StephLeaMead

Sunday, 13 October 2019

What is a Smear Test?! - And Outfit of the Day

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What is a Smear Test?! - And Outfit of the Day

Black and Red Floral Midi Dress - Primark - Similar here - http://tidd.ly/670f0108
Black Fishermans Knitted Jumper - Primark - Similar here - http://tidd.ly/c2b445f9
Black Faux Leather Belt - Pretty Little Thing - http://tidd.ly/74624692
Gold Chain Choker with Details - Topshop - http://tidd.ly/5be8645
Black Buckled Faux Leather Heeled Boots - ASOS - Similar here - http://tidd.ly/1a45fe22

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Hey girl, hey! 
Hope you're all doing super well and enjoying the gorgeous Autumn season that we're now in. It's my favourite season, and no not just because it's so aesthetically pleasing - but because Autumnal fashion is my favourite. Styling Summer dresses with chunky knits and boots? Yes please! 
Actually I don't know who I'm kidding, I literally dress not much different all year round...

Who else has been sipping on their pumpkin spice lattes, gone conker picking, picked up some pumpkins, got their Halloween costume ready and is looking forward to Bonfire night? This really is the best time of year, albeit expensive but it's all so much fun. I'm dressing up as a possessed Nun for Halloween this year, and I'm whipping out the liquid latex to make cuts on the skin look realistic... Wish me luck! I'll be sure to show you guys how it turns out.

So, if you follow me on Instagram at @StephLeaMead you'll know that I went for my first ever SMEAR TEST last week as I'm nearing the grand old age of 25 and before hand I was dreading it, but actually it wasn't bad in the slightest. It was over so quickly, the nurse was really nice and now I don't have to go for another one until three years time. 

I know a lot of people don't bother going to them because they don't think they are as important than they actually are, or they're too afraid, think it's going to hurt, are embarrassed, think it takes too much time etc. etc. so I'm here to teach you some truths... Let's go!

Every single year, around 220,000 British women are diagnosed with some kind of cervical abnormality when they have these smear tests, and in 2016 alone 854 people died from cervical cancer. 

Having a smear test can detect these various abnormalities or cancerous cells that you may or may not have in time to treat them without potentially getting really sick or dying. The sooner you find out about it, the better, so don't delay the test. Chances are, you won't even have anything wrong with you at all, but it is so much better to be safe than sorry!

So, what actually happens at your smear test? A lot of people don't actually know what happens, they just assume it's scary and the nurse will see your vagina and stick something up there which will be painful and just no. This isn't it at all!
So they'll ask you a series of questions such as; when was your last period? / Are you pregnant? / Are you on any contraception? / Have you had a smear test before? etc. 

Once they've asked all of these questions and weighed and measured you if they have to (Not everyone does) they'll then ask you to get undressed from the waist down, and pop yourself on their examination bed. 
When you're on there, you'll need to lay down on your back with your knees bent upwards and legs apart. After you're comfortable (Or as comfortable as can be in that situation!) they will take the plastic or metal speculum with a lubricant around it, and place it inside of your vagina. When it's inside the nurse will slowly open your vaginal walls slightly, just wide enough for the brush to be inserted. Once this is done, the brush will go to the back and touch your cervix, where they'll then twist the brush a few times to collect the cells that sit there.

That is literally it. Personally, I didn't feel any pain whatsoever, just very slight discomfort from the speculum opening at first, but there was absolutely nothing to fear at all. They will send your sample off to the lab and when the results are back within a few weeks, they will send you a letter if it is all OK, or phone you so you can make another appointment. 

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Tips - Wear a skirt or dress so you don't have to get fully undressed. I wore a dress and just lifted the bottom part up and took my shoes off. So much easier!

If you feel uncomfortable, ask them to talk you through each step, they will be more than happy to do so!

You will be given a paper sheet to cover up if you want, but if it will make it easier and more comfortable, take a blanket to cover up with more. They won't mind, as long as it doesn't get in the way.

