Essence Gel Nails at Home Kit

Well its good and bad news with this Essence Gel Nails at Home Kit. I saw the press release for this ages ago and have been stalking the Essence stand in my local Penneys every week since. The bad news is that it is not a replacement for getting gel nails done in a salon for a special occasion. The good news is that you can use any nail polish with it and that polish then lasts a lot longer than if you just used it as normal.

It is quick and easy enough to use and you just follow these steps:

Use the cleanser to clean nails
Apply the Primer, which dries quickly
Apply the Peel Off Base and cure each nail under the lamp for 10 seconds
Use Cleanser again to remove any stickiness
Apply your choice of colour polish and wait for it to completely dry
Apply the Clear Gel Top Coat and cure under lamp for 10 seconds
Finally use the Cleanser again to remove any stickiness

Essence Gel Nails at Home Starter Kit

Some tips I learned:
If you normally make a mess painting your nails this will not suddenly make you magically paint them perfectly.
Make sure you have lint free cotton pads!
Instead of applying the Peel Off Base / Gel Top Coat to all nails and then curing all the nails, I suggest curing each nail directly after applying the product to that nail, especially the thumbs. The base and top coat are thick and runny so if you turn your hand to side to do the rest of your nails the products slides to the side of the nail thanks to gravity.
I prefer to cure each nail twice to be sure, to be sure, but it’s probably not necessary.

Essence Gel Nails at Home Lamp

I know lots of ladies like to change their nail polish very regularly and so don’t mind the paint, remove and paint again process. I like when my nails are painted but I don’t like painting them and waiting for the polish to dry and harden. I also don’t like removing the polish and usually leave it as long as possible and end up peeling the polish off and ruining my nails in the process. So this kit is a winner for me because I should get a week or more out of each paint job and then I can just peel it off without any damage to the nail.


So far it’s lasting well, it’s been 5 days and still no chips. I do think it wouldn’t take much to lift it at the sides of some nails but that may be down to my messy application and not so much a fault of the product. It’s also not as shiny as a salon gel manicure but DIY home kits are never going to be as good as getting it done by a professional.

Essence Gel Nails at Home Lamp

All in all, I think it’s a handy little kit that is worth the money; the lamp is €24.99 and the starter kit (with Cleanser, Primer, Peel Off Base and Clear Gel Top Coat) is €12.99. I especially like it for the Peel Off Base. Have you tried this or any other of the home DIY gel nail kits?



Here is a quick eye look post for Monday to ease us into the week. As you may already know I recently reviewed Smashbox Full Exposure Palette so here is another look I did on Sunday with the metallic olive shade. This eye look is subtle enough for daytime but with the metallic shimmer it would be good for a night out as well.

Here it is:2fd8ae22-c926-4bf5-9ff9-7b54e32fb486_jpeg(1)


1. Crease
2. Outer Corner and Liner
3. Lid and under bottom liner at outer corner
4. Highlighter (inner corner and under outer brow bone)

The olive is coming out a bit more bronze in the pictures and that is probably because I am out of MAC Paint Pot in Painterly, which I usually use as a Primer. I used MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque instead but in hindsight I should have used Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Taupe. The mascara is the Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara that came with the palette. I am working my way toward that metallic gunmetal grey on the end, that will be a bold night out look.

Have you tired the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette? What are your favourite colours?



Well it’s been a short week and we have another bank holiday to look forward to. Not to mention that there has been a fair bit of sunshine around this week. Maybe I’m overdosing on vitamin D here, but I am full of the joys this week. In my head I am already planning loads of summer outfits for future Friday Style posts.

Navy Oasis Shirt Dress

I have to admit that I love a good shirt dress. When you get the right one they can be so versatile. I am wearing this one with navy tights and heels because this is how I wear it to work. It would also look great with heels but without the tights for a night out or for a relaxed summer’s eve look pair it with some strappy sandals. You could also wear it with some wedges for a day of shopping or meeting the girls for coffee. This one is from Oasis and I love the added detail of the double collar along with the gold buttons and belt buckle, which make it easy to dress up. The relaxed and comfortable shape mean I can also dress it down. The material is lovely and soft and it doesn’t hold creases.

