Nine months on, nine months off, they say. But once you have managed to shift those extra pounds after having your dear little one—what are you left with? Well, in my case, the tummy of an old woman. Sad face. I was so pleased to have hit my target on the scales but I wasn’t banking on bizarre, stubborn fat pockets, and wrinkles that would make a prune look smooth! Having swathed my ever-increasing bump with oils, lotions, and potions for nine months, I have to say that I have managed to emerge with very fine and almost invisible stretch marks, which is great—can’t complain. However, Spanx® and dollop of Xen-Tan aside, I need to solve the wrinkly pouch situation and in my quest for pre-baby belly, I am trying out the best treatment options available to us ladies to help fix the problem. In the first of this two-part feature you’ll see what I have been up to…
Wrinkle, Wrinkle Little Star
After doing a HUGE amount of Internet research whilst my dear little one catches some Zzzz, I found a number of in-clinic treatments that claim to treat crêpey skin, which in itself was a relief. But how do you know what works and is going to be worth the money. I am the kind of person that would be willing to splurge on something if it actually did the trick; there is nothing worse than frittering money away here and there on things that don’t do the job.
First stop, Google of course. I have seen some incredible reviews online and let’s face it, if Thermage® is OK for beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar-winning face, it’s good enough for my mummy tummy. Thermage® has received glowing reviews in the good old Daily Mail for all manner of skin ills: turkey neck, saggy knees, crinkly décolleté…it looks to me like if you can point to it, you can fix it!
So, after all that, I worked myself up into an excited frenzy and am now booked in for a consultation with the biggest practitioner of Thermage® in Europe and I can’t wait for them to get their hands on my wrinkles!
Ba Ba Fat Sheep
You’ve eaten healthily, tried the 5:2 diet, cut out refined sugar and stopped indulging as if it was still Christmas, but if you’ve had a darling little one, you will know that losing the baby weight is by no means the end of the story. Yes the elasticity needs fixing, tick, but what about the strange pockets of fat you start to find beneath your belly button, bulging out of the top of your Spanx®, sitting comfortably underneath your bra? It felt like every day there was a new discovery and after squeezing, grabbing, and tugging at no less than six of these nasty fat pouches, I decided it was time for action. Enter the master of all fat busting…CoolSculpting by Zeltiq…and its partner in the battle against the bulge, Tracy Mountford’s multi award-winning UK Cosmetic Skin Clinic. The Clinic has received an award for their services to fat reduction having treated more satisfied customers than anyone else in Europe. The clinic is buzzing with people embarking on a transformative treatment program and I’m excited.
CoolSculpting literally freezes and reduces stubborn exercise- and diet-resistant fat in target areas. It has robust clinicals that show that on a suitable candidate when treated by an expert clinician, the procedure can reduce fat in the treated areas for good (yes!) by an average of 23%. Additional treatments in the same or multiple areas are said to enhance the desired aesthetic effect.
So off I go to Stoke Poges where Frances Devine (and that’s her real name), one of Tracy’s team of top Aesthetic Medical Practitioners, took care of me and put together a bespoke treatment package to tackle all my lumps and give me my waist back. Talking to her about my concerns and listening to her plan of action not only put me at ease but Frances made me feel like I was talking to a best friend. She is such a delight and so knowledgeable about the treatment, as is the entire team. “Our Mission is to provide excellence in delivering the highest quality cosmetic treatments in an extremely professional, yet relaxed and friendly environment,” says Tracy and they have certainly achieved that.
I have embarked on a schedule of CoolSculpting treatments over the course of a month or two and I haven’t got a bad word to say about the whole experience so far. Each treatment is quick and there is no discomfort to speak of really, apart from a strong pinch, followed by tingling and then nothing. Numbness.
Stay tuned to find out how I get on after the 60-day wait for optimal results. Frances was sure to weigh me and take 360-degree pre-treatment photos so that after my treatment program I can get a real idea of how effective it’s all been. I get the feeling I will not be disappointed (shrill shriek of excitement)!
