The Hand and Foot Spa, Selfridges Birmingham

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Last week I had the pleasure of trying out The Hand and Foot Spa at Selfridges, Birmingham. You're probably thinking, hold up, what about the acrylics?! Well yes, I've had back to back acrylics for around seven years now and I have a love/hate relationship with them. There's nothing like a fresh set and a polish that's everlasting, but what used to be a relaxing treat is now time consuming and boring. I don't like sitting at the salon for up to two hours at a time every three weeks and I'm constantly feeling more picky about just how many people those tools have been used on. When your hand is brushed with that giant kabuki and loads of debris and powder puffs out... yes, you know the one. Argh!

Now that you're thoroughly grossed out, it came at a fateful time that I met Donna Haar-Jørgensen, founder of the established London spa, just before Christmas. The Hand and Foot Spa had just launched at the Selfridges Birmingham Beauty Hall and the concept was so unique. First there is a snazzy iPad station with a Clueless-style app to show any nail polish colour on your nails just by snapping a photo of your hand!

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This completely takes out that connundrum of trying to choose a polish at the salon but hating it as soon as it's applied on a few nails, but it's too late to turn back! I've frequently chosen a pink that was to pearly, or a nude that turned out to channel a corpse vibe on my pale skin. It helped me go totally off piste and choose a super dark navy blue. I've never had a colour like this but the shade made the most of my little nails and didn't wash out my skin tone.

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I'd had my acrylics taken off that morning and it highlighted the best thing about The Hand and Foot Spa. A brand new nail kit is used for each customer, including every instrument from file to metal clippers. You even get to take the kit home with you, making your manicure stretch as far as your purse! What a genius idea and such a luxury.

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My sessions really flew by as my nails were primped and preened. Years of acrylics meant they were super thin and bendy, but they were rounded off, buffed and treated to a glorious hand massage with the spa's own natural hand cream. Then came a warm paraffin wax treatment inside these gloves that were pre-heated, giving the type of relaxation you can only achieve from a warm bubble bath.

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One SUPER shiny manicure later and my nails were showing no sign of the years of abuse from the electric drill! Smooth and glossy, with hands that were beyond hydrated, this truly is a manicure that goes to the next level. A week on and despite a few chips around my weak tips, they're still as shiny as ever.

You can book in yourself via The Beauty Workshop on 0121 600 6718. A visit would make a great Mother's Day gift too!

Nails of the Month 38: MUA Truffle Cream


Hi guys! Low and behold it is Friday, oh the beautiful day full of possibilities. Fridays seem to fly by as I'm always full of motivation to get as many things at work ticked firmly off my to-do list. I don't actually have any plans for this weekend apart from various errands and so I'm planning to have a spring clean of my wardrobe. I have hoarding tendencies but I am an eBay enthusiast, so I often sell a truck load of things under the mantra 'I like it but just not on me'. I love styling and gather Tumblr inspiration for new trends, but not all items you seem to acquire are ones you get the most wear of, despite loving their vibes!

I'm saving my nails for a repaint next weekend as I have a wedding to go to, but a colour that I am still obsessed with is MUA Truffle Cream. I had purchased a similar colour from Topshop in their January sales but didn't take it with me to the salon. I spotted this £1 polish while in Superdrug on the day and it is the warm, rich camel shade that my skin tone just loves. My Barry M nudes such as Vanilla and Lychee were just pulling too cool-toned whereas this caramel shade warms up pale hands and goes so well with my camel coat and black-and-white wardrobe. I tried to find a colourful dress for one of the themes of my Athens holiday (more on that to come!) but the shops only seem to be stocking neutral colours right now! Wearing stark shades with pale nails is much too draining for my warmer hair colour and fair complexion.

I can also confirm this nude colour looks perfect on toes too, and so I have bought another backup with my loose change. Do let me know if you try this bargain shade! And as it's the weekend, enjoy the latest videos here in my vlog playlist! A new vlog is coming this weekend...

Nails Of The Week 37: Barry M Almond


Hey guys! I hope you are at that point on a Sunday where the chores are done, your bedroom is clear, and outfits are washed and dried ready for the week ahead. Or if you have only just emerged from your bed of hangover food, smudged eyeliner pillows and regrettable texts, then that's even better! I've had a mixed weekend of eventful vs. relaxing as I went to 1xtra Live last night with my bestie Melissa, which was seriously fun. We had a quick cocktail before heading to the arena where loads of acts took to the stage for bitesize sets, including Lethal B, Rozay himself: Mr Rick Ross, and legendary Mary J Blige, who was a total pro to close the show, wearing a leather crop top with jeans, looking all sorts of sassy. It was a seated show, probably due to safety, but the crowd was really hyped and a favourite part of gigs for me is seeing everyone turning it up a notch and looking great. For my fave look, I saw a really cute, structured circle skirt, almost prom style, in white with a matching mini cropped bralette and white sandals. Annoying I didn't get chance to snap my own outfit even for Instagram, but hopefully I'll end up wearing it again anyway. I wore Joni  Jeans and a silky Zara plunge slip top, with laced heels. Still liking wearing jeans out at night!

