My ‘Big Burlesque Day Out’ fun!

Elle Du Jour at Big Burlesque Day Out 2014

Elle Du Jour with her beautiful purple fans

After Lea Rice’s lovely guest blog post about London Burlesque Festival‘s Big Burlesque Day Out last year, I was very excited when one of my Foxy Burlesque students shared a Facebook message about booking a stall at this year’s event.

Me and my Foxy Burlesque stall

Me and my Foxy Burlesque stall!

To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but booked a stall and decided I needed to make sure what I had on offer was different from everyone else. I wanted to promote Foxy Burlesque courses and workshops etc, but decided to sell a couple of things too, so opted for my Foxy Burlesque DVD ‘Take It Off’ and some gorgeous burlesque cupcake toppers care of my wonderful friend Kirsty Low from CakeyBake Ltd.

Chaz Royal & Betty D'Light

Chaz Royal & Betty D’Light

The day was held at Conway Hall in the Holborn area of London, so really central and I have to say, it was a truly lovely way to experience London Burlesque Festival. You get a hall full of gorgeous burlesque stalls with items to browse through and purchase, plus a great line up of festival performers strutting their stuff on stage.

 

Chaz Royal is the man behind London Burlesque Festival and his beautiful Mrs, performer Betty D’Light, is the lady behind The Big Burlesque day Out. It’s her ‘baby’ and she did a fantastic job organising and hosting.

Artwork by Madams Pinups

Artwork by Madams Pinups

My fellow stall holders had some wonderful things to share and sell, from stunning burlesque art by Madams Pinups, Rian Hughes, Saffron Reichenbacker, to accessories and beautiful sparkly pasties by Yurei, Scandalicious, Noir Collective.

Plus vintage clothing and lingerie by Pimp My Pants, through to bespoke costume designers including NIXON Point, Chameleon Couture and Miss Odelia Opium and even the fabulous Burlesque Baking book by Restoration Cake.

And while supping prosecco and spending a very rare day out with my hubby we met some lovely people and sold a good number of DVD’s and toppers and got to enjoy the fab performances too.

Burlesque Baking book by Restoration Cake

Burlesque Baking book by Restoration Cake

There were 10 different burlesque performers putting on the show of which my favourites were:

1) Elle Du Jour, all the way from Dallas, Texas who came on stage in a beautiful blue satin cape which doubled as isis wings.  She then danced beautifully with huge purple ostrich feather fans, before finishing her act doing the splits!

2) Violet Blaze, who is taking the burlesque world by storm at the moment, literally had us all eating out of the palm of her hands.  She was AWESOME!

Colette of Colette & Willy

Colette of Colette & Willy

3) Colette & Willy, a rare duo, were just captivating.  Willy playing the accordion and telling a story of the beautiful Colette as she tantalised us all with her beautiful fan dancing.

4) And last, but very much not least was the wonderful Bruise Violet. We have seen her perform a few times now and she is always a real treat to see.  A proper cheeky minx! So cheeky in fact that at the end of her dance she held up her fans to cover herself and pulled off her pasties and cstring and threw them off!

Pasties by Yurei

Pasties by Yurei

What a great day!

Thanks so much Betty D’Light!  It was a great success!

So if late night London performances are tricky for you to get to and back from, last train panic etc, I highly recommend you look out for next year’s Big Burlesque Day Out. You really can’t go wrong. xx

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Isabella Bliss – Our Modern Day Starlet!

Isabella Bliss burlesque performerI’m sure I was not the only audience member at Cue Tease‘s Summer Striptease who fell a little bit in love with Miss Isabella Bliss.  You may well have read my blog post ‘My 5 Summer Striptease Favourites’ about it, at the time.  For me it was the her classic elegance and glamour that captivated me.  So, intrigue got the better of me and I decided to get in contact with her to find out more and share it with you all!  You lucky things!! 

Tell us a little about your background?

I live and grew up in sunny Essex and I am one of four kids, I have two little brothers and a little sister. They love what I do but also think I’m mad!

Isabella Bliss belly dancing

I had a love of dance at a very young age and attended ballet, tap and modern dance. I also became carnival Queen at the age of eight and kept titles for many years from junior queen to senior Queen, which involved attending events and competing in competitions demonstrating elegance by way of curtseys and speeches in front of a judges panel.  This helped me with my posture and poise and I won a fair few trophies.  I was a majorette as well, so I guess you could say I enjoyed entertaining from a young age.

