Summer is here! and so is hay fever!

The sun is finally shining in the city! Yay!

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Although I love love love summer I also hate so much the hay fever that accompanies it.

For those of you who may not know, hay fever is an allergic condition that has symptoms such as sneezing, running nose, and itchy eyes. It occurs as a result of an allergic reaction to pollen – which is released by plants. Approximately 16million people in Britain suffer from hay fever, but the good thing is people don’t always have it for life. Many people either grow out of it as they get older or they have it for a few years and then don’t. My hay fever didn’t start until I moved to London and it only lasts for about 3-4 months a year. The mornings are usually the worst and the symptoms usually wear off during the day.

Over the last few months I have had lots of people come into the pharmacy on a Saturday asking for advice on products for hay fever. So I am going to do a few blog posts about the medications available from your local pharmacy and some advice in general on how to enjoy the summer months without hating them due to hay fever!

The first in this series is about the different oral medications available. Below there are a few products that you can get in your local pharmacy. Always remember to tell your pharmacist if you are taking any other medications in case there are any interactions you need to be aware of.

K x

Oral Medications – Antihistamines

Antihistamines block the action of histamine, histamine is the chemical which causes the hay fever symptoms. Histamine helps your body deal with foreign invaders – in this case that would be the pollen. As a result of histamine the immune response of your body will kick in this will cause symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes and/or sneezing. Antihistamines prevent this response from happening. The most commonly used oral antihistamines are as follows:

acravastine

Acrivastine is my weapon of choice! I have tried the others but this is the one that works best for me. That is not to say the others won’t be as good, each person is different. My brother for example only takes ceterizine as that is what works best for him. The best thing is that it is non-drowsy! Benadryl is the only brand for Acrivastine.

chlorphenamine

Some people find chlorphenamine quite drowsy, it is usually used in children (aged 12 months and over) to aid a restful sleep. It can also be used in animals (always consult your vet). It is also available in liquid formilations. (Comes in brands such as Piriton)

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ceterizine

Cetirizine can be brought in various brands and liquid formulations. But ask your pharmacist for the generic (unbranded version – sometimes kept in the pharmacy not on shop floor) as it is normally a whole lot cheaper! Again it can make you drowsy but not as much as Chlorphenamine. (Comes in brands such as Piriteze)

 

loratatide

Loratadine is a non-drowsy antihistamine like Bendaryl and so most people prefer this to cetirizine or chlorphenamine. It can be brought in liquid form as well. (Comes in brands such as Claritin – again ask your pharmacist for the generic version, it may be cheaper!)

I Love This City

London town is one of my favourite places. Even though I have lived here for nearly 5 years now, I still find a new street, new place to eat or a new place to visit all the time! Sometimes I feel like I could move back to Birmingham, but then I think of all the amazingness in London and quickly change my mind! Also there are a million places I still haven’t been!

Here are just a few picture that I have taken of L-Town over the last few months that made me super happy!

K x

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ChristChurch on Sunday at the V&A Museum of Childhood. So lovely from the inside. That floor and ceiling! I genuinely think I have an obsession with floors and red doors!

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Original stones from when Blackfriars opened in 1886. Trains from here went all over Europe! It was so good to see some history.

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The River Thames

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Farringdon has most definitely got the right idea here!

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The most beautiful Peonies and Roses at the Bluebird Restaurant in Chelsea 

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I take this picture every time I go to the Breakfast Club it is so cool! (Shoreditch)

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This was taken at Barbu in Southbank, I just love the lights and the art work!

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Such a fab little cake boutique in Farringdon with the most amazing cupcakes! Just look at those meringues! 

One Bride to be, Fifteen hens, and a whole lot of Prosecco!

This last weekend was the absolute best!

Our lovely friends are getting married and I had the great pleasure of helping organise a Hen Do (or ‘bachelorette party’ as my American cousin corrected me yesterday!). The bride to be wanted to do something that she would never have ever considered doing on a normal day. Obviously we then came to the very ‘sane’ conclusion that she would love ZipWorld! And obviously once there we realised how scary it actually was!

Zipping through caves and climbing rock faces, or dangling on a thin rope suspended over 200ft in the air would not be my chosen method of fun! BUT saying that it was actually super fun! Our bride to be was fearless, and led the way! I on the other hand was shaking with fear! This experience was utterly amazing and I would recommend it to anyone. And once you finish it, you really feel like you have accomplished something huge!

The weekend away with the girls was so lovely, and I really think everyone enjoyed themselves. It started with a lovely meal at The Hebog Restaurant in Beddgelert Village where we were staying in Snowdonia, followed by games back at our beautiful cottage.

Beddgelert Village

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The following day started with facing our fears at ZipWorld and ended with an eventful night out at the local town Caernarfon. Some of the locals even tried to sell us cows and tractors over a drink!

Sunday was full of Rest and Relaxation, which honestly was so well deserved by all the hens after ZipWorld. The Quay Hotel and Spa was incredible and surpassed all my expectations.

