LV In Love With

Learning To Love My Smile


Let me tell you a little story about a girl and her relationship with her teeth. Yup. Probably not the sexiest of stories but you're here now so you might as well read on. Oh..spoiler alert, the girl is me. 

I grew up with a good set of teeth on me, no fillings as a kid and I always left the dentist happy and with my obligatory cheesy sticker. But then puberty happened (for me, awkwardly young but that's for another post) and along with dodgy skin, erratic moods and an uncomfortable trip to the M&S bra fitter, came wonky teeth. My teeth seemingly decided one day that being straight wasn't for them and they wanted to try a different angle. Trouble was, each tooth decided to try a different angle from the other - and my young smile was left looking like an absolute trainwreck.  

I then spent about 4 years learning how to smile with my mouth shut. I never mastered it, and basically ended up looking miserable and awkward (more so than a girl does naturally during puberty). I couldn't wait to get braces and after about 2 years of traintracks I had that magical moment where I finally had straight teeth. It was beautiful....and only lasted for a few years because stupid past Louise decided that wearing her retainer wasn't necessary. 18-year-olds are idiots. 

Anyway, this brings us to now. I'm not a big fan of my teeth, all I see when I look at them is wonkiness. I've looked at those fancy clear braces but they are just far too expensive, so when Enlighten got in touch to see whether I'd be interested in some professional whitening I jumped at the chance. 
Enlighten is a whitening course which is done mostly at home, with a tray and a course of whitening gel, and takes just over a month. You begin with a dentist appointment where you get a mold for your tray fitted. Your tray is what you'll wear at night with the whitening gel inside, and it's basically like a clear and thinner gum shield. The mold is done in the same way you'd get a gum shield, with that funky sticky gummy stuff being pushed around your teeth. It's not a fun experience but it's not bad in any way. These impressions are then sent away for your tray to be made and takes about 3 weeks. This 

My nearest dentist that used Enlighten whitening was Causeway Dental Practice in Horsham, but you can find your nearest practice on the Enlighten website. In total, you go for three appointments - the first is to get the impression done of your teeth which is used to make the tray, the second is to pick up the tray and go through how the process works and the third is after you've completed your at-home whitening where you have a final blast of whitening at the dentist. 

Before the treatment began, the dentist matched up my teeth to where they currently were on the white scale. I was actually quite surprised, but they were actually just a few shades away from the whitest. I was told that potentially I may not see that much of a difference, but you can see from the after shots that there was a definite improvement in whiteness - which I was really pleased with. 

The whole process was very simple, you are given two different tubes of whitening gel (one slightly stronger than the other) and every night you fill your tray with a little of the gel and wear it overnight. It's quite a strange feeling at first but I got used to it very quickly. In the morning you just rinse out your tray and brush your teeth like normal (you actually get a special tooth paste as well that is helpful for any sensitivity). You can eat and drink what you like, but it's recommended that you don't have things like black coffee and red wine so I tried to stay away from them. 
The dentist did warn me that over the two weeks I could experience some sensitivity, which I did on the last couple of days, but there are some handy 'sticks' included in the kit that contain a special gel that treats that well. 

All in all I was really impressed with the treatment and would recommend it if anyone was looking for whitening. It isn't cheap, at £700, but as in the UK we don't have options like Crest White Stripes (like in the US) then it really is the most effective route to go down for a whiter smile. 

Summertime Goals

So one big thing has happened in the last couple of weeks, I’ve exchanged and completed on my first ever flat. It’s a dinky studio flat in Brighton and I couldn’t love it more. In time, once I’ve unpacked all the boxes and got rid of the lurid green paint (y tho?!), I’ll certainly show you around but for now I thought I’d share with you some of my summer goals now I’m in my new place.