As I got older I took up belly dancing lessons which I loved and I performed in a troupe and solo. I very much enjoy the history and the culture of this beautiful form of dance. It comes in very handy when I travel to various countries where it’s a tradition. I always get up with the belly dancer entertainer and have fun. I believe dancing is a universal language; an expression of women’s empowerment.  Its such a beautiful thing.

Isabella Bliss Face of LondonI have also been a beauty Queen winning various titles including Miss Universe Essex, Face of Essex and I’m the current reigning Face of London.

Being a beauty Queen is not all pretty dresses and titles you get the opportunity to help people, something I am very passionate about. I dedicated a lot of my time to work very closely with various charities including Strongbones Children’s Charitable Trust, Rainbow Child Foundation, and Headway Brain Injury Association. I do fundraising days and hospital visits or volunteer for the day centres.  It brings smiles to people’s faces just spending that bit of time showing you care.

Isabella Bliss charitable work

‘Me with the Handsome Jack’

To date I have raised £7,000 for the various charities also including Cancer Research and True Heroes. I have also competed twice internationally in world pageants where I was placed in the top 10 in the world both times.

How did you get into burlesque?

I got into burlesque through striptease. I learnt to pole dance from my friend Lisa as a bit of a laugh. She had taken it up as a fitness class and we had some funny girly night’s practicing new moves. I wondered what it was like to pole dance in a real club and be a striptease artiste. So, in one brave move, I went to a club and asked for an audition. Although I had good fun and enjoyed pole dancing, I never really fitted the stereotype, I was always trying new looks trying to find myself and be different.

I worked in the striptease industry for a while and it was fun, but I often wondered how we got there. How did this pole dancing and strip tease all start?  It had to come from somewhere.

Isabella Bliss burlesque performer

So I started researching through the decades and found this marvelous thing called Burlesque. That was it ,I felt like I found myself. I spent hours late at night watching and researching the legends online.  I wanted to learn as much as I could about this amazing art form .

I found out that burlesque was having a massive revival and there were now many burlesque clubs in London, so I started going to some shows. I would watch and learn as much as I could and before long I started work on my own style and character, to build Isabella Bliss.

I found it difficult at first, as, at that time, burlesque in the UK was very comical, alternative or edgy and I knew I was non of those things. I liked the old classical style of performing the glamour and the elegance, recreated by people like Catherine D’Lish. I had to be true to myself and what I liked so I created Isabella Bliss around all the things I loved. Taking inspiration from the classic legends like Sally Rand and Lili St Cyr. I also was deeply interested in the Moulin Rouge and Persian show girls. I loved the glamour and spectacle of it all. I remember being a little girl and hearing about the Moulin Rouge and being in awe of it all. I was lucky enough a few years ago to go to Paris and experience the Moulin Rouge and it was simply amazing. Everything I thought it would be and more.

Isabella Bliss MIsabella Bliss My Fair LadyI also grew up watching a lot of all singing all dancing Hollywood movies like ‘Singing in the Rain’, ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blonds’ and ‘My Fair Lady’. (‘My Fair Lady’ photo by Chris Ashkettle Make Up by Maddie Robins)

I love the elagance and class of the era.  Everyone looked smart and women really knew how to dress.

I adore Marilyn Monroe for her understanding of feminity and sexuality. She would spend many hours studying body language in her early days. She didn’t just turn up and was a star, she worked hard at it for many years perfecting herself. She showed people of that era that it was ok to be a woman and be sexy and that being a woman is something to be celebrated.

Now, when I’m creating my costumes, I always put on a good classic film to relax to. They inspire me, help me find my inner Hollywood movie star. Something I try my best to channel when I perform. My inner ‘Marilyn’, as it were.

How long have you been performing?

I have been performing Burlesque for 14 months.

Isabella Bliss Feathered KissesAfter working on my costumes and acts I got my first opportunity to perform through a friend. They run an agency called Actz Entertainment I had asked to go on the books but they said they don’t get any call for burlesque, but I persisted.

I was out for my birthday family meal when my birthday cake came out. I blew out the candles and I wished with every part of me to get my first performance opportunity. Living proof that birthday wishes come true, within the hour our friends at Actz called me and I had my first show. After that there was no stopping me.

That first show was at The Egg in Camden for a charity burlesque show.  I loved it.  I was nervous, as would any one be, but also super excited, to be finally doing something so beautiful that I love.

