Strip Wax Bar: Review

If I were to revert back to the point at which I remember in the lead up to my very first wax, you’d have found my head in a packet of paracetamol, knocking back enough of a dose that would potentially mask the pain of a hundred tiny hairs being torn out of your private parts, while also Googling the latest forum of ‘How painful is a bikini wax?’.

Suffice to say, 8 or so years on, I’d probably still opt for the packet of paracetamol because I’m still yet to establish enough of a pain threshold that my body can actually handle that of a bikini wax. It still remains a god-awful experience of pain and irritation while also handing over my bank card to pay a small fortune for such torture.  

So, through a life of pain and strip waxing, I was delighted at the idea of being offered an intimate hot wax at Strip Wax Bar. It had the word intimate, so I felt feel sure in thinking it would be easy on the ol’ pain receptors, no? 

Strip Wax bar are a leading hair removal specialist and an iconic luxury British brand, with a number of chains in and around London. They pride on being “armed with the best waxing products for all skin types and a complete knowledge of the full waxing” and “ensuring a virtually pain-free wax”. I was immediately on board.

The Treatment

Although they had numerous other locations in London near me, I opted for their Islington branch, conveniently located on Upper Street and a mere 30-odd minute power walk from my work’s office (building up a sweat is exactly what you need before an intimate wax).

They’ve certainly nailed their marketing strategies, by combining a waxing studio alongside selling specially curated collection of high-end lingerie, swimwear, skincare and activewear in their boutiques, also. If you’re not swayed by their selection of lace and elegant lingerie after a fresh wax, then you’re probably too far into a relationship or you’re not doing single life right.

After being formally introduced to the beautician who was looking after me, shaking hands seemed somewhat too courteous seeing as I was about to expose more of my body to her than I probably have done my mum since that age of 6 or 7. 

Lying down and propped up comfortably, I settled in, spread-eagled across the bed, feeling lucky that I was able to watch a TV screen in front of me and avoid having to have the “so do you have any summer plans?” conversation that inevitably comes with many beauty treatments. 

The wait for the pain begins…

An intimate hot wax means applying the wax over the area, waiting for the wax to cool and peeling the wax off itself.

Still waiting for the pain to start…

The beautician reassuringly asked whether I was comfortable

Just get the pain over with.

Time had elapsed, as did the cooling process.

No pain!!

Overall the treatment lasted about 30 minutes, but it was the least painful, most comfortable waxing experience I’ve so far had in my 8 years of discovering waxing. I genuinely didn’t feel a lot of pain at all. 

The beautician made a point of explaining why hot wax is so much more preferable (more so than from a pain point of view) over strip waxing, is the effect hot waxing has on the hairs afterwards. She explained the damage that strip waxing can have on the hairs and the damage so far it had done to mine and the irritability it can cause during aftergrowth. Safe to say, I’m converted to hot waxing from here on out, though does the wax always have to be brown in colour? Let’s think about the area we’re applying this wax to here…

My experience of the place was fantastic and treatments aside, the staff were helpful, pleasant and clearly knew their stuff too. The number of people walking in and out for their range of treatments they offer speaks for itself. 

Though taking into consideration we’re in the centre of London, the Brazilian treatment I had would set you back £49 which in comparison to many other chains and brands, it stands relatively low in the affordability rankings. But you can’t put a price on pain and comfort.

For some of their other treatments, they have:

Staycation Package – For those wanting a summer glow for seasonal events or parties. It includes a full body spray tan, any bikini wax (if I haven’t yet convinced you to go for the intimate one, then do!) and an eyebrow wax for £89.

The Festival Freedom Package – While we’re well into the festival season, there’s still time to get prepped and fresh for the next one. This includes an underarm wax, any bikini wax, ½ leg wax, brow wax plus one small extra wax area of choice for £99. Anyone else now want to be a little more hairless?

The Beach Bum Package – For those wanting to hit the pool or sea with minimum maintenance or panda eye potential. It includes any bikini wax, full leg wax and a brow and lash tint for £99 also. 

To book any appointments or find out more about their packages, you can visit their website athttps://www.stripwaxbar.com/ where you can also find the individual numbers for specific locations.

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Ooh La La

If you’re yet to spend more than 80% of your time getting ready, dancing naked (or at least giving yourself a full on Joey Tribbiani, “How you doin’?”) in front of your full length mirror, then you are either far too composed, missing out, or it’s actually really 90% of your time.

