FASHION I SAY YES TO YELLOW!

We know it’s the colour of our blog here at the F Words, but YELLOW is also the hottest (and happiest) colour to wear this summer. Whether you are a lemonade and lime punch type, or you're a more full-bodied colour kinda girl, and prefer a rich egg-yolk hue, there is a shade of yellow for all skin types.

This week, I tasked our German intern Nikolina Baulch with finding her faves, from bananas to buttercups and sunflowers to sweetcorn. Here are her top picks of the bright cheery colour that sweeping insta with sunshine

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Rhianna who sets the yellow trend wearing a yellow twinset by Oscar de la Renta.

Here are some of our fave yellow items right now… Click on the pict

   



 

FOOD | PORK TO FORK - MY NI PORK COOKING EXPERIENCE

As many of my regular followers and readers know, I don’t eat a lot of meat (maybe only twice a week), but when I do, it has to be local and fresh and I like to know its provenance. 

So recently I took part in a cookery challenge with NI Pork and their ambassador Andrew Smyth of Great British Bake Off fame - and when I say I took part, for full disclosure, I must admit that I joined the entrants at the beginning for canape making and a pork cooking techniques workshop with Andrew and then opted out of the actual competition as I had to get home to mummy duties… But that said, I did cook up the salad, and the Parmesan crusted pork chop recipe at home using some of the ingredients supplied by NI Pork on  the night (see all recipes below) and they were delicious! You might recall Esme Hogget’s line in the movie Babe, when she said ‘Pork is a nice sweet meat’ - and it really is, especially when enhanced by marinades and paired with great vegetable and fruit accompaniments. 

 I was joined by fellow bloggers on the challenge including:  Jayne aka @lifewiththedempsters, Hama aka @indianblonde, Lynne aka @eatingideas, Zoe from @belfastlive and of course Andrew is at @cakesmyth. Check them out on Insta!   

I was joined by fellow bloggers on the challenge including: 
Jayne aka @lifewiththedempsters, Hama aka @indianblonde, Lynne aka @eatingideas, Zoe from @belfastlive and of course Andrew is at @cakesmyth. Check them out on Insta! 
 

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The NI Pork logo on a product means that the animal has been raised locally as well as being processed here - plus, the quality is really optimal. We have some great piggeries and pork companies here, and it is always good to support local farmers. 

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It turns out I was supporting local farmers before I even realised it, but in another way. I remember when I was a little girl we’d have a large bucket out the back for food scraps and wastage which ‘Billy the pig man’ would collect once a week to feed the pigs on his small farm. I remember putting cooking apple and vegetable peelings in as I helped mum prepare Sunday lunch, and breakfast toast crusts & egg shells in there on busy school mornings. My mum was so organic and green back then and I didn’t even appreciate it. I know some of you will criticise this for health & safety reasons, but I wish we had more Billy-types now instead of knowing the incredible amount of food waste that exists across Western society. One way of avoiding waste and food miles is to shop for local pork, and you can find NI Pork branded products across all Spar, Tesco and LIDL stores in NI.

NI PORK RECIPES

 

 Pork Flatbreads with Mediterranean salad and minted yoghurt

Pork Fillet
Flatbreads
Tomatoes
Red Onions
Natural Yoghurt
Mint Marinade
Olive Oil
Lemon
Garlic
Thyme
Oregano

Salad

Leaves
Olives
Feta

Steps

Mix marinade ingredients.
Slice pork into chunk.s
Pork into marinade bowl.  Mix.
Skewer pork.
Onto griddle.  4 mins each side approx.
Yoghurt – into bowl, chop mint. Mix.
Assemble – flatbread. Pork. Onion. Tomato. Yogurt.
Assemble Salad and serve.

Lemon, Basil & Parmesan Pork Chops

4 pork loin chops
Olive Oil
Bunch of Fresh Basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
50 ml lemon juice
1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

Salad

Leaves
Avocado
Bacon

Steps

Mix Olive oil, basil, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a bowl.
Combine well. 
Griddle pork chops few mins each side.
Spread chops on baking tray.
Place herb mix on top of chops – sprinkle parmesan cheese   on top to cover.
Grill for 10 mins until cheese is golden brown.
Serve with salad (griddle bacon, slice avocado, assemble)

Pork medallions with pistachio crust and sauteed apples

2 slices pork tenderloin
2 tbsp pistachio nuts, shells removed, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ Bramley apple, cored, cut into 3 wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
15g/¼oz butter
100g/3½oz sweet potato, peeled and chopped

Steps

Place the pork loin between two pieces of cling film.
Flatten out the pork with a meat mallet or the end of a rolling pin, until 1cm/¼in thick.
Place the chopped pistachios onto a clean flat surface.
Press one side of the pork onto the pistachio nuts, to coat, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan, add the pork, apple wedges and the sweet potato and fry until the pork is golden-brown on the underside.
Transfer the pork to a baking tray and place into the oven to roast for five minutes, or until completely cooked through.
Meanwhile, continue frying the apples and sweet potato, until cooked through and golden brown.
To serve, place the pork in the centre of a plate with the apples and sweet potato arranged around it.