I’m not nervous about going onto the stage, I get more nervous as I want to get it perfect, and wow the crowd. I’m a terrible perfectionist and I’m always striving to achieve more. I spend many hours and days before shows rehearsing to make sure I’m hitting the beat and giving the best I can.

London Burlesque Festival 2014What’s you biggest ‘burlesque’ achievement to date?

Performing and appearing in the Hit E4 TV Show The Drifters and being selected for London Burlesque Festival 2014.

Favourite performance to date?

Performing for Cue Tease.

Which of your acts do you enjoy performing the most?

Oh god, that’s a hard choice.  I love all of them as they are so different. They are all equally fun to do, but create different reactions. My ‘Feathered Kisses’ fan dance  is lovely as people find it really moving to watch. I think it’s magical when you create something that moves people in a way they do not expect. (Red fans ‘Feathered Kisses’ picture above by the talented Czarina Josef Images. Also on Facebook)

Isabella Bliss All That Glitters

But I also enjoy doing ‘My Fair Lady’ too, she’s a great act. I love the costume and its a honour playing homage to Audrey Hepburn who was sensational on the screen.

I design all my own costumes and love putting crystals on everything. I like to challenge my self to how extravagant I can make each costume.  They are just getting bigger and more opulent. The costume I’m currently working on is based on the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergere.

Who most inspires you?

Catherine D’Lish has sex appeal by the ton and makes it look effortless I love that about her. Dita of course, plus she’s a great inspirational business woman. She has achieved so much for herself and for the world of burlesque.

Isabella Bliss as Marilyn MonroeI also adore LouLou D’vil. I did a workshop with her and she is such great woman. Her stage presence is sensational and her performances empowering.

I am however inspired by many people not just those within the burlesque scene. Movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly and of course the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergere show girls.  (Isabella as Marilyn – photo by the talented Czarina Josef Images. Also on Facebook)

Cue Tease Burlesque Soiree De JeuWhere can we see you performing in the near future?

In the coming months you can see me at the Latest Cue Tease event ‘Soiree De Jeu‘ and I’ll be performing at The London Burlesque Festival on  Tuesday 20th May at The Hollywood Revue Show. Later in the year I’ll be in a very special show in my home county at the world famous Circus Tavern.

Tell us 3 things about you which very few people know: 

I used to do Jelly Wrestling.

I secretly love Disney Movies and Disney Land.

I enjoy travelling.

Most embarrassing moment

I was doing a charity collection at a boxing show in full beauty queen gear, dress, crown sash, the lot and I was invited into the ring to speak about the charity. I misjudged the distance between the stage edge and the edge of the ring where there was a little gap and I fell into it! Very funny. I got a round of applause and I think it helped raise more to be honest, as I made them laugh. I am a bit of a klutz sometimes. x

Now ladies and gents, if that hasn’t got desperate to get your behind to Isabella Bliss’s next performance, then I despair!  You clearly missed out on the ‘Burlesque Glitter & Glamour’ gene!

Whether you can be there or not, I think you will all agree with me when I say ‘what a lovely lady’.  It really has been a pleasure dealing with her and I certainly wish her every success in her future career.

If this has inspired you to give it a try yourself, we have new Foxy Burlesque beginners burlesque courses starting first week of April. Click here to find out more and book your place.  Don’t forget if you can’t get to one of our venues, we can always run an intensive course for you in your area, if you have a group of ladies interested, or we also do private lessons and hen parties.

You can keep up to date with Isabella Bliss on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and through her website.  Enjoy!!  Lxxx…

Foxy Burlesque at Madame Jojo’s for ‘Up Yer Bum’!

Up Yer Bum logoMadame Jojo's SOHO LondonFoxy Burlesque have performed at a number of charity events over the years, but never before have we been invited to perform at Madame Jojo’s in SOHO London! YES, I did just say Madame Jojo’s!  The one and only!!

So, as I’m sure you can imagine, I jumped at the chance.  The fab event we are going to be part of is ‘Up Yer Bum’ a very aptly named event raising money for the very worthy charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

So, what is ‘Up Yer Bum’ in the words of the organisers:

‘We hold the “Up Yer Bum” Charity Cabaret as a fun way to raise awareness of bowel cancer and to provide entertainment in the process. The Acts are amazing quality, the compere great fun and the event offers many “oooh’s and aaah’s”. We have stupendous singers, dazzling dancers, cracking comedians and brilliant burlesque. All Acts are kindly donated by some smashing people who are willing to give their time and talent to a good cause.

