Quick Fix! Fake nails

Quick Fixes - things that make you feel good cheaply and easily!

My first experience with fake nails was about 25 years ago, trying the kind that have a sticker on the back. They were not a total success. After that I’m pretty sure I tried the ones that come with glue but they weren’t terribly stylish when I was a youth, often too long and some fairly vicious reds and pinks. And I got the nail glue everywhere.

I go through phases of trying to paint my nails and keep them looking smart but they smudge or chip almost immediately and I can never seem to get them to dry really hard, no matter what products I use. I have had gel manicures before and that, I love. Glossy, long-lasting, cool colours: just awesome. But I really can’t justify the cost of the upkeep.

Imagine my delight then, when I stumbled across the fake nails in Primark- in blue, purple, matte! And a practical length. Me and my big sister both bought some with a view to applying them before dinner that night, and apply them I did- with a glass of wine in hand and in a very slapdash manner. And they came out pretty alright, with the exception of at least one slight size mismatch. After two and a bit weeks, I’ve had to do running repairs- at least one nail per day- but the 36 in a pack has meant that I have plenty to replace the lost ones with. Being in Amsterdam for a few days with my best girls, it was fab to have ‘finished’ nails even as the balls of my feet screamed in pain. Then my lovely lady P suggested that I buy more expensive glue for longevity and it’s been a genius idea.

I look like a lady!
I look like a lady!

And that ‘more expensive’ is still only about four quid. You just have to be a tiny bit more careful with it as there’s much more room for sticking fingers together, so I would definitely start with the Primark glue until you get the hang of it.

Currently transitioning to this purple-y raspberry colour
Currently transitioning to this purple-y raspberry colour

So I went to Primark and bought lots of other colours! They’re all £1 a pack, but some of the fancier ‘Design’ ones have 24 in a pack instead of 36. Either way, I doubled up so that I had plenty for replacement nails. Yes it won’t be doing the nails underneath a tonne of good but I can’t find it in me to care- I have glossy, pastel nails!

So many options…

Things I have learnt

- Be decisive: if you wait too long or are too cautious about placing the nail, you will get it stuck halfway on. This is not a good look.

- Buy nail varnish remover pots: Wilkinson’s do such things for £1. You don’t want anything fancy and I doubt the cheap pots are much good for nail polish. but they will dissolve problem nails (which is very handy when you’ve stuck one halfway up the nail instead of at the cuticle)

- The matte ones don’t stay matte.

- The nail sizes are really good, so I think most people could probably find these to fit, even if larger-handed ladies might need to buy a couple of packs to get as many larger sizes as they need. If you have unusually-shaped nails, they might not work tho (sorry Kathry..)



Category: Style
Come to me all you pretty things...

TK Maxx: you rock

Dear TK Maxx, you are awesome.

OK, perhaps occasionally awesome is a better description, but my last haul there was somewhat epic by my standards.

Having met a friend for lunch in a town about thirty miles from where I live, I decided to fill the rest of my time until the next train by having a mooch about the town centre. This is quite a risky manoeuvre these days as the amount of empty stores abounding most high streets leaves little incentive to rock out and have a grand out shopping trip. Nonetheless, England’s oldest recorded town, Colchester, does have one thing that deserves attention: a city centre TK Maxx (my local one is frustratingly on the outskirts of town).

Now, I know that ye olde TK Maxx can be a bit hit and miss, with some stores resembling extortionately priced jumble sales but this store was a scene of serenity and calm. Everything ordered and displayed rather attractively. The toiletries department in particular was home to rather a nice spot of colour coding.

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Anyway, the real point is that not only was I able to snap up a small DESIGNER treat for myself but positively cleaned up in the luxury-health-and-beauty-gift stakes (totes a real thing). With impending birthdays and Christmas, I like to get an early jump on things and pick up gifts that the recipients wouldn’t think of getting for themselves. And, thanks to my loyal readership of A Model Recommends, I think I’ve quite a good eye at spotting a beauty bargain.

So what did I get? Well then………..

Come to me all you pretty things...
Come to me all you pretty things…

First up, a couple of gifts.

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NEOM is a luxury organic range which not only looks rather nifty but smells pretty define too. They have a bath and shower oil that I have coveted for some time so I was familiar with the brand, and the Real Luxury Body & Hand Lotion was perfect for my poor post-op sis. At more than half the RRP, that alone was enough to make me feel smug.

