Tuesday

Six Months Smiles: The half way point

If you follow me on Twitter or have read my monthly round ups, you may have seen me mention my braces. For years and years I have been extremely self conscious of my teeth, rarely smiling in photos and being bullied at school and even college for the 'state' of them. As I'm nearing my thirties and thinking about my future a lot, I decided to do something about it. I'd heard of a couple of teeth straightening treatments that don't take too long and are hardly noticeable -which, is something I really wanted them to be.

After a little chat with my dentist, I decided to go with Six Months Smiles. An American teeth straightening treatment that involves wearing braces for a period of 5-9 months. You can't get this on the NHS, and it is expensive (but totally worth it). I've had a number of people email me about my braces so, I wanted to do a little post on them which will hopefully answer some questions that people have been asking. 

Food
These braces are very delicate and can pop off and break a lot more easier than your standard NHS ones. There are certain foods I have to stay away from whilst I have these on. The following foods are not allowed;
  • Nothing harder than a Pretzel can be eaten (Bread crusts, pizza crusts, bagels, crackers, Crisps, etc)
  • Nuts, popcorn, hard sweets, chewing gum and any sort of hard or chewy sweets
  • Anything with colouring (Pasta sauces, curry, sauces, tomato soup, tea and coffee)
  • Raw vegetables
  • Whole fruit (An apple a day in this situation may keep the doctor away, but it won’t keep the dentist away)
  • Chicken wings, ribs, burgers, burritos, steak and anything else you can’t take apart and eat piece by piece.
  • Rice. Yep, that's right I let it fool me (more than once). They get stuck/hide in the small spaces between my brackets, teeth and wires. On a number of occasions, I've been talking to someone (thinking all is fine) and a little bit of rice comes flying out. They're like little ninjas.
So, all the good stuff is basically out of bounds. I've been mainly eating potatoes - waffles, baked and mashed. Although, I've managed to keep cake and ice cream under 'brace-friendly foods' so all is not lost. 

Pain
I'm not going to lie, or try to be the tough girl...so yes, they are bloody painful. I was in pain for most of the first month. My gums were shredded, I took codeine every night for the first week to help me sleep and I wasn't about to eat anything for the first 4 days - I was drinking protein shakes through a straw to keep my energy levels up. After the first month, and my first brace tightening appointment, everything has been pretty pain-free, with the odd bracket catching the inside of my bottom lip every so often. I found ways to help ease the pain without relying on painkillers too much;
  • Orthodontic wax - put a little bit on the bracket that is rubbing
  • Bonjela - it bloody stings when you apply it to your painful, cut gums but, go with it!
  • Peppermint tea - a mug of this really helps soothe your mouth. Just don't drink it all the time as it can stain your braces!
  • Warm, salty water - don't drink it! Just use it like you would a mouthwash.
Tips
  • Carry a TePe, toothbrush, breath freshener and compact mirror with you in your bag at all times. 
  • Drink water with every meal. Lots and lots of water.
  • Lipbalm. I've found my lips get very dry now so I always have a tube to hand.
Things I've learnt
Before I had these fitted, I went through a whole load of emotions - Would people take the piss out of me for being an adult and having braces? Would it be really painful? Would I be able to eat at all?! Would I have a lisp?

No one has made any horrid comments, laughed or looked at me like I'm an alien - most people don't actually notice them until I point them out! Everyone seems pretty amazed that you can hardly see them and, most people have a teenage brace story to tell me so, it makes me feel a little less self conscious when I'm having a drink in the pub. 

At first, I felt a bit weird having to brush my teeth after every meal. Which means having to carry a toothbrush around. I've managed to get used to it - mainly because I pretty much refuse to eat out now as it just gets a little stressful for me! 

Week 1
Six Months smiles month one
Taken when I was in pain so this is more of a grimace than a smile! 
Week 18
Six Months Smiles month four
I'm not sure there's a way of taking a close up of your mouth without looking weird!

Now I don’t want to make this whole experience I'm going through sound like such a horrid thing, it’s really not. It’s just an adjustment like everything else in life. The braces are now quite comfortable and I am in fact super happy with them. In four months my teeth have become so straight I get quite teary when I think about how amazing they're going to look when the braces come off. For a start, I'm going to have to learn to smile with my mouth open as I've never intentionally done that! I will miss my braces a little when they’re gone but only because they make my lips puff out ever so slightly so I have a fuller pout.

If you have any questions about my brace experience then please don't hesitate to get in touch!


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ASOS Faux Fur Collar

ASOS Faux Fur Collar  by What Laura did Next
 Faux fur is one of the biggest trends for AW14. I've been pulling my faux fur coat out of storage every Winter and, I seriously consider it a wardrobe staple. 

For the new season, accessories have had a faux fur makeover. Shoes, bags, hats, gloves and scarves are already appearing on the high street in various coloured (faux) furs. It's a great way to add a little fun to an outfit.

I got this collar from ASOS a few weeks back and, couldn't wait to style it. ASOS have some great furry accessories (and coats!) for the new season. Alot of them seem to be in my saved items basket at the moment..Ahem, waiting on a discount code ASOS! 

