Monday, 18 April 2016

An evening of pampering with Treatwell at RMUK in Leeds

Have you thought about the fact that we nowadays book or buy most things online? But when it comes to hair and beauty treatments we tend to do it the old fashioned way - either by a visit or over the phone. This is where Treatwell comes in! As the largest hair and beauty booking website in Europe, they're on a mission to inspire people to express their beauty in every way. The website is perfect to use if you're a bit spontaneous with your beauty bookings, or if you're after a great last minute deal. It's also ideal for discovering new salons or spas you've never heard of before.

A few weeks ago, Treatwell visited RMUK hair salon in Leeds to talk about their super convenient service, and to let us trial some taster treatments in the form of hair styling, manicure, and mini massages. I was one of the first to arrive and got first dibs on a treatment of my choice, and I opted for something I've never tried before; bamboo massage. It was basically a normal aroma therapy back massage with essential oils, but rather than using her hands, the masseuse used hot bamboo sticks. The sticks are of various sizes to reach muscles in different areas, and they're cylinder shaped with rounded edges. 

After my massage we had a thorough browse around the very impressive RMUK salon. I had never been in this salon before and I was amazed by the layout and the stunning interior.

But then it was time to gather for some bubbly and the official welcome speech by the Treatwell founders.
I absolutely love the concept of booking your hair and beauty appointments online on one massive hub where you can see all your local companies. Why has no one thought of that before?! Treatwell has been around for years, but due to their expansion to the rest of Europe they've recently rebranded the company - they used to be called Wahanda.

There was even a celebrity appearance at the Treatwell event! A few actors from the Emmerdale cast were amongst the VIP guests that had been invited for this evening of pampering.

A couple of manicurists were working on getting everyone's nails all shiny and sparkly.

My plus one guest for the night, Laura from Top Style Advice, opted for metallic nails of a cool purple hue.

It was such a fab event by Treatwell, and I managed to squeeze in three mini treatments; bamboo massage, head and shoulder massage, and a manicure. I had the limpest hair on the day, full of dry shampoo, so I didn't fancy any of the stylists trying to do anything with it. I would have felt sorry for them!

I absolutely adore the dusky teal nail polish I ended up choosing from the impressive nail bar. That's one to go on the shopping list!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Scandi style with a hint of pastel

UK fashion blogger
I felt so typically Scandinavian in this outfit that I wore for a day out last weekend.
But what do I mean by that?
If you look at Scandinavian fashion in general it all tends to be very minimalistic (in the sense of colour and details - not the lack of fabric!) and classic - very white and grey.
The same goes for interior design. I don't want to say plain, but Scandinavian designers all agree that less is more, and that a basic colour palette can be spiced up into anything depending on your accessories.

Swedish fashion blogger
I actually bought this grey turtle neck bodycon dress during my last visit in Sweden, at fashion giant Gina Tricot. You may not have heard about this chain yet, but believe me... you will do eventually! I'm pretty sure they'll take over the world sooner or later, just like their fellow Swedish fashion house H&M.

swedish fashion
I wanted to pair the dress with a blazer but without it looking too formal and office-like, so I opted for a white one. A black one would have looked too serious, but this white blazer from Wallis is perfect for Spring.

scandinavian outfit
But dressing all in a black/grey/white is not in my nature... I like colours too much!
And the best colours to opt for now that spring has arrived are dusky pastel colours.

lilac messenger bag
I found this dusky lilac/pink messenger bag at a bargain price in the sale at Deichmann.
I absolutely love the colour, but also the structure.
It may look small, but I could fit a lot more stuff than I thought I would in it (like my big SLR camera I used to take these photos with).

svensk modeblogg
The bag blends in well with the grey, but it's still a little pop of colour, which makes the outfit so much more interesting. 

lilac pendant
As for accessories, I've gone for less is more like the true Swede that I am, and I' wearing this lovely lilac stone pendant on a thin silver chain. 
It goes perfecty with the Scandi style outfit and the dusky lilac handbag.

dusky turquoise nails
No outfit is complete without nail polish!
Don't agree?
Then try wearing that bright pink nail polish you had on all of last week with something red or orange... it doesn't go, does it. It clashes quite horribly actually.
As you know, I'm all for my nail polish, and even though you can't cater for every outfit when panting this week's nails, you can at least try to stick to certain coloured clothes for those specific days.

spring fashion 2016
And that is it, folks; My white and grey Scandi style with a hint of pastel - in this case dusky lilac and turquoise.
What are your go-to colours for Spring?