Love from London
If there is one thing fragrance fanatics know, that’s to be seasonally appropriate when picking a perfume. As much as you may love the notes of summer, melon and strawberry have no place during the cold winter months. Think about the restaurant industry; chefs try their best to use seasonal produce to reflect the mood of the moment and so must we.
Winter is a time when you can easily switch to dramatic and impactful fragrances that you couldn’t have worn during the summer months because they are overwhelming in the heat and humidity. The winter air, which is drier, crisper and cooler, calls for headier scents. Notes that really have an impact during the winter season include; amber, patchouli, musk, ginger, fig, and woody notes like cedar, sandalwood, and vetiver.
Whether you are buying for someone else this Christmas or looking for something you can wear that reflects the festive mood and change of season, Master Perfumer John Stephen explains the how, what, and why of the summer to winter scent-swap.
The creative force behind Cotswold Perfumery, one of the UK’s most successful perfumeries, John Stephen makes fragrances for both niche brands and best-sellers for top international fragrance houses as well as the royal family: “Wintery perfumes tend to be spicier, heavier and more complex than summer fragrances, often classified in the industry as Oriental or chypre like Chanel No.5. I would say that changing your fragrance is similar to editing your wardrobe in some ways. You would not walk down the street in a summer dress and sandals in December, you switch to sheepskin boots and a woolly cardigan, and similarly, a strong sandalwood, cashmere wood, or black pepper scent is just the thing to complement this change of season.’’
When it is colder, we want our fragrance to bring warmth to the skin and have longevity—it needs to withstand blustery winds hitting your skin and layer upon layer of clothing you pile on and then peel off throughout the day, which can often take your favourite fragrance off in the process. If you can, invest in an eau de parfum, rather than an eau de toilette, which doesn’t always have the same staying power.
“Some of the most memorable and evocative of winter fragrances are those that remind us of specific experiences we may have had during the cosy winter months in front of a roaring fire, sipping mulled wine. The trick is to become aware of the fragrances around us, acknowledging at every point, those that are pleasant, new, and exciting, and putting a name to them. Being more fragrance-conscious and noting down what you like, will mean that you can choose your own individual perfume with all those ingredients that reignite thoughts of the festive season,” said Mr. Stephen.
If cinnamon, spice, and all things nice sound appealing to you, then check out some of these festive flavours to get you in the mood for some mistletoe and mulled wine:
Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Perfum (£43.20, $70) has become a modern classic, and its top note of black truffle is perfect for the cold, dark nights. It also gets a tick for its vetiver and patchouli notes—both of which are real winter warmers. This one’s luxury in a bottle and a mere spritz lasts a long, long time.
Prada L’Eau Ambree (£52, $76) is a sensual, feminine fragrance with (as the name suggests) warming amber notes. When layered with the body lotion it lasts much longer. Definitely one to show off on your dressing table.
Cotswold Perfumery’s Cymbelline by John Stephen (£25.95) is a best-selling chypre fragrance during this time of year with a glorious base of sandalwood and vetiver. This one’s perhaps the connoisseur’s choice, especially if you don’t want an easily identifiable fragrance. Great for those who like to embrace their individuality.
Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Cologne, (£38, $60 ) may not be the newest kid on the block but it certainly evokes the warmth and splendour of the season; sitting by a roaring fire, pepper, spicy woods and of course pomegranate will whisk you away. One word of warning; this fragrance is now available in plenty of home accessories such as oil diffusers and candles, etc., so be sure you don’t overdo it. Ever heard of too much of a good thing?
If you think you can do better than these, and want to give fragrance blending a shot yourself, give it a try. In his spare (!) time, John runs perfume courses for both individuals and larger groups for corporate and industry training. For more information, call The Cotswold Perfumery on +44 (0)1451 820 698 or log on to www.cotswold-perfumery.co.uk.
