Annabel Boys; ‘Abseil raised £1,300 for Verity to help PCOS sufferers.’

by Railah Iqbal

Annabel Boys abseiled down a 400-foot tower to raise over £1,000 for Verity, a charity helping 6,000 Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome sufferers every year.

courtesy of Annabel Boys

courtesy of Annabel Boys

Annabel, Health Coach, said; “I saw the abseil in a newspaper. At the time my sister had a list of things she wanted to do before she turned 30 so I recommended this to her.”

As Annabel was struggling to commit herself to the challenge, she made it into a ‘public’ statement and decided to turn it into a fundraising event. “I realised that it was a mental challenge above all and I felt Verity deserved the money because their work is very important to women suffering with PCOS.”

At 25 years olf, Annabel was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. She was advised that she would have fertility problems but she no idea of the sorts of health problems attached to the condition. At the time, there not much available in terms of advice for PCOS sufferers.  Annabel said; “After several years of fertility treatments we were very lucky to conceive after our first round of IVF about 10 years ago, sadly my marriage didn’t survive the stress of the treatments and  my husband left shortly before my daughter was born.”

Verity website- screen shot

Verity website- screen shot

She added; “Verity provides vital information and support for women with PCOS. I just wish they had been around when I was first diagnosed with it because it could have made all the difference. At the time I had no idea that my diet and lifestyle was affecting my hormonal health and I had no idea there were alternatives to the fertility drugs.”

Unlock My Health website- screen shot

Unlock My Health website- screen shot

With a background in health and a PhD in psychology, Annabel is looking to focus her health coaching practice on  helping women with PCOS  to examine their diet and health choices.
Annabel explains; “I feel so strongly that young women in particular should have access to advice and support about all the options available to them. Small changes to diet and lifestyle can massively improve PCOS symptoms which could mean that less opt for the route of medication.”

To hear more from Annabel , check out her page

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1 in 10 young women have PCOS and 75% of us don’t even know it

by Railah Iqbal

1 in 10 young women suffer from Polycystic ovary syndrome, however, as PCOS Awareness’s survey shows; 3 out 4 sufferers are unaware of it.

PCOS is a hormone imbalance that can cause irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, acne, fertility problems, sudden mood changes and weight gain. PCOS starts as early as during a girl’s teenage years.

café press- press shot

café press- press shot

Many of my friends suggested that I showed symptoms of PCOS because I have always struggled with maintaining my weight and I have unexpected mood swings. I did not take it too seriously because I thought that I would not delve into until I was considering having children.
The doubts increased when a course of laser treatments to reduce my excessive facial hair had proved ineffective. I took to the internet to look for explanations for the failed treatment and 80% of the sites linked the issues to PCOS. I went for the PCOS test which proved the suspicions right.

press shot

press shot

My discovery of PCOS was encouraged by Verity; a UK-based charity who supports and advises 6,000 women directly suffering from PCOS related issues.

The relief I feel now is unbelievable because I no longer have to go through umpteen fad diets or pay hundreds of pounds for hair reduction treatment because there is an explanation behind my struggles and Verity have shown me ways of dealing with them.

Rachel Hawkes, Verity’s chairperson, explained that Verity was set up in 1997 as a support network for women suffering from PCOS and it now aims to educate women on PCOS-related issues especially those which people would not generally link  to the disorder such as; type two diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, increased risk of heart attacks and unexpected pregnancies.

Rachel Hawkes- Verity press shot

Rachel Hawkes- Verity press shot

Rachel said; “It is hugely important that young women understand the importance of PCOS because it is not just fertility condition. Like many of them think they can’t have children because of irregular periods, so don’t use contraception and end up with surprise pregnancies.”

Verity has a team of volunteers running 10 local groups whom give direct advice to sufferers and  its webpage has a discussion board where sufferers can advise and relate to one another.  There are also yearly conferences, as part of PCOS UK, where medical experts attend to advise people on how to deal with PCOS and the treatments available.

Rachel also unexpectedly discovered she was suffering from the condition. She visited the doctor to discuss her menstrual problems. “I found it so strange when he was asking me about having excessive facial hair and whether I was putting on weight. I thought I have a few on my chin but what is that got to do with my periods?”

