Friday, 23 August 2013

At home gel nail kits - a full guide

I have been trying out at home gel nail kits for the past few weeks, after spending a lot of money in salons on OPI gels. I am addicted to gel nails now as you don’t have to worry about chipped nail varnish and they look so shiny!

The two kits I have used are both under £70 - Belle Gel Starter Kit (£59.95) and Sensationail Starter Kit (£69.99) which my friend Gemma owns. I tried at least two different colours for each kit, so it is a fair analysis. Before testing at home kits, you must make sure your nails are filed equally and roughly (so the gel can stick to your nail), cuticles pushed back and trimmed if necessary. This will ensure your nails last as long as possible. I also protected my nails with hand cream and cuticle oil to make the manicure last as long as possible. Both manicures lasted two weeks, without any major chipping which is excellent for home kits.

Here’s a bit more about each kit:

BelleGel Starter Kit is an at-home gel nail care range that provides a shiny and strong finish, creating a professional gel manicure or pedicure that unlike many other techniques will not damage the natural nail. The gel will shield your natural nails and allow them to grow and strengthen. The gel is as easy as applying nail polish and provides a long-lasting high gloss colour and can last for up to 2 weeks without wearing or chipping.

The SensatioNail™ Deluxe Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit contains all the tools you need for 10 beautiful gel polish manicures. The gel nail kit includes the unique Pro 3060 LED Nail Lamp, which has been specially designed to set and dry your favourite SensatioNail™ Gel Polish in no time – safely locking in the colour to give your nails a glossy, long-lasting finish. I love the range of colours as well Sensationail offer for just £10 in Boots and online, lots of choice! Belle Gel colours are limited to just a few colours.

The Belle Gel kit looks fantastic and I love the gel nail pots and separate brushes. This ensures you can always keep your brushes clean to get the best finish. The formulas are also solvent-free and contain no Toluene, Formaldehyde and Dibutyl Phthalate, providing a gentle gel polish that is kind, preserving the integrity of the natural nail without sacrificing quality. This is important to me as that’s one of the reasons why I like the OPI gels as they don’t damage your nails at all.

However the main big downside to the Belle Gel kit, is the time it takes to do your nails. It takes AGES! If you look at the step by step guide below you will see each step, per hand takes 5 minutes! I was nearly 2 hours doing my nails and that’s just too long for me to spend on my nails. Other kits like Sensationail only require you to spend 30 seconds maximum curing the nail, each step. That’s a huge difference.

So my final conclusion of the two kits I tested:

Best for your nails – pick the Belle Gel nail kit
Quickest and best range of colours – choose Sensationail

What do you think of at home gel nail kits?

Friday, 9 August 2013

L'Oreal Superliner challenge

Last week I was invited by L’Oreal Paris to try their new range of eyeliners and brow pencils, and also take the Super Liner challenge #LineofBeauty. I love the gorgeous box they arrived in and presentation of the Super Liners.

Here is a bit more about the liners I received, which I have been trying out over the past week and love them all.

Super Liner GelMatic (£5.99) – Gel intensity and shine and the first 1st Gel liner from L’Oreal in an easy application pen format. If you like using kohl pencils but prefer the liquid eyeliner look then this new liner is for you! This is my favourite from the box of eyeliners and one I will definitely repurchase. It doesn’t smudge either which is a pet hate of mine with some non-liquid eyeliners.

Super Liner Perfect Slim (£6.99) – I have used this liner for a few years, as it offers precision for lines as fine as 0.4mm. It’s a great daytime eyeliner for a neat, simple look.

Super Liner Black Buster (£6.99) – I love this chunky felt tip style pen, for bold, stand out eyes that’s easy to use and leaves you with a great look.

Super Liner Brow Artist – (£5.49) – This is the first 3-in-1 eye brow pencil by L'Oréal Paris. I am currently using the Clarins Brow Kit so need to try the Brow Artist out properly to give it a few review but first impressions are good so far! I like that it defines and shapes brow but then you can finish with the wax.