Love from London
We may be used to it, but at BITB’s London HQ, feeling the temperature plummet hasn’t done much to lift our spirits across the pond. Having said that, the launch of Tiffany Skate, at the beautiful Somerset House ice rink, has started to make us feel a bit Christmassy, at least. Sadly, the cold weather is really playing havoc with our skin…and our diet. Like a lot of people, the cold weather tends to make some of us comfort-eat and we all know that come January we’ll regret that extra mince pie and super-sized, super-stodgy meal.
If you are likely to go on a crash diet in the New Year to get back to square one and regain your pre-Xmas figure, then be realistic. Are you able to achieve the body shape you are hoping for or are there some bulges that won’t shift no matter how much exercise and dieting you do? If so, the latest technology to hit our shores will fix those unsightly stubborn grab-able inches for good. CoolSculpting® by Zeltiq—a unique, effective, safe, FDA-cleared non-invasive treatment—targets stubborn exercise-resistant fat bulges and is gaining a worldwide following with over 400,000 treatments done so far.
Utilising cryolipolysis (literally freezing the fat cells), the revolutionary technology behind CoolSculpting® was born from the observation that children who ate lots of ice-lollies had dimples due to the loss of fat cells caused by the continued exposure to the cold. From this, a team of scientists from Harvard Medical School developed an innovative, non-invasive cooling process that could be used to specifically target fat cells, freezing them to the point of elimination. Only fat cells are frozen—they are crystallised then subsequently die and are eliminated from the body in the natural way via the liver and lymphatic system. Is it safe I hear you ask? Well, in a word, yes! The fat is removed from the body in a safe concentration just as though you were on a standard fat-loss diet.
A relatively simple and painless process, the CoolSculpting® device is positioned on the area of the body to be targeted and using a suction action, draws the fat bulge into the CoolSculpting® treatment applicator where two cooling plates are situated. The correct size cooling plate is chosen following a thorough assessment of the area being treated.
The non-surgical appeal of the treatment was a key pull for Dr Tracy Mountford, founder member of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (BACD) and the founder and medical director of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic, as she could see clear demand for such a solution. “There are a significant number of patients that do not want an invasive body contouring treatment; for these people CoolSculpting is an ideal treatment option and in our practice it has proved very popular.”
The patient will feel a firm pulling sensation and slight pressure followed by a numbing cold sensation. Then it’s a case of simply sitting back and relaxing whilst the CoolSculpting® device does its work. Dr Mountford says “Initially, before the treatment, patients are sceptical that such an easy treatment could deliver good results. During the treatment patients find the experience comfortable and can easily carry on with work commitments on their phones or laptops or catch up with their latest book or magazine. It’s been known for some to nod off to sleep.”
The final result is seen in around 60 days and it’s permanent. In Dr Mountford’s experience, “Most patients report an improvement at three weeks, getting better week by week up to three months.” The newly launched CoolCurve+ is a specially designed and developed applicator for smaller bodies with grab-able fat, for example on flanks, around the bra strap, muffin top, and other curves. The anatomically shaped curvature of CoolCurve+ allows for an effective fit to the body and ultimately improved tissue draw, making it easier to treat more areas and a multitude of body shapes. This means even more people can say goodbye to stubborn lumps and bumps and say hello skinny jeans and tight tops.
By the time we reach adolescence, our body has laid down all the fat cells we are going to have as an adult. So when we put on weight, the fat cells are swelling rather than multiplying. This means that once frozen, the fat cells undergo apoptosis, i.e. they are destroyed and they do not re-grow…all in one treatment. To maintain the result, it’s essential to continue to eat healthily and exercise regularly—but those treated fat cells won’t come back.
What are you waiting for? Find your local clinic and get yourself a consultation. Just visit www.coolsculpting.com. Prices start at around £800 per treatment area.
Dr Tracy Mountford, medical director of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic www.cosmeticskinclinic.com, 01753 646 660
Love from London