Review: Stemyouth Essence Age Defense System

Last week, I was invited to UAE-based health and wellness clinic, VLCC, to try out their Stemyouth Essence Age Defense System facial.

Stemyouth is an ultra-hydrating, anti-aging facial, which aims to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Now, I’m certainly not an expert in skincare, but putting my lack of scientific knowledge aside, I can confirm one thing for sure: the treatment itself is great.

After being introduced to my lovely therapist, Jabeen, I was taken through a step-by-step explanation of the facial, as detailed in the image below.

After an hour of ultimate relaxation, including a head, shoulder and hand massage, my skin felt amazing; fresh, firm and hydrated.

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After:

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At 22 years old, you may be questioning why I’m sampling anti-aging facials. But with a family involved in the beauty industry, I’ve been taught to be proactive, as opposed to reactive with my skin. Living in the UAE, it’s all too easy for sun-damage to negatively impact our skin. Stemyouth is an ideal treatment to counter dehydration caused by the sun, helping you to maintain healthy, balanced skin all year round.

I visited the Nad Al Hamar branch, so it was a long drive, but totally worth it! Not to worry though, if this isn’t a convenient location for you, VLCC also have clinics in Dubai Marina, Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Qusais, amongst other facilities across the UAE.

Cost: 500 AED per treatment.

Recommended: 6 sessions at 10-15 day intervals for optimal results.

More info: https://www.vlccwellness.com/UAE/en/

Review: Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes

If you live in Dubai and you’re searching for the ultimate cheat meal, look no further. Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes, located in Jumeirah, is home to the most monstrous grub you could ever imagine.

We’re talking American-sized portions of the most dense, delicious and downright nawwwwwti food. This New York eatery is everything you could want in a cheat meal (and a whole lot more).

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The Milkshakes:

Feeling brave? I hope so. Imagine the biggest and best milkshake you’ve ever seen… And then multiply that by a million. Stick some FULL SIZE snacks on the side of the glass (quite literally – none of this ‘miniature’ business), and jump right in.

The verdict: creamy, velvety, and totally worth every single sugar-laden calorie. If food could deliver you to heaven, this would be the one (in regards to both its tastiness and questionable nutritional value, oops).

We tried ‘The Cookie Shake’ and ‘Brooklyn Blackout’ (pictured below). I’m not sure what was more difficult… Deciding which drink to order, or overcoming the sugar high and consequential food coma caused by this demon of a shake. If you’re in Dubai, you’ve simply GOT to try one. No questions.

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The Burgers:

Admittedly, I didn’t actually eat one for myself. You’re probably wondering why the queen of burgers would go to a burger joint and only order a milkshake. Well:

  1. Have you seen the size of those shakes!?
  2. Only I could be stupid enough to go to Black Tap on a whim, just moments after having eaten a lunch of two chicken breasts and a whole load of sweet potato fries. Cheat day at it’s finest.

Although I can’t comment on how the burgers taste, one thing’s for sure… They look UNBELIEVABLE. Juicy, cheesy and super fresh.

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No doubt I’ll be back soon to check them out for myself. Next time… On an empty stomach.

Find Black Tap in the Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel.

Review: Ivy Park

Let’s be honest… If you haven’t heard of Ivy Park by now, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock. So when the opportunity arose to review some items from the collection (stocked by JD Women), I just couldn’t say no.

The brand, co-founded by none other than Queen Bey (yep, the Beyonce), aims to take you from the street, to the gym and back again – in allllll sorts of style. We’re talking lux activewear, at high street prices. The best part? There’s no scrimping on quality either.

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The Leggings:

Any gym girl knows what she wants when it comes to a pair of leggings:

  • A thick-but-stretchy material, which SURE AS HELL ain’t see-through.
  • The squat-proof guarantee: when we drop it down low, do the leggings stay up? Don’t want to be giving any onlookers a cheeky (pardon the pun) peep at your peach.
  • A chunky waistband, because it’s most flattering, and also contributes to extra stay-uppiness.

Check, check, check – these leggings have got it all. Whilst the waistband doesn’t have a tie adjustment for extra peace of mind, they’re reliable enough at staying up on their own, because of the resilient, almost scuba-like material. SO GOOD.