L’Oreal Paris products are also 3 for 2 in Superdrug at the moment, so get down to Superdrug and take the Super Liner challenge!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Press events July 2013 - Urban Decay and Smashbox

Last week I attended two press events – Urban Decay and Smashbox, showcasing their Autumn collections. Despite the searing heat in London, I managed to get in the mood for Autumn collections and darker colours. I'll be reviewing the items in depth as it approaches Autumn, but check out my sneak preview below of the upcoming launches. 

Urban Decay's Revolution Lipsticks £14 - launch on August 5th 

Smashbox Autumn collection - I can't wait to try the Liquid Halo Foundation which launches in September
Love the gorgeous purple eyeshadow palettes from Smashbox

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Hen party hair - Remington Easy Curl review

I don't curl my hair very often, as I have a keratin treatment in my hair which makes it sleek and soft so hard to curl. Last week I went on my friend Abby's hen party in Cornwall and the theme was Great Gatsby, so flapper girls, curls, sequins and pearls! I decided to try a new pair of curlers I'd received a few months ago - the 'Easy Curl' from Remington. I hate curling my hair and am not very good at it! I was really surprised how easy the 'Easy Curl' was to use (yes I know it's in the name) and how lovely my curls looked. I spent about 20 minutes curling my hair - see photo below! I was pleased with how even my curls looked and frizz and snag free. 

 The Easy Curl allows you to transform straight locks like a pro with the help of its unique and innovative spiral guide, giving you effortlessly beautiful curls every single time. Simply take a small section of hair and secure the ends under the spring clip. Then wrap your hair around the barrel using the spiral guide. Hold for ten seconds, then release and unravel. It really was that easy. The spiral guide is a lifesaver and ensures all your curls are even.

Its Advanced Ceramic barrel heats up to 170°C in just 30 seconds and is an impressive two times smoother than standard ceramic coatings, so hair won’t snag and will be left super shiny and frizz free. No waiting for hours for the curlers to heat up! You can see the barrel below how easy it is to use. 

The Easy Curl retails at £26.99 in Boots, which I think is a bargain for the ease of use and quality of curls. I definitely recommend this tool if you get bored like me curling hair, and are not particular good at it! 

What do you think? What is your favourite curling iron?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Holiday suncare: Vitamin E Cool BB Cream from The Body Shop

As summer has finally arrived, you might be looking for a lighter foundation or considering BB creams, which have taken over the market the past year. I'm a bit late to the party with the Vitamin E Cool BB Cream from The Body Shop but I don’t really feel confident enough to use BB cream unless I have a tan as I work in an office all day. Anyway I recently returned from my sister’s wedding in Spain (check out some photos on my Instagram here) and loved using the BB cream as suncream for my face after swimming to even my skintone. I don’t like having a shiny face on holiday and BB cream is great for ensuring you don’t end up with a shiny/red face after a day on the beach!

Here’s a bit more about the Vitamin E Cool BB Cream: This new take on BB cream illuminates, evens skin tone and protects with moisture for 12 hours. Available in one cool shade, the lightweight texture will effortlessly blend onto skin for a fresh and natural look. The product hydrates to protect (important after the damaging effects of the sun), evens tone (a shiny face is not a good look!), fresh-looking skin and comes in one cool shade that suits all skin tones. I was a bit dubious before hand as I don’t see how you can have a product that suits all skin tones, but this suited my medium toned skin perfectly.

I also love that 50p from each sale of the Vitamin E BB cream (£10) goes to Teenage Cancer Trust, which is a lovely gesture. I used to work with The Body Shop in a previous job and have always been impressed by their ethical behaviour and support for charities. Well done The Body Shop!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

*Guest post* New affordable cosmetic line EX1 for exotic skin

I hope you like this guest blog post on EX1 cosmetics by my friend Tasrin. Sadly I do not have exotic skin at all, so I asked Tasrin to review the products for me. You can check out her gorgeous photos on Instagram tasrin_jahan. I'm still trying to persuade her to set up a blog, so hopefully she will do soon after writing this great post ;) Happy reading.....

