so making a judgement call after one won’t give you an accurate idea of what the treatment can do.

I have my fourth treatment in four weeks this coming Saturday as they recommend you going once a week to begin with (which I do realise is a bit of a cheeky money grab…) in order to see results more quickly.

I do feel like my skin is looking brighter and I do leave the appointment with the refreshing feeling of a facial in a quarter of the time it normally takes. There’s also the fact that with a normal facial I can never see a difference and so I’ve always just enjoyed them for the ritual of being pampered. But the laser facial? My skin feels cleaner, I like the promise of improved benefits over time and it’s fab to actually feel a difference in the texture and tone of my face. I really love it.

I’m going to stick with it and see what happens…at least until the next major skincare craze 😉

For another account of the laser facial from one of my favourite beauty information sources head over to Into the Gloss to read their thoughts.

Fair warning: make sure you have a lot of time because you will find yourself getting lost in the Into the Gloss archive of articles. The first time I ventured in I blinked and suddenly three hours had passed and my online shopping cart was filled with cleansers from France, a face mask from Korea made of snail mucus (it’s actually SO good for your skin!) and more moisturiser than I could possibly use in a lifetime. Don’t worry – rationality returned before I hit ‘buy’ – I just want to properly prepare you.

Chelsea in Bloom

Though the cost and limited tickets mean the RHS Chelsea Flower Show isn’t always an option for most, the shops of the King’s Road and the streets surrounding Sloane Square in Chelsea have a wonderful tradition of putting on a floral show of its own…and it’s free!

From 22-27 May this year Chelsea in Bloom saw the shop fronts of Chelsea taken over by elaborate floral displays in line with this year’s theme – Floral Safari – which was inspired by plains, jungles, discovery and exotic animals.

From the website:

The world-class alternative floral art show is back, this year for its 12th Anniversary. Produced by Cadogan in association with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), it will transform the streets of Chelsea from the 22nd to 27th May with breathtaking floral displays. The annual competition has grown dramatically each year with Chelsea’s best retailers, restaurants and hotels adorning themselves with creative designs to compete for the coveted awards.

We cut it close by heading out to view the displays on the 27th and found ourselves having to pick up the pace as the displays started to be dismantled at just 3:30 in the afternoon!

We started in Sloane Square to pick up our guide and make some new acquaintances.

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From there we headed north on Sloane Street, stopping to admire one of my favourite displays this year, courtesy of Rag & Bone.

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After a great start we were excited to see what was next…but I’m sad to say that this year’s displays were a bit underwhelming! Though there is tons of beauty in a savannah, the abundance of sand and grasses just didn’t compare to last year’s bountiful and fragrant blooms. That isn’t to say there weren’t some great displays…I just wish there had been even more like this:

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We made our way north, then south, then west, then east but with displays being actively dismantled we eventually called it a day and made our way towards the tube. We had a date with Pirates to get to!

Chelsea in Bloom is put on every year during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and though this year didn’t quite live up to the extremely high standard of the previous year it’s definitely something to check out. You get sun, you get some exercise, you see some beautiful displays and you can top it all off with some shopping!

Learn from my (bad) example though…. don’t leave it until the last day!

The BiG Friday Edit | 17

My sister is coming to visit! She arrives tomorrow night and we’re booked in for afternoon tea on Sunday which I’m already excited about. I’ve also got brunch with friends and a laser facial (yes, really) booked in for tomorrow so this weekend promises to be a good one!

Before we all head off into the Friday sunset though…

The Health Edit: If you haven’t tried boxing yet you need to! It’s a killer workout, really therapeutic and the kind of workout that tricks you into thinking it’s fun not work.

The Book Edit: This week I’ve been reading How England made the English by Harry Mount. Though parts of it are a bit dry (turns out discussion of soil composition isn’t as interesting as you might hope!) but there’s a lot of really fascinating facts and figures about this little island I live on.

The Screen Edit: We’ve just gotten Amazon Prime so have been bingeing on Zelda (Christina Ricci is amazing as Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald!) and All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals. Turns out I’m really interested in the behind the scenes stories, even if watching sportsball (they’re all the same, right?) itself feels like never-ending agony.