If you're a sexual abuse survivor / disabled and will find it hard to cope with, let them know and they can accommodate you. You can bring someone with you, they can have a chaperone join you, and can also give you extra time.
 
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See how easy it is? Nothing to worry about.
If you have any more questions, feel free to message me on Instagram, I'd be more than happy to put your mind at ease.
Now, go book your appointment!
Lots of love,
StephLeaMead X

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

BIRCHBOX SUBSCRIPTION BEAUTY BOX GIVEAWAY!

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BIRCHBOX SUBSCRIPTION BEAUTY BOX GIVEAWAY!
Hello everyone!
Hope you're all well, and are looking forward to my favourite holiday ever Halloween and then of course Christmas!
So I've teamed up with a few lovely UK based beauty bloggers to give you the chance to win an awesome prize of a 6 month Birchbox Subscription and also a beauty bundle to treat yourself just in time for Christmas. (You need a holiday to get over the stress of organising it sometimes, am I right?! I can't give you that but a few beauty treats will heal the pain I'm sure, haha!)
 If you want to enter the competition, it's right at the bottom of this blog post... Just scroll on down and follow the entry steps, have fun and good luck!

 See all of the vegan and cruelty free goodies they have on the website; here - https://www.birchbox.co.uk/search/vegan

If you're interested in beauty boxes, see one I've recently reviewed here - http://www.stephleamead.com/2019/07/petit-vour-vegan-and-cruelty-free.html



Meet The Bloggers


The Beauty Bloggers teaming up to bring you this fabulous giveaway are all listed below. Make sure to check out their blogs for amazing content covering everything from beauty reviews, to tutorials and how to save money on your monthly beauty hauls...













The Prize


1 Lucky Winner will win themselves a 6 Month Subscription to Birchbox as well as a Beauty Bundle also supplied by Birchbox.

Rules


  • This giveaway is open to UK residents only
  • The giveaway will run from Tuesday October the 1st to Thursday October 31st
  • The winner will be drawn on Friday the 1st November
  • You must complete at least one of the entry options to be entered into the prize draw
  • Anyone who unfollows before the giveaway ends or doesn't complete the required entry action will be disqualified.
  • The prize is non transferable, non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for monetary value.

How To Enter


You can enter via the Rafflecopter entry system below. You can complete as many of the entry options as you like. The more entry options you complete the more chance you have of winning.

Have fun and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watch out for my Christmas giveaway where I'm showing you where to get the coolest gifts and a chance to win an Etsy gift card! Coming soon!

Love,
StephLeaMead X

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Petit Vour - Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty Subscription Box Review

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Petit Vour - Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty Subscription Box Review

Hello lovelies!
   Have you ever tried a subscription box before? I have tried a few before, including categories and themes such as art, food and vegan goodies, but Petit Vour is my first all beauty based cruelty free and vegan subscription box.

I love the concept of subscription boxes as you never know what you're going to get before you've opened it so it's like a present to yourself that gets delivered right to your door every month. The majority of the time I've had a box like this, I've never even heard of the brands or products inside of it so you're trying out something completely new which is great to find new favourites to add to your beauty regime! Get ready, bank balance, because there were some treats in here!...


There's three major key unique selling points of this box which I'm super pleased about; firstly, the fact that everything you get is 100% cruelty free and vegan is amazing. I've always had my eye on Glossy Box but the items you receive in there aren't animal friendly so it's not something I'd ever go for, so this is an amazing alternative. The slogan 'Be bold, be kind' is printed on the delicate dusky pink box, and also 'The créme de la Cruelty Free' is on the other side, which gives it a lovely aesthetic touch.
Second, all of the products are brilliant value and the price of the box is so much cheaper than if you were to buy each of the products individually. You save so much money but get some full size products in it. Each box contains around £40-£50 worth of items in it, yet the beauty boxes start at just £20 a month.
Last but not least,  you get free products thrown in to your box on top of the four beauty samples that are already in there. This month, I got a black Antonym eyeliner pencil and sharpener which would have been £14 if I had brought it myself, winning! Also, if you buy a subscription box and add any beauty products that they sell online from previous boxes, they combine the shipping costs so you're basically getting free postage and packaging. Great if you've had something in a box before and wanted to purchase it after falling in love with it.




