Beauty Blog: Is Olaplex Any Good?

What is Olaplex?


Olaplex is a hair 'bonding' product, that helps to maintain and repair hair, which has been damaged from chemical processing. Suitable for coloured, highlighted and permed hair, Olaplex is positioned as an innovation in hair care and can rebuild the strength of the hair from within.


How does Olaplex Work?


With 3 steps, Olaplex is initially used in the colouring process at the hairdressers. When I had my hair dyed at Toni and Guy a few years ago, they used Olaplex in the bleach and it helped to prevent as much damage and ultimately meant I had less breakage during the bleaching process. If you're having your hair dyed at the salon they usually add this for an additional price of around £5-£10 to your colour.

You can also get Olaplex 3 (pictured) for use at home. This is used once a week and as a pre-shampoo treatment. 

Is Olaplex any good?


The thing to remember about Olaplex is that it's not a traditional conditioner. You won't have immediately shinier hair, but you will notice less breakage and stronger hair over time. I'm one of those people who loves immediate results and after the first few uses, there was nothing to note. However, after around 6 weeks I am noticing less breakage, on my dry, brittle, over-processed hair.

It doesn't come cheap for the at-home Olaplex 3 treatment. I paid £20 for my bottle from www.justmylook.co.uk and it's a tiny 100ml bottle. If you are suffering from really damaged hair it is worth the investment, but as mentioned, don't expect immediate mermaid hair as that's not the idea of the product.

Worth Noting....


There are a lot of  brands bringing out products which are claiming to be the same kind of thing as Olaplex. I recently picked up a shampoo and conditioner from a brand called 'SYOSS' in Tesco and each product cost £2. 

After researching the ingredients when getting home, it turns out these SYOSS versions are just full of silicones, which gives your hair a glossy feeling. This isn't the same as Olaplex, which repairs from within. Silicone coats your hair and these SYOSS ones appear no different or better than Pantene shampoo and conditioner.

Whilst you might like the result, the long term benefits cannot be likened to Olapex.

Just sayin'

Recipe Blog: Simple Breakfast Protein Shake


It's been quite a while since I've been able to enjoy a non-rushed morning routine. Now I'm working closer to home and not suffering a lengthy commute, I'm still waking up at the same time I was before, but I now have a luxurious 2 hours(!) to spare.

Now I'm not walking as much to and from work, I am a bit more aware that I also can't have a massive breakfast every day, like I could before (using the walk as my excuse for a bacon bap most days). With this in mind, I've cracked out my blender and created the ultimate breakfast smoothie, which not only packs a protein punch, but also includes some coffee for a proper kick up the ass.

This recipe sounds vile if you've not tried it. I mean... banana... coffee? But I thought that before I gave it a go and it's absolutely delicious!

Simple Banana Mocha Protein Shake Recipe

The ingredients are simple:

✔2 x bananas (for yer five a day)
✔250ml Almond or Hazelnut milk (adds more flavour than regular milk and loads less calories)
✔Tablespoon of Coffee (I've used the chocolate flavour one from Little's Coffee)
✔Scoop of protein powder (chocolate flavour for an even richer mocha flavour)

Whizz it up in a blender and you're good to go!

Music Blog: #GIRLBOSS the Playlist


#GIRLBOSS is the latest Netlix series that Twitter is talking about. Inspired by Sophia Amoruso's book, of the same title, the series follows the uprising of a multi-million dollar fashion empire - Nasty Gal. Sophia, is portrayed as a rebellious, often bratty, girl attempting to be independent despite being pretty piss-poor. She refuses financial help from parents and friends and there's a great deal of pride being showcased throughout the series. Just when she loses her job in the early episodes, she stumbles upon a bargain vintage jacket in a thrift shop. After making a killing on eBay with it, she's inspired to set up her own online business selling other vintage finds.

Not only is the series pretty inspiring, watching the rise of what became a fashion empire, but it's also a complete throwback for us who were around about the same age as Sophia back in 2006. MySpace and eBay were firm favourites on the bookmark bar and everyone was desperate to make the most of these platforms, in the way Sophia did. 

The series itself is watchable. It's nothing stand-out and I wouldn't watch it again, but the odd appearance from Ru Paul doesn't go a miss. Despite being a rather mediocre show, it did prompt me to make a Spotify playlist full of all my favourite bad-ass Girl Boss bands and songs. Some are from the show, some aren't. 