They’ve even got a pair of built in undies – seamless of course, so no VPL issues. What more could you ask for!? I mean, really…

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The Top:

An oversized fit, teamed with drop armholes and a statement print. It gives off the kind of gym-chic vibe as seen on your Instagram girl crush (you have those too, right?).

This piece (along with most of the collection, when I think about it) is all about the little details. The tape trim gives just the right amount of sass, and a monochrome colour scheme is always a winner in my eyes.

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As a whole, the brand suggests a pairing of ‘technical innovation’ and ‘fashion led design’ throughout their collections; a very fair claim, I’d say!

I’ll definitely be buying some gym clothing from their collection (and you probably should too), stocked both in store and online at JD Women.

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Review: F45 Fitness Dubai Marina

F45 Fitness is a name that you’ve no doubt heard a fair few times. Whether it’s through your favourite blogger’s Snapchat (thanks Zanna), or plastered all over Instagram… The brand is everywhere. So I couldn’t really call myself a fitness blogger without having given it a go.

Fortunately enough, a new F45 location has just opened in Dubai Marina, 5 minutes walk from where I live. They’re offering a FREE (a word I know you all love to hear) TWO WEEK TRIAL to all new members; so I popped down to see what the hype was about. One thing I can tell you for sure: it certainly didn’t disappoint!

The first class I tried was Athletica, which is cardio-focused. I tend to slack a little in my training when it comes to cardio, so this was the perfect session to chuck me right in at the deep end, and leave me gasping for air. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced such a sweaty 45 minutes in my life, but I loved every minute.

The next day, I was back for more… This time, Romans. I foolishly thought that this strength-based class would be a little less sweaty than Athletica, but nope! Romans will push you past your limits and outside of your comfort zone, but it’s a whole lot better knowing that the entire class is right there with you.

I’m yet to give ‘Hollywood’ or ‘Quarterbacks’ a go, but I’ve no doubt they’ll be pretty damn awesome too. All in all, any class capable of making cardio fun is a winner in my eyes. I’ll definitely be making a regular appearance at this location, and I hope to see you there too.

(This post is not endorsed, I just had a real good time @f45_training_dubaimarina)

Review: Fit-Pharm UK

I have two questions to ask, the second of which is particularly important. So listen up.

  • Do you take any form of supplement, such as protein powder, pre workout or Branched Chain Amino Acids?
  • If so, have you any idea what these individual products contain?

If you haven’t already (tut tut), take a look at the ingredients. It’s more than likely that the list is extensive, and hellllla hard to pronounce. Guess what? Those substances are equally as alien to your body as they are to your eyes. We’re talking thickeners, artificial flavours/sweeteners and a whole load of other chemicals. It’s just plain nasty. The truth is, our bodies aren’t meant to take in such densely processed products; it simply won’t recognise them. However, it’s not all doom and gloom.

I’m a supplement girl myself. There’s no denying that it’s a quick, easy and convenient way to assist you in achieving your goals. But I’m just not down with the idea of filling my body with the unnatural substances listed above. After all, what’s the point in eating clean, and purposefully avoiding anything artificial, to then consume a whole load of chemicals in the form of a shake? It doesn’t make sense.

I was fortunate enough to stumble across the perfect solution, thanks to my lovely friend Lauren (check out her page here). Praise the Lord – there’s no reason to ditch the supps all together. You can still stumble out of the gym, muscles trembling and a protein shake in hand. The gainzzz are here to stay.

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What is this miraculous solution, I hear you ask? The answer: Fit-Pharm. This is an independent, UK-based fitness supplement and clothing brand. Their ethos is to create clean, natural products, free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. They taste incredible: Fit-Pharm is just a whole different level when compared to mainstream alternatives. The best part? Your body loves these products just as much as your taste buds.

My personal favourite is Vanilla. I’m a sucker for Vanilla ice cream generally, so I use Fit-Pharm Epic Whey Protein to make my very own ‘Nice Cream’ (keep your eyes peeled for the recipe at some stage). The chocolate and strawberry flavours are also deeeeelicious.