So, what was in this months July 2019 box?
On top of the free gift I mentioned earlier, I received a Terre Mére eye shadow base which is smudge proof and anti-aging retailed at £28 - Really loved that I get to try this because I love eye shadow bases and primers (it's a staple if you wear eye makeup, seriously) and I've been meaning to check out some new ones. (Yes, I can confirm, it's amazing!)
I also got to try out Kálos after hours soothing night cream. Now I'm not the best with night time skin care, and my regime definitely needs work. After trying this I'm definitely going to invest in this brand or similar like it. The smell of the products itself was beautiful, and it made my skin feel gorgeous.
The next treat inside the cruelty free box was the French Girl Organics 'Lait De Rose' which is a vitamin C polishing facial wash, which was my favourite item for sure. It exfoliated my skin so well, made it feel super soft and smelt like posh perfume, it's a yes from me.
Lastly, I had the Ursa Major Bright & Easy 3-minute flash mask. I was gutted at how small this product was just because it was so incredible. It promises to make your skin feel firmer and it literally did just that! It's supposed to make your face appear more clear and vibrant, and I'm sure if I was to use this again and again it would help. Maybe this is another product I'll have to buy to try again? I think so...


This is a subscription box I'd 100% recommend, especially if you're wanting to try out new products, someone who is transitioning over to all cruelty free and vegan products, or you're just wanting to treat yourself!
Have a little peak at their website, here - https://www.petitvour.com/pages/the-cruelty-free-beauty-box
You can check out the beauty subscription boxes, have a gander through the products they sell online which were featured in their previous boxes and also browse through other treats such as essential oils, water bottles and home ware.

If you order one, let me know what you think! I'd love to know which products you end up getting and loving!
Thanks for reading, see you soon,
StephLeaMead X

Sunday, 9 June 2019

My New Hair by Amy Smith at Identity Hair, Northampton. ¦¦ Review

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My New Hair by Amy Smith at Identity Hair, Northampton. ¦¦ Review

Hello, lovelies!
So as you can see from the above before and after pictures (Or after and before as I've put it the other way around, haha) I've had my hair treated and transformed by the amazingly talented Amy Smith who is a hair stylist in the Northampton hairdressers Identity Hair Salon.
To be totally transparent to you guys, this was a gifted cut and colour in exchange for a review and social media pictures, but my opinions will always be honest.
Amy and the salon have super kindly given me a discount code for you to use if you book in, so quote Steph20 for 20% off of your appointment!