Give it a listen and release your inner Riot-grrl-boss:

Food Blog: Learning to Love Italian Food with Broadway Casino, Birmingham

Restaurant in Broadway Casino, Birmingham

One of my favourite things to do is eat. 

From KFC, to the latest culinary addition to the Northern Quarter, I will eat anything (apart from mushrooms or wasabi).

One type of food that I have never *chosen* to indulge in, is Italian. In fact, if friends said they were going for an Italian, I'd usually have an excuse to back out. It's not that I don't like Italian food. In fact, pasta dishes are among my favourite, but there's just something about going to an Italian restaurant that I felt a little... 'Meh' about. 

I can't even explain to you why this is. As in the past I've done several Italian food reviews and rarely had a negative word to say about the food. Yet still had the 'meh' attitude.

That was until I experienced not only the best Italian meal I've ever had, but one of the best meals I've ever had, at the Broadway Casino in Birmingham.


This unlikely location for an Italian restaurant was utterly magical experience, from start to finish.

As soon as we stepped foot in to the Casino, the staff were effortlessly welcoming. From the initial host, through to the restaurant staff. Roberto, who led us to our seats was an Italian gent, with years of restaurant and food experience up his sleeve. Every dish which we were served came with a history as rich as the flavours.

It was almost like you could taste the passion that had gone in to the food. The way Roberto spoke about the culinary creations reinforced that everything on the menu was chosen due to the quality of the food.

Restaurant in Broadway Casino, Birmingham


After enjoying a delicious selection of hand-picked meats, which all had that beautiful 'melt-in-the-mouth' texture, we chose our starters. For mine, I went for the Goats Cheese Salad, which mentioned Balsamic Vinegar on the menu, which immediately appealed to me. The dish I was served excelled expectations, despite those expectations being very high already...

Not only was the Goats Cheese the most deliciously delicate, but tangy flavour, but the Walnuts served with the salad were the most unusual thing I've tried for a while. Complimenting the creamy texture, the walnuts were glazed in a sweet, caramel coating. It was perfection in every mouthful.

Between courses, we were treated to a limoncello based palate cleanser, which led us on to the main attraction...

Restaurant in Broadway Casino, Birmingham

Despite being in an Italian restaurant and feeling like I should have tried a pasta dish, I was just craving a big, juicy steak and ordered an 8oz Sirloin from the main menu.

And a big, juicy steak was just what I got.

I have never had such a tender and moreish piece of meat. The seasoning was delicious, with the right amount of salt and garlic, and you can even see the perfect marbling of fat within the meat in the above image. I was succulent, it was effortless to cut and it was the peppercorn sauce was the perfect accompaniment.

The steak was served with a selection of seasonal veg and potato dauphinoise. Even writing about it has got me craving the entire meal again! I cannot even describe how incredible the flavour was, with every single mouthful.



Before we were served our dessert, we experienced some Italian Grappa. Grappa is a traditional 'digestivo' (after-dinner drink) and we were served ours paired with a square of chocolate. We were also advised to save a drop to add to our after-dinner espresso, which came at the end of our meal.

Grappa is a flavour akin to Brandy and for me, it was a little too strong to drink neat - especially when we'd been drinking sweeter beverages like limencello and prosecco cocktails throughout. However, when mine was paired with the hazelnut chocolate, it added another flavour to the drink, which helped me to drink it I must admit!



For dessert I had a few scoops of traditional gelato. Despite being full enough to burst, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to try some authentic Italian gelato! I chose pistachio, hazelnut and coconut to finish my meal. Pistachio is one of my favourite flavours and whenever I spot a pistachio ice cream or gelato I have to try it.  This one ranks highly, with an indulgently rich texture, offset by the delicate nutty flavour. Served with liquor soaked maraschino cherries, which were proudly imported in from Italy, they were like little bubbles of tangy, delicious cherry heaven.

Even with a tremendously full stomach, this was the perfect way to end the meal.


Overall....

I have not stopped telling people about the experience of the Restaurant at Broadway Casino! It was simply stunning from start to finish. As mentioned, the staff and Roberto were so welcoming and attentive, providing not just a meal but an experience from start to finish. 

The food was amazing and the prices on the menu are reasonable. As well as the main menu, they also offer a range of set menus, with prices ranging from £12.50 per person for a CanapĂ© menu, through the £30 per person for the 'King Experience' - You can discover more about that by clicking here.

Located down the bottom of Broad Street, opposite the new Park Regis hotel, it is a little bit of a jaunt from the city centre - but I assure you; it's worth it. 