white blazer

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

How to maintain a darker ombré on blonde hair

GARNIER hair colour 5
 After having coloured my hair everything from the lightest blonde to pitch black in the last 15 years (and most colours in between, including red and purple!), I feel that I've finally found the ultimate colour for me. Experimenting is all good and that, but when you find a colour that suits you with and without makeup on, you should probably stick to it. The funny thing is that the colour I'm really happy with at the moment isn't too far off my own natural hair colour, but all the same it needs maintaining. 
I've got sort of medium/dark blonde hair naturally, but I don't like being quite so blonde. It makes me look... too nice and innocent :P
What really improves the way my hair looks is darker roots, which creates a natural looking ombré and gives more depth to my hair.
What's annoying is the blonde roots that keep growing out, and this is my little how to guide to maintaining a darker ombré on blonde hair.
 Firstly, I've started off by choosing a hair colour that is 1-2 shades darker than my natural hair. I've gone for a 5, which is a neutral medium brown which has neither warm nor cold hues in it.
Rather than using the bottle as an applicator like you would normally do when doing home colouring, I pour the mixed hair colour into a bowl, and I'll use a hair colour brush to apply it with.
Secondly, I divide up my hair into 4 sections. Hot, or what?!

home hair colouring
 Starting with one of the back sections, I then divide the section up parting by parting (about 1 cm apart), applying about an inch of hair colour around each parting going from the bottom and working my way up through the whole section.
Repeat the same procedure with all 4 sections, and make sure that you always only apply an inch of hair colour wherever you are in the process. This way you get an even result and a natural looking ombré.
It can be a bit tricky at the back so you may need to ask a friend for help, but if you're used to colouring your own hair you can manage to do it all by yourself.
Use a second mirror behind you and it'll be easier to keep track of where you've applied the colour.
Try to "smudge" the colour out the further down the hair you get to avoid getting a sharp edge.

blow drying hair
 Let the colour sit for the amount of time given in the instructions (usually around 30 minutes), wash out, and style as usual.
Moment of truth...!

ombré hair
 Seeing as I've coloured my hair ombré lots of times I've got a longer gradual ombré as you can see. If you want to achieve this look straight away you can apply a slightly lighter hair colour than the roots on the mid section of your hair, and keep the tips the lightest.

bronde ombré
 I would probably describe my hair colour as "bronde" - brown-blonde.
What do you think of the result?

colour mask shampoo beige
About once a week I use a so called "colour bomb"; a coloured shampoo to keep my hair colour looking fresh and radiant in between hair colourings. I've chosen the Color Mask Shampoo from KC Professional which has been developed especially for colour treated hair. It contains plenty of pigment for instant results, and the shade I've gone for is beige. This shade is ideal for dark blonde to light brown hair to remove any yellow shades you may have from old colour or bleach.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A fabulously stylish charity poker night with a Great Gatsby theme

When an opportunity to dress up arises I would never turn it down. So when I was invited to an event with a Great Gatsby theme, I got super excited! I've always adored the gorgeous style of the 1920's with the headbands, the feathers, and the glamour in general, but since it's not the most common style nowadays I've never before gotten the opportunity to dress this way. Sure, you could get inspired by any era in your outfit choices, but to get the opportunity to go all out like this is quite rare.

We arrived at the event with great expectations. The invitation said Sky Lounge, which is the bar at the very top floor of Hilton in Leeds with the best view in town, and it couldn't get much more luxurious than that. We were greeted with champagne, and I was amazed about the effort everyone had put into their outfits. All my fellow Leeds bloggers looked absolutely stunning!

My two favourite girls; Dash from Mode Lily and Laura from Top Style Advice, were my partners in crime for the night, and I love how we all wore very similar outfits. I had chosen a cream lace midi dress with thin straps from Boohoo, paired with black satin gloves, a black lace headband, and of course a 20's style long pearl necklace - all typical accessories from the era. I also put my hair up in some sort of curly side do to complement the style even more.

After the welcome drinks we were taken into another room where the real event was about to start - a Texas hold'em poker tournament in the name of charity.
It was all arranged by Ladbrokes Poker, we got taught the rules and betting systems properly, and then with our fake money we played to win £500 which would go towards the winner's favourite charity.

We all started off with poker chips worth £1,000, and after a couple of test runs we eventually got the hang of it. I've never been much for poker (except for strip poker in my teens!) but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
It was actually really exciting!

Dash was winning big all the time!
Beginner's luck... ;)
Just look at her smug face!

They were serving fab quality canapés...

...and lots of wine (which you ended up downing cause you weren't allowed to put the glass down on the poker table... oops!).

Like taken from some old glamorous Great Gatsby casino film, right? ;)

Everyone looked so amazing, and had put so much effort into their hair, makeup and outfits! Here are some fabulous fellow Leeds bloggers.