Originally planned as a “one off”, we were delighted with the success of 2011 and on the night many people wanted to know the date of the next event… Which made us realise, we should do it all again and again!’

So, how did ‘Up Yer Bum’ come about?

Beating Bowel Cancer logoDeborah Puxty-Ward does a lot of volunteering for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity and has done so for over 5 years now, following a diagnosis herself at only 29yrs of age.

Please take the time to click and see Deborah on You Tube explaining how Beating Bowel Cancer helped her.

When you’ve done that, I know, like me, you will feel passionately about supporting this wonderful event and charity.

Foxy Burlesque nipple tasselsMy gorgeous Foxy Burlesque girls are rehearsing hard, so the seven of us would love to see you there!

PS: Yes we will be twirling our tassels for you! 😉

The event details?

Up Yer Bum event flyer‘Up Yer Bum’

Madame Jojo’s, 8-10 Brewer St, Soho, London, W1F OSE

Sunday 16th February 2014

4.30pm Doors Open, 5.30pm Show

TICKETS

Check out ‘Up Yer Bum’ on Twitter and drop by the ‘Up Yer Bum’ Facebook Page and Event, if you get a moment.  All likes, shares and mentions, greatly appreciated! 🙂

See you there! xxx…

Blitz Party!

Annie and Carlo at The Blitz PartyWhen my very beautiful and lovely Maidstone Foxy Burlesque student Annie Prosser, told me about her night out at The Blitz Party recently, I knew there would be lots of people interested in hearing about it, so I was delighted when she agreed to do this guest post for me. Thank you Annie! x

Blitz Party buntingOnce a month on a Saturday night in the brick arched streets of Shoreditch you’d be forgiven for thinking an era of old had returned as tea dress clad gals and uniformed chaps wait patiently, beside the sand bags, for the start of the Blitz Party. And last month to celebrate my birthday I joined theses eager enthusiasts for a night back in time.

Blitz Party swing bandA well-established London theme night this may be, however, like many others it is not. Once inside, the Blitz Party offers an authentic and atmospheric night that any vintage devotee would be proud to attend. With Spitfire as the ale of choice and bright bunting to set the mood all that is left is to get the guests dancing. Music on the night is a mixture of well-known classics and super live entertainment from an exquisitely turned out swing band. It was hard not to move my excited feet to each jazz filled beat!

Blitz Party LondonIt didn’t take long to loose all memory of the oyster card I’d travelled with, the iPhone map that had directed me to the venue or the website I had bought my ticket from – Blighty were fighting and I was cheering them on. As the air raid sirens sounded and the cocktails were sampled it turned into a night like no other. Conversations with new friends started over uniforms, I had found an immaculate wartime QARANC uniform at the War and Peace show months before for the occasion, and finished with talk of relatives and history – all of which fitted beautifully with the mood of the night.

When the time came for the night to end the rush of emotions I felt confirmed that it wouldn’t be too long before my victory rolls and stockings made their way back to the Blitz Party again.

Tea lights at The Blitz Party

Make sure you check out The Blitz Party website.  It’s looks amazing!  The next event is their NYE party.  Not a night to be missed, I imagine! Grab your tickets now, while you can!  Oh and if you do make a plan to get to one of their fab evenings make sure you get yourself to a Foxy Burlesque Vintage Make-up Workshop and Vintage Hair Workshop first, so you can truly look the part! x

(Black and white photos taken by Paul Hyland.  Colour photos taken by Annie)

