Treat Yourself This Valentines!

Hey Beautifuls!

This month is the month of Love! Instead of just loving your SO, show yourself some love!

Whether you want to splurge or save, there’s something for everyone!

My top pink picks for this month:

Splurge on this stunning rose gold Pandora Band Ring. Perfect as an Everyday Essential at £90.

OR

Save on this equally stunning rose gold Jon Richardson Cubic Zirconia design at £18!

Splurge on Dior Vernis Couture Colour Gel Shine at £19.50 to brighten up the dull days.

OR

Save on this similar colour by Essie Gel Couture number 210 at £9.99.

Splash or save at Lush. There’s nothing better than treating yourself to some beautiful smelling bath and body products! Splash… £45 on this beautiful Believe in Pink goodies box!

OR

Save on buying one or two of your favourites starting at £1.95!

I love treating myself, especially if I’ve had a tough time with my Lymphoedema. Have a great February!!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

How to make the most of this year…

Hey Beautifuls!

I’m going to start with a super cliché. It’s the start of a new chapter of a new 365 page book… let’s write the best one!! Yeah… vomit inducing… however, they have a point. It is a new year, it is a good time to make a plan for the next 12 months.

January is probably the worst month to look for positives as everyone is skint, still feeling fat from overindulgence at Christmas and it’s cold, bleak and miserable outside. So, make a plan for the next few months, create something to look forward to instead of having a focus on the grey moments.

How can we make this year our best yet!?

1. Make a plan. Write down your goals. Make yourself accountable.

2. Start keeping a gratitude jar or journal. Write down everything good that happens to you no matter how big or small to read on the down days. I’m loving the 52 Lists Project book for this reason!

3. Focus on some positive affirmations, these are known to increase self positive feelings. Take 3 minutes out of your day to talk positively to yourself… The Lymphie Life has created a list to get you started so hop on over there after you’ve finished here!

4. Take time each week to treat yourself kindly… it could be as small as applying a face mask, painting your nails, watching your favourite film or be as extravagant as booking yourself a spa weekend with the girls or a trip away.

5. If you’ve booked a trip away, ensure your medical appointments coincide to have new garments in time as there’s nothing worse than having new garments arrive just as you’ve come home!

6. Have a commitment each month to look forward to… even if it’s to meet friends for a coffee date. It’s something to look forward to.

7. Change something about yourself. But be specific. It doesn’t have to be something physical. It could be, I’m going to ring my brother weekly… then actually do it.

8. Decide what to get rid of from your life. Do you spend too much time on social media? Need a change from watching Eastenders? What can alter to allow you that extra motivation!?

9. Say yes more often. It could be a risk that turns into an amazing opportunity.

10. Recommit to an activity you miss. Perhaps you used to do yoga and miss it? Or miss embroidery and craft club. Perhaps rekindle a friendship. Go for it.

There’s only one person who can make your year better… that person is yourself. Start talking to yourself with kindness and see everything else start falling into place.

Happy planning.

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

New Year New Us…

Hey Beautifuls!

Happy New Year!!

How quick has this year gone!? My life has been so up in the air over the last few months I’ve neglected you. I’m truly sorry. However, new year, new me, new chapter. This is the start of a new 365 page book, let’s make it a great one!

I thought I’d share with you some New Years Resolutions for the blog…

This year I’m creating a focus on kindness. Not necessarily to strangers, but to ourselves. As medical sufferers we tend to focus on the negatives and we are unkind to ourselves. I’m hoping to change this outlook. Kindness starts with being kind to yourself. Cutting off what makes you unhappy and clouds your thoughts with negativity.

We are going to love ourselves. We are going to worry about ourselves first, for once. I saw a fabulous quotation pop up on my Facebook feed saying 2016 was the caterpillar, 2017 was the cocoon and 2018 is the butterfly. It really resonated with me that hardship is to make us stronger and more beautiful. 2018 is our butterfly year. Let’s spread our wings for new exciting adventures.

Finally, I’m going to try and make older posts easier to view and revisit some topics.