Though you may have long ago decided that such prolific, tribal activity is best left for a soul cleansing, man-defying ritual to the gods of love and relationships around a bonfire, dancing naked for me however, has become somewhat of a pinnacle indicator down the ol’ Recovery Road.

I may not have mastered the dance floor debarring shuffle made popular by a generation I’d never be cool enough to integrate with, or the tantalising twerk that upon my attempts is probably best left to the Miley Cyrus’ of this world, I have however, almost certainly mastered my own rendition of ‘The Body Confidence Movement’. More often than not, a movement that just contains slightly lax forms of the different exercises you’d most likely find in a circuits class at the local gym. Who doesn’t love a good Jumping Jack on the dance floor anyway?

When once crying in front of my mirror, desperately unable to see anything but a huge elephant staring back at me, was but a daily occurrence, if not a bi-daily occurrence, to now being able to bop, bounce and big fish my way to liberation, completely starkers, is almost definitely a good thing. And certainly a big step… Even if my neighbours don’t quite think so.

Realising that some form of acceptance of my body and genetics, albeit relatively small, started to happen just the once in a blue moon, to happening twice, to now happening almost every consecutive day I don’t ram my greedy gut full of Whitworths dates, I knew instantly just how much I was getting over all the body image debacle. I’m learning to understand and accept that I was never made to be skinny (unless I bloody starve myself again) and I’m naturally just a bit of a muscle, macho man. And eh up, I think my butt is making its debut (Read: Ready or not bum, here I come). Thought that doesn’t mean I’ve fully accepted my naked dance moves. I think that still needs a bit of work.

To all the other naked mirror dancers out there… You’re looking good.

SUPERLATIVE-fragilisticexpialidocious

In my attempt to describe the characteristics of my dad to a friend of mine, the theme that somewhat prevailed, more so over his lack of consistency to return a text message (or iMessage should I say – he’s clearly with the times), was the fact that he is just good at everything. Picture Forrest Gump, with a little more swag (I think I did actually catch him in Ted Baker recently) and far more brain cells, that everything my dad attempts, he is almost undeniably going to be good at it. If not the best. Half annoying yet similarly half fulfilling that I can boast about the fact that my dad is a 60-odd year old superhuman.

Though he hasn’t quite run around the states for hundreds of miles (or set up a shrimp business), I’m sure given the opportunity, he would run, cycle or row his way around to attempt such an enduring feat anyway. A set of sporting characteristics (or madness, some might say), I feel he’s passed on to me. A set of characteristics that I feel imprints on almost every aspect of my life, or at least I try to imprint on every aspect of my life as much as feasibly possible, without killing myself in the process. I just always want to be the best at everything I try.

Taking the superlative of a word is virtually just adding -est on to the end to make that word “of the highest quality or degree”. Applying those words to a person and you’ve got someone that’s practically in the region of the 95th percentile. Someone who is somewhat a minority, or someone that just particularly stands out.

I basically strive to be a walking, talking superlative. Not that I’m sitting here under any false pretense that I ever am the best at anything, but it is just a mindset that seems to be so imprinted on my life and something I always just at least try to be.

I definitely blame my dad.

Where it could be my genetics, or simply just my excessive need to be competitive, I always just want to be the fastest, the one that works the hardest, the one that runs the most miles, or the one that’s been on the longest bike ride, say. Sincerely not helped by the fact that Strava encourages such narcissistic behavior and gives us bloody medals each time we achieve a new record or achievement. It really is an app of dreams for people like me. I always just want a fucking crown.

Crown

So it doesn’t come as much surprise really, that with this kind of mind set and attitude, that I suffered with something such as anorexia. Yes, take note of the past tense of suffer. I’m nailing this recovery shit.

Such an eating disorder can almost be seen to be competitive or a superlative in itself. At least through my eyes anyway. You’re striving to be the skinniest, striving to eat the least and exercise the most, and striving to be in a percentile that not as many people are integrated into because you have something they don’t. They mean it when they say that it’s a seriously complicated illness.

Imagine two 6 year-old children at school who outspokenly talk to one another of how one has done something better than the other and argue until one overrules the situation while the other is left crying because they’ve come in at second place. Multiply that and you’ve pretty much landed at me saying such things internally, to every other person around me in the same situation. Tears, sulking and feet stamping apiece, when I disappointingly arrive in second place.

Please tell me I’m not the only one that feels this competitive?