I've just changed my nails but these were my Milan holiday talons, and this colour is a serious challenger for my upcoming December nails. It's Barry M Almond from, and what a beautiful milky lilac it is! Very luxe, grey toned, but somehow it has the depth to suit gold as well as silver, and especially rose gold. I'm hoping to find a rose gold crop top to create my Christmas outfits around, and I have my work party and a friend's legendary birthday where all my friends gather each year, plus NYE, although I have no idea what will happen for that night! Other nail colours I'm considering are a super bright electric blue with a matte top coat, or going for the classic Christmassy gold metallics. Any ideas? Does anyone else give this as much thought as me?!

Nails of the Week 36: Barry M Coconut

Another day, another week gone by! I have freed up my weekend so I might do a little window shopping, where I don’t really need anything but may have a payday treat if I see something extra spesh! I am going to Milan for a long weekend on Friday too so please let me know of any recommendations or actually if you have seen any rather nice outfits in the shops right now?! I have a few things I can wear for the nights out, which luckily will be a bit dressier than many European cities we have visited, where no one really wears heels even. A major reason I look forward to nights out is because it’s a chance for me to wear anything I want to, so I’m excited to getting glammed up, despite not finding anything new to pack!

I also might get my nails done this weekend but I’m not sure whether to wait until the morning of my flight or have them a week in advance and tidy them up a little on the day. Pointed nails definitely round off when you type furiously across the day like me and can become uneven.

My latest nails are Barry M coconut; a colour I had my beady eye on for a while and could not feel satisfied without. I find more and more that during the very few chances I have to pop to Superdrug or Boots that the products I am actually after are sold out. What a pain! There’s been a Sleek Matte Lip Cream I’ve been hunting for for around a month! Frustrating to hear ‘our next delivery is xxx’ when you know you have to work all week and can’t get back until another weekend! So I discovered, an absolute nail polish mecca, and their home delivery is totally free so I could order my prize Coconut and also the new Almond Gelly. It's almost the same in the bottle as Matte Vanilla, which I actually added a shiny top coat before! Because polishes are small, they fit through the letterbox too so it’s a fuss-fee way to just get that polish you are after. Plus they have in stock all of the latest colours that just scream autumn. I don't often have dark nails but reds and purples are calling me. Once I have that nail polish itch, I need to scratch it!

I might have a clear section or cool design, like my last heart nails, for my holiday but for this month I opted for a classic full polish of Coconut, which is a creamy off-white - perfect if bright white is too stark and Tipp-Ex-like for you. I also had the urge for something a bit out of the box and got the 100 emoji sign on my thumbs! The guy doing my nails did think I was slightly cray cray again but definitely appreciates something different to do! They look a little bit like I am counting to 200 but those who are emoji fans get the joke! Do you remember the days of my bejeweled nails? I might revisit my nail decal (fit to burst) shoe box and see what I can find for my holiday! 

Nails Of The Week 35: White Heart

These nails were more of an accident as if you remember, I've had heart nails before. I was actually inspired by Vanessa Hudgen's mega nails and the dude doing my nails definitely laughed when I showed them him! But on shorter nails with a rounded cuticle, the bare triangles actually made the design look like hearts!

My favourite thing about leaving the base bare is that nails can grow out a little without it being noticeable! Gaining one more week before an infill is much more economical. Pointed nails do round off a little but filing them lightly gets them back to claws in no time, and they remain my favourite shape. I'm feeling a nude colour next as autumn approaches but I like these subtle designs at the moment; a sure bet for many compliments!

FYI this snap was taken in the new Selfridges beauty hall at Bullring where there is a host of those unique beauty products that have cult status but are hard to come by. Louise Young brushes, Aesop, and these EOS lip balms certainly caught my eye! I had the lemon yellow flavour earlier this year when the hall was unveiled and it felt very cool taking it out of my bag and applying the dome shape. Speaking of bags, I'm so after a new one for AW14 but have yet to find the perfect bag. Always the way - I'm so not a bag person! 

Nails of the Week 34: Barry M Matte Vanilla

Hi guys! It's Thursday already, woohoo! I'm going off to Sheffield for a really random weekend as my friends and I wanted a night out away from Birmingham - do you have any tips? Then next weekend is Wireless (que heart eyed emojis galore!!!) and then I'm going to Amsterdam for my summer holiday! PHEW!