When Rachel found out she had PCOS, she was oblivious to what it exactly was. Rachel said; “Not very many people knew about this issue because popular magazines for women like Cosmopolitan had never wrote about it even though a lot of us have it.”

As Rachel has a background in marketing, she joined Verity to help raise awareness about PCOS. Rachel added; “Raising awareness of the related issues will help us make young women medical advocates armed to support one another when dealing with PCOS.”

What causes PCOS?

The disorder, caused by elevated levels of the male hormone testosterone, leads to the ovaries being covered in tiny fluid-filled cysts which causes hormonal imbalance.

What signs do I look for?

  • Acne.
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
  • Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
  • Thinning hair on the scalp.
  • Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
  • Fertility problems. Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
  • Depression or mood swings.

What do I do if I think I am suffering from PCOS?

  • Go to your doctor right away.
  • Look to Verity for advice and support.
  • Don’t panic because there is a cure for everybody.

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Halo hair Extensions

by Bethany de Thierry

I am a total girly girl I love everything to do with makeup, fashion and most importantly hair. From the age of 13 I have been wearing hair extensions. I remember when I first turned thirteen I had the hair cut from hell and ended up with a ridiculously short mess. It was safe to say my hair was well and truly butchered and it was at that point that I opted for my first set of hair extensions.  From that day forward I admit I became addicted to hair extensions. At nearly 21 years of age I still wear my 18 inch locks.


I’ve tried clip on extensions, full head weaves; you name it I’ve had it. It was only last year the constant use of hair extensions began to take their toll on my real tresses. My hair began looking dry and dishevelled and in the famous words of Cheryl Cole, weak limp and lifeless.

Worst of all I began to notice my hair was seriously thinning, any girl would understand that the thought of going bald at 20 is extremely distressing. Just before Christmas of 2012 I went to have my hair weave redone which consists of tight plaits through the real hair and then fake hair is sewn into the plaits. The weave originated from African American women but now weaves are popular amongst inner cities and towns in the UK and other countries


My hair dresser at the time, told me to give my hair a break and to stop wearing hair extensions for a few months. It would have been a sensible idea to take her advice but if there’s any girls reading this who regularly wears extensions then they will fully understand the mini panic attack I had when being told that my long luscious locks were a thing of the past and that I would have to make do with my boring shoulder length hair. It was safe to say I wasn’t very happy. The last 7 years  I’ve been used to having long luxurious hair and it has become part of me.

It sounds silly and shallow but without them I felt vile!

I knew I couldn’t continue to damage my hair by using clip in extensions or hair weaves so I began scanning the internet for a new way to have long hair but without the damage.

I came across a website called Halo Hair the website specialisies in hair care. The site has recently introduced a brand new product called The Halo. The product professes to be a “simple and quick” way to apply hair extensions. The halo is worn by being placed on to your head and then you pull your original hair through the ‘miracle wire’. It really is as simple as that.


  • The halo comes in a range of different colours so is easy to find the perfect colour to suit you.
  • The halo is around £90 depending on what length you choose.
  • It is easy, efficient and quick to use.

The Highs : The Halo hair is super easy and super quick wear. The hair is 100% real remy hair and a good quality. It doesn’t damage your hair like other extensions which for me was a huge selling point

The lows: The extensions don’t feel fully secure unlike a hair weave, and when I first started wearing them it often felt like they were going to fall off.

Ratings: 9/10

Bethany de Thierry

Stiletto Nails

by Bethany de Thierry

A simple French manicure is now a thing past as Stiletto nails are the new beauty craze of 2013. To achieve this off the wall look, the nails have to be outrageously long, razor sharp and graduate in to a point. This bizarre and animalistic trend is really taking off.

The talons have been sported by some of the biggest names in Showbiz. Pop star and fashion icon Rihanna was one of the first celebs seen with this dagger like design. Lana Del Ray, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga are also some of the A-listers caught rocking these spiky and almost weapon like nails.

Below : Rihanna rocking red claws.


I couldn’t resist trying out the latest celebrity obsession so thought I’d try out the one of the latest nail trends for myself.  I instantly fell in love with my dramatic acrylic claws.