 

FACE | Dad’s The Word - The ultimate gift guide for Father’s Day

This Sunday we’re celebrating Dad. From being there through all of those big, life-changing moments & standing by your side through every little thing in between, there’s no doubt about it that the best dad deserves the very best gift this Father’s Day.

But men can be hard to shop for, I mean with no ‘Saved for Later’ baskets or Instagram #inspo to direct us, coupled with the fact they seem to have absolutely everything along with a disinterest for dropping any sort of hints (or perhaps us ladies just make gifting too easy…) - it is safe to say that finding the perfect gift for dad (or husband/baby-daddy) can often be a tall task.

So to help get you started, we have chosen some of our favourite gifts to make saying thanks this Father’s Day that little bit easier…

First up, are these super-luxurious Clinique gift sets which include a trio of products at a great price. And if that isn’t enough, all of Clinique’s products are also allergy tested and 100% fragrance-free, so even the most sensitive of skin can feel the benefits.

Clinique Daily Hydration Kit £26.99

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This trio of daily face products includes Clinique For Men’s Charcoal Face Wash (50ml), Cream Shave (60ml) and Moisturising Lotion (100ml) and is perfect for men with drier skins. The customised formulas will keep skin feeling super smooth and comfortable whilst the smaller size makes it the perfect travel companion.

The Charcoal Face Wash draws out pore-clogging dirt and excess oil, while the Cream Shave provides a rich buffer against razor drag and nicks - ensuring dad gets the perfect shave each and every time.

The full-size Moisturising Lotion delivers weightless, all-day hydration leaving skin super healthy-looking and revitalised. For something a little bit extra, another alternative to this would be the Clinique Daily Intense Hydration Kit £36.99 which swaps the Moisturising Lotion for a full-size ultralight Maximum Hydrator which delivers a 179% moisture boost for instantly plumper skin.

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Clinique Daily Oil Control £26.99

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This set of customised formulas keeps skin clear and shine-free. As well as the Oil Control Face Wash which thoroughly cleanses and removes excess oil and the luxurious Cream Shave you also get a full-size Mattifying Moisturiser which delivers lightweight, oil-free hydration – plus, it helps skin stay matt all day long. 

Also from Clinique is the Daily Age Repair Kit £33.50, which includes the Charcoal Face Wash, Cream Shave and full-size Anti-Age Moisturiser. This trio works together to combat lines, wrinkles and dullness to deliver a younger, revitalised look.

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Next up, we head over to Lab Series which does great skincare for men. Their best-selling High Performance Duo set (£37.00) includes the Multi Action Face Wash (100ml) and the PRO LS All-In-One Face Treatment (100ml) which work together for powerful results – everyday skincare has never been easier – perfect for dads that are always on the go!

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Another top pick is The Grooming Oil 3-IN-1 Shave & Beard Oil £27.00 which is a triple-blend grooming oil that delivers an all-in-one solution for shave and beard care. Sea Buckthorn Oil, Jojoba Oil and Sweet Almond Oil blend with vitamins and hydrators to tackle each grooming need including; pre-shave, shave and beard, improving manageability, smoothness and shine.

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Why not help dad stay protected this summer with the brand new Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 (£31.00)? This lightweight, invisible daily moisturiser with SPF and Hydra-Endure Technology helps combat the visible effects of sun, dry climate, and pollution – environmental damage that can lead to dehydrated skin and premature aging. The product is also suitable for use on bald heads.

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So, now that you’ve found the perfect gift, it’s time to get gifting! Happy Father’s Day!

 

FITNESS: BREAKING THE TABOO WITH GENEVEVE

If you follow me on social you'll know that recently I underwent the Geneveve treatment with consultant uro-gynaecologist Dr Patrick Campbell. (www.drpatrickcampbell.com ) I made a video of the treatment which you can see here... (and below the video is the text from a Belfast Telegraph interview I did about the treatment and my reasons for doing it.)

A Belfast-based businesswoman tells how talking to some of her closest female friends about the health issues they faced after giving birth persuaded her to go public about having a non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation treatment, writes Stephanie Bell.

A leading figure in fashion and PR in Northern Ireland has attempted to shatter the taboo on the damage which can be caused to women’s bodies by childbirth.

Cathy Martin (45), who has a six-year-old daughter Valentina, has posted a series of videos on social media explaining a revolutionary new procedure called Geneveve which she herself underwent in a private clinic last week.

The non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation treatment carried out at Cosmetech Maypole Clinic in Holywood aims to treat vaginal laxity, help with stress and urinary incontinence and increase sensation and sexual satisfaction.

The treatment, which costs £2,295, has been transforming the quality of life for hundreds of women who have struggled for years with a variety of issues caused by giving birth.

Cathy, who enjoys a high profile on social media and through her company CMPR, was invited to be part of an online campaign to inform women of the treatment and how it works after posting a very successful video of herself having a mammogram two years ago.