I don't actually know who won in the end, and I don't think any of us cared cause we had such a great time. I just wish I would have lived to see the real 1920's Great Gatsby era and could dress like this every weekend! 

Thanks to Ladbrokes Poker for a fantastic event, and thanks to Search Labs for the lovely photos.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

How RatsEye Design gave new life to my old bleached tattoo

When your old tattoos start looking like this, it's no fun anymore!
It's quite embarrassing, to be honest.
I was super happy with this tattoo when it was new (early 2008) but after several years of sun damage, this is what it ended up looking like. That, combined with the fact that I went to a sloppy tattoo artist! This just shows how important it is to research your tattoo artist before you decide who to go to. Although it probably looks worse that it is seeing as my tattoo was a light brown with very light flowers from the beginning.

To the rescue came Zannie from RatsEye Design Tattoo. She's originally from Sweden, just like me, but moved over to England a couple of years ago and started up her own tattoo business in Brighton. 
It has been a year since I went to see her now, and I'm aware that I've been teasing you with my lovely cover-up in various outfit posts ever since. Well, here's my story!

Alphonse Mucha Art Nouveau flowers
When I first came to RatsEye Design Tattoo I asked Zannie to just fill in my old tattoo, but she refused! She said it was flat and lifeless, and had some ideas for the flowers. Inspired by Alphonse Mucha's Art Nouveau flowers, she started working on a sketch that would transform my tiny dead flowers to massive blooming ones!
What I really like about Art Nouveau flowers is that they're not perfect, but you could say that they're at the end of their glory just before they die. I also love the dusky colours of this era, and this was what we were going to try to replicate.

tattoo coverup
Zannie drew up the new sketch for the cover-up onto my old tattoo with the help of some stencils, but also by freehand.
As you can see, the basics of the tattoo would remain the same, but the flowers would be twice as big.

 Hearing the tattoo machine for hours was not fun!
Tips for when getting a bigger tattoo: bring a book and some other sort of entertainment, as well as sugary drinks and snacks to keep your blood sugar up. Like it or not, but you do bleed quite a bit, and it gets you tired.

Part one of the process done - the outlines!
Just as with my other tattoos I've gone for a dark brown rather than black, as I think it goes better with my skin colour. Black goes so green after a while...

 Over all, Zannie sat bent over my shoulder with that horrible buzzing right in my ear for almost 7 hours! Talk about draining! But it was so worth it!
I really couldn't be happier with the beautiful Art Nouveau style flowers that ended up on my back rather than that bleached shit that was there before. Zannie is a perfectionist and takes her time, but I'm definitely staying faithful to her and RatsEye Design Tattoo from now on!

A year on, and the tattoo still looks perfect!
Another tip is of course to take care of your tattoo properly when it heals, otherwise you could end up with uneven colours. Don't pick any scabbing, and keep it moisturised with a mild but thick cream such as Bepanthen.

Have a look through Zannie's work on RatsEye Design Tattoo Brighton's Facebook page.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Icy blue winter nails made with dry marble technique

dry marble nail art
 Even though we rarely get a proper winter with snow and ice here in the UK, it's a cool element to get inspired by for some wintery blue nails.

essie nail polish
 For this dry marble design I'm using cold hues of nail polish; light icy blue, silver glitter, white, pearl, and of course my favourite top coat from No7. 
Actually, before you even start trying to achieve a dry marble nail art, make sure you have a good top coat to hand - it won't work otherwise!

blue nail polish
I was actually inspired by Dolce & Gabbana's winter catalogue (seen in the background) for this swirly blue and white pattern.
To start with, I just painted my nails in one coat of plain blue polish, and I chose pearly white for my accent nail.

dry marble tutorial
Once the first coat had dried, I painted a second coat of blue - doing one nail at a time - directly followed by a few drops of the white and pearl polishes straight onto the still wet blue polish. Don't worry about the size of the "blobs", but just experiment as you go along. Just make sure that there's enough nail polish to spread out and swirl around your nail.

marble nail art tutorial
 With the help of a small-headed dotting tool I'm drawing swirly patterns on my nails in the wet nail polish. It does look VERY MESSY at this point, but believe me... it'll all get sorted out with some amazing top coat. Just let it semi-dry first.

marble nails
Here you can see the difference between having added top coat and not; the nail on my index finger is all nice and smooth whilst the others are still very textured and messy-looking.

how to marble nail art
With top coat on all nails and a coat of silvery glitter on my pearly white accent nail my swirly blue winter design is all done! 
Have you ever tried dry marble nail art yourself?
If not, I hope this post gives you some inspiration to do so.
It really is super simple!