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Also for post-op sis, a rather lovely Rituals Himalaya Wisdom body scrub. With a hit of fresh mint, this will do the job to buff the body before applying, oh I don’t know, maybe a luxury body lotion of some description……. Coming in again at less than half of the RRP, this was genuinely bargainous.

2007-07-05 04.18.04A lesser known brand for our final gift pick but one with a wee bit of cult status: Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps. What really sold this to me was the almost olde-worlde medicinal look of the label, and the smell is amazing.

2007-07-05 04.17.26This hemp and peppermint organic soap is an excellent stocking filler or proper pressie for a cult-beauty junkie. This bad boy had about a third off so still a decent saving, and I’m rather looking forward to dressing it up with parcel paper-style wrap and a homemade Christmas tag.

But nothing really compares to the treat I got for myself. Not to sound narcissistic, but I was preeee-ty chuffed with myself.

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Oh yes, my Clements Ribeiro Portobello cotton and cashmere jumper. Oooh, it’s so lovely!

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In a classic grey with teal stars, this is the gift I will give to myself once baby bump has been born next year. It is so soft, and not totally unlike the gorgeous Chinti & Parker jumper from my Covetables post earlier this week.

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Yes, it’s from a diffusion line and, yes, it’s only 5% cashmere, but it was a mind-blowing £19.99. This is even more mind-blowing when one considers that this is CURRENT SEASON and still available on the website for £86. I would call this a WIN.

And that is why TK Maxx rocks. The end!



Category: Style
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Accidentally awesome hair

It’s quite a big boast to say that I had awesome hair the other day. Should I made that boast to, say, Kate Middleton or similar (incredibly likely to happen) then I daresay there would have been a fair amount of scoffing. But my interpretation of awesome is somewhat different to them: I don’t want swooshy and smooth; I want dishevelled and Parisian. I want Caroline De Maigret after she’s been caught strolling through the Tuileries on a particularly blustery day. Geddit?

From Caroline De Maigret Tumblr
From Caroline De Maigret Tumblr

The hair gods smiled upon me on Thursday. They felt for my plight in waiting an hour JUST TO GET INTO THE TRAIN STATION and then having to stand on my journey to work before arriving late and realising that a rubbish morning of commuting doesn’’t exempt you from actually having to do some work. The hair gods saw me painstakingly straightening my hair this morning and added just the right amount of heat and windy weather to give me something akin to De Maigret dishevelment as my reward. So surprised was I with my wavy locks that I snapped a few bathroom selfies. Sad but needs must, right?

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The fringe was a bit separate-y, but not too much; the front was wavy but looked intentional; it had that slightly volume-y quality that means you can fluff it with your fingers a bit and it looks sexily messy. This style I could never achieve if i actually tried to do so. Tongs don’t work on my mane as it all just goes a bit frizzy and eighties. My fringe precludes the mermaid waves fashion folk are so keen on. My only hope is to either wear it straight or hope that a similar hair miracle happens. The word i’m probably looking for to characterise the whole look is ‘ratty’, but ‘undone’ or ‘gently tousled’ sounds rather more appealing.

Classy bathroom selfie
Classy bathroom selfie

Undone hair looks nonchalant, easy-going, cool, casual – many of the attributes that ladies who are anything but want to emulate.

Images from Pinterest
Images from Pinterest

As anyone with fine hair will know, all you can really do is try to add volume and hope for the best. It’s difficult to contrive dishevelled without ending up with lank and greasy, attractive as that is. My current tools to try to inject a bit of joosh into my locks are the L’Oreal Elvive Fibrology Double Serum and some Pantene Volume Booster Spray Gel, which I actually picked up in Poundland and have been spraying like mad ever since. I use the latter first, lifting sections of wet hair and spraying at the roots before smoothing the L’Oreal serum on top. Then it’s fun and games with a hot hair dryer and a round brush.

product collage

I know my accidentally awesome hair may not look like much to some but it made me happy. I felt relaxed and French for the rest of the day, and therefore got absolutely no work done at all. Hey ho!

Any pro hair tips to achieve the look every day? Please feel free to share – I need all the help I can get! Photos of me tweaked using Fotor filters & effects. Don’t judge: I was taking snaps on my phone in a toilet.