"I have to say when it comes to experimenting with new cosmetics I'm not your adventurous type. My skin annoyingly seems to repel anything ‘alien’ so naturally, I've always stuck to the same old brands. My sensitive skin doesn't sit well with new foundations, powders or concealers. For this reason, I've always been more attracted to expensive cosmetics. I sometimes wrongly, imagine expensive make-up to be kinder to the skin. Sadly, this is not a case of expensive taste, but an expensive necessity!

This aside, when it comes to standards of make-up  we all want department store quality with a high street price tag…. Or simply, a shade that just matches! My irritation with high street brands though definitely stems from the inability to find a good colour match for my Asian skin; the main reason I have steered towards the hefty price tags and never looked back.

When given the opportunity to try this new cosmetic line, admittedly I was slightly nervous! After trying this new affordable cosmetic line EX1, a line developed specifically for those with ‘exotic skin’, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. In my opinion the mainstream beauty market has been long awaiting a cosmetic line which caters to those with darker complexions.

There are five different shades; I guessed my shade online (F400) so I was slightly concerned that it wouldn’t match my skin tone. Amazingly though, my skin embraced the light weight luminous ‘Invisiwear’ foundation (priced at £10.50); I was impressed instantly. Here’s a brief description of the foundation: ‘Specially designed true colour pigments work perfectly with your skins' natural tones in a velvety smooth, ultra-blendable formula’.

The foundation offers medium coverage, so if you prefer that maximum coverage look you could find yourself applying several layers of foundation which would defeat this great feather weight makeup experience. 

I particularly love the way the foundation is unnoticeable and almost sinks into the skin rather than masking it.

The EX1 Delete Concealer (priced £6.50) at has an oily base, good for minor problem areas but not so much for prominent blemishes you really want to hide. The ‘Invisiwear’ compact pressed face power (priced at £8.99) is a great way to set the base and eliminate shine. You can use all three products and still accomplish a fresh look as individually, the products are very natural looking.

Although the powder, concealer and foundation work great combined and still leaves you with a ‘barely there’ makeup look, the Pure Crushed Mineral Powder Foundation (priced at £12.99), offers sheer coverage for those who only prefer a slight glow. I would only recommend this for those who have naturally great skin and dislike wearing liquid foundation. 

EX1’s packaging rightfully boasts simplicity and elegance, a mixture of clear, bronze and gold colours. What’s on the outside really does give us a peek of what’s inside. This product is definitely worthy of a place in your summer makeup bag. So for those ladies who like me, feel slightly depressed when they reach the bottom of their foundation bottles, try this as an affordable and great alternative. EX1 hasn't hit the shops yet but you can buy the products online here."

Thursday, 18 April 2013

New Summer make up essentials!

I thought I would share with you my new make-up essentials that I have been using this week. I’ve been waiting to wear summer clothes and use summer make-up now for such a long time, so this week’s warmer weather has been greatly received to try out my new items!!

My favourite new summer collection is from Clarins. Here’s a bit more from the Clarins website on the new collection: “Clarins takes you on a journey to the ancient ruins of South America, a region driven by colour and print.” I adore the packaging for starters and am a big fan of their limited edition palettes. The Splendours Summer Bronzing Compact (£30) is a perfect blend of softening brown and terracotta. The centre of the compact contains a shimmering gold shade to create an ultra-luminous finish. This is a great bronzer to take on holiday and highlight already tanned skin. If you are pale skinned, I think it will be too dark for you as I have medium toned skin and have to be careful I don’t over apply! I’m excited to take on holiday to Spain with me in June.

The Clarins Splendours Colour Quartet &Eye Liner Palette (£31) consists of three gold shades that illuminate the eyes, while the powder and liquid eye liners warm and intensify. I highly recommend Clarins eyeshadows as they are so pigmented and long lasting, plus they blend very easily without any creases. To finish off my eyes, I’ve been using the new Maybelline Colossal Volum Express The Rocket in Very Black (£5.99 on offer from Superdrug). I don’t normally buy expensive mascaras as I go through them so quickly, and have always been a fan of Maybelline as a good value, lots of volume option! This also comes in waterproof, so I definitely recommend if you are looking for a new mascara for summer.