As my hair has been damaged before from bleach that I've done myself I didn't really want to have it done again just yet, plus the bleach that they use at the salon isn't vegan, which to me is super important being vegan myself, though I know that won't be an issue for everyone. If, like me, you want your cut and colour to be 100% cruelty free and/or vegan just let Amy know and she will tailor this to your needs!
We started off by washing my hair as the hair dye we used, Crazy Colors, needs to be applied to damp hair. I normally don't like this part of the hair dressing experience, I find it quite awkward and not relaxing like people normally say it is, but I actually didn't get this awkwardness that I would usually. I think it was because Amy was so lovely to talk to about everyday stuff, it was literally like talking to a friend. As you're with your hairstylist for a fair few hours, this is something that I find important, especially as I suffer with anxiety, finding somewhere and someone that I find comfortable is brilliant.
My coffee with oat milk and a Lotus biscuit whilst waiting for my hair to dry! 
The colour palette that we used on the base of my hair, going from dark to light. Dyes by Crazy Colors
For the base of my hair we used a range of pinks, going from a dark on the natural part of my hair, blending into a lighter pink on the parts of my hair that had been previously bleached and dyed pink but faded, and then finishing off the ends with a bright pink fuchsia shade.
Then the surprise! Two hidden strips of rainbows underneath a few layers. On this part of the hair transformation, Amy put a long strip of tinfoil underneath the length of hair and then painted each colour dye in sections, literally like a rainbow. We had red, blue, purple green and yellow going down the hair strip, which I love showing off to people! Just in time for pride month as well!
After the rainbow section was complete, another lay of tinfoil was added on top to protect it from the pink dye so it didn't mix, then the rest of the hair was dyed the three different shades of pink. Now time for it to develop! Perfect for another cuppa, magazine read and to listen to the music they had playing there. (And to listen in on other peoples conversations, anyone else do that? I'm such a people watcher haha)
Viola. Here's the finished product! After it developed, it got washed and conditioned, dried and then straightened and styled. I couldn't believe the outcome, it was so super bright and felt lovely and healthily soft. Considering we didn't bleach it as well, the hidden rainbow part came through incredibly well. Amy is such a hair Goddess!
After my experience at this salon and Amy herself, I honestly don't think I'd consider another hair salon, I would just go straight here. The only one thing I wish was different about the salon itself, is if everything was cruelty free and vegan, I'd be 100% over the moon, but I've never managed to find a salon like that. As long as they can tailor my hair treatment to be cruelty free and vegan then I'm happy!
This salon is so aesthetically pleasing as well. In the waiting area there are gorgeous chic pink arm chairs to relax in before your appointment that gave me serious home decor inspiration. If only my partner liked the colour pink... Haha.
They also have this beautiful flower wall absolutely full of purple, pink and white roses which is so perfect for those Instagram pics. I think this is such a fabulous idea, every hairdressers should have this!
On top of doing hair, you can also get your nails done, massages, facials and much more in their spa rooms. I didn't realise how big the Salon actually was until I had a little wonder around!
Overall, I'm massively pleased with my hair, Amy and the salon. I'd recommend this place to anyone, and I'm going to continue coming here. I'm sure you can see from the pictures what an amazing hair stylist Amy is, especially with colours, so if you're wanting to experiment with colours on your hair I'd definitely book in to see Amy Smith. Check out her Instagram by typing in her handle, or clicking it here - @Amy.Smith.Stylist (See if you can spot me on there!) and also the Salons own gram - @Identity_Hair_Beauty  - Remember to use code Steph20 if you're booking and want a little percentage off!
Thanks so much for reading guys, I hope you enjoyed seeing my new hair being created!
See you soon,
StephLeaMead X
@StephLeaMead

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Outfit of the Day ft. Finding a Lump in my Boob

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Outfit of the Day ft. Finding a Lump in my Boob
Black Fluffy Jumper - Primark - Similar here (Boohoo via ASOS) http://tidd.ly/43efb4f
Black Fishnet Tights - Primark - Similar here http://tidd.ly/4920b35c
Black Western Belt - Pretty Little Thing - http://tidd.ly/3d265b42
Leopard Print Midi Dress (Worn as skirt) - River Island - Similar here http://tidd.ly/be88dbf0
Glittery Black Socks - Topshop - http://tidd.ly/837e8623
Black Chunky Platform Sandal Heels - KoiFootwear - http://tidd.ly/32c652ea


   Hello, lovelies!
How are you guys doing? Hope you're all well and have lots of cool stuff planned!
I love this outfit that I'm wearing here, it's quite a simple one when first put together, but styling the jumper with the double western belt (These belts remind me of my dad! #Styleicon haha) and adding the fishnets under the glittery socks makes it a bit more edgy, you know? Cringe at that word, but I can't explain it any other way, it just is, haha.
I'm attempting to wear my existing clothes more often, wearing them different ways by styling pieces together that I wouldn't normally, and trying on things that I haven't worn in ages rather than buying something new that I probably won't wear again a month down the line. I'm saying no to some fast fashion. Hello, more eco-friendly me! I've actually already made a lot of steps to be more kind to our planet, I'll do a blog post soon on what I've done, and how you can help the world too, soon!