I'm already finalising my festival outfits so I'll post these this weekend. My only wonder is whether wellies would be needed, or could you get away with sandals if rain is not forecast? I have some ankle height wellies but they are nude leopard print so don't suit everything!

I'm also having that busy time at work I mentioned last week, and we have had a few corporate events recently where I was quite considerate about my nails. I thought an office dress code meant the end of my long talons but I think nails are not an issue. I didn't want a brash colour for the events though, and I'm bored of pastel nails for the moment after a string of candy shades during the past few months. I looks into my collection and found Barry M Vanilla, a rare impulse purchase earlier this year when their matte collection came out. There is no logic in me buying polishes as I get my nails done at the salon, which always has a huge collection of shades. However there never is a shade just quite right for the vibe I have in my mind, and there's often a lot of barbie pinks or reds.

I tried this polish and immediately didn't like it, and so it got lost in my collection. When applied matte, it is almost a bone colour, which looks quite sickly! However, add a shiny top coat and voila, the shades of pink, blush and nude come through! I wanted a deeper brown but I had lent my favourite shade to my nan, so I took this to the salon and am liking it a lot. It really says something when you look at your nails after a few weeks of wear and still are not bored of the colour! I'm hoping I have time to get them redone before Wireless or at least my holiday though. I have a design I really want! Watch this space.

Nails of the Week 33: Cornflower Blue

Soft blues and lilacs are right up my street at the moment, especially if they are matte and not quite pastel. I don't know about you but I feel overloaded with pastels already this season! I see so many gorgeous bloggers in head-to-toe pastel outfits usually sent from online brands, but I can't see how this is suitable for day wear; not the public transport, dodgy weather or heavy shopping activities that seem to be what my life is all about! I would not sit on a train seat in baby pink for fear of sitting on a rogue piece of chewing gum, ah the glamour. My life generally consists of work-work-work-work-work-errands-cocktails-errands on a good week so pastels sadly don't get a look-in, unless I brave a light outfit on a night out and literally take a spare black dress in my bag. Bouncers think I am crazy, but I just call that prepared! 

So I'm not digging pastels in my daily life, and plus they don't really suit me so this is probably why. I can get away with a warm lilac and possibly now a few more shades as my hair is lighter, but light shades don't do a lot for me. Nails are a whole other ball game though, and I've been hunting for chalky shades that still pack a punch. Rather than baby blue, I found Maybelline Ceramic Blue in Poundland (holla at my fave shop!) and it's quite grey in the bottle but a bright, sky blue once painted. This is my second wear of the colour this year, and usually I'm a one-time girl where nail colours are concerned.

Nails of the Week 32: I Heart You

Wow the Christmas season is coming around FAST and I'm gearing up for a few big weeks. Usually Christmas in retail is extremely hectic but the industry I work in now is a little more even across the year, so I'm going to look forward to the parties, the festivities and the food! I literally cannot wait for all the food, especially since moving out of my mom's and fending for myself in the kitchen again. I'm certainly not a talented cook!

Last year I had festive Christmas nails, and that literally feels like yesterday! I fancy a metallic blue or red for December but this month I was inspired by Effie's Makeup Box and took a screen shot of her Henry Holland-esque nails to the salon. It sure is crazy that nails in Bristol cost £40 while in Birmingham they cost only £20, and the technician just did the rounded hearts freehand, without a stencil. They are so fun! I put a picture on Instagram and it got tonnes of likes which made my day, and also they aren't too in-your-face as they are black, so not overly inappropriate for work environments. 

Nails of the Week 31: White Out

Another white look. I have a white lifestyle right now! It's such a fuss free colour that still makes a clean, sharp statement. I think it will transition into autumn but there is nothing like white in sunshine. I opted for classic white nails for my Marseille holiday as I just couldn't decide on a colour that would go with all of my outfits. I really loved the matte red of last month and that will certainly make a comeback, but it was too dark for a sunny holiday. It's the first time I've worn longer nails to my new work and I think they are OK as I don't have many meetings so they are not so in-your-face. I might make another move into decorated nails soon as the party season is on the way. It will be a change to working in fashion and absolutely being snowed under during Christmas time!

Nails of the Week 30: Red, White & Blue

I have made the return to square nails after a season of claws and I'm quite liking it so far. The problem with spiked nails is that they get increasingly round as you type on your keyboard and go about your day, so after a week they are oval and uneven. Square nails at least stay generally square and grow out evenly, and certain colours look better on square tips.

I've been considering matte red nails for a while but many polishes are pink toned or too bright and 80's. The red must be a little retro. I mixed a few colours at the salon to get this red and then used Rimmel Matte Topcoat over the top. I should really add a matte red lip but I have a fear of red lips. Unless I had a hand mirror in my palm every 10 minutes, I would be sure to have it smudged across my face or fading away in patches. Maybe time to face the fear!