Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for September, 2012

Olivia Palermo InStyle

Olivia Palermo

Gorgeous cover for October’s edition of InStyle magazine – adore the floral dress (no doubt costing thousands of pounds) and her pink makeup – Don’t know much about Olivia but she is stunning – inspired me to get back into dress-making…


Do you look like your parents?



I came across an old black & white photo of my mum the other day. It’s always fascinating looking at pictures of your parents and wondering whether they resemble you in anyway – well, I certainly don’t look like my mum, although I do share her fair Asian complexion. My dad on the otherhand looks like me, tall/slim and similar facial features except my dad has much darker skin (will have to dig out a photo).

Our family doctor remarked how beautiful my dad’s skin was at 75 (he had me quite late in life) and my mum who’s in her fifties also has no wrinkles. Annoyingly, my dad does nothing to his skin apart from use soap, no moisturiser, and he has no dry skin and a flawless/wrinkle-free complexion which he puts down to a diet of fish, fruits and vegetables – sigh!, please let me inherit his ageless skin whilst eating the occassional treats 😉

Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream Review

Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who can use loads of different products. Very rarely do I try something new, as when I find something that works and does a good job, that’s it for me – I’m very loyal.

In the past I never really needed much moisturiser, but I guess with age, I found that I needed to find a good one that had minimal ingredients as I have sensitive skin. The task to find a good moisturiser for skin sensitive to preservatives was harder than I thought, most brands that are touted as ‘hypoallergenic’ had an ingredient list longer that my arm! However, with a bit of research, I came across a French brand called Avene. Never heard of them before, but apparently it’s a well-known skin care brand amongst dermatologists. What I loved about this cream is that it’s preservative-free (tick for me), fragrance-free, colourant-free, surfactant-free, alcohol-free, emulsifier free – achieved by a unique manufacturing process which removes the need to use preservatives by using a highly technical delivery system that allows the formula to be completely sterile and safe for the entire use of the product. Preservatives are used in the cosmetic industry to prevent bacterial overgrowth but offers no benefits to skin, in fact, they are known to be irritating to skin, so I was pleased to come across this product.

Now on to my thoughts of the effects of Avene’s Tolerance Extreme cream – a lovely thick white creamy consistency with the added benefit of being non-comedogenic, no irritation (hypoallergenic), perfect as a base before applying makeup, and most importantly (the reason why I bought this) is that it makes skin feel soft and hydrated. My only negative is that when you come near to the bottle finishing and you squeeze, it’s hard to control how much comes out (usually far too much!). The plastic packaging is small and is easy to carry around and lasts me just over a month of using twice a day. I buy from Boots for £14.50 – again a brilliant/highly innovative product for anyone who has sensitive skin or just wants a moisturiser which is effectively simple and dispenses with the need of lots of ingredients.

Avene List the benefits of their Tolerance Extreme Cream as:

  • Based on the sterile manufacturing process of E.T.S. and the delivery process of D.E.F.I
  • Soothing cream protects, moisturizes and nourishes skin that is unable to tolerate ordinary products
  • Restores the skin barrier and decreases skin reactivity
  • Helps prevent skin irritation and allergies
  • Formulated with only 9 ingredients for maximum tolerance
  • Fragrance-free, preservative-free, colorant-free, surfactant-free, alcohol-free, emulsifier-free
  • 100% sterile, 100% pure, 100% safe
  • Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe and soften skin
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic

The ghd air™hairdryer – Katy Perry

Katy Perry GHD Air Hairdryer

Glancing in one of the glossy fashion magazines the other day, I came across an advert featuring Katy Perry and the The ghd air ™ hairdryer. Well the advertising worked with their slogan ‘a good hair day, everyday’, it prompted me to the ghd website for some more info.

They list the features as:

  • Professional strength 2,100 Watt AC motor at 240v
  • Advanced ionic technology
  • Variable power & temperature controls, including cool shot
  • Ergonomic design for right & left handed users
  • 3m power cable

The cost? £99 on the ghd website, now that is a lot for a hairdryer. The most important bit, what were the reviews like? I came across a website called www.strawberryblondebeauty.com, and the blogger posted a glowing review with an impressive before and after picture. Ok, I’m sold but the price seemed pretty steep and I didn’t really need a new hairdryer, but www.lookfantastic.com are selling it for £79 and there were 28 reviews of the hairdryer with a 97% customer rating. At the moment I’m spending money on laser hair removal treatments (will be posting a review in the not too distant future), but will definitely treat myself to one of these hairdryers for Xmas 🙂