Over 55,000 people on social media viewed the video of Cathy getting a mammogram and encouraging women to check and look after their breasts. The response was so overwhelming that Action Cancer’s phone system crashed over the course of a weekend.

Initially approached by Cosmetech Maypole Clinic’s consultant gynaecologist and subspecialist urogynaecologist Dr Patrick Campbell to undergo the procedure, Cathy was naturally hesitant about going public on an issue that is so personal.

But then the Belfast Fashionweek director, who lives in Holywood, spent some months discussing it with her circle of girlfriends — and was shocked to discover just how many of them were suffering from symptoms.

She says: “I didn’t really think it was for me and I wasn’t sure if I could go public about something that is so private.

“The consultant Patrick had seen my mammogram video and he asked if I could help him to educate people about issues on incontinence and laxity down below.

“I was hesitant and decided to do some research of my own.

“I spent a few months talking to lots of friends over dinner and coffee and I was surprised and horrified by how many of them said they had been affected by childbirth.

“I don’t wee when I laugh or when I go to the gym, but was surprised how many of my friends do.

“What I found was that for most mums, thankfully, birth means a baby — but we need an honest conversation about what birth can do to some mothers because it can also mean wounds and tears, and for some it can mean uncomfortable sex, incontinence or prolapse symptoms that last for years afterwards.

“I learnt that lots of women were struggling in their daily lives despite pain and degrading symptoms. And they felt they couldn’t talk about it — even to their husbands.

“I think there is almost an acceptability that it is okay to be damaged because you had a baby — and this is wrong. For example, I had one friend tell me that she suffered post-natal depression and total disconnect from her baby for a year, which she now believes was because of physical damage incurred in childbirth. Others’ marriages and relationships suffered because they didn’t want to have sex anymore as it was too painful or just not pleasurable.

“I realised it was a big issue affecting women in their 30s and 40s and with the vaginal mesh scandal, and all those horror stories that came out around that, I thought it would be good to get word out that there is a pain free and very quick one-off treatment available.”

Cathy posted her first video a few days ago on Instagram where within 24 hours it was viewed over 5,000 times. She also posted it on Facebook.

She followed it up with a second video of herself at the clinic before and after she underwent the procedure.

Vaginal tissues, just like the skin, change over time. Childbirth and ageing are two of the most common reasons why collagen support fibres lose their strength, leading to vaginal laxity (looseness), often associated with stress urinary incontinence.

Millions of women suffer silently with these problems, often resulting in loss of sexual sensation and satisfaction, loss of confidence and embarrassment.

Called Geneveve, the procedure is painless and takes about 45 minutes. It uses radio-frequency deep-heating energy to stimulate the body’s natural collagen formation process.

Cathy says that while she feels fortunate not to have any incontinence issues after the birth of her daughter, there are other benefits promised by the treatment which she feels aren’t talked about enough.

She says: “I do have a strong enough pelvic floor but I would have bladder issues getting up to go to the toilet during the night.

“There is also the benefit of the tightening of the vagina which means that you benefit sexually too — and that’s no bad thing!

“It is taboo to talk about sexual pleasure, but it’s a fact that if you are experiencing sexual pleasure in a loving and fulfilling relationship, you will be happier and more content in your life. It is good for your overall physical and emotional wellbeing.

“And yes, I am not afraid to say there are benefits to looking after yourself sexually.”

Cathy, who is in a long term relationship, found the procedure painless and said there was no discomfort.

A small treatment tip, about the size of your thumb, is inserted just inside the vaginal opening. The tip is rotated as it alternately cools the surface and heats the soft tissue beneath.

Treatment takes about 30-45 minutes and it is a few months before you feel the full benefits as it takes time for the body to respond by generating new collagen and elastin in the vaginal opening. Women feel the full effect of the procedure after 90 days.

Dr Patrick Campbell says: “Research has shown that 90% of women treated with Geneveve report statistically significant vaginal tightening and sexual satisfaction. This research was carried out in four different countries and included women who were given a placebo (dummy) treatment. This study has provided firm evidence that Geneveve is an effective treatment for vaginal laxity.”

Mr Campbell adds that Geneveve is also proven to be an effective treatment for urinary incontinence too, with recent research from Canada reporting over 90% improvement in symptoms of stress incontinence, with a further study about to get under way in the US.

He adds: “Many women are now hesitant about undergoing invasive surgery for stress incontinence so I am delighted to be able to offer this safe and effective treatment option to women who attend my clinic. The treatment is painless and delivered in a single session which takes between 30-45 minutes. There is no down-time so women can get back to their normal activities straight away.”

Not everyone might be suited to the treatment. Your consultant will determine if Geneveve is right for you given your medical history.

However, you should not consider Geneveve if you have an implantable pacemaker or an automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillator (AICD) or any other implantable metal device.

Cathy is now waiting for the treatment to take effect and will be posting a video on the results that she experiences.

She says: “I’m not sure it is going to be as popular as the mammogram video but I hope lots of women do watch it.