My personal resolution is to be more selfish and take time to do what I want to do.

What are your personal resolutions? I dare you to make one that encourages you to look after yourself. Cheers to a fabulous 2018!!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2018

Women Always Know What To Do

Hey Beautifuls!

I’m yet again sorry for neglecting you. Always the same when work becomes busy.

However, I’m back. I recently came home from a week in Doha. I say recently… I mean at the start of November! As I sat for the outbound flight, in Pilots Lounge and Bar in Heathrow Terminal 5, I watched a post on my Facebook Timeline. It was Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year Awards 2015 featuring one of my favourite actresses- Reese Witherspoon. I watched with my earbuds in, G&T poised in hand and eagerly awaiting my beer battered fish with triple cooked chips.

I took on board one key message from her speech. Women ALWAYS know what to do next. Picture it…

Witherspoon stands with award in hand and tells the story of how she came to this conclusion. She talks of watching a film where the woman turns to the man and asks “What do we do now?”. She asks her audience “Do you know of any women in any crisis situation who has absolutely no idea what to do?”. She follows on saying “It’s ridiculous that a woman wouldn’t know what to do”, speaks of her outrage and wanting to change this in the film industry and looking back to something her mother told her “If you want something done honey, do it yourself!” So we did.

Witherspoon started to make changes via her own production company.

I hear you thinking… what’s this got to do with Lymphoedema!?? The answer… EVERYTHING!!

The “so we did” applies to us! We are changing the face of Lymphoedema. You need only look at the support groups WE set up!! These are mostly (Jeff excluded!) run by women. We are all aware of Vern, Amy, Lindsey (UK), Kala, the 2 Sarah’s, the up and coming shoe company- Pandere, Xpanda socks, EZ Wraps, Lymphediva sleeves. ALL WOMEN MAKING A DIFFERENCE!!

This is an ugly condition. It makes you feel ugly, it makes you question your beauty and self worth. It plays with your emotions, confidence and self belief. It makes you question every single aspect of your life up until diagnosis and every life decision afterwards.

Really take a moment to consider the following:

We needed support groups- so we created them. We wanted prettier garments- we created them. Wanted shoes to fit- heck, we’re creating them.

Our ‘crisis situation’ was being diagnosed and dealing with the chaos afterwards. I don’t remember being diagnosed at 15 and my mother asking my father or the consultant “What do we do now?”… that was my father. My mum was asking “Who do we see next?” A very different perspective. Mum was ready for the next step- appointments, while dad was waiting to be told what to do. Even now, as an adult, I very rarely ask “What do I do now?”, I’m more likely to ask ” What can I try next?” Or “I was chatting to …. they tried …. how effective is it?”. Hardly ever “What do I do now?”.

Our community and condition breeds strong women (and men!). It defines us as positive characters with flaws to be embraced. We often feel defined by our flaws. We feel they define our character, our persistence and determination, and silhouette. However, we eventually get over the jump and tears (from hours of Googling images and then looking for a non existent cure) of being stuck with a degrading condition.

We suck it up, look for support and see a secondary gain of needing to buy all the shoes that fit!! We also make friends who we treat like family! A focus on the negative means we are accepting our hand that has been dealt and are powerless. But we have cards up our sleeve. We are probably the most strong and fierce women (and men) out of the individuals we know. Our battle isn’t just on the outside with our physical condition. But also an emotional journey from within ourselves. If you resign yourself to not having the fire to do more than survive, you’ll exist in a pity pool party. We all have battles we don’t always share with each other. That’s fine. It’s ok to not share every detail. But also remember that it is ok to ask for help!

I’ll leave you all with a question to ask yourself…

What are we going to do next?

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Beauty trends in fall 

Hey Beautifuls!

Here’s a quick low down on the easiest beauty trends to embrace this winter party season!

Beauty

From smudged red lips to rosy cheeked the runway offers a fresh take on iconic looks. 

Smudged lips were sported on the models at Giambattista Valli, Temperley and Topshop Unique.