My experience with Brazilian Blow Dry to relax very curly hair

Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton after Brazilian Blow DryI have naturally VERY curly hair!  So curly, in fact, that if it’s just left to be it’s natural curl, my hair would never grow past my shoulders as the curl just seems to get tighter and tighter.
Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton pre Brazilian Blow DryMy solution for a long time was to have it relaxed by having perming solution combed through it, which was fantastic the first time, but as the process was repeated to relax new hair coming through, the already relaxed hair would end up treated again.  Over time this resulted in hair that would just snap if I scrunched my hair in my hand.
I remember vividly the horror of being told my hair was in such bad condition I would need to have it short and grow out all the treated hair.
It took a very long time growing it again as it grows in such tight spirals, but I eventually got there, I think about 2.5yrs down the line, if I remember correctly, and it was at this point that I was told there was a new relaxing product I could try which would be much kinder to my hair.
…And so the cycle started all over again.  The good news was, it was much kinder to my hair, but it was still being re-treated all the time which meant I ended up with nicely relaxed hair at the roots and straight hair at the ends, which I would then spend my time trying to scrunch into some kind of curl to match the top.  It was a mess…
I then had my two babies and through pregnancy and post pregnancy I had huge amounts of hair loss, so my hair was actually a whole lot more manageable and it gave me plenty of time to grow out the treated hair once again.  Thankfully without the need of a drastic cut.
The last thing my then regular colourist in London said to me after my last relaxing treatment was, make this the last one, grow it out as long as you can bare it for and then no more relaxing.  I think you should try having a Brazilian Blow Dry on it instead…
So after my babies, I decided I needed to find a more local hair dresser who could do this ‘Brazilian Blow Dry’ or ‘Brazilian Blowout’ for me and I was recommended Yasmin Brockbank at RUSH in Tunbridge Wells and I have not looked back since.
I have now had this treatment done a few times and learnt a lot along the way, so I thought I’d share the findings in a hope that it would help anyone out there with really curly unmanageable hair, who wants to stay curly, but with manageable curls.

The Brazilian Blow Dry theory:

Foxy Burlesque Laura Lawton's hair before Brazilian Blow DryWhen hair is dry, frizzy and/or damaged the hair cuticals are raised like fish scales. The keratin used for a Brazilian Blow Dry goes into the gaps and works like a polyfiller which smooths out the scales and dramatically improves the condition of the hair so it is much easier to manage.  Many people don’t even need to use conditioners afterwards due to the huge improvement made.

The Brazilian Blow Dry process:

1) Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton Brazilian Blow Dry process just washedYour hair is washed with clarifying shampoo to remove all oils and product so it is properly clean
2) Your washed hair is brushed/combed through (I’d recommend brushing it through before washing it, as well, as this makes the brushing through after the wash a little easier)
Foxy Burlesque's Laura Lawton Brazilian Blow Dry after rough dry3) Hair is rough dried with a hair dryer
4) Next taking small sections of hair, the lotion is applied and combed through root to tip. The lotion is pure manmade keratin.

Brazilian Blow Dry manmade keratinThe one used on my hair is ‘Nanokeratin System Hair Therapy Treatment‘.

5) The lotion is then kept on the hair for 45mins to absorb into the hair cuticles

Brazilian Blow Dry keratin soaking into hair

6) Taking small sections at a time the hair is then blow dried straight using a medium round brush. This dries the lotion in to the hair. The steam at this point, which I think some people mistake for smoke, is just residue from the product. This steam from the product used on my hair doesn’t really smell of anything, though apparently some people don’t like it. Maybe different makes smell different. There are many different ones.
Brazilian Blow Dry blow drying keratin into hair7) Sections of the hair are then straightened.  Each section being straightened for up to 7 times to make sure it is as smooth as possible. This seals the product into the hair. Special straighteners have to be used at this point. They have titanium plates, not ceramic, so the heat stays in the plates.  They are also extra hot, getting up to 230 degrees and are used on the hottest setting.
Brazilian Blow Dry straightened hair8) At this point your hair salon experience is finished and you leave with silky dead straight hair, but the hair now has to stay straight, using no hair clips or bands and you must avoid any humidity and damp environments for the required period of time (3 days if you are wanting a straight hair result. 1 day if you are wanting a relaxed result, so hair is still curly but not as tight a curl as previously)
9) After the required time (see above) wash the hair and style as normal.

The result:

Brazilian Blow Dry resultSo, I washed my hair after a day and a half and I am so pleased with the result.  My hair is shiny and silky.  It feels and moves like hair should, whereas naturally my hair is so curly and dense, is just doesn’t move like hair.  It is now a much more manageable and more attractive curl.  Plus, when I want to create a vintage style for a Foxy Burlesque performance or shoot, it is much better to work with.
The reason why this works so well for relaxing curly hair, is it lasts for three months (depending on how often you wash your hair), so when you have the treatment redone, the entire length of your hair needs the treatment again, rather than just the roots.  So, no repeatedly treating the longer sections of your hair.
The other great news is, it doesn’t affect you having your hair coloured you just can’t have it coloured in the first week following the treatment.