The Beauty Edit: It was a lot of fun getting the full make-up treatment for the Garden Party on Tuesday and it’s made me wonder if I should add something to my usual ‘barely there’ makeup routine to mix things up. What do you guys think? Is less more? Or is more, more? Also, I’m booked in for my second laser facial at Skin Laundry tomorrow. It takes less than 15 minutes and promises (with regular usage) to fight ageing, acne scars, pigmentation and pretty much anything else that might be ailing you. I went for the first one last week and it was so different from any other facial I’ve tried. Full review coming soon!

The Blog Edit: This week was all about blooms and gardens, both in Chelsea and at Buckingham Palace!

The Life Edit: Yesterday was my parents 43rd wedding anniversary. 43 years! It’s an incredible achievement in this day and age and proof that forever love exists and should be cherished. Happy Anniversary you two crazy kids!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend 🙂

A Royal Garden Party

As you may have seen here, here or here and read about here, I went to a little Garden party this week….AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE!

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After a morning spent getting glam at Fenwick’s of Bond Street (nails by Nails Inc, hair by Bumble & Bumble and makeup by Charlotte Tilbury) I stepped into my gorgeous, floral Ted Baker dress, popped my fascinator in place, put on my grandmother’s vintage earrings and headed out the door. Royalty awaited!

Now, we could have entered Buckingham Palace through the main gates but I was too eager to wait in a line and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to run wild–I mean, glide gracefully and with dignity–through the normally private royal gardens behind the palace. So, instead of heading in the front door we went to the Hyde Park Corner gate in the northwest corner of the palace grounds and stepped into the royal world through a door that is kept closed 360-odd days of the year.

The palace gardens are in full bloom at the moment and my handsome date was extremely patient, happily obliging my every photo request. (If you don’t photograph the royal flowers, did you even really see them?!)

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We emerged on to the main lawn which was already full to bursting with fellow party-goers and got the lay of the land. The primary tea tent was west, perpendicular to the rather grand Royal Tea Tent, and if you wanted a seat you probably should have started queuing at 9am that morning. It was fine though – I was too excited to sit still! – and we happily wandered around taking in the finely dressed ladies and gents. The clergy were especially well represented and we saw our neighbour, Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury as well as the former Archbishop (the one who officiated at Will & Kate’s wedding!) Rowan Williams.

We were quite near the tea tent when tea was officially served which meant we had minimal wait and the best pick of the sandwiches. Graham played it cool, picking and choosing from the options, whereas I loaded up, determined not to miss anything.

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In no time at all we noticed people had started gathering around the Palace steps so I hurried over to secure a great spot to watch the royals arrive.

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Everyone in the crowd was so lovely and several encouraged me to move ahead of them (#PerksOfBeingPetite) which meant I had a minimally restricted view. The royals arrived to the sound of a fanfare played by the military brass band and then we all stood for the national anthem.

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As The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh led the way down the steps I was thrilled to see them veer left…towards me! They came to a stop no more than 8 feet away where there was a group of people that had been chosen to speak to them. Though I couldn’t hear every word I caught the odd few and just generally enjoyed seeing how smiley and happy they both were.

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Once The Queen and Prince Philip had moved on I went in search of other royals, finding Princess Beatrice of York just behind where I had been standing.

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My friend Tilda was also at the party with her family so we headed across the lawn to find her, pausing unexpectedly when we stumbled on…

The Duke of Kent (in the grey top hat and spotted tie):

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Princess Anne the Princess Royal (in quite the yellow hat!):

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Princess Michael of Kent (in the sunglasses):

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Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex (in black morning coat):

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Prince Michael of Kent (with the white beard):


Tilda’s family had arrived a bit later (creeping in just before Her Majesty!) so they went to get tea and I went looking for the holy grail, aka Kate and Wills.

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The Cambridges had the second biggest crowd around them (after The Queen, of course!) so they weren’t as easy to see but I was glad to get a view of what they were wearing and to overhear a bit of them laughing and talking with the people chosen to meet them. Don’t you worry – I know my day will come!