The Banana crease was highlighted as on the models of Oscar de la Renta and Mary Katrantzou.

Rose tinted from blush to magenta was the go to look at Bora Aksu, H&M, Oscar de la Renta and Temperley.

A Pared Back look ideal for daytime was seen at Dior, Dries Van Noten and Marchesa.

Smoky Eyes were the ideal choice at Elie Saab and Chloe.

As you can see below, the looks are so easy to achieve. I can’t wait to rock a smoky eye this Christmas… especially with glitter like Elie Saab!



Hair

The key looks that stood out were the beautiful back combing at Chanel, a crimped low pony at McQueen and a low scruffy chignon at Elie Saab. I love that the backcombing and the chignon allows for decoration to pimp up for a party style!


Have fun testing out the latest looks for your Christmas and New Year celebrations

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Autumn Winter Trends 2017

Hey Beautifuls!

Been doing my homework of reading magazines and websites, and watching strangers on the street… here’s my low down of the latest trends you’ll be spotting around town… and which are the easiest to include in your wardrobe updates! Best of all, there’s plenty of ideas to play about and have fun with! 

Street style

Denim skirts and shirts

You’ll spot this summer’s denim skirt teamed with tights and a chunky knit jumper for cosy Chic. Denim shirts are also back. Perfect under a jumper or with chinos.

Love these looks from Hiteoffashions and This is Glamorous

Oversized cardigans and jumpers

Oversized cardigans and jumpers are in. Whether it’s long and slouchy, chunky and thick, or a huge blanket. They can make a simple pair of jeans, a skirt or a dress autumn ready. Oversized slouchy style instantly updates that summer metallic maxi skirt, or Aztec mini teamed with a pair of converse or ankle boots.

Love these looks from Champagne and Chanel, and Luvv it


On the catwalk

Oversized has been spotted on the runways of Johanna Ortiz, Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, Temperley, Eudon Choi, and Brunello Cucinelli.

Opulent Floral was noted on the models from Roberto Cavalli, Christian Dior, Gucci, Erdem, and D&G.

Red was a hit with Fendi, Max Mara, and Victoria Beckham.

Plaid was checked out on the catwalks of Stella McCartney, Mulberry and Daks.

Metallics shimmered on the runways of Isabel Marant, Christopher Kane and Temperley.



The designers have utilised more than one key trend in their pieces to highlight how the pieces can be worn in more than one way or take you from day to night. I love how these key trends can be mixed with items already in your wardrobe for a quick update rather than needing an entirely new collection of clothing! These trends allow you to be as daring or a coy as you wish! 

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017



Dry Brushing For Lymphoedema & Why You Should

Hey Beautifuls!

Today I’m looking at the concept of dry brushing. If you have heard the term but haven’t got a clue, you are NOT alone!

What is Dry Brushing?

It is exactly what it sounds like. It is the use of a natural bristle brush over the skin in a particular pattern, usually towards the heart, mostly before showering. The reason you move towards the heart is that lymph drains around the chest and digestive areas.

Why do people Dry Brush? 

In the beauty industry, dry brushing is said to rid you of cellulite. However, it also boosts circulation, removes dead skin cells, stimulates the lymphatic system and removal of toxins.

How often should I Dry Brush? 

Some say every morning. My personal preference is around 3 times per week otherwise my skin feels too sensitive. Trial and error to suit you and your lifestyle. Start once a week then build up.

Do you use any products while Dry Brushing? 

There are 2 main ways to use products with Dry Brushing. The first is to shower before dry brushing using an oil on skin while brushing. The second is to Dry Brush, then shower then apply an oil or lotion. Again, it boils down to time allowances and lifestyle as to which suits you.

How do you Dry Brush? 

  • Don’t press too hard. You should be gentle and not break the skin.
  • Start at you feet and move in an upwards motion.
  • For you arms, start with your fingers and hands and move towards chest.
  • Use small, firm strokes in an upwards or circular motion.
  • When at your stomach, work in a counter clockwise motion.

Are there different brushes? 