A little bit about Yasmin Brockbank and RUSH:

RUSH Hairdressers Tunbridge Wells Yasmin BrockbankYasmin started out in an apprenticeship and has now been hair dressing for 7yrs and for the last 4yrs, she has been at RUSH. Yasmin trained with RUSH to do the Brazilian Blow Dry. They give 1 day salon training and then have refresh training and updates 3-4mthly. For RUSH this treatment is very popular and growing in popularity all the time. I was surprised to hear it even works for people with fine hair to help it feel thicker.
I think the thing that says it all is Yasmin has Brazilian Blow Drys herself! It always fill me with confidence when someone practices what they preach. For Yasmin it works really well reducing frizz, and it reduces her hair styling time from 1.5hrs to 45mins! That’s a selling point for any Mummy, surely! Basically, it’s brilliant!!
So if you are frustrated with crazy curls and/or frizzy hair I couldn’t recommend having a Brazilian Blow Dry more.  If you are also fortunate enough to be in the Tunbridge Wells area, you should definitely get yourself to RUSH to see Yasmin.
(RUSH pricing is £150-£200 depending on the length of your hair.)

Botox! Why the big secret?

(I am going to apologise now, about the awful photos of me, with no make-up on, looking truly shocking.  Cannot believe I am going to share them, but hey, here goes.)

I am quite horrified by the fact that I turn 38yrs old in November, when in reality I don’t feel any different to how I felt when I was 25yrs old.  One thing I have noticed however, is that since having my two babies (now a 2.5yr old crazy lady and a desperate to walk by himself 10mth old baby boy) I spend a great deal of time frowning.  The fact that I have been massively sleep deprived for months is a large contributing factor (our son has only just started sleeping through the night) but also just the challenging day to day of trying to get little people to comply has resulted in much frowning. In fact, I think more frowning time than not frowning time.

Laura Lawton frowning before botoxFor years my Mum has said to me, ‘don’t frown, you’ll give yourself wrinkles’, but more recently ‘don’t frown, you ARE giving yourself wrinkles’ would have been more appropriate.

I’ve been lucky in that I don’t have lines on my face yet, but I was getting frustrated by make-up collecting in the lines where I frown, giving the impression of wrinkles that I don’t even have yet.  It was becoming more and more clear that the lines I have when frowning, would be a permanent feature if I didn’t relax a bit or get a little help.

So, Botox………..what’s it really all about?  My friends and I have joked about needing it, but I decided maybe it wasn’t a joke anymore and I needed to look into it, so I booked myself a consultation at the Skin & Laser Clinic in Tunbridge Wells.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Skin & Laser ClinicThey are market leaders in facial aesthetics and anti-aging.  I made sure my appointment was with the Clinical Director and Cosmetic Doctor, Dr Nina Sheffield, who I have dealt with before.

I read their website information about Botox, which I found really helpful, so have a read yourself. Still, there is nothing like sitting in front of a professional to get the information and reassurance you need.

My Botox Consultation

I have to say I was a bit nervous as I’d been told if I was happy with what Nina said, I would be able to have the treatment straight after the consultation, as it only takes 10 minutes.

Laura Lawton smile lines round eyes, before BotoxSo, in I went.  Nina is such a lovely warm and approachable lady, so had me at ease straight away.  I showed her my frown, raising my eyebrows and smiling, for her to see the three typical Botox areas and she confirmed Botox would help in all three areas to prevent me giving myself wrinkles.

I have to say, my biggest concern was what it would be like afterwards.  Being able to move my face and express myself in a cheeky way, is vital for Foxy Burlesque courses.  How am I going to teach ladies to use their faces to express themselves and tease their audience, if I can’t show them how to do it?

Nina reassured me I would still be able to move my eyes and mouth and express myself properly in that way, but that no I wouldn’t be able to frown or raise my eyebrows anymore…. It was a concern, I have to say.

The really important thing that Nina explained to me was that I should think of wrinkles in the same way as a bruise.  If a bruise was continually being knocked it doesn’t get a chance to go, just as skin which is regularly being creased in the same place, doesn’t get a chance to smooth out and in time the crease becomes permanent.  By having the Botox you can no longer crease your face in those typical areas and so the skin has a chance to smooth out. Fantastic!! Can it really be that amazing….?

What really made me smile was when I asked Nina if she has Botox.  Her answer was ‘of course’ and then explained that every one of their therapist has it too.  In fact I would apparently be amazed by the number of woman and also men that have Botox, but for some reason it seems to be a secret thing that no-one talks about, but so many people are having.