Once the royals had finally made their way to the Royal Tea Tent we took the opportunity to get some more tea and sandwiches ourselves, rather than join the throng of people who were (I kid you not) standing and staring across the closed off field in front of the Royal Tea Tent. I felt so bad for the royal family and their guests inside who must have felt a bit like zoo animals!

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The gardens and lake are beautiful and we got incredibly lucky with the dry, sunny weather – especially considering it poured with rain the day before and the day after! The atmosphere was really calm and happy with everyone offering to take everyone else’s picture so they had a complete record of the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Once the royals had taken tea they made their way back to the palace (William and Kate lagging behind everyone else as they did their best to say hello to as many people as possible) and things started to wind down just as the weather turned a bit cooler. We weren’t in any rush to leave so slowly made our way towards the palace so we could exit out the main gates (seeing as how we hadn’t entered through them).

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The walk across the Buckingham Palace courtyard was purposefully slow as we savoured the chance to see (and photograph!) an area normally closed off to the public.

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It was also so fun to see the famous balcony up close and walk behind the iron walls in front of the palace! The policemen on duty kept telling everyone to keep moving but I made a point of smiling at each of them and telling them to have a great night and suddenly they weren’t so concerned about me and we were able to snap some pics.

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The last step through the gates was the hardest as I didn’t want to leave! We wandered along Green Park to catch a bus towards home (getting some rather interesting looks from commuters – what, you don’t see a girl in a fascinator every day?) making a stop for dinner. Though online reports claim that Garden Party guests consume thousands of sandwiches and cakes we didn’t actually have that many in the end so wanted something light. Just kidding – we went for a feast.

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It was a fab end to a truly unforgettable day. The weather was perfect, the experience was perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a thing….well, maybe I would have liked an invite to the Royal Tea Tent. Reliable sources tell me The Queen was in fine form! 🙂

Chelsea Gardens

I was recently wandering along the far end of the King’s Road in Chelsea, killing time before a reservation at Bluebird, when I stumbled on the most gorgeous hamlet of streets filled with blooming gardens.

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Though many of the houses were tucked behind gates only opened with keys granted to residents, we still managed to grab a glimpse of a few of the charming houses which have all shot to the top of my ‘Dream Home’ list.

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Each house was prettier than the next and it was amazing that such a quiet, tranquil area exists a (literal) stone’s throw from one of the busiest streets in London.

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^ My particular favourite. Look at those gorgeous lavender blooms!

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Outfit details:

M&S Coat (old, similar here), Roots Sweater, Asos Jeans, Primark trainers (shockingly comfortable and durable!), Marc Jacobs bag (old, similar here), H&M Sunnies

I took a final moment to savour the fragrant flowers before heading back towards civilisation, which suddenly felt very loud and overwhelming.

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We grabbed our table at Bluebird and dove into a delicious, early dinner before starting the long walk back to Sloane Square.

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No food pictures I’m afraid (sorry, Lucy!) as phones and cameras were quickly forgotten.

Though Bluebird and the west end of the King’s Road are quite a trek from the more central Sloane Square, it’s worth the effort. The food is great, the people watching is fantastic (true Londoners  – and Sloane Rangers, at that! – in their element), there are barely any tourists and you’re only a moment away from one of the most serene corners of London I’ve ever seen.

Happy wandering!

MEATMarket Covent Garden

Love milkshakes? Hot dogs? Burgers and fries? (AKA the staples of the North American diet)…I’ve got a tasty new find for you!

Tucked only feet away from the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden market you’ll find MEATMarket.

No tourists, no crowds, just delicious food at a great price in a fun atmosphere.

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Take a moment to bask in the glow of the menu and then follow the arrows and step right up to place your order at the counter.

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We opted for the classics – a hot dog (a proper beef dog in a proper bun! – hard to find this side of the pond), strawberry milkshake and fries for me and a bacon cheeseburger and fries for him. The whole menu looks delicious though.