Rekorderlig Cider recently asked me to bring a little ‘lagom’ into my life to celebrate the fact they are coming to Brighton next month for an event where you can sample their ciders. You may have read about 'lagom' at the beginning of the year – it’s the Swedish notion of living a life in moderation, ‘not too much, not too little – just right’. It’s actually an ethos that I’ve been interested in the last couple of months, especially when it comes to my new flat. It would be easy to get over-excited and just splurge on all the most expensive things for my new place but instead I want to appreciate the fact that I own my own little space and just be content in that. To me, that seems to be what ‘lagom’ stands for – a kind of contented simplicity. 

The recent beautiful weather has got me so excited for the summer and I can’t wait to spend some amazing time in my beautiful city. Bearing in mind the ‘lagom’ way of life, here are my summer goals for the season.

1. Enjoy my new place

I can’t wait to enjoy simple things in my new place. With the summer heat wave on, I’ve been out and about lots but there’s nothing like coming back in the evening, putting on some Netflix and having a cold bev or two. Rekordlig Cider sent me a bunch of delicious ciders so I’ve had them stocked up in the fridge, they’re a refreshing god-send when it’s warm out – my favourites are Mango-Raspberry and Passionfruit.

2. Don’t buy everything all at once

I need to remember the simplistic contentment of ‘lagom’ when it comes to making my new flat my home – it’s so easy to go mad on buying lots of new things but really I need to remember what is important and keep level-headed. I’ll be trying to invest in fewer, but better quality pieces that will hopefully last me for years and years.

3. Get out in the sunshine

Although it’s exciting to have my new place, it is summer after all so I need to take advantage of all that Brighton offers. I’ll be relaxing on the beach, enjoying the park that is just down the road from my new flat (basically my new garden!) and sitting enjoying the sun in pub gardens. If you’re in Brighton and you fancy a free drink, Rekordlig Cider is going to be in town on 1st July at Jubilee Street – fingers crossed the sunshine stays around for that!

4. Appreciate those around me

Finally, I’m going to keep on remembering how lucky I am to have the lovely people around me. I’ve had so much support from so many friends, old and new, throughout these stressful few months that I’m going to spend the summer make sure they know how much they mean to me.

There’s a bunch of samplings happening all around the UK with Rekordlig where you can get your hands on some of their lovely cider – here are the dates:

Box Park Shoreditch, London – 15th June
Molson Coors HQ – 22nd June
High Street, Birmingham – 24th June
Gunwharf, Portsmouth – 30th June
Jubilee Street, Brighton – 1st July
Rose Lane, Canterbury – 2nd July
Queen Street, Cardiff – 6th July
Crown Square, Spinningfields, Manchester – 21st July


*This post was made in collaboration with Rekorderlig Cider*

Pick Me Up Pastels

If you've been anywhere near Brighton recently, you'll know that the weather has been..temperamental, to say the least. Torrential rain and blustery winds one moment and then beautiful sunshine and blue skies the next. It's basically been a sartorial nightmare, and has meant that I've got such a miss-mash of clothes currently in my wardrobe at the moment. Hence, how this jumper and denim mixture of an outfit came about, but I'm kinda digging it! 

As you might be able to tell from my somewhat wind-swept hair, these photos were taken on quite a blustery day so this cosy knit, courtesy of WoolOvers, was a God-send. I love the pretty pastel pink colour which gives the jumper a nice summer update, especially paired with relaxed cut-off denim. Obviously, I wish the UK could grace us with summer weather that didn't requite knitwear..but I feel like that is a little bit of an unrealistic expectation. So in the meantime - get my all the pastel knitwear!

Oh and psst...I've exchanged contracts on my flat now! So watch this space (and my Instagram) for flat updates, if that's you're kinda thing.

Jumper - WoolOvers // Skirt - Urban Outfitters // Bag - China (don't judge!) // Glasses - Ray-Ban

Confessions Of A Former Fitness Failure

It's the long weekend of hot cross buns and Easter eggs so perhaps now isn't the best time to start talking about fitness - or perhaps it's the perfect time, depending on how you look at it. I've never really talked about fitness or weight or anything like that on my blog. So perhaps a recap would be helpful - let's start from the beginning (promise I won't babble on too much). 