Finally to complete the look, instead of heavy lipsticks and lipglosses, I am enjoying using tinted lip balms which are becoming more popular. My new favourites are the Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Balm (£18) and a cheaper option Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Cotton Candy (£7.99). Clinique Chubby Sticks are still my all time favourite and permanent fixtures in my handbag!

What are you favourite new products for summer? Let me know what you think!

The lovely Clarins Bronzer

Friday, 12 April 2013

Speckled Nails - L'Oreal Confetti Top Coat

Over Easter I tried out the popular L’Oreal Confetti Top Coat with one of my favourite Essie shades and created Mini-Egg nails! I love the Confetti top coat, my nails lasted a whole week without chipping at all. The Essie nail polishes are a great base for a top coat as they don’t chip at all compared to other brands. Essie and Alessandro nail polishes are definitely my favourite at the moment for not chipping! I’m also really excited to try the Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy when they are available in my local Boots store. 2013 is definitely the year of DIY nail art.

What do you think of nail polish top coats, what is your favourite? 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Alessandro nails launch in the UK!

I love trying out new brands that are launching in the UK and German nail brand alessandro did not disappoint. I always buy my nail products in Germany as I love the choice of products for such good value. The brand focuses on the use of gel and at the heart of the range are 99 colours available in regular polish, UV polish called Lac Sensation and colour gel. This means that nail technicians can match every colour with whichever medium they think best, which is unique to the alessandro brand. Alessandro’s range also consists of a new patented formula to ensure colours do not chip and are long lasting.

When I tried the Exotic Strawberry shade below, I loved how shiny the polish was and how strong it felt on my nails. One coat also lasted all week as well, which is unheard of for me as I play netball. The high colour intensiveness is due to a new UV absorber, which protects the nails and include a high gloss shine. Definitely worth trying out if you play sport and find nail varnishes chip so easily.

The polishes don’t seem to be readily available in salons yet, as they are for the professional market so look out for them in salons very soon. I did manage to find them on Amazon for £8.95 though if you are desperate to try out!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Sweaty Betty Fit Crowd Launch!

Last week I attended the launch of The Fit Crowd, a brand new online community of fitness focused women created by Sweaty Betty. I am working closely with Sweaty Betty to help share their core beliefs and help other women to find empowerment through fitness. Fit Is ‘The New It’! I love their brand philosophy of empowering women through fitness, so was very excited to be part of the new community as I love sport and fashion which is what the brand (and clothes!) are all about.

The first part of the event was hosted at the Sweaty Betty store on King’s Road, London. It was lovely to meet some new faces - fitness, running, fashion and lifestyle bloggers plus some new beauty bloggers as well who are all passionate about fitness and healthy living like me. First of all I was given some gift vouchers to purchase some clothes for our workout later or our chosen sport. As I play netball outside a lot I selected some lovely 10K Run Tight leggings, a gorgeous coral Endurance Run Tank top, some Yoga leggings, shorts and top, plus a Yoga mat and a water bottle! I've always thought Sweaty Betty clothes are expensive but the quality of the items is really high and each item is incredibly soft and fits my body like a glove. You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to sportswear in this case. I have already purchased some more gear from SB, including these Capri pants to add to my collection! We met the design team from the new Spring/Summer range who explained to us the colourful inspiration behind the new brightly coloured collection (see the lovely photo below!)

Dive into the SS13 collection inspired by the underwater world; glowing sea anemones, intensely coloured tropical fish and coral. Influences of the wild beaches of Montauk, the Hamptons and Tarifa take the collection on to land and introduce more of a surf vibe. Watch the video to follow the collection journey. 

Once we had chosen our lovely outfits we then took part in a Barrecore workout at the Barrecore studios on King’s Road. A fusion of ballet, yoga and Pilates, Barrecore workouts combine elements of high intensity interval training with low impact static stretches to hone and tone bodies. Each 60 minute class targets all major muscle groups and improves posture and alignment no matter what your fitness level. The fitness instructor was the Barrecore founder herself Niki Rein, who was fantastic and made us work really hard. Although I have taken up pilates recently, I wasn’t very good at the core parts of the workout such as press-ups and ached quite a lot the next day!! But I did love the class and enjoyed the variety of the workout; I look forward to trying it out again soon!