“These crucial women’s health issues are all too common but remain taboo with many women suffering in silence and afraid or embarrassed to seek medical help. But if I can help to start an open and honest conversation to show women that they are not alone, and that it is good to share their experiences and seek help with healthcare professionals, then great.”

Geneveve costs £2,295 and payment options are available. To find out more details visit www.drpatrickcampbell.com or to book a complimentary assessment call the Cosmetech Maypole Clinic on 028 9042 3200

FASHION | ONE PIECE SWIMSUITS

Wonderful One-Piece

Bikini be gone, I have moved on. Gosh, that rhymes and I didn’t even expect it to!

I’m not sure if it’s my age, or the fact that I am more often than not running after little ones on beaches or by pools, or the fact that I dislike my tummy (it’s my body part nemesis, the bit I dislike the most - and I know as a #bodyimage ambassador I shouldn’t say that, but it’s the truth!) or indeed the fact that the choice is now SO GOOD… that I have fallen out of love with itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikinis of all kinds and totally in love with one piece swimsuits. I mean, they’re just so much more handy and I truly believe they look super elegant when compared to bikinis. On me anyway.

 

I went looking for some the other night for my forthcoming holiday and didn’t go much past asos.com, which, I must say, had the most comprehensive selection anywhere - and from brands right across all price ranges and for various body shapes. This blog post is pretty much a summary of all my faves, and faves that I would pick if I had various different body shapes. I hope you like them and I hope you can manage to buy some of the best ones before they sell out (because I missed a few myself!!)

FASHION | TV BAFTAS

The BAFTA TV awards in London saw the stars of Britain’s glittering small screen come out in force and grace the runway – and they did not disappoint! The evening saw the likes of Peaky Blinders winning Best Drama Series, Molly Windsor and Sean Bean winning Best Leading Actress & Actor and Love Island winning Reality and Constructed Factual.
 
And whilst the awards are exciting, here at the F Words, we looked to the red carpet and we have rounded up some of our favourite looks from the evening. With summer well and truly here, we saw the stars wear romantic silhouettes, bold colours and dynamic floral prints.
 

 Thandie Newton - Richard Quinn

Thandie Newton - Richard Quinn

 Lucy Mecklenburgh - Rami Al Ali

Lucy Mecklenburgh - Rami Al Ali

 Anna Passey - Zeynep Kartal

Anna Passey - Zeynep Kartal

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Jewel tones of blue were popular across the carpet with stars like Jodie Whittaker, Joely Richardson, Lucy Watson (wearing Aiden by AM) and Molly Windsor (wearing Huishan Zhang) all looking dazzling in the shade. Yellow was another popular colour choice, as seen on Laura Whitmore (wearing Sophia Kah), Michelle Keegan (wearing Suzanne Neville) and Amy Jackson (wearing Elisabetta Franchi).
 

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By far the most popular shade seen on the red carpet was pink in all shades, from blush to deep magenta.  With Amanda Holden in La Mania, Caroline Flack in Costarellos and Lucy Mecklenburgh in Rami Al Ali, showing us how it’s done.
 

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Some honourable mentions have to go to Anna Passey, who wore a simple white gown from Zaynep Kartal, accessorised with a bold gold belT; Vanessa Kirby who wowed in a champagne Dior gown and Thandie Newton who pulled off a bold floral print Richard Quinn design.
 

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However, here at the F Words, we think the best dressed of the evening has to go to Toff! Wearing a beautiful blush floral dress with red detailing by Costarellos, this is a gown that not everyone could pull off but one that is super girly, pretty and bang on trend for the season!

 

 

FOLIO | THE SWORD AND THE SAND

I’m literally just in from The Lyric Theatre where I watched The Sword and The Sand; a really gritty, aggressive and powerfully dark play by acclaimed writer Pearse Elliot, and I cannot seem to spit  the words out of me fast enough to express what I thought of it - my mind is whizzing and full of the kind of energy that only fear and adrenaline bring.

This was a black and scary play which was quite shocking in parts - but in a way that makes you realise it’s the kind of art which challenges you; theatre which makes you question who you are and wonder what on earth is going on in rough and tough corners of your city - never mind corners of the earth - well beyond your safe little bubble.

The Rawlife Theatre production was directed by Martin McSharry, whose first play for me was Clockwork Orange back in 2005 in the Potthouse, (with Marty McCann among others). The McSharry-Elliot combo has worked brilliantly here - the casting and the performances together make for pretty emotive viewing, even if the main character, Duff, a psychopath played brilliantly by Marty Maguire, is so excellently lacking in emotion and empathy…  (And Pearse told me afterwards that Duff is based on a real-life psycho who is alive and well in an Irish prison - eek!). Maguire’s character leads his impressionable protégées Cricky (Gerard Jordan-Quinn) and Lala (Bernadette Brown) down a path of delusional dreams and idealistic dead ends while also taking advantage of refugee Azir (Mark Asante) whose character deserves every ounce of the audience’s sympathy. And I’m not sure how he does it, but the handsome 6’5” actor has an excellent way of making stage presence feel meek and mouse-like for his role despite his grand stature.