Category: Cute, Style

My Perfect Base

Bare faced, not chic...
Bare faced, not chic…

Flat and dirty-looking: this has, at times, been the unfortunate result of attempting to find a decent foundation.  On my face for all to see, and as a woman who thinks she lacks planes and edges on her visage, this is particularly Not Ideal.  I  have struggled for a long time to find a base that really suits me; from the minute my skin became dry in my early twenties, foundations have felt harsh, heavy, and drying, and I have always eschewed a matte look anyway, for the aforementioned flat/grubby effect.  Having a naturally round face and- I think- quite an uneven complexion, I have long enjoyed a lighter coverage foundation (RIP Prescriptives) and a sparkly, non-matte finishing powder, like the also-discontinued Clinique Gentle Light Powder.

I am now the happiest I have ever been with my make-up as I have discovered the joy of bareMinerals.  The best thing about BM is the buildable coverage, achieved with the type of brush you use- I like the Full Flawless Face brush but there is a lighter version (you’ll end up with a few of these if you buy the BM starter sets), and a kabuki brush for fuller coverage.  You really do need a tiny amount and less is more so swirl, tap, and buff away.

The range of colours for BM is very good, except of course there’s a but and that but is (predictably) when it comes to darker skins.  QVC has been a fantastic way to buy BM, selling awesome kits that save you mucho dinero, however go straight to bareMinerals if you have a darker skin, as the available range is far, far wider.  Feelunique do a lot of the shades too, and P&P is free.

Can't be beaten!
Can’t be beaten!

I start with primer, as I have for many, many years.  It just makes everything go on easier.  After that, I’m the average and predictable Medium Beige:  It’s got a nice neutral tone that hides the pinker tone in my skin, and Summer Bisque concealer complements the foundation.  Applied under the eyes in a ‘v’  shape, to the nose, chin, and cheeks, I feel more even straight away.

After foundation and concealer. How tired I look is not the fault of the make-up.
After foundation and concealer. How tired I look is not the fault of the make-up.

The next step is my secret weapon: All-Over Face Colour in Warmth.  Boom.  It’s recommended that this is applied as a bronzer would be but it’s so light and flattering, I bung it on all over.  A tiny amount goes a long way and just makes your complexion a shade, well, warmer.  Bronzer in the 3 formation (a sweep on the forehead, cheekbones, and chin) and a touch on the nose adds a nice glow and stops the Warmth making you look too flat.  Now, the important question: what powder to finish with.  This is so important I’m splitting my infinitives!  The Mineral Veils by BM are awesome, and while I didn’t see the point for the longest time, they do finish your face off, and hide imperfections, and as by this point I have five products on my face, a nice powder to finish it off is in no way a bad idea and we might as well.  Depending on my mood, I use the Ready Mineral Veil in a compact, or the awesome illuminating veil which is harder to get but so worth it, for that lighter, more ethereal look.  Ethereal on a woman of almost six foot is probably a bit of an ask but let’s go with it.

Bronzed! But neither grubby-looking nor flat (I hope)
Bronzed! But neither grubby-looking nor flat (I hope)

I have done this face on my sister for her wedding, friends for a night out, and it is of no matter whether you have a more olive skin or are a paler darling, the old warmth trick makes you look healthy and glowing in an uber-subtle way, and finishing off with a Mineral Veil totally brings everything together.  My gorgeous Aussie friend Zoe said that it barely looked as if I was wearing any make up, which is EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE GOING FOR and also allows for a polished but not over-done look in five minutes on which to then build cats’ eyes and huge lashes.  Cos the eyes are the stars of the show, obvs.

It is best to check your base from a few angles and in natural light, especially when you're layering
It is best to check your base from a few angles and in natural light, especially when you’re layering

One parting shot then, aimed at all those beeyootiful women who have mastered their foundation and feel flawless and awesome: do not forget your blusher.

After blusher; makes a difference, no?
After blusher; makes a difference, no?
Blusher from a different angle (I call this Tragic Heroine)
Blusher from a different angle (I call this Tragic Heroine)

This is well worth another post, but the amount of wimmin I see who have a gorgeous base but have forgotten to add the natural blush back in.. Well, it’s criminal.  A sweep of a super-fine blush will add a dimension back into your face that you may have lost when perfecting your base.  Worth thinking about, is all I’m saying.

Finished face, basic other make-up done. Eyebrows may be a little heavy but you get the idea, hopefully. I'm happy!
Finished face, basic other make-up done. Eyebrows may be a little heavy but you get the idea, hopefully. I’m happy!
Category: Style