Belting it around the waist gives it a different look. When it gets colder, I'll be pairing it with my Winter coats for extra warmth. 
ASOS Faux Fur Collar  by What Laura did Next

Faux Fur collar: ASOS
Dress: Zara
Boots: Carvela via Shoeaholics
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Thursday

Debenhams Winter Beauty Press Day

Debenhams Winter Beauty Press Day by What Laura did Next
Last week, I went along to the Debenhams Winter beauty press day to check out what they have in store for us over the next few of months including, Christmas.

This year, Debenhams unveiled their biggest beauty hall in their Oxford Street store. Bursting at the walls with more beauty brands and treatments than ever from the much loved and well-known to the new niche and exclusives. If you haven't popped in yet, make sure you do when you're next on Oxford Street.

Christmas had definitely come early at the event with a Christmas trees, snowflakes and baubles scattered around the showroom.
Debenhams Winter Beauty Press Day by What Laura did Next
Debenhams Winter Beauty Press Day by What Laura did Next
Debenhams Winter Beauty Press Day by What Laura did Next
Debenhams Winter Beauty Press Day by What Laura did Next
Debenhams Winter Beauty Press Day by What Laura did Next
There were lots of products and experiences to try out. The Urban Decay team were on hand to do mini makeovers - I (almost) ran to them as I've been intrigued about their palettes for a while now, and their latest offering, Naked 2 Basics didn't fail in impressing me.

Skincare is important all year round, but I find that I have to really take care of my skin more in the Winter as the cold weather is so harsh on my face. I had a little try of the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face cream, and it felt amazing. Another one added to the wish list!

It's all about being glam over the festive season. Everyone loves an excuse to party and dress up and the brands that Debenhams stock have that covered for you. Check out the new packaging a colours from Nails Inc - LOVE!

This perfume by Marni ticked all the right boxes for me. Plus, the bottle is so bloody cute and would fit perfectly on my dressing table.

I posted my wish list to Father Christmas on my way out. I'm hoping I'm going to find  the Naked 2 Basics and ALL the Benefit gift sets at the end of my bed on the big day. If you haven't seen the Benefit gift sets and Advent Calendar already, get to your nearest Debenhams immediately as they will all sell out!

Check out their products online or in your local store now.
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Wednesday

Drinking with Waitrose

Last week, I was invited by the lovely team at Waitrose to try out some of their great selection of wines for the new season. 

I spent a good couple of hours travelling the world without even having to get on a plane or, leave their cookery school, where the event was held. 

First off, we stayed in the UK and headed to Sussex, Kent and Hampshire to try some of the homegrown delights us Brits have to offer. In recent years, English sparkling wine has started to emerge as the UK wine style receiving the most attention, winning awards left, right and centre. 
Drinking with Waitrose by What Laura did Next
One of my favourites I tried was Leckford Estate. Produced at the Waitrose vineyard in Hampshire (yes, they have a vineyard!) and new for 2014. Waitrose was the first supermarket to plant a vineyard and this sparkling wine is the result of the first harvest of grapes. One of my favourite sparkling wines is from Ridgeview. Produced about 20 minutes up the road from where I live. They have helped produce this wine with the supermarket and, they've done a very good job.

It is absolutely beautiful and, very drinkable!

Off to New Zealand we went. My favourite wine to drink is a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. So, it would've been rude not to try one of those.
Drinking with Waitrose by What Laura did Next
Drinking with Waitrose by What Laura did Next
This one was delicious and, retails at just over £10. It's on offer on their website at the moment for £6.99 and, I would recommend buying some.

Next up, was South Africa. I don't know much about South African wines, and was curious to try a couple. The one below was delicious and an absolute favourite from the event. I even went and purchased a bottle from the store to take home with me!

We then moved on to some old favourites. I love a glass or two of champagne, especially when it's a special occasion. Waitrose have a great selection and didn't disappoint.
Drinking with Waitrose by What Laura did Next
If you don't have the budget to purchase a bottle of these delicious offerings, I would highly recommend one of the ones produced in the UK. They're cheaper and, are definitely still as delicious (in my opinion) as the 'higher end' ones from the Champagne region. 
Drinking with Waitrose by What Laura did Next
We were also given a glimpse of a couple of exclusives toWaitrose for Christmas. Heston Blumenfeld has created a cherry bakewell vodka. It smells so delicious and, I can't wait until it's out in stores as I want to have a play around with it and see what cocktails I can make from it. I'm thinking, adding a little splash to a sparkling wine will be delicious!
Drinking with Waitrose by What Laura did Next
Waitrose are also offering a nice selection of gifts for Christmas. This hamper is perfect for the festive period and, is not too expensive.

You can purchase the wine and spirits I've talked about above in selected Waitrose stores, and online at Waitrose Cellar. Waitrose are offering a new wine service, stocking over 1,200 wines. With a great delivery service and lots of exclusives, it would be rude not to check it out. 

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