I would never promote or recommend something that I didn’t believe in, because that’s just not me. But I honestly cannot recommend these products highly enough. Without Fit-Pharm, I would have stopped using supps a long time ago. Check out their website here, and make the change. You can thank me later.

When purchasing products, don’t forget to use my discount code: charshelley10

REVIEW: PINK SODA SPORT

Fun, fresh, and oh so chic. Pink Soda Sport is everything. Sportswear with extra sass, what more could you want? Set up by JD Sports, the brand is aimed at the modern woman, enabling a swift and effortless transition from everyday life to gym bunny.

The label aims to ‘push performance to new levels’, by creating an alternative mentality towards health, placing the focus on ‘clean living and positive body image’. In other words, Pink Soda believes that there is more to fitness than just the gym. Rather, it is a way of life, and their pieces embody this vision.

I was kindly gifted five pieces from their collection, and let’s just say, it was love at first sight.

The Hoody: Cozy and fitted, it wears like a dream. With this item, it’s all about the details: we’re talking mesh inserts and colour-block panelling. Even the little toggles which adjust the hood are super cute.

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The Leggings: These babies are exactly what every gym girl needs: a soft, thick material, with a wide waist band and high quality elastic. No one wants that behind-the-knee sagginess. An added perk (and absolute must in my books), a tie around the waist, which keeps the leggings up, and makes them totally squat-proof… No booty peeping in sight.

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The Sports Bra: Just enough squeeze, but not too much to inhibit breathing; a bonus at the best of times, especially whilst working out. I’ve worn/washed this piece a lot, and so far all of the printing has stayed perfectly intact.

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The Crop: Don’t judge me, but I totally wear this as a regular top. Personally, I don’t find it has a huge amount of support, so I wouldn’t choose this item if I was doing anything too bouncy. But who cares? We have the sports bra for that, ladies.

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The Sleeveless T: Dropped armhole, with some pretty niche detailing. This swanky T is great for getting to the gym, where I tend to take it off and train in a sports bra. Post-workout, I use it to cover up my sweaty self, paired with the Pink Soda hoody, of course.

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So if you like looking good whilst working out, you don’t need to spend a bomb on your sportswear. Pink Soda Sport is both fabulous and affordable. It may just be the brand for you.

Note: this post is not endorsed. These opinions are my own entirely, and I am sharing them solely to advise others.

Review: 1Rebel

This week I visited 1Rebel for the first time, to try their 45 minute ‘Reshape Full Body’ class. Widely hailed ‘The King of Gyms’, I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Did it live up to expectations? In one simple word… YES.

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It’s everything you could want a gym to be and more. Think high-end, chic and boutique. I mean, it’s worth trying a class just to experience their lavish changing rooms. We’re talking, Smeg fridge full of chilled aromatherapy towels, top of the range hairdryers and GHD straighteners. Oh, and there’s also no need to bring shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, make up remover, cotton wool pads, face cleanser, moisturiser, hair spray or even hair pins, because all of these are provided for you (yes, really). So before you’ve even arrived, 1Rebel have done you a huge favour in making your gym bag a whole lot lighter.

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I booked in for Reshape at 4.15pm on a Friday, which is seemingly a great time to visit, because there were only four people in the class. Alice was the trainer, and she was great: high energy and very accommodating for me as the only newbie.

The class itself features a mixture of high-intensity treadmill work, floor-based calisthenics (bodyweight training), and free weight exercises atop their patented 1Rebel workout platform. Let’s not beat around the bush, it’s hard. However, rest assured that after 45 physically enduring and mentally gruelling minutes, the pain will have been so worth it.

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The struggle is made somewhat easier by the party-vibe going on in the studio. The dim, disco-style lighting is great for concealing some of that excessive sweatiness (which, trust me, you will experience), and the playlists created by internationally renowned DJs are obviously top notch. When you think your body can’t take any more, there’s nothing more motivating than a bit of Eminem to help you blast through those last few reps.

So if you’re looking for a centrally located, no contract (pay-as-you-go), class-based gym, this could just be the place for you. When you decide to visit, be sure not to miss out on a post-workout protein shake from on site juice bar, ‘Roots and Bulbs’, and maybe even grab yourself some snazzy new sports gear from their luxe retail zones.