The play is almost Shakespearean in its gore but with a dash of modern Tarantino and a good mash-up of all the seven deadly sins - especially avarice, lust, anger and envy in abundance in Maguire’s Duff.

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This is a go-see play. But not if you don’t like the C word. Or racism. Or misogynistic sexism. But that sh*t unfortunately happens in life and Elliot’s play shows it like it is.

Booking now at The Lyric here: https://lyrictheatre.co.uk/event/the-sword-and-the-sand/

 

FASHION | UGLY TRAINERS

“Miss, I forgot my trainers.” We all cried. Every week. Until…

Well, until the teachers caught on and we were swiftly pointed in the direction of the sweaty, old shoes that made up the lost property pile. The bulky, unwanted, UNCOOL shoes that hadn’t in fact been lost but strategically disowned by teenagers mortified by their parents’ idea of suitable gym footwear.

Fast forward to 2018 and we’re willing to join lengthy (and rapidly growing) waiting lists and fork out hundreds of pounds to get our hands on the same trainers. This time calling it fashion.

These appropriately named “ugly trainers” are still making the rounds with at least one season under their belt and given their meteoric rise, constant controversy and ability to sell out in under an hour, I suspect they’ve got several more seasons in them. And yet, I’m still not entirely sold.

Dissect the street style shots and you’re met with supermodels off-duty and of course, the coolest of the cool kids roaming the streets of London and New York. While I can appreciate that the best fashion trends are usually the most divisive and that all trends are subjective, just how ‘user friendly’ is this trend? How does it translate for day to day wear and why on earth has something so conventionally hideous caught and held on to our attention?

Figuring out why the shoes are ugly certainly isn’t the challenge here. The colour combinations explain the “dad trainers” reference and bulbous soles and oversized tongues scream invasive.

 Acne Studios Manhattan leather, suede and mesh sneakers - £360

Acne Studios Manhattan leather, suede and mesh sneakers - £360

 Balenciaga TRIPLE S TRAINERS - £595

Balenciaga TRIPLE S TRAINERS - £595

 NIKE Air Max 95 leather sneakers - £150

NIKE Air Max 95 leather sneakers - £150

 NIKE AIR MAX 97 TRAINERS - £140 

NIKE AIR MAX 97 TRAINERS - £140 

 Prada Cloud Burst

Prada Cloud Burst

 STELLA MCCARTNEY ECLYPSE RAINBOW SNEAKERS £450

STELLA MCCARTNEY ECLYPSE RAINBOW SNEAKERS £450

 Stella McCartney Eclypse Trainer £450

Stella McCartney Eclypse Trainer £450

 ZARA MULTICOLOURED SNEAKERS £49.99

ZARA MULTICOLOURED SNEAKERS £49.99

 ZARA SNEAKERS £39.99

ZARA SNEAKERS £39.99

However, something about these ugly trainers draws you in, an undeniable air of intrigue surrounds the trend. When you take a closer look and appreciate the fact that Louis Vuitton’s, Nicholas Ghesqière spent 4 years designing Archlight (a top contender for leader of the ugly trainer pack) and acknowledge the statistics from Stylebop that reveal Balenciaga’s Triple S as the fastest selling item of 2017, a statistic echoed among those at Matchesfashion.com where the Triple S sellout was closely followed by Stella McCartney’s Eclypse and Acne Studio’s Manhattan trainers, you can’t help but feel you’re missing something. High street interpretations of the trend have continuously cropped up, bringing trends from the fashion elite to the masses - usually a pretty clear sign that a trend is here to stay and with both Zara and Nike making a case for the ugly trainer, my opinion could be swayed on the user friendly front.

Man Repeller went so far as to link our love of the ugly trainer to the current political climate, describing them as tools introduced to help ground us during times of unrest. With those thick, sturdy soles, we certainly can’t argue with their ability to ground us.

Refinery29 argue the popularity of the trend has risen in response to society’s growing demand for authenticity with writer Lisa Trautman claiming, “I’m at a point where I prefer something real to all of the selfies, avocados and minimalist apartments on Instagram.”

She’s got a point.

Clearly there’s a lot more to this trend than meets the eye and while I may remain skeptical, I’ll try most trends once.

The survival guide to the ugly trainer revolves around subtle feminine touches. Strike the balance with elegant accessories and dainty earrings. Embrace the clashing nature of a feminine, floaty dress against the masculinity of the shoe. If you dare, wear them after dark - LBD, low denier tights, chunky trainers and ankle socks worn proudly pulled up for all to see.

We won’t let this trend get the better of us. 

FASHION | MET GALA 2018 - PRAYING FOR FASHION

The Met Gala, the charity event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, is considered the highlight of the global fashion social season, attracting the biggest stars and fashion designers from across the world. It is known for its expensive tickets, ultra exclusive guest list and most of all, extravagant couture outfits that are based around a different theme each year.