There are different brushes. It’s recommended a medium-soft cactus bristle. If you are going to work on your face, buy a specific face Brush. If you buy a long handled brush, you can easily reach your back.

My preferences…

This is my personal preference as it suits my lifestyle and my needs. It is not me saying to you that you should do exactly what I do. Research and experiment what works for you!

  • I have a hand sized round brush which suits my tiny hands and is easy to store.
  • I prefer to shower or bathe first then brush with Oil. Lotion tends to soak too quickly to brush effectively.
  • The Dove Body Oil that I tried and tested worked really well for me when Dry Brushing.

I use this brush…

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I love this following Infographic that details about how to Dry Brush.

You can find more about this topic on my Pinterest board. Always consult a medical professional before starting any new treatment.

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Swollen, Bloated, and Puffy: Book Review

Hey Beautifuls!

The gorgeous Kathleen Lisson offered me a free copy of her book in exchange for a review. Obviously I snapped her hand off as it was on my book list! Kinesiology taping book owners… I’m looking at you… you’re on my list too 😜😜 hint hint 😜😜

I was so excited to open my package from Kathleen especially as she is a CLT. I couldn’t wait to discover her hidden gems of knowledge!


The book itself is so pretty. Each chapter is decorated with beautiful illustrations of herbs used for essential oils adding to the message of holistic health. The cover shows an image of berries on a branch reminiscent of lymphatic vessels and nodes branching around the body. The book as a whole is beautifully crafted with hidden messages to the reader, pointing them in the right direction- a direction that suits their lifestyle. If you need or want a book that will suit you or that you can tailor to fit your needs, this is the book you need.

Lisson’s book needs to be on EVERY Lymphie’s nightstand!

Her guide is a precious jewel for those who are new to managing lymphatic conditions and a great reminder for seasoned veterans! I wish I’d been given this when first diagnosed as a starting point to enable me to learn more about Lymphoedema and how to manage it daily without impacting on my spare time.

Not only does Lisson fill the book with information about Lymphoedema and the lymphatic system, it is full of handy hints and tips to approach conditions from an holistic viewpoint. Better still, she supports this with science and medical research… yes, all noted in her bibliography- great for nerds like me!!

From reading this, I’ve gained so much insight in to what else I could be doing to aid my Lymphoedema, for example deep breathing I’ll use at yoga but nowhere else. I’ve been encouraged by the book to want to incorporate this into daily life at lunchtime at my desk or in bed after a long day. These are things you forget to do over time or while spotting new ideas to try.

Lisson has taken the hard work out of trial and error. She knows time is precious and you don’t want to waste it. This handy guide is chaptered helpfully to allow you to dip in and out with ease. I was able to devour this guide in a few hours but have bookmarked what I want to read in depth (before handing over to my Lymphie nurse for a read… I did promise at my last appointment).

I love Lisson for not preaching. She writes with friendliness, dignity and class. As Lisson, too, has suffered with swelling she understands the frustrations that come with it. Also, it shines through that she practices what she writes which is refreshing compared to some of the more “stuffy” pieces of literature I’ve come across.

As a Lymphie I don’t care about how something works, I just want to know if it works. This book does just that! Obviously, you need some “how” but Lisson doesn’t overload you. She gives you enough insight without the tedious boring bits. It’s like the Tropicana OJ I’m drinking… full of sweetness and the delicious juicy bits, not the bitter pith like its competitors. It’s a breath of fresh air in the lymphiesphere. If you don’t already have a copy, you need one.

Here’s where you can find one!

Buy one here

Happy future reading fellow lymphies!

