Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Shellac Removal at Home

Two years ago I wrote a post on how to remove Shellac polishes, but looking back the photos are terrible so I thought I'd do an updated version - and it is a question I'm often asked. I always take Shellac off myself, as it is so easy, so why pay an extra £5 to have it taken of for you? Also, I like to let my nails have a break between Shellac manicures to stop them drying out and let the air get to them.

 All of the things you need, you'll probably have at home anyway, to are super cheap to pick up:
  • Acetone nail varnish (Acetone free just won't work)
  • Nail file
  • Cotton wool pads
  • Kitchen foil
  • Manicure sticks
  • Nail oil - not essential.

I start off my using my nail file over each nail which will allow the acetone to sink in and speed up the process, it isn't essential though.
Then I prepare my nail wraps, but pulling a cotton wool pad in half, so its not too think and bulky, then cutting each half into six slices - you can do more or less depending on the width of you nail. I then cut foiled strips that are long enough to go around my finger and over the top. I then dip each cotton wool sixth into the nail varnish remover and onto the foil strip. I prepare all 10 at the beginning, as it is tricky to do when you've got the wraps on half your hands.

Then for each finger, put the cotton wool part onto the nail and wrap using the foil. Wait for about 10 mins, then peak at the one you did last, if the polish is pealing aay, they are ready - if not, leave for a few more minutes. When ready, use the manicure sticks to scrap off the polish. If you've left them for long other, this should be easy and your nail lovely and smooth, otherwise, it can leave your nail really rough as not all of the gel undercoat will come off.
I finish by dousing my nails in nail oil and massaging in. Tada - your ready for a new shade!

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Olay Regenerist Luminous

Last month I told you all about the exciting updates to Olay Regenerist which launched on the 1st April, but I also need to let you know that in combination with reformulating the classic, Olay have also added Olay Regenerist Luminous to their collection. This sub-collection includes two new products, Skin Tone Perfecting Cream and Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Eye Swirl.

Aimed at a slightly younger market, the Skin Tone Perfecting Cream (£29.99) is designed to re-energise, hydrate and protect the skin. The plumping up effect of the product is also meant to give the skin a smoother finsh, which helps with light relections, giving a glowing complexion, hence the addition of 'Luminous' to the name.

I do much prefer the packaging of the Regenerist Lumoinous, it is much prettier than the red version of Regenerist, and the cream itself is a cute pink colour. However, I actually do prefer the classic, as Regenerist Luminous made my skin feel a little stickier and actually not as smooth.

The Eye Swirl (£29.99), however, I do really like and has remained in my vanity unit since I brought it home and I have been using it loads. Again, the packaging is really pretty and I really like the swirl effect running through the product, which is the combination of the cream and gel which work together to hydrate your eye area and reduce the appearance of dark circles. Don't get me wrong, most of the time I do still reach for the under eye concealer too, but the Eye Swirl means it doesn't have to works as hard. It isn't the cheapest of products, but as you only use a tiny amount, it should keep you going a decent amount of time.

Monday 28 April 2014

Mani Monday: Nails Inc Gel Summer Colours

This weeks sees the launch of Nails Inc Gel Effect Summer Polishes. The 1st May. Is when three new polishes are added to the current nine colour collection. The Nails Inc Gel effect polishes have a high shine finish, bit without the need for UV light to cure the varnish, or soaking off, but in the downside, they obviously don't last as long as a gel nail treatment.

The new additions are Regents Place: a cornflower blue (not pictured) Lexington Gardens: a mid purple-lilac and Convent Garden Place: a fun raspberry shade. Nails inc also sent me Downtown, a bright pink, which I really like too which is currently donning my talons.

Gel effect polishes are generally a bit thicker than normal polishes and do take a little longer to dry, so don't be in a rush when you apply, but I think it is worth it for the super shiny finish. These polishes are £16 each compared their 'normal' polishes at £11.


Friday 25 April 2014

Radox New Fresh & Fruity Show Gels

A couple of weeks ago I headed to Shoreditch House roof terrace which had been transformed into a tropical paradise to celebrate the launch of the new additions to the Radox Fresh & Fruity Collection. The new punchy and fun shower gels are Passion Fruit Splash and Mango Mayhem (£1.95/250ml).
Passion Fruit Splash also contains tangerine oil, which I find is the main scent, which is really refreshing for your morning shower. The Mango Mayhem also contains grapefruit oil which generally I'm not a big fan of, but it is more of a background fragrance adding freshness. However, my fav of the Radox Fresh & Fruity range does still have to be the sweet scented Coconut Kiss - it smells just like a holiday, perfect as we approach the Summer. Like the majority of the Radox shower range, the bottle design means that the gel is easy to acess and you don't have to spend your shower time trying to shake the product out of the bottle.
Superdrug is also currently running a better than half price promotion on these shower gels, so they are less than a pound each, so a cheap way to Summer-up your bathroom.