Nina explained some very important aftercare points:

  1. You MUST keep your head up (so no lying down, looking down at a book or laptop etc…) for 4 hours after treatment.
  2. No vigorous exercise for 24hrs.
  3. No facials, exfoliation or massage to the areas treated.  Make-up application and gentle make-up removal would be fine, but nothing requiring more pressure for 10 days post treatment.

I had appointments with the hygienist and dentist straight after, so I knew having the treatment would have to be another day.  Also it would give me time to have a good think before taking the plunge.  So, before I left, I booked my treatment in for the following Monday.

The freakiest thing happened as I left; I got a message from a distant friend asking me if I’d ever had Botox or if my friends had, as she was thinking of having a consultation. Now I have never before discussed it seriously with anyone and at that point didn’t personally know anyone who has it, that I could have talked to myself, so this was beyond strange.

I filled her in on my consultation experience and she soon after booked her own, local to her.

My Botox experience:

So the big day arrived.  In the week leading up to it, I had thought long and hard, but decided to just go for it.  If I couldn’t express myself as much as I wanted or needed to after, it would wear off before long and I could then be more particular about areas I wanted done next time.

Before anything could be done Nina went through the aftercare with me again and I completed the necessary forms.  I didn’t have any questions, so Nina got to work.

Laura Lawton Botox injection marksFirst she wiped the areas clean and took photos, then she used a white marker to mark the areas where she would be injecting.  Some areas are more sensitive than others (round the eyes and between your eyebrows), so Nina gave me an ice pack to hold to the area right before injecting, to help make it more comfortable and to reduce the risk of bruising.

The needle used was tiny (30g) and each injection only lasted about 3-4 seconds.

Laura Lawton of Foxy Burlesque having Botox injectionOnce the needle was removed each time Nina wiped the area clean of any blood and the white dots, which were no longer needed.

I was a little alarmed to see in the mirror that each injection point now had what looked like a hive, so I had a bumpy forehead, but Nina explained it was perfectly normal and the liquid takes about 10-15mins to disperse.

For anyone reading this who may be concerned about my mention above about blood, don’t worry, it was only a tiny bit.  I did ask Nina about it though and got the following advice for people:

  • If you are on your period it will be more painful, so it’s worth avoiding that time if you have a low pain threshold.  Also at this time you bleed more and are therefore more likely to bruise.
  • If you are taking Aspirin, your blood will be thinner and again you will bleed more and are more likely to bruise.
  • Likewise if you are very nervous and your blood pressure is high.

Laura Lawton of FOxy Burlesque straight after BotoxOnce the final injection was done and the area wiped clean, Nina applied Arnica gel to soothe and calm the skin more quickly.

And that was it! All done! It was just a case of waiting to see the results gradually take effect.

My BOTOX results:

I have to say for a couple of days I did experience the very mild headache described in the Botox information on the Skin & Laser Clinic’s website, but that was it and it certainly wasn’t bad enough that I needed to take anything for it.

Laura Lawton of Foxy Burlesque after BotoxOtherwise, it was just the pleasure of seeing the change slowly taking effect.  In all it took about four days and each morning I would wake up and look in the mirror and see the difference from the day before and have a little hop, skip and jump with joy!

Here is a picture of me post Botox and with some make-up on, I’m sure you are pleased to see!  There are definitely less creases round my eyes and my forehead and between my eyebrows are noticeably smoother and more relaxed (well they are to me, anyway!).

Oh and for those of you who have read my semi-permanent make-up posts (I have had my eyebrows and lips done), I have no lipstick on in any of the pictures in this post.

My Botox conclusion:

IT’S AMAZING!  I LOVE IT!

No I can’t frown or lift my eyebrows enough to crease my forehead and when I smile I don’t crease my eyes as much as I was doing, but yes I can still express myself very well and don’t feel my ‘burlesque face’ has in anyway been hindered (THANK GOODNESS!).  I look happier and more serene.  Just asked my hubby and he says I look more relaxed.

One massive completely unexpected bonus on top of the new non-frowning face, is my face IS relaxed and calm.  It’s made me realise just how much tension and stress I was holding in my face before. It’s so nice and refreshing to not feel like that anymore.  I just need some Botox in my shoulders, neck and back now and I’ll be completely chilled out!

I gave my friend my feedback and told her to go for it, so she went for her consultation and had her treatment there and then.

So, Botox…Why the big secret?