The lovely Fit Crowd bloggers - check out my lovely coral yoga top!

Thanks to Sweaty Betty for inviting me to be part of such a fab community, I feel very lucky. Look out for my future posts on SB and the Fit Crowd throughout the year. Don’t worry if you are feeling left out and want to get involved with the Fit Crowd initiative, you can also take part AND win some rather nifty Sweaty Betty gear! To celebrate the launch of the collective, all you need to do is:

Take a picture of yourself wearing your favourite fitness outfit
Tweet the picture to @SweatyBetty_UK
Hashtag it #TheFitCrowd

The person who takes most inspiring and creative picture will win the SB gear along with some Cowshed Spa goodies. Competition ends on 31st March... so get out there with your bikes and go for it!

You can find out more here on the Sweaty Betty blog! 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Piz Buin Wet Skin Sun Spray

Yesterday evening I attended the exiting pool party press launch of Piz Buin Wet Skin Sun Spray at the Henderson Hotel in London. I'm a big fan of Piz Buin and their allergy range in particular so was intrigued to find out more about their latest launch. Unfortunately I was a  bit late and missed the Aquabatique show in the pool. 

Piz Buin has created a Wet Skin Transparent Sun Spray in SPF 15 and SPF 30 to provide wet skin with protection from the sun. Apparently this is a key period where you are likely to burn your skin, the drying off process after getting out of the water. I always lie down for at least 10 minutes and let my skin dry which is a real danger period for burning. 

The new products can be applied directly onto wet skin, by cutting directly through water and forming a barrier between the formula and the water droplets. The spray can also be used on dry skin too. The ingredients used include polyester, resin and silicone and are included to ensure fast absorption of the oil, and vitamin E protects from free radicals and skin ageing. The Piz Buin dermatologist also told us that Vitamin E is a key ingredient to look out for in your suncream, as it helps to stop ageing from the sun. There are no plans for the moment for the range to include a face cream which is a shame as I don't usually fancy spraying suncream directly onto my face!

I will do a full review of the products when I go away in June but wanted to let my readers know about the new product as it launches this week. The products are priced at £17.99 for 150 ml and launches nationwide this week in the usual stores. Look out for the special promotions Boots and Superdrug usually have in the run up to summer to get a good deal.  

Friday, 15 February 2013

My new hair: THE CHAPEL Islington salon review!

I was offered the chance to visit THE CHAPEL Hair salon in Islington, London for a hair makeover which I jumped at as the salon website looked very impressive. The salon exterior is just as spectacular as you can see below and was an excellent first impression. I also quickly learnt customers are referred to as ‘guests’ and receive the standard of hospitality you would receive from a first class hotel so I knew I would be in good hands!


The atmosphere at THE CHAPEL is described on their website perfectly – “luxurious, tranquil and exclusive whilst being inclusive to all who visit.” Mobile phones and children are not allowed which is amazing as you feel totally relaxed and not rushed like when visiting other salons. Pricing wise the salon isn't cheap and probably not something I’d be able to afford too often (boo!) but what I do like is the ‘per hour’ fee rather than a set price. THE CHAPEL has a revolutionary pricing system and charge for the time needed for your hair rather than for set services and products. This means the stylists are free to be creative and can achieve the best possible, individual result. The team members are not influenced by a restricted list of options they are simply intent on originating hair styles and colour which are distinctive and personal. The pricing range is £49 - £80 per hour and is based on the stylist's experience and the length of time they have been at the salon.

 Every 'guest' gets a complimentary 15 minute consultation so the stylists can really find out what you want and get to know you better. This is where I first met THE CHAPEL Directors Billie Crago and Georgia Denton who introduced themselves and asked about myself and my lifestyle. This was a nice start to my experience at THE CHAPEL and ensures you feel totally relaxed when discussing your hair. In some salons I feel like the stylist just starts cutting and doing what they think you should have, rather than what you ask for. You don't get that at this salon at all and it's very refreshing. I asked for a natural cut and colour, with a blunt cut and a new fringe!