This year, the theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, which showcases how Catholicism has influenced fashion throughout history.

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Celebrities hit the cream carpet sporting everything from papal-inspired gowns to religious prisoner-inspired chainmail gowns and, in Katy Perry's case, oversized angel wings - by Versace of course.

Every year there are massive hits and terrible misses, but here at the F words, we have looked at all of last night’s sartorial offerings and these are some of our most interesting picks.

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Anna Wintour (who hosts the event each year) looked ever-elegant and Holy Communion style white/silver by Chanel, but Versace was a popular designer of the night, with Blake Lively, Kim Kardashian West and Gigi Hadid all sparkling in the Italian house’s creations. Jennifer Lopez has showed she still can rock a thigh high split in a stunning Balmain gown.

Some more literal takes on the theme were from Stella Maxwell in a Virgin Mary adorned garment from Moschino, Rihanna arrived in her own “pope-mobile” in an jaw dropping outfit from Maison Margiela and, never to be out-done, Sarah Jessica Parker aced the theme with her stunning dress and headpiece from Dolce and Gabanna.

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Some honourable mentions have to go to Olivia Munn in H&M, Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren and Kate Bosworth who was breath taking in Oscar de la Renta.

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Share your faves with us in the comments here or on our Instagram!

FURNISH | ¡Arriba, Arriba!

Anticipation is growing for Frida Kahlo’s flagship V&A exhibition opening this summer (I am a massive fan and already have it firmly marked in my calendar…), so Mexico and Mexican motifs are firmly on my radar. Cinqo de Mayo marks the start of the summer season and offers the perfect excuse to look to the Central American country for dynamic decorating inspiration.  

We all know that super-sunny Mexico is known for hot temperatures, hot dishes, and hot, hot colours. Opting for a Mexican-inspired decor is a failsafe way to lift your winter-weary interiors, replacing staid Nordic noirs and minimalistic mid-century with vibrant vibes and a joyful positivity.

Cult Furniture is a perfect pit stop for bright furniture and fun home accessories required to catapult your home from Redcar to the Riviera Maya. Hot on my wish list is the Moda Rocking Chair in bright yellow. If details matter, then this chair definitely has it all! The ultra-bright yellow shell is placed on a criss-cross wire base with two solid-wood rockers creating a sophisticated and timeless piece that is every bit as stylish as it is relaxing! Oh and if you’re not quite ready to go all-in brights, you will be glad to know it also comes in a range of colours…

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www.cultfurniture.com

PS – if you love Frida as much as I do, check out my previous Frida Kahlo post HERE

FARAWAY PLACES | TROUBLE FREE TOWELS FROM TESALATE

If you’re anything like me then the long and seemingly never-ending spell of cold weather has got you browsing the internet looking for holidays while happily dreaming of warmer climes and mocktails on the beach… 

It’s official - I am now counting down the days until vacay-time and can’t wait to hit a golden, sandy beach! My little one V loves long days on the beach and we can often be found playing games and dipping in and out of the sea throughout the day when on holiday.  

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However one of my pet peeves when spending a day frolicking by the seal is sand - sand and I have a kinda love/hate relationship - I love the feel of it beneath my feet and one of my favourite things to do on holiday is to watch the sunset on the beach, however, I hate how everything in your bag ends up covered in sand – especially when you have little ones who seem to have a knack for getting sand everywhere! 


So when Austrailian brand Tesalate kindly sent me two of their sand repelling towels for me and V to use on our holidays my beach-tote packing certainly stepped up a notch!  

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Tesalate towels come in 30 variations and their 2018 collection will keep you totally on trend. They’re loaded with vibrant prints and gorgeous patterns, and look fab spread across the sand, rolled up in a basket bag or draped over a sunbed.  

Not only do they look the part, the other thing that makes Tesalate completely-irresistible is the AbsorbLite microfibre which means sand easily slides off the towel, making them perfect for everyone - even the most active of kids! Oh and if that wasn’t enough, they are also fast-drying too and dry faster than a regular towel (although each towel is still able to absorb one litre of water, meaning no more wet bags or car seats on the journey home - yay!).   

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Tesalate is also super light and comes with its own nylon drawstring pouch so you don’t need to worry about it taking up too much space in your bag – meaning there is even more room for those other beach essentials and there is no risk of them getting covered in sand (hallelujah!)  
For fabric care you can either tumble dry on low or do a cold machine wash - without the risk of fading.  

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I already have ours packed and ready to go – whether I am lounging by the pool or soaking up some rays at the shore, this is one essential I don’t want to be forgetting! Get yours here:  www.tesalate.com  
 

FACE | GLOW AESTHETICS OPENS

GET THE GLOW!

Whether or not you opt for that extra needle in facial aesthetics in the form of fillers and anti-wrinkle injections (AKA Botox),  the processes are here to stay, but as the industry grows it is important to consider where you have treatments done, and by whom!

This week I got the chance to pop along to the launch of the new GLOW Aesthetics clinic at the Culloden Estate and Spa and met with Emma Kennedy and William Trainor, both experienced hospital nurses who have been working in aesthetics for over a decade.