(I’m working on it)

Dear Diary…

If there were ever a reason, even more than their birthday cheese cards, to spend a ridiculous amount of money in Paperchase, it will be for the cost of the yearly pledge one tries to make in starting a diary. And when choosing a diary is somewhat the epitome of starting out, you really can’t settle for anything less than Paperchase‘s gold-plated diary selection. Not that it’s even difficult to drain your pockets in that store anyway, seeing as even their wrapping paper probably costs just as much as the present in the paper, that you’ve endeavoured to keep as far under the £20 spending limit as possible. But there you are, 30 minutes later (these diary decisions take a surprisingly large amount of time), already feeling the extortionate spending blow, because you just wanted the diary that had the fucking pigeons on.

Not that a standard wad of lined A5 paper, bound together with standard ‘Dad-diary’ casing, doesn’t do equally as good a job… We all know we need those colourful, motivating, pretty pigeons on them for that diary-writing, creative flare.

Odds are, you’re probably one of the 99.9% of people that go full out *puts on posh urban voice* Hard As A Mofo, or HAM, in those initial, positive diary-intention stages. The writing motivation is there (thanks to those pigeons on the cover edging you on) and you’re finding it somewhat imperative to ensure you include an hour-by-hour account of your day and thus filling up almost an entire page per entry… Even bowel movements apparently become a somewhat essential and relevant requirement in said daily account.

Scrambling through old drawers in my bid for a productive Sunday yesterday, I stumbled across my diary that fits the bill of this entire introduction to this post – minus one or two pigeons and perhaps only briefly touching of the week’s bowel movements. (I was mid-celiac testing at the time of writing.) The diary stretched for all of 15 entries over the course of 17 days, thus slotting me perfectly within the 99.9% of trash-ridden diaries that never fulfilled its destiny. What a waste of £14.99.

Glaring back at me in between the lines of July 2016 was a pitiful, eating-disorder-ridden, shell of a human, gushing out the guilt of the 1 calorie fly accidentally swallowed, on yet another casual 12 mile run. I’d grumble that I had to go out with friends and sidestep routine, whimper that I had no energy to do anything and moan that I’d only run 60km that week. There was no expression to my entries but instead just a sorry account of someone who was seriously unhappy and seriously unwell.

It was incredibly eye-opening to read over who, what and where I was at this time last year and reiterating to myself (when times get a little tougher), of how far I really have come from then to now.

For everyone that knew me last year, apologies that it was me back then you had to get to know and deal with. I’d probably not even noticed I’d gotten to know you anyway (soz) because I was genuinely only interested in the scales, my weight and how best to get rid of all of it.

For everyone that knows me now, let’s just say I could equally send apologies, but I’m not even close to that person I was last year, so if you can’t stand me now… then well, we’ve got no hope anyway. #HaterzGonnaHate.

And shout out for everyone that’s known me before, during and after; aren’t you just a lucky bunch for having me in your life for such a long time.*

I’m sure I’ll be joining in with many more of you in the ambitious bid to start a diary again at some point soon.

*(Thank you for dealing with me.)

 

Coffee Shop Cliché

If I could give you all a perfect representation of the stereotypical depiction of white girl in a coffee shop, I’d need only turn on my laptop’s camera and you’d have the complete visionary right in front of you now.

However, for the sake of my hate for selfies and generally all photos of myself, I’ll leave it to your imagination. But here’s an edgy photo to portray said situation…

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Plus, when I went to (try) complete said selfie task, only double chin prevailed, and I was not about to set about finding the perfect angle through means of a laptop camera in a public place. That, and the fact that sweaty, helmet hair and wind-flushed cheeks are in full force right now, seeing as the second segment of the cycle ride to get here has just been completed. So let’s just say, I’m not looking at Activewear’s best.

So yes, I am white girl in a coffee shop with a fully functional, open MacBook to just add to the visionary and did I mention I’m also wearing activewear? The Macbook FYI, that was supposed to remain a tool for work, but when your personal laptop is HP’s first released version in 1999, that weighs more than a small human, this sleek device I’ve been forever missing out on sits much more comfortably in the depths of my super cool rucksack than what the other laptop would. Apparently, the only aspect actually missing from this visage, is that of the white, sugary coffee to complete the Frapalapacapuccino they serve nowadays, where I’ve instead settled for a single espresso – how it should be on Coffee Tour 2k17 (I’ll get to this shortly).