SelfTimer24_04_2014 09_16_21

Here I have paired it with a denim jacket I got in New Look a few years ago but sometimes I wear it with a blazer for a smarter look or with my faux leather biker to keep it more casual but slightly edgy.

Coral Penneys Courts

These pointed toe coral courts are from Penneys.

Coral Penneys Statement Necklace

This coral statement necklace is also from Penneys. Last weekend I picked up three great statement necklaces in Penneys all at €5 each, I mean how could you leave them behind.


This clutch was a “free gift with purchase” from The Body Shop recently. A lot of times those free bags end up being something I never use but the colour of this one is perfect for summer so it should get used fairly often.

What do you think of shirt dresses? How do you like to style them?


Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer

What we want and what we need are often complete opposites. In winter we don’t mind pilling on the heavy duty foundation and powder no bother, however, come summer we all want to look natural and only wear the lightest sheer foundation. Unfortunately with the heat and humidity of summer, un-powdered and sheer foundation will slide down our faces faster than you can get the deck chairs out. Here is where Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer comes in handy.

Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer

There are so many primers out there and all promising to do so many different things. Some add luminosity, others correct discolouration, or blur imperfections and so on. Max Factor All Day Facefinity just promises to make you foundation last longer and stay matte throughout the day and that is exactly what it does.


This was sent to me to test out and as you may already know, I usually wear Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour foundation. Since that already lasts all day and stays matte I decided to try the Facefinity Primer with some other foundations that I have floating around in my stash to give it a good testing. So here are the foundations I tried it with and how I got on:

Pari Mineral Perfection

Pari Mineral Perfection Foundation – This has pretty good staying power on its own and normally only starts getting shiny in the evening. With the Facefinity Primer, I only noticed the shine for the first time much later than normal, it was about 10 at night and I had applied my makeup at 8:30 in the morning.

Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation

Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation – This foundation lasts well with powder and it has pretty good staying power on its own. It would normally last the work day without shine but it would start getting shiny about 6 ish. With the Facefinity Primer, shine wasn’t really noticeable until about 9pm.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation – This foundation really doesn’t work well for me unless I use a finishing powder. Without powder my face would normally be very shiny by lunch time and the foundation starts breaking up. In the interest of science I applied it over the Facefinity Primer and didn’t powder. When I got home at 5:30pm it was only the littlest bit shiny but still looked fine. About two hours later thought it was really shiny but it wasn’t breaking up as much as it normally would.

So all in all it does extend the wear time of foundations and it keeps my complexion matte for longer without the need for powder. Obviously the better the foundation is suited to my skin the better the results are with this primer. I did use it with my Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour and there wasn’t a hint of shine from when I applied it in the morning to when I went to bed. For me it works as well at keeping my foundation in place as my usual primer, which is MAC Prep and Prime but at €13.99 it is a lot cheaper and Facefinity has the bonus of SPF 20.

What is your favourite primer for surviving the summer humidity? Have you tried Max Factor Facefinity Primer?


Pari Elements 5 Well Eyeshadow Palette

If there is one thing I love its getting a new eye shadow palette. I love the anticipation of playing around with it, thinking about all the possibilities of different looks and picking my favourite colours but I usually end up changing my mind about my favourites over and over again. This Pari 5 Well Eyeshadow Palette was sent to me to try out and if you remember I recently tried out the Pari Mineral Perfection Foundation both available from The palettes are €40 and there are 5 palettes in total (Amber, Copper, Emeralds, Elements, and Mercury) and I have Elements to show you.

Pari Elements 5 Well Eyeshadow Palette
First thing to say is that these shadows are extremely pigmented; the softest touch of your brush to the pan picks up loads of colour. The colour pay off is brilliant and amazingly there is no fall out. As well as being strongly pigmented, they are also soft, creamy and buttery and they blend easily. I actually tried these without any primer, which I just wouldn’t normally do because my lids are so oily. Impressively they lasted really well. At the end of the day some of the colour was gone from the center of crease but was fine around outsides and since there was no clumping the shadows looked perfect as long as I kept my eyes open. With MAC Paint Pot in Painterly as a primer these last and last. I did my makeup at 8 in the morning and my eye shadow was still perfect when I washed my face at midnight and that was after baking cupcakes and cooking dinner. Like the foundation the eye shadows are also made with minerals and don’t contain talc so they should be fine for those of you with sensitive eyes.