We know all the celebs have Botox and we all think they look great.  We spend our time looking at pictures of them in magazines, wishing we looked as good as them, yet somehow, there is a stigma for us non-celebs…?

Once I started talking openly about Botox, I was amazed how many people then opened up, that they either have it, want it and/or know friends who have it.  It seems everyone is having it! …….But no-one talks about it, until someone else does.  It’s a bit like the commuter trains.  No-one talks to each other, until they have a clear shared topic of conversation such as a massive delay.

My friend’s feedback on her Botox is much like mine.  She is delighted with it and feels much more confident.  BUT, she has only told her mother-in-law.  Her hubby doesn’t even know, though she was delighted a day or two after treatment when he told her she looked younger.

I asked her why she hasn’t told anyone and she said much what I feel myself, ‘it’s nobody else’s business and people can be very judgemental’.

She is a Mummy of two, but she is also a very successful woman, who keeps herself fit and healthy and takes great pride in doing the best she can with what she was given.  How is that a bad thing?  Yet like her, I feel people will judge me and think I’m vain.

I actually feel a bit sick about posting this out for everyone to read, but I’m doing it as I hope it helps anyone who is thinking of having it, to just go for it and not care what anyone else thinks.  If it makes you happy and you feel great and it’s not hurting anyone, how can it be a bad thing?

Go for it, it’s bloody wonderful!  Also, if you are local, then I couldn’t recommend Nina at Royal Tunbridge Wells Skin & Laser Clinic more.  She is wonderful, highly qualified and experienced and a truly lovely lady.  They also offer many other treatments, so definitely worth looking into ladies.

4 of the prettiest things spotted at the Big Burlesque Day Out

Gold fringe Candy Belle corset

Guest post by Lea Rice – www.thehighteacast.co.uk

The Big Burlesque Day Out was the penultimate event held at the ten day long London Burlesque Festival. It’s a burlesque bazaar that brings vendors together to flog their wares to this glamorous performing community, politely interrupting glitzy shopping sessions with fashion shows, comedians and – of course – performances from the best showgirls on the circuit.

Ever the magpie, I have a wish list as long as your arm simply packed with beautiful, sparkly things spied at the Big Burlesque Day Out. If anyone’s looking to treat me to something any time soon, please cast your eye over this list…

Vintage inspired candy Belle corset

Betty D'light candy belle corset

Rocked by the siren-haired host of the Big Burlesque Day Out, Betty D’Light, Candy Belle’s pink and pearl corset was the star of the show.

This event was Candy Belle’s launch day, and considering the attention this £300 beauty received… I think they’re going to be an outright success. Not to mention their gold fringed number was paraded up and done the corset to rapturous applause (see above). Keep your eye on these guys!

Recoco Rock Deco Dress

Recoco Rock Deco dressAvailable in black or red, this dress knocked the socks off of the crowd.

Its gorgeous wiggle shape and cage style straps made it one of my favourite things I saw all day, and the best news is that it retails at a very reasonable £65. Made by Recoco Rock (who incidentally also do a fabulous line in summery watermelon patterned garments), I’ll be investing in this brand next time I need a sexy, eye-catching dress for… well… anything really!

Heart of the Glamazon Tasseled Empress pasties

Cheap pasties break easily, but paying upwards of £30 for them seems really steep if your whole working life isn’t dedicated to cabaret and burlesque.

Heart of the Glamazon nipple pastiesThe latter is the kind of price tag I was expecting from the Tasseled Empress stall, but to my surprise and delight their prices mostly seem to range between £10 and £20. Their website doesn’t do justice to the amount of different pasties and tassels they make so it’s best to catch them at a fayre if you can. They also do bespoke pasties if you’ve got a specific act in mind with a small budget.

Holloway Smith Noir Red Vintage Lace Eyemask with Feathers

 …For those with the luxury of a large budget however, Holloway Smith Noir is the place you need to be.

Holloway Smith Noir Red Lace Mask 2 FeatherKnown for creating bespoke pieces for the likes of Miss Polly Rae and other burlesque superstars, every single item they sell glitters with jewels and drips with class. Their eye masks recently hit new levels of popularity with the burlesque blogger world, and the Red Vintage Lace Eyemask is up their with my favourites. If I were a rich lady, all of my burlesque accessories would be coming from this place. You can’t tell me you’re not tempted…

Need somewhere to show off your sexy new garments? Check out the next Foxy Burlesque class dates and twist those new tassels!