So maybe it’s not quite the stereotypical, white girl visionary I was intentionally heading towards – that obviously just comes naturally – but instead more just a dorky cyclist that’s decided to spend a rare, free Saturday stamping two of the independent coffee shops in London’s Coffee Guide Book, 2017.

I’ll first touch on ‘rare, free Saturdays’, then the exciting and thrilling journey that this ‘Coffee Tour 2k17’ is going to take. Let me stress, this isn’t actually its given name, I’m not sure I’m that sad…

After a truly wondrous (think I can still say that) afternoon was recently spent, Boris Biking through the not so bike-friendly roads of London, demolishing chocolate, on top of chocolate mochas, I’d never felt more of an incentive to finally side step trying to do a full-time Monday to Friday job, as well as a weekend job elsewhere. However, when you want to live and work in London and still afford to eat (yes I actually do that shit now), sometimes having a life gets somewhat sacrificed in the process; hence the 7 day working weeks.

But as of August, this will be no more! As I’ve finally bitten the bullet, realised I liked life on weekends, and instead sacrificed the extra dollar for a bit of caffeine, cycling-filled fun… You’d have thought I’d want to start potentially weekend city jetting to make up for all those lost weekends, but no; just bikes, brews and solitary bantz.

Combining this new found love I’ve got for cycling my way around London, with my love for black coffee – a love that was only really discovered because I’d run a terrified mile away from any added calorie during the worst parts of my eating disorder, I’ve now formed this somewhat ambition to try every independent coffee shop mentioned in ‘The London Coffee Shop Guide’, which was recently passed on to me. The cycling only comes in as a means of transport to get between said coffee shops, where each week I will visit two more located in opposite parameters of London.

Though I by no means claim to be a coffee connoisseur, I can at least pluck out the instant coffee from the Barista-brewed (I think?), even when you are paying top dollar for the Nescafe Gold Blend coffee from Tesco. So although some form of rating system would be a top notch addition to these little weekend adventures, I’ve decided I’d much rather just soak in the atmosphere, the people and the achievement of actually making it alive to the coffee shop without being knocked off my bike en route. That and the fact that I’ll probably be paying a small fortune for each one of these little gems so that will no doubt influence my tasting thoughts.

So with full explanations in order, I sit now in coffee shop number 149 in the book, ‘Coffee7’ (Forest Gate), after previously sitting in coffee shop number 3, ‘The Borough Barista’ (Marble Arch), with my MacBook in hand and a slightly worrying shake in my circulatory system. I am fully kitted out in activewear, probably looking like some sad, lonely (slightly creepy), spinster and I could not give two shits because I am feeling super liberated… and maybe possibly a bit too caffeinated.

Coffee and cycling are a great combination in my eyes and I’m pretty damn excited for the next one. So from the corner of a cosy seat in East London’s Sebert Road… Bottoms up!

 

That’s enough caffeine for one day.

Who likes short, shorts?

You bet I freegin’ don’t.

A weekend of basking in the Great British weather and we’ve seen more leg, gun and bad cases of farmer tan sprawled across the screens of our electronic devices in the last two days, than we’ll probably ever see again in 2017. I’m only too convinced we’ve already now had our summer dose of vitamin D and we can all now submerge back into the depths of our white skinned egg shells and live the rest of 2017 as a hermit crab again.

So well done if you did actually manage to find a seat in a pub garden this weekend, or a large enough patch of grass in Clapham Common that you weren’t in the background of all manner of hopeless sunglasses selfies. Though for the mere few, like me, that were not a part in said British activity, fortunately didn’t have to tackle such first world problems. Nothing wrong with a back garden anyway… There’s always space (maybe a stash of beer if you’re lucky) and top end selfie potential, that you can epitomise to your hearts content until you’ve got the right angle, with no further judgement from other London onlookers. 

You’d have thought as a runner that at any sign of heat increase, I’d be straight out that door; kitted out in clothing that in this type of weather, has practically become a small triangular band to cover ones genitals and some top half crop top that does less of a job covering your bits than what nipple stickers would do. This is actually what’s considered pretty standard attire for a female runner, nowadays. How they stand the honking horns without wanting to shoot the god damn driver of the vehicle, I’ll never know. However for me, though still exceptionally keen to still sprint out of the door towards the sun, it becomes more of a grade A organisation plan with too much thought having gone into it than I care to admit. 