So, how did you start your weekend? I kicked mine off with a little trip down to the hospital. Cute, right?
So rewind three weeks and I was having the best time in a hotel shower (Stop it! Not like that, I was literally just enjoying the pressure of the shower and how big a luxurious it was, haha) and I suddenly noticed that my right breast had grown. On further inspection I noticed it had just swollen on one side... Ok, let's feel around more... A lump. That's not normally there, right? Ignore it, I thought, it's probably nothing, so I did that whilst I was away, until I got home and I got my partner to check it out for me, because if anyone knows your boobs it will be your partner!
He always calls me a hypochondriac, so when he felt it and confirmed there was a lump and he told me to go to the doctors, I knew I had to go.

Fast forward one week, and I'm sitting in my GP waiting room. I wasn't actually worried about it that much, as I'd researched it a bit beforehand and confirmed what I thought I already knew, it's probably related to hormones, I'm too young to be at high risk of breast cancer, it's fairly normal for your breasts not to feel totally smooth and round. I know you shouldn't google and diagnose yourself (Headache? Great, Medilink and the NHS website says I have brain cancer and I've got a week to live... Just my luck, haha) but I was being logical, it's fine...
My doctor said the exact same thing too, then when he examined them, he referred me to the hospital just to be extra sure. Better safe than sorry, right?

Two more weeks go by and I'm at the hospital. The staff were very lovely, and so informative. The doctor examined them again (Good job I'm not body shy ha) and got me to lift my arms individually so he could see how they looked, felt them and he said it was most definitely hormones, but to confirm this he wanted me to have an ultrasound on them, so off I went into another room to have this done. She scanned over my right breast and confirmed that there was definitely nothing wrong, and that it's just the age I am, hormones, growing etc. and showed me on the screen what I could feel, but said if I had any worries or concerns to come right back.

So, I'm all good! Healthy Steph. Basically, what I'm trying to say is, if you find anything strange and unusual, don't ignore it, because you may not be as lucky as me. Don't ignore it for the problem to get worse, just book that doctors appointment and get a second opinion. Check your breasts and balls and whatever else regularly. Get familiar with how they look and feel, and don't be too shy to get down to your Drs and query anything. The whole process is not as daunting as it might seem.

Check out the CoppaFeel! Website here for any information - https://coppafeel.org/
And guys... http://be.macmillan.org.uk/Downloads/CancerInformation/Easyread/MAC16321How-to-check-your-balls-(testicles).pdf

Remember, check for lumps and bumps!
See you soon,
StephLeaMead X

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Snakey Outfit of The Day ft. Primark, River Island and ASOS

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Snakey Outfit of The Day ft. Primark, River Island and ASOS

Lime Green Midi Snake Print Skirt with Split - Primark - Similar from New Look here http://tidd.ly/305ab5ff
Black Chain Patterned Tights - ASOS - Similar here http://tidd.ly/7922ead9 
Patent Black Platform Flat Boots - ASOS - Similar here http://tidd.ly/ece5c527
Black Bardot Off the Shoulder Long Sleeved Top - River Island - Similar here http://tidd.ly/4aa85e59
Black Thick Choker Necklace - Primark - Similar here http://tidd.ly/61e156e4
Belt with Silver Hoop in Black - PrettyLittleThing - Similar here http://tidd.ly/3cb33aaf
Mandala Dot Work Shoulder Tattoo - by Sophie Jess at Fat Fugu in Northampton