Once I had my colour applied by the lovely Billie I got to relax in front of the fire and wait for my colour to process. I enjoyed chilling out here with a cup of tea and yummy chocolate, plus the latest edition of Elle magazine, so much so I nearly fell asleep! Billie also gave my hair a pampering deep treatment and head massage whilst washing out my colour which was amazing and relaxed me even further. I definitely recommend trying this if you visit the salon!

The Chapel also offers make-up services using BECCA make-up - you can out more about it here. 

The  lovely, open cutting area where Georgia cut my hair

 I love the gorgeous colour Billie created for me using her 'Floating Lights' technique. The Floating Lights technique is where highlights are graduated through the hair, starting very softly at the roots then building up concentration down the length of the hair shaft. You can be as subtle or as dramatic as you like but without being committed to maintain it. Billie also works with Redken and is extremely passionate about colour so I enjoyed her company and learning about the colours and techniques being used on my hair. The Redken  Chromatics colours used on my hair look really natural and shiny which is what I requested so I am very happy. Maybe next time I might go a bit darker if I am braver! 

My new fringe!

Here is the final result after my new fringe and blunt cut by Chapel Director Georgia Denton. What do you think? Look how shiny my hair is! I've had lots of positive comments from online and offline friends who like me with a fringe. I am still getting used to it but I love it! Thank you to THE CHAPEL for such a fantastic experience and particularly to Georgia and Billie for making my hair look so beautiful. If you live in London or are visiting and fancy an amazing, luxury experience then make sure you visit THE CHAPEL. I will definitely be back next time I need a pampering experience for my hair.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes

Last Thursday I visited the gorgeous Clinique Candy and Coffee Shop at their Head Office for the launches of two exciting new products. Following the success of Clinique's Chubby Sticks for lips they are expanding the Chubby Stick family. The newest product is Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for EyesI love the original Chubby Sticks for lips and have at least two in my handbag at all times so am very excited about the new launch!

The gorgeous candy shop, look at all the pick and mix!
These creamy shadow sticks are portable and convenient while providing sheer, buildable, long-wearing colour. The shadow’s unique formula and packaging is easy to use and applies evenly across lids as a silky cream that stays put without dusting or creasing. I don’t normally like cream or stick eyeshadows as they crease but these don’t which is great. Soothing Vitamin E infuses the tint with a smooth finish that stays put, leaving lids with a sheer wash of long-lasting colour.

The new shades are:

Bountiful Beige
Lots O’Latte
Fuller Fudge
Ample Amber
Whopping Willow
Mighty Moss
Pink & Pretty
Curvaceous Coal
Lavish Lilac
Big Blue
Portly Plum
Massive Midnight

What I love about these chubby sticks is how well they blend and look lovely mixing a few together. You can create a customised look by mixing, matching and layering shades to add texture and dimension. See my photo below!

Chubby Stick shadow tint for eyes are available on the 15th of February from 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Alpro Deskfest challenge!

This week I have been involved in a fantastic campaign with Alpro called deskfest. Their campaign is all about getting the New Year off to a good start after all of the Christmas indulgence. With on-the-go breakfasts increasing at the workplace, people are opting for expensive, unhealthy choices to eat at their desk in the mornings or just skipping breakfast completely. The concept of deskfest encourages people to put a creative, healthy spin on their morning routine – changing their dull, unhealthy breakfast into a delicious, simple start to the day. I always eat breakfast at my desk as I get up early to work and just don’t feel hungry then! My breakfast normally consists of kid’s cereal which isn’t the healthiest and I really enjoyed so far creating healthy breakfasts with Alpro soya milk, pouring yoghurt, porridge and muesli. Check out my snap below of one of my creations!

I have been sharing my deskfest creations on Twitter and Instagram and including the hashtag #deskfest. Alpro are doing a competition that everyone can enter to win breakfast in New York, so any pictures tweeted with #deskfest hashtag will be entered in the competition. I’ve also been complemented a lot in the office on the beautiful Anthropologie bowl I received; everyone has stopped and asked me where it’s from! Thanks Alpro for running a fab campaign and opening my eyes to healthy breakfasts and soya products, they really do taste yummy. Check out their competition page here and don’t forget to enter to win that trip to NYC!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

♥ Contact Form ♥


Email *

Message *