However as you can see, these towering talons are far from practical. Completing everyday tasks such as typing on my keyboard, cooking my dinner and getting myself dressed in the morning all became a very difficult and long winded process. At the time I was working in a nightclub and by the end of my shift I had lost two of my claws. The stiletto nails are impractical but I still think they’re an amazing look and I love the uniqueness of them.

My friends and family were certainly not a fan of my wacky nails; one of them even went to the extreme of saying that my hands resembled those of Tim Burton’s uncanny fictional character Edward Scissor hands!


I tried a splash of fruity tangerine…..


And a shade of pink and sparkle!

I spoke to Lawrun Kennel a nail technician who works in Divine Nails in Birmingham. The 23 year old beautician tells me how the wacky style is hitting the high street and what she thinks of this controversial look.

What style of nails do girls usually ask you for?

I’ ve been working in the salon for 4 years and I usually do a French manicure or just acrylics with a block colour. But over the last 6

Imagemonths I’ ve had so many girls asking for claws – it’s crazy.

When did you first hear about the nails?
We have a nail book in the salon; which is where I saw the trend. When I first saw them I thought they were absolutely vile and that they would never take off! But I have to say I actually love them now.

Have your customers been happy with the results?

I’ ve had so many girls ask for the nails. Some have them ridiculously long and some have them a bit shorter so they’re more practical. Usually the girls that go for the long ones do come back a week later because they’ve lost a nail! I had one girl who works in a restaurant and she said she lost one of her claws in the food!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of having stiletto nails?

I think they look amazing. The only advice I have is if you are going on holiday or are in a job where you don’t do a lot then they’re perfect. Just be aware that they can break and if you do break a nail then it will cost a little bit extra to have the acrylics repaired.

This eccentric style is not for everyone but without a doubt this trend is sweeping the streets. The question is, are you brave enough to possess a pair of daring daggers?

To the right : Lawrun beautician and converted claw lover

Bethany de Thierry

Mrs Carter World Tour

The queen of R’n’B, the creator of  bootilicous and the definition of fabulous. Who else could I be talking about but the one and only Beyonce! I had the privilege of attending the highly anticipated Ms Carter world tour and she did not disappoint. In fact she exceeded all my expectations.

Beyonce burst on to stage with the powerful Run The World, showing off her enviable curves in a stunning white leotard and some serious shoulder shaking, Bey gave her fans a taste of what was to come two hour spectacular.

Imagebey bey 2queen b 3

Beyonce crammed in booty shaking classics such as Crazy in Love and Single Ladies, she performed 1+1 and Miss You from her recent album 4 and even an iconic Destiny’s Child track. Beyonce also sang an emotional version of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You which left everyone in the audience teary eyed.

One of my favorite performances from Bey was Grown Woman. The song began with a montage of gorgeous videos of the singing. The bright outfits and African inspired dance routines sent the crowd wild.


Beyonce Knowles performance was nothing short of incredible and she has truly raised the bar making it almost impossible for any other musician to compete. She show was packed with beautiful video footage, an array of stunning outfits, impeccable dance moves and a heavy theme of female empowerment throughout the show. This is my third time seeing Beyonce live and one thing that still astounds me is how she has the stamina to dance and sing live and how never compensates one for the other. What also never fails to surprise me is how Beyonce can be so sexy yet so classy. One thing I think performers of today lack is professionalism, Beyonce is a true perfectionist and you can see that every dance routine and lyric and been practiced a million times. She is a true professional and has an incredible energy that is fully received by her fans.

The highs : Every second of the show was thrilling and high energy. Glitz, glam and a serious amount of hair flicking. Perfect night out!

The lows : I honestly couldn’t fault Beyonce’s performance. Flawless

Rating : 10/10

More stories by Bethany de Thierry

CTPA confirms; ‘European Union bans lead in lipsticks’

By Railah Iqbal

Websites; ‘Urban Legends’ and ‘Snopes’ have claimed that rumours stating designer make-up brands which allegedly use lead in their lipsticks for longer wear, are untrue. Also, the European Union has banned lead in lipsticks explains CTPA; cosmetics’ authority.

Courtesy  of ‘Urban Legends’ site

Courtesy of ‘Urban Legends’ site

Make-up brands under question include; Avon, Christian Dior, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent.