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The bride and I opted for a full body massage rather than the manicure&pedicure that the others went for (no nail varnish rule at the hospital!). The masseuse was incredible and both of us loved every minute of it, totally relaxed by the end! I even brought the massage oil it smelt so good!

K x

Face On, Face Off

When I was younger I never really gave any thought to my face care and coco butter all over was just fine for me! Having gotten a little older, and coco butter giving me more break outs than I’d like, I began researching different face products and what would work best for my skin.

I have to say I have tried a lot of products and brands out there, from the most expensive being Lancôme to mid range products such as Liz Earle and then to your high street products such as Boots own range. For the last 4-5 months or so I have been using Clinique, and OH EM GEE is it amazing.

So this little post is just about what I use on my face when I wake up and before I go to bed. Now, before I start I do want to say some of you will think that this many products is a bit extreme! BUT trust me used in combination they really really work. And personally for me it is worth it because they make my skin feel fresh and soft and smooth and amazing! In total the whole process takes me 5mins in the morning and 5mins at night. 10 mins of your day to take care of your face is really not asking for much!

Morning 

Whilst in the shower I wash my face with Cliniques face soap from their 123 range.

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After patting my face dry I use the Clarifying Lotion with a cotton pad, which unblocks pores and removes dead skin cells.

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Once this has evaporated I put on the gel, which absorbs into my skin super fast.

 

 

 

Lastly, I use the Clinique Superdefense Moisturiser, which when put on top of the gel acts as a treatment. This is an extra step, which is not necessary but I LOVE how soft my skin feels afterwards.

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Evening

For the evening I do exactly the same as above except instead of the Superdefence Moisturiser I use the Clarins  Multi-Active night cream;

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So there you have it my daily routine! And yes it does sound like a lot but so worth it. My skin feels better and I’ve received some compliments since I’ve been using especially from my patients!

All these products can be found on the high street. It is a bit of an investment, luckily for me Mr M gets a discount on some of these products. I tried out the mini travel packs before I invested 100%, so I would definitely recommend doing that first.

Do you have any personal favourites or a daily routine that works for you? I’d love to hear them!

K x

Happy Birthday Vogue!

Vogue-100-A-Century-of-StyleThis year Vogue turns 100! And what an incredible achievement that is!

To celebrate Vogue have set up an fabulous exhibition over at the National Portrait Gallery. Tickets can be brought here.

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My friend and I went and it was really incredible to see how far not only fashion had come, but how far Vogue and the art of the magazine had come. The exhibition goes through, in chronological order, key Vogue covers and pages printed in the magazine that changed societies views on fashion, art and popular culture.
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It was lovely to see the vintage copies of the magazine from when it first started, as well as incredible shoots of Kate Moss and stunning images captured by Alexander McQueenimages.

 

Each room showed how Vogue was not only at the forefront of fashion, but has come to influence culture in a hugely dramatic way. The exhibition portrayed images from the post war era, reflecting tradition through to the wealth and glamour of the 80’s, and then the more recent times of Kendal and Cara.

Although it was a wonderful exhibition which truly showed the hard work these models, photographers and editors put into Vogue, I could not help but look further into its pictures and messages. There was not a single picture on display of body shape that isn’t your typically thin catwalk model, most of whom have eating disorders. Wealth and luxury seems to be at the forefront of the magazines pictures, clothes that most of us can only dream of owning. It begs to then question what message is this magazine portraying? A superficial, unrealistic and unachievable one? I wish it were different and the message represented the amazing quality of the photographers and the hard work of the team at Vogue. Maybe the next decade will be somewhat different.

K x

Aubergine Surprise – Ottolenghi

Whilst getting a Tokyo Toes last weekend I popped into Ottolenghi’s for lunch and it was INCREDIBLE.

I have been to Ottolenghi before and it never lets me down. The food is so healthy, full of colour and just delicious. Yotam Ottolenghi created this amazing place, hidden amongst the cobbled streets just behind Spitalfields Market. It has a mix of Eastern flavours which will most definitley keep you coming back for more. The menu has been different every time I have been, this time I got the Roasted Aubergines, Butterbean Mash and Mashed Pumpkin with Puy Lentils and Goats Cheese.

Unless you are prepared to wait, on a weekend for lunch you will need to book before you go and you can do so here. Although I went to the Ottolenghi in Spitalfields, they have now expanded with restaurants in Belgravia, Notting Hill and Islington also.

As I was leaving the waiter told me they have just opened a new sister restaurant called Nopi – which is for more formal dining. If anyone gets a chance to pop in let me know what you think!

K x

Tokyo Toes

For those of you who have passed through Shoreditch and popped into Spitalfields Market you will have most definitley noticed MWnails. MWnails is not your ordinary nail salon. It’s Air France interior oozes glamour and allure and its friendly, professional and very hilarious team keep you feeling relaxed and entertained. From the aeroplane seats that you find in their reception area, to their shelves which are old aeroplane windows, you experience a whole new level of ‘nailing’ from start to finish!