Such a plan involves tactically deciding what time of the day to run, to ensure I match a temperature slot that means I won’t actually die from dehydration and sun stroke as well as the time of the day where there are fewer people about. All because I’m too god dam afraid to swap my leggings in exchange for shorts – something which would certainly help minimise the above issues of potential death by running.

Shorts would of course be the most sensible and practical option but with the saggy, undefined skin that sits under my bum, the stretch marks and the wobbly cellulite that is slowly itching its way down the side of my legs again (I’m told it’s age, but I disagree), I’d have no energy left to run anyway because I’ve just spent it all mentally picking myself up from all the utter deflation that came with seeing myself in a pair. It’s all too easy to just conceal problems with a nice pair of black leggings that fool definition at every corner. Hence why running at 06:30 poses no problem at all – the time I chose to go running. Leggings are more than fitting for the temperature occasion and no god forsaken person is generally alive at this hour anyway. 

To think as an u20 track and field athlete, so full of Lycra dreams, you wouldn’t find me in any other clothing that wasn’t another pair of Adidas’s black swimming bottoms that we’d all pass off as running shorts. Now I can barely stand the sight of the things. At least on me, anyway. You other girls carry on rocking it. Though I can practically see the inside of your butt cheeks in such attire, you at least have the balls to do it and hey, kudos to you and your butt. 

In an ideal world, we’d have sun like this every day, I could go out running in shorts at any time of the day and just hope that people have no eyes for the hour or so I’m out running. I’m well aware that people have better things to do and don’t actually take any notice, but that idea seems to just go over my head where I feel like any person passing, just sees a chunky wannabe runner that doesn’t exactly fit the bill. 

Then again if we are asking for things, I’d probably just like a pair of legs that I feel comfortable enough to flaunt around on the streets of London. Perhaps that’s still further down the recovery line for now!  

We get it, you run

Swings and roundabouts, which apart from very much summarising my feelings towards relationships and just my general opinion towards the male species, is a phrase that actually perfectly summarises my feelings towards social media.

Apart from life’s number one tool for discovering the GPS coordinates of your ex back in 2011 or getting to the bottom of the mystery nail polished hand that appeared in the background of their most recent photo, I’ll reluctantly admit that social media is and can be good for a number of different things. Not merely just a stalking tool. However, where my main indecision on social media comes from whether or not to post another upload of the run I did that morning, I don’t actually feel any real need for its use anymore, coupled with the fact I pretty much now resent the thing. So it’s clear I’m probably currently in the ‘swings’ phase in my relationship with social media.

As it goes, all I really needed was STRAVA anyway and I probably could have a saved a lot of people’s efforts in what was probably the likely press of the unfollow button because, “She’s uploaded another fucking run, again”. I just evidently needed all the ‘gram fans. I’d say sorry, but it got me those all important likes we all so desperately strive towards for that affirmation and social clarity.

Recently stumbling across a psychology article, titled ‘Social media uploads and what is says about our personality’ has only gone and heightened the now direction I want to take from the persistent use of such sites. That being, far, far away from its use. Though given my relationship comes in swings and roundabouts, I’ll probably just end up mapping the running route I’ve taken away from social media and just upload it to Facebook anyway.

So the article, which can be found here, indicated that given the above description of the types of things I post on social media, puts me into the narcissism category. Now isn’t that just a complimentary enlightenment of how I seemingly appear as a person and user on social media. I’m a vain, attention-seeking grandiose of a woman. What a cracking and punchy Tinder bio.

If I’d known I was going to come across this way, I would have just gone full-out Narc and taken the standard, minimal clothing ‘before and after’ shots in front of the gym mirror. Undoubtedly known by us all that it’s probably just a person with slightly more air in their lungs and less space in their stomach, helped along by a slightly better lighting angle in one photo compared to the other, rather than it actually being any real physical body changes. Probably would have got more likes though and apparently that’s the kind of attention I need anyway…

In this instance however, I’d probably have opted for such mind trickery as this, in a bid to fool and minimise the impact of all my weight gain of the last few months. Except I’d be far from likely to do that kind of thing on the regular anyway, albeit proud of actually where I’ve got to from the skinny alien I once was.

Perhaps it’s now time to side-step social media a bit and leave all that profound vanity of mine to just be discovered in reality instead.

But at least on STRAVA, I’m enclosed in my own platform with a whole bunch of other like-minded, running Narcs that need affirmation of their achievements though, right?