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Not nearly as loud or dark as it’s older brother (MEATLiquor), MEATMarket is the perfect place to take a break from the London crowds and indulge in a delicious feast that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

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May’s Blonde In Grey Booklist

It’s official. My TBR pile is out of control and there are now books everywhere in my apartment…including filling half my (still not unpacked) suitcase from my trip to Canada a few weeks ago. When your dad offers up anything you want off the family bookshelf you don’t say no!

I now literally embody the Japanese word ‘Tsundoku’, which can be translated as ‘to buy more books than one can read’. The word can be dated back to the Meija era (1868-1912), which is considered the very beginning of Modern Japan and comes from ‘tsunde’ (meaning ‘to stack things’) and ‘oku’ (meaning ‘to leave for a while’). It makes me feel slightly better knowing that I’m clearly not the only one who finds myself in this situation!

The conclusion is that two things are clear:

1. I need to buy another bookcase because I’m out of room
2. I need to step up my reading pace!

With that in mind, here’s May’s Book List:

The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide To Paris, London, New York And Rome by Jessica Adams

Like a trusted and impossibly cool girlfriend, The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide reveals the secrets of what women really want in four fabulous cities: Paris, London, New York and Rome. Born in a handbag from scribbled tips shared between goddesses whose adventures scattered them all over the world, it will take you where few women have been before. Follow Audrey Hepburn’s footsteps in Rome, delve into the secret diaries of shopaholics in New York, learn chiconomical secrets in Paris, rock out in London, discover where to eat, love and eat some more.

I love travel guides and this one is definitely outside the box. With the possibility of a trip to New York in the not so distant future I’m intrigued to see if it will share secrets I’ve not heard before.


Riders by Jilly Cooper

Brooding hero Jake Lovell, under whose magic hands even the most difficult horse or woman is charmed, is driven by his loathing of the dashing darling of the show ring, Rupert Campbell-Black. Having pinched each other’s horses and drunk their way around the capitals of Europe, the feud between the two men finally erupts with devastating consequences at the Los Angeles Olympics . . .

Considering the fact that I spent years editing romantic fiction it’s more than a bit shameful that I can’t claim to have read anything by HBIC of romance, Jilly Cooper. Not anymore! I’m going back to the beginning to see what all the fuss is about. Not sure I’ll be reading it on the tube though…


Talon, Rogue and Soldier by Julie Kagawa

When forced to choose between the sinister Talon organisation and being hunted by her own kind, dragon-human hybrid Ember fled. Even if it meant losing Garret, the dragon-slaying soldier she shares a deep bond with. Now Garret has uncovered secrets that will shake the foundations of dragons and dragon-slayers alike. Can the danger reunite them?

The final chapter of the Talon Saga has been in my TBR pile since November but I keep skipping past it because I can’t just read it alone – I need to read it’s predecessors to remind myself of the story. Now’s the time though – I’m diving back into this angsty teenage drama about some normal teens who just happen to be dragons on the inside (rather than the normal dragon on the outside teens we all know and tolerate) It’s a semi-ridiculous concept but you can’t say it isn’t entertaining!


Henry: Virtuous Prince by David Starkey

Larger than life in every sense, Henry VIII was Britain’s most absolute monarch – but he was not born to rule. In this brilliantly readable history, David Starkey follows the promising young prince – a Renaissance man of exceptional musical and athletic talent – as he is thrust into the limelight after the death of his elder brother. His subsequent quest for fame was as obsessive as that of any modern celebrity, and his yearning for a male heir drove him into dangerous territory. The culmination of a lifetime’s research, David Starkey’s biography is an unforgettable portrait of the man behind the controversies, the prince turned tyrant who continues to tower over history.

With an MA in Early Modern History under my belt I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the Tudor era. The scandals, the history-making moments, the questionnable morals – it was one of the meatiest periods of British history! I’ve read other books by David Starkey including Crown and Country and the famous Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, so am looking forward to seeing what he has to say about Henry himself.


Still to read from last month’s list: Team of Rivals and How England Made the English. The best laid plans and all that – sometimes you get distracted by other books and the list gets forgotten…

Happy reading, all!