Music Blog: The Lowdown on Download 2017


It seems like only a few months ago that I was knee deep in mud, watching KoRn at Download 2016. How time flies when you're having jager-fueled fun, huh?

Festival announcements are coming through thick and fast at the moment, but it's only right that we begin the festival-based musical lust lists with the spiritual home of Rock: Download Festival 2017.


Who's Headlining Download 2017?


Headlining Download 2017 we have System of a Down, Aerosmith and.... Biffy Clyro. I must admit, when I saw Biffy were on the bill, I kind of recoiled with my standard WTF face. However, I then re-watched the videos I took at Leeds 2016 and y'know what? They're more than worthy of headlining Download. Honestly. Not only do they actually have some heavier stuff (can you tell I'm not a massive Biffy fan here?), but they also know how to put on a surprisingly high energy rock show. 

I know. I was shocked too...

If you are skeptical of how well they'll handle the metal crowd, you'll just have to head to the main stage on the Saturday and see for yourself. I think you'll be surprised.

Regardless of Biffy-bashing, there's still System of a Down and Aerosmith to get your ears around. If you do like it heavy then System are the one. Last time I saw them they opened with WAR? and I've never seen anything go from zero to WALLS OF DEATH in such a short amount of time.

Aerosmith are the 'once in a lifetime' ones for me. A band I'd never expected to see live, who were kind of unobtainable. Thanks to Download though, this small gal from Stoke can finally see Steven Tyler in the flesh. The closest I've been to that so far, is watching Liv Tyler in Empire Records....

Who Else is Playing Download 2017?

A shit load of people I want to see. I can tell you that much.

My recommendations (in no particular order) are:

The Lounge Kittens: Because Fred Durst personally invited them on stage to open for them in 2015 and they do the greatest Sean Paul melody on YouTube ever.
Sikth: Because if you like things particularly heavy, but with a twist, then Mikee and the gang are up your street.
Dillinger Escape Plan: Because they might not have Mike Patton on stage with them doing the greatest Math-core EP ever, but they're pretty good in a noise filled way without him. 
Good Charlotte: Because we tried to see them at Leeds last year and it was so busy I'm still wondering wtf I missed out on.
Coheed and Cambria Because your chances of seeing Rush are pretty slim and these are your next best bet.
Steel Panther: Because of the lols and spandex.
Slayer: Because this is probably their only UK date this year.
Wednesday 13: Because of your goth youth.
Rob  Zombie: Because, how can you not? 

What Else Can You See at Download 2017?

Apart from the music, the mud and the metal, you can also see the return of WWE NXT LIVE! Last year the festival had it's own dedicated wrestling ring on site for WWE show, which was full to capacity every time we tried to squeeze in. This year should be no different and after the social media coverage of Wrestlemania I saw from literally everyone the other day, I'd be surprised if people didn't go to Download just for the wrestling this year. But don't, go for the bands as well, yeah?

Life Blog: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes and Why It's Okay to Quit

For the last week or so I've had time to visit my Grandad every day, go out for a walk with him and his new dog Toby, come home, go to the gym, start back at Caveman Training,  catch up on Netflix shows, enjoy a home-cooked evening meal, go to bed at a decent time, relax in the bath knowing I'd done something with my day...

And not once have I felt tired.

Not once have I felt deflated.

Not once have I gone to bed dreading getting up the next morning.

Not once in the last week or so, have I felt like my days were a little bit pointless.

Not once have I felt like my life was living to work.

So, what has changed to help me feel like... Well, like I have a life again?


I quit my job.

For the first time in my life, I threw in the towel on my terms, before I became detrimental to my career and my wellbeing. I spotted that an unhealthy pattern was emerging and I thought 'y'know what? This isn't worth it.'

I've always been skeptical of these stories you read online about people who quit their job just because they didn't like it. I found it hard to believe that these people didn't exist without the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' to fall back on. 

At the start of March I gave in my notice, with nothing lined up, with no idea of what my next step would be. I didn't have a wod of cash stashed anywhere and I live alone, without support from anyone else. It was a little bit scary but it also felt like a weight had been lifted. The relief of leaving was more than the worry of not having a new job lined up.  It was a strange feeling for a few weeks. 