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Their new clinic, located in the sumptuous surroundings of the Culloden spa, offers Teoxane fillers for lips, cheeks and jawline as well as Botox for all the usual areas, should you wish to try it; plus a range of cosmeceutical Treatments to make your skin glow!

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And as I always like to try new things that I've not ventured into before, I have decided to give the derma-planing a go, and will report back in the coming weeks.

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Meanwhile check out the full treatment and price list here - and quote GLOW20 when booking to get £20 off your first treatment. Whoop! Call 07719326507 to book.

FURNISH | MAVERICK WITH FABRIC

In an era of all-beige and all-white interiors (or, if you’re me, all-grey), Swedish furniture and furnishings experts IKEA have partnered with Savile Row tailor William Hunt to create suits using IKEA textiles and fabric to encourage people to bring their personality and overall sense of style into their home with IKEA products. The really fab suits, (pictured below), are certainly  unique, and have been created using SOFIAROSENRIPSNEDJA and KUNGSLILJA fabrics, which mirror existing products by the retailer including POÄNG chairs, STOCKSUNDT sofas and bedding. 

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The Saville Row partnership comes hot on the heels of a new IKEA survey which shows NI as being one of the most confident regions in the UK when it comes to styling at home. In fact, 91% of shoppers in Northern Ireland are confident enough to express their personality in home interiors décor, making us the most confident region of the UK, with London proving to be the least (64%). However, those who were not so confident when it comes to decorating gave reasons such as not knowing how to include colour and patterns in the home that suit their style (64%) and not knowing what is on trend (10%). IKEA is now helping those who are curious about colour and particular about patterns to find out their personal every day style and bring it into their home, simply and affordably, using textiles.

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Carol McSeveny, Textiles Leader, IKEA UK & Ireland who started her career in IKEA Belfast said: “We’re seeing an increasing number of people playing it safe when it comes to decorating and furnishing their home. But, when the home can act as a canvas for self-expression, why keep things beige and boring? People use fabric in fashion to show off their personality and we want people to replicate this in their home through textiles.” Carol continued; “We are excited to be working with William Hunt as he is the ultimate “maverick with fabric” and has demonstrated, through the IKEA suits, how textiles can be used to express yourself and your home”

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William Hunt said: “I love the idea of people taking fashion and style and embracing it by taking it further into their homes. Our partnership with IKEA is important as we are encouraging the public to push themselves just a little, and to show off their character in their own homes. We create heroes out of ordinary men and women through our suits, and likewise the IKEA suits create heroes out of everyday textiles and furniture”.

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If you’d like to take the maverick personality test, and get inspired by IKEA’s textile style feed, including watching the latest clever TV commercial, just visit Be a Maverick with Fabric online. Plus, a limited number of the stunning IKEA X WILLIAM HUNT suits will be available for the public to get their hands via an online competition on the IKEA UK website: www.ikea.com/gb/en/ikea/threepiecesuit     Entrants must simply answer a question about how they express their personality in the home to be in with a chance of winning. #wonderfuleveryday.

FACE | OH LA LOLA!

As I write this there is a glimmer of sunset sunshine resting on the horizon and, being the ever-optimist, I am doing a little sundance and hoping that the never-ending winter may finally be coming to an end (well, a gal can always dream…)

So, as we start to look towards longer (and hopefully warmer) days ahead, I have been revamping my makeup bag with the help of my lovely beauty godmother LOLA by Perses.

LOLA by Perses first came into my radar when I was checking out their website (www.lolamakeup.com) and the pretty NARS-esque packaging caught my eye. A UK-based brand, the cruelty-free beauty line is the brainchild of a creative team of talented British make-up artists who created it with the aim of producing quality makeup at reasonable prices. So when they kindly sent me a few items to try I was more than a little bit excited!

So, without further ado, here are some of the Lola products I have been trying out this month;

LOLA PERFECT SKIN – ILLUMINATING BASE

The Lola primer comes in a small tube – only 15ml - but don’t let the size put you off, as you only need a small amount to cover your entire face. I added a pea sized amount to the back of my hand and the first thing I noticed was the gorgeous velvety texture. It applies easily to the skin and instantly reduces the appearance of any large pores and fine lines – meaning it automatically gets a thumbs up from me!
It also managed to keep my makeup in place all day (even through umpteen meetings and with the heating blasting in the office, which is no mean feat!)-  and it left my skin with a gorgeous subtle glow.
You can also use it as a highlighter making it the perfect multi-purpose product in one tube!

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LOLA MATTE LONG LASTING LIQUID FOUNDATION

The LOLA foundation was presented in a lovely frosted glass bottle and when I picked it up I was also pleasantly surprised by the weight – this definitely has the feel of a lovely luxury product so I was very surprised to see that it comes in at under £20!
The built in pump dispenses the correct amount of foundation so you aren’t left with lots of unneeded product, making it one of my favourites to date!