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I went for a Tokyo Toes, which for any other normal on the high street nail salon is also known as a pedicure. We were greeted on arrival by a lovely receptionist who booked us in and guided us through our colour choices. The salon stock every possible Essie colour you can think of! In addition to Opi and some lovely gel colours too. I picked a lovely dark plum Essie polish which I think was called Bahama Mama. Rashida my nail therapist was so lovely, she made me feel comfortable with no awkward silences and was so chatty and friendly the whole way through! The polish was perfect and neat, my feet were scrubbed massaged and exfoliated. They felt so brand new afterwards! Rashida also gave some tips on how to look after feet and best products to use. I waited for my nails to dry and the receptionist even offered to vaseline and cling film my feet if I was in a rush! I opted to wait and relax in the comfy chairs. I would most definitely recommend this place, you would think the price is going to be ridiculous because of the experience you get, but in all honesty it costs about the same as your regular high street salon.

If you get a chance to pop in ask for Rashida! and don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

K x

January

Oh January!! You really confuse me and this love hate relationship we have  really just can’t go on!

Does anyone else get frustrated with January? It’s the time after Christmas where everyone is poor, frustratingly awaiting paid day, nothing in January seems all that exciting and each day feels like a struggle!

At the beginning of January I was ready to go, the weather was still fairly warm – even blossom had started to grow on the trees near my flat; and the excitement of Christmas and New Years was still afresh in my mind. Now that I’m half way in I just cannot wait for February to arrive! The weather has completed changed, though the snow is beautiful the cold that comes with it and slush that follows is unbearable. Pay day seems ages away, Christmas and New Years is well and truly over and the gloominess of January just keeps on going.

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On the left is the lovely blossoming tree and the right the beautiful snow from this morning.

So I am writing this post as a bit of a pick me up really. Although January doesn’t seem to be ending a few good things have come of the last few weeks and will happen in the next few weeks that I would like to share.

  1. I have kept up with my health and fitness routine. I wanted to go at least twice a week and have managed to go three times in the last week alone! So for me I feel this is an achievement! Although I still crave sugars and carbs, I have not had any sugar in my coffees at work, and stayed away from bad carbs and sweeties!! I actually feel a loads better without all the processed stuff so fingers crossed, post-January this will continue.
  2. Although I tried Veganuary and miserably failed, I made the most amazing vegan pancakes the other week – recipe to follow. We had them with a mixed fruits bowl and maple syrup. I promise you they tasted better than the original – even Mr M a profound meat eater loved ’em!
  3. Next week we are celebrating my dear friend Gareth’s birthday and heading over to Duck and Waffle. I am hoping it is going to be amazing especially as they are always fully booked! Will give you a review next week and let you know if it’s worth the hype.
  4. Tonight Mr M and I are going to see the amazing Kevin Hart perform at the O2. He is literally High-Larious! Hopefully that will be a lot of laughs and boring January can be forgotten…

How are you all getting on with January? What are your positives from the last few weeks?

K x

Vapiano

One of my FAVOURITE places to eat and catch up with friends is Vapiano. It has delicious food, great atmosphere and best of all you see who is making your food and exactly what goes in it.

Last week I met an old friend there, just to give you a heads up it is NOT a waited upon restaurant! As you walk in you are greeted by a receptionist who gives you a plastic credit card type card which you use to put your bill on. Then you decide what delicious Italian delicase you would like to indulge in! They do pasta, pizza, salads, calzones everything! The pasta is all hand made on site – it’s actually really fun watching the chefs churn out the raw pasta shapes!

The restaurant is laid out with all the chefs standing behind mini kitchen counters with there being a separate section for each type of food. I always get pasta, just because it is so delicious! My friend, Farhana, however got a salad which was just as good. You queue up at your chosen counter, tell the lovely chefs what you would like with any extras then they work their magic and conjure up an amazing dish right in front of you. It is extremely good value for money, I had a massive pasta and soft drink all for less than £10! You then carry your food away, perch on one of their shared tables and enjoy the deliciousness that follows!

As usual I forgot to take pictures (promise I will get better at this) but I did take the one below to remind my friend Charlotte that she’s missing out! Ha!

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This place is easy, convenient and guaranteed to have something for everyone. No fuss eating at its best. I always go to the one near Oxford Street as it’s usually central for everyone, but they have locations in lots of places now.

Happy Eating!

K x

 

A Stylish Step Back In Time

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Isabelle Leather Vintage Shoes – Rachel Simpson New Collection

My friend Eleanor and I are lucky enough to be planning our weddings at the same time.  This ultimately means we get to do some great shopping together and last weekend we went over to the amazing Rachel Simpson to have a look at their warehouse sale! Their vintage inspired designs are just so beautiful! If you are planning a wedding with this theme in mind I would definitely recommend.

Although we didn’t find what we were looking for (bridesmaid shoes – extremely difficult finding one size 3 and two 7’s!!), they did however have some incredible pieces which were reduced by a huge amount! I picked up the beauties below, and Eleanor’s mum got a lovely pair too! The sale is still on at Rachel Simpson so pop on over to have a look.

What do you guys think? I am absolutely in love all over again!!

K x