In the first two weeks of my 4 week notice period I applied for very specific roles. Knowing I didn't want to work for an agency, and I was better suited  to working directly with clients again. From my short time working at an agency I learnt that I just couldn't invest in the brands, as I simply didn't believe in them or the method in which we worked with them. There was no alignment with brand vision and there was no common ground for ideas. It was simply me, filling in content plans, only for them to be edited 15 times before we played it safe and went for substandard content which lacked creativity. There's only so many times you can have your ideas pushed back on before you start to become disheartened and doubt your ability.

It wasn't long until the interviews started to come through. I found recruitment agencies to be the best asset to my new job search. For some reason recruitment guys get such a bad reputation, but just like finding your new role, you have to find the right recruiter. They have to believe in your skills and experience before they can pitch you to their client. 

After a few rejections here and there, I was then on to the start of week 3 of the job search and week 3 of my notice period. Still, the worry and fear of no job lined up didn't impact on me. The funny thing is, when you're doing a 4 hour round trip to Manchester and sitting at a job you don't enjoy, with people being extremely negative about others all day, you kind of don't have time for that worry. You become overcome in bitterness. Which is strange to admit, but it really did embody my entire being at some points. Absolute bitterness. I was missing out on playdates with my niece, meals out with friends, weekends had become snoozefests and I had no time to look after myself.

But the bitterness spurred my determination on. 

More interviews came through.

By the end of week 3 I'd secured some second interviews for roles I really fancied. Things were definitely turning around and by the start of week 4 I had THREE job offers on the table.

That's right - three job offers. Suddenly my bitterness and new-found lack of confidence turned around. 

The first role I was offered was a Social Media and Content Marketing Manager role, for a children's brand - it was paying the most salary, but it was based in Wrexham.

Secondly, I was offered a Social Media Curator role for a Beauty Website in Trafford Park. It seemed ideal for my skillset, but the salary was slightly lower and the location would prove to be a difficult commute.

Finally, the third job, which I chose to accept, was down the road... Literally down the road. It was where I was driving to, to catch the train to Manchester! It was for an agency... But not working client side, working as their Marketing Manager to promote their business. Helping to build their brand, to shape the future of the company.

Location, salary, job description - it all sounded perfect.

But the main aspect which confirmed the decision was the interview process itself. Whilst the other two jobs seemed the ideal, it was the experience of the interview and the fit with the team which concerned me. Increasingly we are seeing 'culture' being questioned on LinkedIn and industry blogs; and with good reason.

You're at work such a large percentage of your life that it's got to feel right when you begin your next steps in your career. I've never had a job where I haven't 'got on' with people. But is 'getting on' really enough? 

Now my priority is a work/life balance. After not having any balance for many years, it's time for some *me* time, alongside my working life. I felt like the former job offers simply wouldn't allow for this balance. It wasn't just the hours, but it was the culture which I picked up on that contributed to this opinion.  Culture is so important in the workplace nowadays and it's something you need to be on board with from day one. 

Simple things like a colleague saying 'have a nice evening' when you leave the office on a daily basis - knowing you actually have an evening to enjoy! It just makes such a difference. Not having people you worked with day in day out not even say a 'nice' goodbye on your last day, not even lift their head up from their computer and leaving a sarcastic comment in your leaving card. Don't get me wrong; there were very nice and very positive people at that job, but it was swamped with a toxic, negative energy from a minority. You know.. The people who will no doubt be reading this post to the room and looking for places they can make a detrimental comment to have a laugh about. Perhaps that won't happen though, but when you've experienced that type of behaviour over a few months, you come to expect you'll be the next focus of the comments. It shouldn't be like that.

But anyway, I digress....

I'll admit, I'm finding it hard to adapt to my new found 'life' at the moment, but I'm keeping busy to make the most of it. I don't feel guilty for leaving on time and when I'm early it's because I can't wait to start the day. There's no unspoken competition to see who can stay the latest and no snide comments if someone nips off for their lunch. Maybe I've just worked in some really negative spaces before, or maybe I'm just appreciating being part of an appreciated team right now.... 

Either way, I'm glad I had the courage to quit.

Here's to loving Monday's again!

About Hello Terri Lowe


A UK Beauty, Lifestyle and Food blog, based in Staffordshire, you can also expect to see reviews of places around the country. Often spotted in Manchester during a day job of Community Management for a PR Agency, you can expect to see a little bit of everything from festivals to food and everything in-between. When not blogging, you can find me having a nice sit down with my cats, Stevie and Kitty, or enjoying a fine cup of coffee. Don't forget to take a look at my 'about' page if you're interested in collaborating on any exciting opportunities!



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