Lots of Love

L xoxox

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

A Letter To My 18 Year Old Self

Hey Beautifuls, 

If you are on my Instagram you’ll have seen that this month I celebrated my 30th birthday. I thought what better way to reflect on my condition than to write a letter to myself… a la Victoria Beckham.  So, here’s what I wish I could tell my 18 y o self: 

Hey Lauren or L as you’ll be known,

I’m going to try to keep this short, leave out the lessons you’ll learn. You need to make those mistakes on your own! BUT… If there’s 1 thing I could say to you, it’s this. You’re life isn’t going to turn out like you thought it would. You go through the normalities… graduate with a degree in English Literature, you then work in Housing Benefits and a PRU before graduating with a PGCE in Secondary English Education. You don’t have an easy ride though. Although you aren’t going to be married owning a house and kids at 30… You will meet the love for the rest of your life at 28. By 30, you’re planning your life abroad, together. You’ll never guess, but you’ll be a relatively successful blogger in the Lymphoedema community… practically a household name. The best part is that you’ll have made the most amazing friends who have the condition too. 

In terms of your Lymphoedema, it’ll fluctuate. It will be larger than you’ll ever expect. This will be because you got lost in the system and will be left without garments. BUT, you’ll eventually get a referral to a clinic in Newport where you’ll receive Multi Layer Bandaging. It’s here you’ll meet the professionals who change your life, attitude and leg. They are fab, they become like friends where you swap details of each other’s lives at each appointment. This will mark the start of your confidence. You start a trend of cutting 1 leg off your jeans for bandaging. It will be the start of you wearing dresses and heels for nights out instead of knee high boots. You’ll give up your palazzos and give up caring what people think of you. Your leg will eventually stabilise after a lot of hard work. And you stop noticing the stares as much. 

You go on holiday to Costa Adeje and take a photo of yourself in a bikini. This photo will go viral around the LE community of Facebook. You’ll be called inspirational and will trigger confidence in others. Your life completely changes over the last few years of your 20s- you finally take pole lessons and become rather good, you train in SHORTS at the gym, you drive an Audi TT convertible, have hand luggage always packed, a purse with 3 different currencies, a constant tan (real, not St Tropez) AND you go Brunette!! You change so much. So much so, you bump into your bullies and they don’t recognise you. 

By 30, you are so resilient and proud of yourself, you should be! 

You are a jetsetter… every school holiday sees you jet somewhere exotic- Dubai, Bahrain, Bali, Singapore, Paris… at one point you visit 7 new countries in a year. The places you travel are a little different to Ibiza and Magaluf with the girls. You eat at the most amazing restaurants- for Valentines Day your boyfriend books the Tasting Menu at Ossiano at the Atlantis in Dubai! Yep, you have so much to thank him for. He is amazing. You are so lucky! 

I’m sure you’re dying to know what you do for your 30th!? Put it this way, it’s so much better than your 18th! You wake up to huge, bright pink 30 balloons and banners through your kitchen. You have a Tasting Menu booked at Moksh, you have a Patisserie Valerie cake. Your gifts are insane- a Mulberry double Bayswater, tickets to see Lady Gaga in Zurich, a holiday to Mexico, an Olympus PEN camera… to list a few. 

Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your life turns out amazing. Better than you had EVER imagined! Just let all the rubbish that occurs never dull your sparkle or your hope. 


Lots of Love 

L xoxox 

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

Moisturiser Review: Palmers Coconut Oil Body Lotion

Hey Beautifuls! 

As promised… better late than never… my review of Palmers Body Lotion. The reason I chose Palmers is because So many people use coconut oil to moisturise but I don’t like the idea of rubbing coconut oil over leg. This seemed the perfect compromise! 


Looks

The bottle was a miniature trial size so looked very cute. The colours were those typical to the brand- white and brown, also reminiscent of a coconut. Doesn’t look amazing on my dresser, but it’s a classic brand to have on show in the bathroom.

First thoughts

On first application I loved the smell! It went on smoothly and absorbed well. It did stay tacky for a little while before it dried, but it wasn’t too long so that it was uncomfortable throughout the night and sticking to all surfaces and bedsheets. The next morning my leg still felt soft and hydrated. I didn’t need to use a lot for a small area which was lovely. A dollop the size of a 10p coin managed my lower leg- ankle to knee-without worry.

Final thoughts

After using for a few days my legs felt super soft. Definitely one I’m going to alternate with my usual Body Butter from The Body Shop. 

4.5/5

Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017

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