Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2013

This week (10th-15th June) it's Cervical Screening Awareness Week (CSAW), a UK-wide initiative lead by the charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. The aim of the initiative is to highlight the importance of attending regular cervical screenings (or 'smear tests') and to raise awareness of how this can help to prevent cervical cancer.

In England, cervical screenings are offered free on the NHS to women over the age of 25 (until the age of 64). In Scotland and Wales, it starts slightly lower at 20. Since 2008, the NHS have provided vaccinations against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to girls aged 12 to 13, which helps to protect them from developing cervical cancer in the future. If, like me, you missed the HPV vaccine, attending regular cervical screenings is your best chance to catch any cell abnormalities that could develop into cancer. 

We are very lucky in this country to have these services available to us. Yet 20% of women still do not attend their screenings. As young women, many of us believe we're too young to get cancer. Cervical cancer in young women is very rare, but it's certainly not unheard of - tragic stories such as Jade Goody's and, more recently, Becky Ryder and Gemma Marsh really bring the importance of regular testing home. 

I turn 25 in November, but received my invitation to attend my first screening just over a month ago. I attended my screening last week and am currently awaiting the results. For me, there was no question in my mind that I would go as soon as I could. For others, I appreciate there are many reasons it might not be that easy. 

Either way, this is the week when we should take the time to think about it a bit more, to educate ourselves and to encourage each other to get tested. To find out more about cervical screening there's a lot of great information on the NHS website here.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Artwork of the Week #8

Over the last bank holiday weekend, I visited an old school friend who lives in Wakefield near Leeds. As mentioned in a previous post, I've been dying to get there ever since The Hepworth gallery opened a couple of years ago. Hepworth is one of my favourite artists, and I'd just kept reading such great things about the collection and building. Although my friend isn't an art-lover like me, she very, very kindly (and with a bribe of coffee and cake) agreed to tag along with me. 

I actually really love going to visit museums and galleries with people who wouldn't usually choose to go by themselves. I find that explaining things and answering questions just reaffirms by own enthusiasm for it all!

The Hepworth Wakefield houses works by British artist Barbara Hepworth and from the Wakefield art collection itself, but also hosts a series of contemporary, temporary exhibitions, in its impressive purpose-built spaces. I have to admit I didn't particularly enjoy the temporary shows that were on when we were visiting. One featured an artist responding to works found in the permanent collection - personally, I think the original objects he was responding to were interesting enough on their own without the addition of flashing lights and droning noises... The other exhibition featured more traditional painting and drawing and was much more my cup of tea. However, my friend didn't agree and there was a lot of 'I could have done that', 'how is that art??' or 'it looks like a 5-year-old did it...' as we journeyed through those rooms. You win some, you lose some eh!

The permanent collection itself was really fantastic. A great and unexpected mix of British modern sculpture and beautiful paintings spread across bright and spacious rooms. There aren't hundreds and hundreds of objects, which I liked. It was possible to take everything in in less than an hour and a half, but there was also enough text and information to keep you occupied should you want to be there for longer. 

On top of all that, entry to the entire gallery (including temporary exhibitions) is completely free - bonus!

Here are a few of my favourite pieces in the collections. The gallery is open 10am - 5pm, Tuesday - Sunday and is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area! 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Primark online?!

Long time no blog post...I've been in a bit of a rut inspiration-wise over the last couple of weeks, but saw this article today that I just felt the urge to share!

Primark has finally joined the world of online shopping (at least for a trial period, and with very limited stock, anyway) on ASOS. I think it's about time it caught up with the rest of the market, and I'm very happy I might soon be able to leave behind the traumatic shopping experience of the Oxford Street branch! Let's hope the cheap(ish) prices and YouTube Primark hauls don't get left behind too though!

What do you think? Is an online presence for Primark going to be a good thing?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Review || Indeed Labs Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue

Up until last year, eye creams were always something that I neglected in my daily skincare routine. I never felt like I needed to spend extra money or incorporate yet another product when I could use my moisturiser of choice to basically do the same job.

That's all changed now though. As I'm going to be turning the ripe old age of 25 this year and I've recently started to notice a few fine lines developing around my eyes, I thought it was high time I invested in a good eye cream. 

I've used the Origins Ginzing Eye Cream in the past and thought it was OK, but I always felt that it leant more towards the make-up side of things than skincare (since it has light-reflecting properties that help to brighten the under-eye area). It never really seemed to do anything else. 

The Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue from Indeed Labs, on the other hand, really does. For me, it has really made a difference.

The cream itself is just as you would expect - a white, lightweight formula. I squeeze a very small amount (about half-a-pea size is enough for both eyes) on to my ring finger and pat it under my eye and around the sides, continuing with this motion until it sinks in. Almost immediately I notice a (not unpleasant) tingling sensation where I've patted in the cream - always a good sign that something's happening!

I've been using Eysilix day and night for a couple of weeks now and I've seen a definite improvement in the fine lines. When I use it in the morning, it also really helps to calm any puffiness. I haven't seen a noticeable difference to the darkness under my eyes but hey, 2 out of 3 ain't bad - and I'm very happy using concealer to rectify that issue.

It's not the cheapest product on the market - but it's also nowhere near to being the most expensive either! Since it works for me, I'm more than happy to spend that little bit extra. It retails for £24.99 and you can pick it up from Boots. Note: I did have trouble finding it in my local stores, but click on the link to find it easily online.       

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Artwork of the Week #7

Man Ray Self-Portrait with Camera, 1932
Picture: The Jewish Museum / Man Ray Trust
Last week I went to the Man Ray Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, during one of the gallery's late night events. Firstly, I thought the exhibition was very good. It showcases over 150 prints - including many that demonstrate May Ray's beautiful and characteristic technique of solarisation, and his relationships with artists and actors of the time. Great for a bit of celeb-spotting! 

The exhibition is displayed chronologically, across 4 or 5 rooms, which was the perfect size for an hour or so of evening viewing. It also wasn't particularly busy. I can see a packed space being detrimental to the experience of seeing these works, since the prints are hung at an unusually high height and are fairly close together. Since I'm quite little myself, this meant I had to stand a few feet away from the objects to avoid having to crane my neck up - this is all well and good when it's relatively quiet, but not so when there are crowds surrounding you, impatient and keen to get up-close to study the detail of the works. 

If you can make it to one of the late night openings, I'd definitely recommend it. Not only do you get a much more pleasant viewing experience, there's also always other events on for you to enjoy before or after - this week there will be a harp recital within the galleries, and on the 23rd May they will hold a discussion entitled 'Classy and Fabulous' considering Man Ray's stylish portraits of Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli. I always love the NPG's take on the late-night - it offers such a good range of events, whilst maintaining that slight touch of exclusivity and glamour that you just don't find during the day. 

For me, this is a must-see exhibition. It's heading into the final weeks now and will be on until the 27th May. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

My Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch

Yesterday, I was one very lucky (and spoilt!) lady. My boyfriend received his bonus from work a few weeks ago and wanted to use some of it to buy something for me. He was extremely generous, and now I am the very happy owner of this beautiful Michael Kors watch.   

I had wanted one of these watches for a while now and so had a rough idea of the type of model I was looking for. I have very small wrists though, so was a bit worried about the size of some of the ones I'd already seen in the collection. After a lot of searching online, I finally found this one in Ernest Jones - the model is MK5340, with a face diameter of approximately 35mm and a band width of approximately 15mm. I think it's just the right size for me and I love it in the rose gold colour. This is the first rose gold accessory I own though...I sense that some shopping for some matching items might be on the horizon soon!