Wednesday 23 April 2014

Bar stools

Ever since we planned our kitchen over a year ago, all I wanted was an island with bar stools that I could perch at and drink coffee with the Sunday papers or sip bubbles with the girls. However, finding the perfect bar stools was difficult. Our kitchen is traditional, with a modern twist, shaker style in a shade of green-grey with long bar handles and a mixture of oak and quartz surfaces. The discussion was chrome or wood structures and whether to go for white or grey accents...

My shortlist comprised of 'Joe' (£195) a wood and white leather combination from Habitat, but leather seats in the summer can make you feel a bit sticky and can get a bit chilly in the the winter.

I also loved loved the 'Milla' white and chrome stools (£295) from Herbert Direct which have a plasticised textile seat and back - but these are designed for a raised bar, so my rugby-playing husband might have struggled to get under the bar. Thank you to Wooden Heart Weybridge who took these photos of the stools in their showroom for me. These stools are also available in black.

We also contemplated going down the Ikea route, as these stools in the Ingolf range are much more affordable(£45) but the back is much higher and we have dining chairs with a cross back and I didn't want the look to be to matchy-matchy.

In the end we opted for 'Burnham' stools from The Kitchen Furniture Company (£170) in oak to reside at our bar, with cushion pads in pebble, which ties in really nicely with the colour of our walls and the kitchen units. The low ladder back is just viable from over the bar, so doesn't interfere with the eyeline across the room. They are really compfy and I can sit at the bar so happily, it is just the perfect place for entertaining, or just having some time on my own with a coffee and a magazine. The stools are available painted in a range of different colours, which The Kitchen Furniture Company sent me out a range of different swatches, but as our table is painted, eventually we settled on the classic oak finish.


Tuesday 22 April 2014

L'Occitane Almond New Products

L'Occitane is adding to its Almond Collection in May, and as I hadn't tried out any of the original products, I was keen to try the newbies out. I really like moisturising products with nut ingredients, as I find they really improve the texture of my skin as well as hydrating and I love the richness they add to the fragrance.

From the new six products, I've been lucky enough top try out The Milk Concentrate and Supple Skin Oil, both of which are different types of product to moisturise the body. 
The Milk Concentrate (£35/200ml) feels like a hybrid between a lotion and a cream as its texture is halfway between the two, being is really light and is quickly absorbed and non-greasy, like a lotion, but isn't runny, suited to being in a pot rather than a bottle and leave the skin feeling really smooth and hydrates, more like a cream. Containing a blend of silicium and almond proteins, which are similar to collagen, it also helps to improve firmness in the skin too. As the formula is rich in soothing almond oil, its also perfect to use on your legs after shaving.

I'm having a total body oil moment currently and I'm preferring them over body lotions, creams and butters.I think its because we are having warmer weather, so I am exposing my limbs more and oils give a really nice soft sheen to the skin which is really flattering. Also, my skin seems to be in better condition so oils work well to seal in the moisture, rather than adding extra, which creams are better at doing. The Supple Skin Oil (£35/100ml) from L'Occitane is one of my fav body oils at the moment, as it is thinner oil, not being overly greasy and is delicately fragranced with almond oil and is also enriched with peppermint, palmarosa and immortelle essentials oils which as well as adding to the aroma, help improve elasticity and firmness - for which L'Occitane have some impressive statistic for women finding improvement in these areas and battling stretch marks.

The packaging of both products feels expensive and is really nice to use and they look pretty on my dressing table as well as feeling lovely on my skin. 
Sorry for the random photo, but it was too pretty not to include...


Thursday 17 April 2014

RMK Spring Collection

I've discovered a new make-up brand which I really like, but had never heard of until super recently. RMK - I wrote a post about the Cleansing Balm, and now I've delved a little deeper into the make-up collection. The products are nicely packaged in little silver boxes which a have little tempting phrases all over to make you want to pick them up and give them ago, the make up casing themselves are also in little silver cases which are stylish and understated.

One of my favorite items from the pieces I tried is the UV Powder Foundation (£41) which comes in a case with an applicator sponge. It is made of of layers of two differently textured powders, one pearlescent and one matte powder, which gives a high coverage, taking away all blemishes to give a near flawless base for your makeup, which is really impressive for a powder. It is available in a range of 9 different shades, so hopefully you can find one to suit. Amazingly it is SPF 30 - so no nasty damaging UV can get through! You can also by refills for the case (£32), so you can be eco-friendly too.

I also really like the Kaleidoscope Eyes pallet in White Pink (£18) which is a trio of three shades, with instructions on how to use, which is super easy, you sweep the main colour over your lid then blend the other two shades over the top. The two white shades are different, with blend 2 being much more shimmery. 

The Sheer Powder Cheeks in Cherry (£26) is a really pretty shade, being highly pigment, I much prefer to the Kaleidoscope Cheeks (£20) which I thought I'd love, but it didn't really show up on my skin, which is why I haven't included any swatches, it is really pretty in the pictures, but after first use they blend together. However, if you have a paler complexion, it might be worth trying it on your skin tone. 

My final pick which I really like are the W Crayon & Gloss Lips (£22) pictured in Coral Orange and Cherry Red. The double ended product features a lip crayon at one end, which gives a matte colour to the lip, then sweep across the non-sticky gloss for a high-shine finish. They look really cute and I love the Coral Orange shade.