When it comes to fitness, I was never particularly sporty at school. I had a glittering start as one of the fastest runners and an A-team netball player in primary school, but these talents soon dried up from the age of 11 onwards (probably due to there being more than 15 people to pick from for teams in secondary school). Pair this with an annoying personality trait where I basically stop trying if I don't think I'm good enough (a kind of self-preservation from presumed embarrassment that rears its ugly head in many aspects of my life) and its meant that my attitude towards exercise has been less than favourable. In other words, I hardly did any. 

Things ticked along like this pretty much until my mid-twenties - with my youthful metabolism keeping me at a weight I deemed acceptable enough and any fluctuations combatted with a few sit-ups here and there. However, at around 25 I noticed my weight was creeping up and also noticed that my fitness was near non-existent (when a flight of stairs start to really puff you out, you know things may have gotten out of hand). So I joined a gym, started running and ate better and things all got better....haha lol jk. NOPE, no they did not. In hindsight, there were two vital errors. Firstly, my healthy eating was healthy but I was eating way too much of it (I was living with a boy at the time which I tend to try and blame but really...I was just being greedy and food is yummy - sue me). Secondly, I didn't have the first clue what I was doing at the gym. I'd just wander in there, do a little bit on the treadmill, a couple of sit ups and then go home smug that I was basically a fitness guru. I wish I could insert an eye roll emoji here. 
Unsurprisingly I wasn't seeing or feeling any differences. But then, I was unexpectantly single again - urgh, I hate that this sounds so cliche but this life hiccup did actually spur me to taking this fitness thing seriously. A 'revenge body' wasn't in my sights (where's that eye roll emoji already?!) but having something to focus my energy was. So I picked the gym and getting healthy - and here are a few things that I found worked for me. It's by no means a list of magical secrets, I'm sure you've heard this all before but - this is what worked for me, kept me motivated and helped me to learn to love exercise (seriously, who am I?!).

1. Find your thing

I tried my hand at many forms of exercise until the right ones just stuck, for me this is currently the gym, running and a little bit of yoga here and there. For you it could be horse-riding or zumba or hiking. I'm pretty aware though that I'll no doubt get bored of my current routine so next on my list to try is ballet barre, pole-dancing and pilates.

2. Kayla bloody Itsines

If you want to try and make gymming your thing, then I implore you to try Kayla Itsines' bikini body workout. It has literally transformed my attitude towards exercising, giving me a really easy structure to follow so that I felt like I at least look like I know what I was doing in the gym. If you're on a budget, just do a little Google and you'll find pdfs and YouTube videos that show you the workout plan.

3. All the vegetables

After realising that one of my major failures in the past was eating too much healthy food, I made a new rule for myself. Portions sizes were going to be really cut down, except for vegetables where I could eat as much as I wanted. This meant that I filled up on things like spinach, broccoli, salad and courgetti - not rocket science but it really worked for me.

4. Treadmill -> Pavement

Again, just something that worked for me, but I was consistently finding running outside a struggle. Whether it was starting too fast or giving up too quickly, I just couldn't get the knack of it somehow. What seemed to do the trick for me was improving my fitness with the cardio from the Kayla workouts then moving onto the treadmill where I could control my pace easily. It took a few weeks but eventually I was able to run 5k on the treadmill under 30 minutes and after that, running outside was a whole lot more enjoyable.

5. All the pretty workout gear

Not the most important piece of advice, but this certainly helped my motivation - pretty workout clothes! Before I started my 'fitness journey', workout clothes seemed over-expensive and just not a priority - and that's fine if that's how you feel too. The two things I would recommend investing in is a good sports bra and leggings. For your more specialist things, I love Sweaty Betty and Nike, but everything else (like tops, vests and shorts) I pick up at places like M&S and Primark. I'm loving these dreamy galaxy print leggings from OWfit, which are some of the comfiest I own - perfect for yoga. And how cute is my Gym Bunny sweat?! It's from Ellie Ellie and I just can't stop wearing it at the moment (even if it is when I'm lying in best munching on Easter eggs). 

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