First up, the foundation has a lovely creamy texture and blended into my skin well using a beauty blender sponge. The soft-focus effect visibly reduces imperfections, fine lines and pores giving you an instant ‘gram ready complexion in minutes!
It also has oil-absorbing properties which helps minimise shine – perfect if you suffer from combination or oily skin.

I am extremely impressed by the foundation and it definitely competes with some of my favourites, and I don’t say that lightly! With the buildable coverage I was able to achieve medium coverage without losing the lovely natural finish which I love and it also feels super lightweight so you almost feel like you aren’t wearing makeup at all! 

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HIGHLIGHTING CONCEALER PEN

After applying my foundation I added this under my eyes to hide any dark circles (that may have appeared following the non-stop business of FASHIONWEEK where sleep was 4 hours pre night max…) and was instantly impressed. This liquid concealer was extremely light and blended flawlessly. Pearl-coated pigments left my skin glowing and the cream melted into my skin effortlessly. It is also perfect for quick touch-ups throughout the day.

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LOLA LONG LASTING INTENSE COLOUR LIP GLOSS

I am a big fan of lip gloss – especially in the summer, so I couldn’t wait to try these. I tried colours rose pink, pink shimmer and rose.
All of the glosses were highly pigmented and had long lasting water-shine; they also didn’t feel sticky on the lips, which I liked. All of these colours are tones I would normally wear and came up as soft feminine shades (The rose pink gloss had a gorgeous salmon pink hue, whilst the pink shimmer was a lovely peach tone – perfect for your holidays and lastly the rose was a subtle nude tone with high shine - great for everyday wear).
The glosses also contain hydrating Hyaluronic Acid which works in combination with an active vitamin complex to help condition lips and give a plumped appearance.

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VERDICT

I am super impressed with the LOLA products and they definitely compete with some of my favourite products – albeit at half the price tag! The creators of the brand had an aim to make it easier for women everywhere to apply makeup effortlessly - and with hundreds of products, shades and options, I think it is fair to say they have succeeded.

So, if you haven’t already tried these products I would add them to your wish list pronto! They are available via their website and have also recently landed in Menary’s stores across Northern Ireland too, which is handy for my local readers. Enjoy!

FOLIO | THE COLLEEN BAWN

The Lyric Theatre continues its 50th year celebrations with a fantastically funny production of ‘The Colleen Bawn’, Dion Boucicault’s exuberant tale of desire, duty and betrayal, based on an infamous true crime.  The Lyric Theatre and Bruiser Theatre Company are back together for the first time since The 39 Steps, for this madcap, melodramatic, musical co-production. Boucicault’s masterful interweaving of plot and character, comedy and suspense, has been captivating audiences since it premiere in 1860. The F words team LOVED the play - and you can check out my initial video review here too - but first, some words from Jimmy Fay and Lisa May.

Executive Producer of the Lyric, Jimmy Fay, commented: “Don Boucicault’s The Colleen Bawn is a masterpiece of melodrama. It is as spritely and lovely as any ballad and has proved to be a timeless engaging entertainment captivating audiences in its outrageous plots and musical interludes since it first premiered in New York in 1860. We in the Lyric are delighted to again partner with Bruiser and their distinctive style on this wonderful play. Our first collaboration was the enormously successful The 39 Steps and the vibrancy of that production is also well suited to the exuberance of The Colleen Bawn. In fact, Dion Boucicault and this play in particular had a huge effect on the young Alfred Hitchcock when he saw it at the theatre in London in the 1920s. This year we mark the fiftieth anniversary since the Lyric opened its doors on Ridgeway street we plan a year of celebration, surprises and fun.”

Director and Bruiser Theatre Company's Lisa May commented: "Bruiser is thrilled to be back at the Lyric with the melodious mayhem of The Colleen Bawn.  This classic is filled with all the trademark shenanigans of a bashful Bruiser show, and is the perfect follow up to our 2016 collaboration with the Lyric, The 39 Steps.  Audiences can expect the same type of madcap melodrama, as our mischievous and musical cast fill the stage with laughs, love, and live music.  It’s been an absolute hoot to rehearse this timeless piece, and we’re sure audiences will enjoy the fast-paced fun as much as we do!"

A co-production by the Lyric Theatre & Bruiser Theatre Company
Written by Dion Boucicault
Directed by Lisa May
Musical Direction by Matthew Reeve

The Colleen Bawn runs from 7 – 28 April
Tues - Sat: 7.45pm, Sat & Sun matinee: 2.30pm

CAST:  BRYAN QUINN, ENDA KILROY, JO DONNELLY, PATRICK MCBREARTY, CAVAN CLARKE, COLETTE LENNON and MAEVE SMYTH

07 - 10 April: £13
Off-peak (Tues - Thurs & matinees): £15
Peak (Fri & Sat evening): £24.50
Students, unemployed people, and under 20s any performance except Friday and Saturday night: £10.00
Over 65's any matinee: £10

www.lyricbelfast.co.uk
Box Office 028 9038 1081

The Colleen Bawn is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.