So here is a quick snap of me wearing my fav bits (UV Powder Foundation in shade 102, Kaleidoscope Eyes pallet in White Pink, Sheer Powder Cheeks in Cherry and W Crayon & Gloss Lips in Coral Orange)

Do you have any favorites?

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Bingham Hotel

As a VERY belated Christmas present, yesterday I took school friend Victoria out for afternoon tea, of which she is a bit of a connoisseur, so I needed to choose my venue wisely. I am always tempted to go into town, but decided on a more car-friendly option, heading to The Bingham in Richmond. 

The tea room is pretty, with a range of seating available in the Lounge Bar. I was a little surprised that on arrival, with only one other group seated for tea that we were sat right next too them on a table that was overly close, but as the weather was so gorgeous, we asked to be relocated to the sunny terrace overlooking the Thames. A selection of tea was offered, but I am a bit of tea-bore and opted for the English Breakfast, which were served in modern glass pots which was a contrast to the rest of the traditional floral turquoise crockery. The tea itself was yummy, a selection of dainty finger sandwiches, plain and fruit scones served with clotted cream and jam and beautiful cakes and pastries. Victoria's favorite cake was a raspberry macaron, with mine being a mini Victoria sponge finger. Along with these traditional cake choices and flavors, the chef was still adventurous, with other cakes having more interesting mixtures of flavors.

I do tend to over-indulge when it comes to an afternoon tea visit, however, we left without being bursting at the seams, which is a positive result in my book, however, if you do have a larger appetite, you may need to
ask for sandwich refills, as they were not forthcoming.

The Bingham has been awarded 'The Tea Guild special Award of Excellence 2013' in recognition of its outstanding quality and consistently high standards in Afternoon Tea service and the service was good with very professional, helpful and friendly staff.

Afternoon tea at the Bingham is £25 per head and is served between 3.30pm Mon-Sat and 4-7pm on a Sunday. Just on the edge of Richmond, it is one and a half miles from the station, but it has a small amount of free parking available in designated spaces in the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory on the other side of the road, which we utilised.

Monday 14 April 2014

Mani Monday: Shellac Paradise Collection

How much fun our these new Summer polishes for Shellac? When I popped into my favourite beauticians, The Little Parlour in Weybridge on last Friday, I was totally torn whether to try one of these super-bright shades but decided opt for a more subtle option of Desert Poppy. Reasoning being, that these polishes will look so fabulous in the height of Summer with sun-kissed skin. Lush Tropics (Green), Bicycle Yellow, Cerulean Sea (Blue) and Electric Orange really steal the show and are on my 'to try' list over the next few months. My gorgeous nail technician, Natalie and I decided that the shimmer in the Sultry Sunset looks a bit old lady and doesn't really fit in the collection, not comparing to last years Summer pink - Pink Bikini, which I still love. So do you think you could be tempted to try out one of these SS14 shades? Comment below to tell me which is you favourite...


Friday 11 April 2014

Caudalie Polyphenol Collection

I go to a fair few skincare events and the skin experts always talk about how damaging caffeine, alcohol, cigarette smoke, unhealthy eating and city pollution levels are for our skin. For most out us, we can't give up all of these skin baddies, and I leave just feeling guilty at what I'm putting my poor skin through. So I was pleasantly surprised at last week's launch event for Caudalie where the skin scientists told us all we needed was a shield to protect us from the environmental factors that cause oxidation of our skin cells which lead to wrinkles forming. Caudalie brand was built up by French vineyard owners, as the key ingridient is Polyphenols from grape seeds, which are 1,000 times more effective against free radicals then Vitamin E. The other anti-ageing ingridient is Vitmain C, which works in synergy with the Polyphenols.

The new collection contains three wrinkle fighting products, the hero being Anti-Wrinkle Defence Serum (£35/30ml) to be worn under moisturiser, which also contains hydalauronic acid and olives qualane to plump up the skin and make it more supple. It is a fine and silky fluid which sinks quickly into the skin, which out any trace of oil which I have noticed in most other serums. The fragrance is really subtle and light, containing mandarin blossom, lemon tree leaf, cucumber water and fresh mint, which I really like. The applicator is a dropper, which isn't massivly effective, I think I would have preferred the presision tip that the other products in the range have.

The range also includes a Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Anti-Wrinkle Protect Fluid (£29/40ml) which again has a really light texture, so your skin feels really fresh and non-greasy, containing they same fragrance as the serum.

The final product is an Anti-Wrinkle Eye and Lip Cream (£26/15ml) which is non-fragranced as it is used in such delicate parts of the face. In addition to the Polyphenols and Vit C, the eye and lip cream also contains fern extract to help tighten, Matrixyl 3000 to boost collegen synthesis and other ingredients to smooth and decongest.

Available online, the Caudalie Boutique and at Space NkK I have been really impressed with the products,a I really like how light they are and the beautiful fragrance. I've only been using them for a for a week, so I haven't noticed a massive change in my complection, but it is feeling super soft after applying the products.

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