Hello lovely people,
  I'm wearing a colour, and a bright one at that, what is going on?! It's normally all black everything most of the time, and to wear something pretty neon is weird for me haha. I love this trend though, animal print is my favourite and I love the contrast of the bright greeny yellow on black, uber cool.
I got this skirt in Primark, and they actually had this in a top and a dress as well. I got it in the skirt as I thought it'd be easier to style and more versatile. I love Primark at the minute. Well, all of the time to be honest, but they're so on point currently. Have you guys seen the biggest Primark that's just opened in Birmingham? I think the Barbers and beauty station is a bit random, but I hope the Disney cafe has vegan options because that is so cute and I need to visit!

I visited a Salon in Northampton that I'm going to be getting my hair dyed at called Identity hair & beauty salon, and I'm so excited to have a new look on my hair. I'm staying pink, but with a twist. Watch this space! If you want to get your hair done there, I'll have a discount code for you to use soon, I'll let you guys know what it is when I get it. I'll be getting treatment from the lovely stylist Amy who is actually vegan as well, and has the coolest hair ever! Here's a link to her Instagram if you want to check it out https://www.instagram.com/amy.smith.stylist/

So, let's talk Game of Thrones... Did you watch the first new episode of the last ever series of GoT? What an introduction, seriously. I won't put any spoilers in here either because that is the worst thing, but I got so emotional. I was so happy to see Arya and Jon reunited, and cannot wait to see what they both get up to throughout this season. Also, Sansa is such a sassy bitch, and I feel like I've only just realised this but she has been the whole time... And I'm starting to feel off about Khaleeesi, though she has been a firm favourite of mine since the beginning. Let's see what happens!

See you next time, thanks for reading,
Love StephLeaMead X

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Outfit of the Day, Mental Health and Northampton FAMFest

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Outfit of the Day, Mental Health and Northampton FAMFest


Hey beautiful people, how are you?
   So this Primark dress is actually a night dress, because f**k the rules, am I right?
I absolutely adore all animal prints, I don't know if you can tell from this zebra print dress and the yellow and black snake skin bag haha, but I saw this dress on Instagram and I fell in love and literally searched a lot of Primarks for it. I finally found it in the London Oxford Street store and grabbed it so quick!

These photos were taken in Northampton town centre in the underpass that used to lead up to the old bus station there. It used to be an eerie, dark place that you'd try to avoid but some amazingly talented artists have adorned the walls with their gorgeous art work and it looks incredible!
There was festival there to showcase the graffiti from artists such as Uncle Stubble and bring the Northampton community together. They had henna and glitter tattoo stands, food business selling pizza, bubble waffles and a local company called BoxFood who do amazing vegan food. I've had their quesadilla at a vegan festival once and it was gorgeous. They also had DJs and singers doing spoken words which sounded so inspiring and moved me.
It was all set up by Norfamton which you can check out here, especially if you're local to me! - https://www.facebook.com/norfamton/

Focusing more on Uncle Stubble's latest art installation there; It's a beautiful tribute to Keith Flint who recently tragically committed suicide. He was only 49 years of age, and had suffered from mental health for a long time. Depression doesn't care how successful you are, how much money you make, how loved you are or anything along these lines. Depression doesn't let you think of yourself as worthy, won't let you see that family and friends love you dearly, or anything else logical. As a mental health sufferer myself, I understand this way too much than I'd like to admit sometimes.
If you're having thoughts of suicide or self harm please, please seek help. From your family, friends, GP, Samaritans, CALM, Papyrus, even me. If you want to drop me a message just to relate to someone, take your mind off of things, anything; I'm here.
More people are there than you think, trust me. You. Are. Loved.

Thank you Uncle Stuble for raising awareness in Northampton about this important issue - Check his work out here. https://www.facebook.com/Uncle-Stubble

Lots of love to you all,
Thank you for reading, it's very much appreciated.
StephLeaMead X
https://instagram.com/stephleamead