Courtesy of ‘Urban Legends’ site Urban Legends state that using metal such as lead which leads to cancer development is true however the lipstick rumours are a hoax and a Facebook message, 2013, stating; ‘After doing a test on lipsticks, it was found that the Yves St. Laurent (YSL) lipstick contained the most amount of lead’ is fake.
Further statements claiming the more lead there is used in the lipsticks, the longer they are likely to last is untrue and checks such as the “The Gold Ring Test” can be done at home to prove whether the lipsticks contain lead are not 100% viable.

Diorific’ lipstick advertisement on Christian Dior’s site

Diorific’ lipstick advertisement on Christian Dior’s site

Elena, Christian Dior’s’ representative, said; “She had not heard that the Christian Dior have ever or would ever use lead in any of their cosmetics.”
She added that Christian Dior’s cosmetics department policy enables them to send out details of ingredients used in their products, especially the two longer lasting lipsticks; ‘Diorific Extreme’ and ‘Dior Addict,’ to people to clear doubts over their cosmetic’s contents.

Further, Eleanor O’Connor, The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association’s co-ordinator, confirms that CTPA as the UK’s cosmetics’ industry  representative and is its authoritative public voice, “would not allow Lead in lipsticks because all cosmetics and personal care products (which include lipsticks and lip glosses), made in or imported into the UK and Europe, must be safe. There are strict European cosmetic laws, and these require manufacturers to carry out a rigorous safety assessment.”

CTPA site-- Screenshot

CTPA site– Screenshot

CTPA states; “The use of lead in cosmetic products is specifically banned in the European Union by the cosmetics legislation… it is possible that minute traces are carried into cosmetic products from the environment or during manufacture. These extremely low levels are taken into account in the safety assessment to ensure their presence does not risk human health.”

If you fancy doing “The Gold Ring” test, here’s how it works:
1) Find a 24-Carat gold ring.
2) Rub some lipstick on your hand.
3) Then wipe the gold ring over the lipstick.
4) Wait a couple of seconds for any colour change.
5) If the colour changes to black then there is alleged Lead content.

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“Sun beds caused me to lose my ear.”

by Kim Perry

(photo source: the skin clinic)

sunbedFrom the age of 18, Katherine Simpson had been using sun beds on a regular basis, often every week. But little did she know her need to have sun-kissed skin was causing severe and long term damage.

Now at the age of just 26, Katherine has been through four operations to remove moles that have turned cancerous from the use of sunbeds. One operation even involving the removal of her left ear.

“I always thought my pale skin made me look ill so I thought going on the sun beds gave me a healthy glow.”

“I would only go on for about 3 minutes at a time then build it up to six. It was never an excessive amount of time, but still enough to do damage.”

Two years after beginning her regular sun beds trips, Katherine noticed a mole on her chest had grown and become lighter. Although on holiday in Lanzarote at the time, she took a trip straight to the doctors to get it checked. It was then that she was diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

“I was told the mole on my chest had turned cancerous, along with a mole on my ear which i hadn’t noticed.”

“The holiday was ruined. We had to come straight home so that the moles could be removed before the skin cancer spread.”

“When the doctors told me I would have to have the majority of my ear removed I was devastated and annoyed with myself for not taking the dangers serious enough.”


Describing the process as ‘the biggest scare of her life’, Katherine thought the nightmare was over after the removal of two moles but it was less than a year later that she found another mole on her thigh with an irregular shape.

“I remember crying because I knew exactly what was coming when I went to the doctors.”

Even though she had stopped using sun beds, the damage had already been done and the melanoma had spread.

Over two years Katherine had been through four cancer scares and numerous skin grafts, and to this day she still endures other cancer scares.

“I’m always worrying that it may have come back or spread somewhere more serious. One thing for definite, i would definitely advise anyone against them.”


‘Katherine googling melanoma’


  • If you notice any changes in your mole or freckle, contact your GP ASAP
  • Always be aware of the consequences of sun beds
  • Try a professional spray tan instead – they can look just as good without the risks!
  • ALWAYS use sun tan lotion in the sun to protect your skin.

Read more stories from Kim here