Pari Elements 5 Well Eyeshadow PaletteSelfTimer20_04_2014 11_50_54[1]

I have nothing like the coppery plum colour on the end so I am obsessed with that shade now that I have seen how it makes the green of my eyes really stand out. The first nude shade blends perfectly in to my skin tone so it’s great from blending out harsh lines at the edges of darker shadows. It’s also great for covering redness on the lids when I am tired; this on the lid with the lighter brown in the crease are perfect combination for brightening and accentuating your eyes while looking like you are not wearing any makeup. You could do a lovely brown smoky look with just the two browns. The pink is also a lovely daytime neutral. What I am saying is there is no colour that I won’t use in this palette.
Below are just two looks that I have done with this palette, the first is a bright daytime look and the second is darker and could be worn for day or night.

1. Lid
2. Crease
3. Liner
4. Matte highlight to blend out harsh lines


  1. Lid
  2. Crease
  3. Corner and Liner
  4. Inner Corner
  5. Matte highlight to blend out harsh lines

Have you tried any Pari products yet? What do you think of the colours in this palette?




I don’t do the whole “little black dress” thing that often because I love colour and especially colour combinations. So when I do wear a black dress you can be sure it’s not going to be with black shoes and accessories. I was going to wear orange with this dress but those green snake print shoes were looking out at me, begging to be worn so green won and you know how much I love green.

Black Closet Dress

I love how elegant this dress from Closet is and I have expressed my love for Closet dresses before in this post. The fitted top and flared bottom create the perfect A-line. The belt with its lovely gold hardware nips in the waist nicely. That neckline along with the little cap sleeves make me feel very Jackie O.

Green Snake Print Court


The green snake print shoes with their pointed toes are from Enzo Angiolini, I picked them up on the House of Fraser website during one of their brand reduction sales.

Michael Kors Clutch

The Michael Kors clutch happens to match perfectly. It’s no accident, I got the bag first and as soon as I saw the shoes I knew they would be mine. I knew it was meant to be when I saw they were reduced.

Green bracelet

I picked the bracelet up years ago in a market while on holiday.

Green Pulse Accessories Earrings

The earrings are also a few years old and they are from Pulse Accessories. Pearl earrings would also look class with this dress if you were wearing nude shoes.

How do you accessorise a black dress, with bright colours, nudes, or more black?




I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while now about my do it yourself at home hot hand manicure. Yes I know it’s so much nicer when someone else does it but it’s also so much more expensive. Most of the stuff you need for this you probably already have and you can always improvise if you put your mind to it. You don’t need the exact same products as me.

If you have already been looking after your nails then you can probably skip this first bit and get straight to the luxury bit. However, if like me you have been bad and let you nails go to ruin (by picking off your nail polish or gel manicure) then you will have to do some work.



First you use a cuticle remover or something that will soften the cuticle so you can push it back. I have the Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover. Then you file and shape the nails. Next you use a nail block to smooth and polish the surface of the nail. This doesn’t really take that long to do once you get started but I always put if off.

Now on to the luxury bit. You will need:



A hand or body oil, I have Dr. Hauschka Neem Nail Oil but any body or hand oil will do, even baby oil.



A hand or body lotion. I personally think the Vaseline Intensive Care range are excellent moisturisers at a relatively inexpensive price and they are readily available.

A microwavable reheat able bean bag thingy or hot water bottle.

Two plastic bags, I use sandwich or freezer bags. You could always take a few extra of those plastic bags for fruit and veg in your local supermarket.

All you have to do is get your heat source ready, then massage a generous amount of the oil into your hands, cuticles and nails for a few minutes. Then you massage a generous amount of the lotion into your hands, nails and cuticles for a few minutes. By now you should be very greasy. Slip your hands into the plastic bags and pop them under the heat and relax for as long as you want or can. The heat helps your skin absorb the moisture for a really softening effect. When you take your hands out they will still be greasy so massage the product in a bit more and then wipe the excess off. That’s it.

I haven’t tried it yet but you could also try this with your feet, but that would involve removing the hard skin first, that thought of it just turns my stomach but I’ll have to do something before I subject the world to my bare feet in flip flops.

What are your tips for a DIY luxury treatment?