Victoria Beckham’s Military Bodycon inspired dress for less…

I have to admit to not having anything green in my wardrobe, it’s a colour I think looks ravishing on redheads, but after a quick perusal of Next’s Winter collection at Westfield, their bodycon panelled ponte dress caught my eye. Unfortunately all the size 6’s had gone and their website is sold out proving how popular the dress was at a bargain price of £35. Shame they didn’t have my size 😦 I love the length and fitted shape, the only thing I would have preferred is longer/three quarter length sleeves, which saves on having to wear a cardigan when the cold weather sets in. However, French Connection have a similar styled dress called Hattie with long sleeves previewed in the current issue of Marie-Claire but more expensive at £89, but the quality looks better, so I guess I’ll be buying that when it hits the stores…

Next Bodycon Panelled Ponte Dress, £35

French Connection Hattie Jersey Dress, £89

Aveeno Hand Cream

Update 2012: I originally posted a review of this hand cream back in Feb 2011. Well I am happy to report that I’m still using this and haven’t swapped brands. This cream by Aveeno is amazing, my hands are super soft. I’ve been applying twice a day, once before I leave for work in the morning, and then last thing at night before I go to bed. I haven’t needed to use the cotton gloves as I have controlled my overzealous hand washing 🙂 Whenever my mum comes to visit, she uses the cream and is equally impressed with the results that she’s swapping her Boots No 7 hand cream for this, and loves that there is no scent that gives her a headache. I hope that they never stop selling this as it’s one of my daily beauty staples.

Feb 2011 Review:

Excessive hand-washing, central heating and cold winds take their toll on my hands. I like to put hand-cream on in the evenings so that it has time to work properly. I massage Aveeno hand-cream, pop on Botantics cotton gloves from Boots (very reasonably priced at £3.97), and a couple of hours later – smooth hands again 🙂

Aveeno Hand Cream, Boots £4.99

Purchasing the cotton gloves really made a difference, I find that hand-creams are a little greasy and there is a temptation to wash hands shortly after (which defeats the purpose!). Whilst watching the tv/browsing the internet, pop on cotton gloves and let the cream get to work. Alternatively, I’ve read people putting on the hand-cream and gloves and leaving on while they sleep – never tried, but a good idea if your hands are really dry.

I’ve tried Shea Butter but have always ended up coming back to Aveeno – a product that does the job and doesn’t break the bank!

Solgar Omega 3-6-9 – Fish, Flax & Borage Oils

Solgar Omega 3-6-9 Fish, Flax, Borage Oils

For the past year I’ve made some changes to my diet. Unfortunately, one of the recommendations for a healthy diet are two portions of oily fish a week. There’s no denying that oily fish is good you, but I really can’t stand the smell, texture or taste of it. I do however love Cod & Plaice and have them at least three times a week, but the Omega 3 fatty acids found in these non-oily fish are only small.

I don’t normally take supplements, but given this essential fatty acid short-fall in my diet, I decided that a supplement was in order. I did my research, and Solgar seemed like an excellent brand. I wanted a broad spectrum of essential fatty acids, so chose Solgar’s Omega 3-6-9 in the form of fish (EPA, DHA), flax (ALA) and Borage (GLA) oils.

From what I’ve read normally you should see positive changes from oral supplementation from these oils within 6 to 8 weeks. Honestly, I didn’t notice any difference that early on, however after consistently taking them (three capsules a day with a meal) for five months, I am now seeing the benefits. My skin is plumper, and really soft. I did read one review where someone complained on the size of the capsule, yes they are big, but as my doctor told me when I was little and was having trouble swallowing my tablets, he pointed out if I can swallow food, I can certainly swallow medicine, it’s just an irrational fear – he was right, I never feared swallowing again 🙂

Solgar is a pretty expensive brand in comparison to Boots own branded supplements, but now I am starting to see results and given that it’s likely that most people are deficient in those essential fatty acids (unless you’re a regular oily fish/flax seed eater) it’s definitely a good supplement to take long-term for the heart, joint and skin. I either buy mine from Planet Organic on Westbourne Grove or Calder Pharmacy on Notting Hill Gate.

I came acoss a great nutrition website written by Dr Alan Stewart that gives more information on essential fatty acids and their sources. I’ve wanted to see a good nutritionist for ages, he has a background in Medicine and his website is brilliantly comprehensive. I’m hoping to book an appointment at Biolab, to test my vitamin/mineral levels and see whether any further dietary improvements/or use of other suppplements need to be made. In the meantime, I’m sticking to my Solgar supplement…

More information on essential fatty acids