cco Gel nails Review

Recently after trying a friends I order this off ebay.

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I opted for an LED light as I was worried about extra UV exposure after cancer scares. I love this kit and think it is the best value. It came with everything you needed except for acetone nail polish remover and alcohol to clean the nails. Both of these are available cheaply from a chemist.

I got 6 colours and some snapshots of some are below. I chose a hot pink, peachy pink and red as toe nail colours and pale pink ( which actually has a little sparkle), dark purple/red and grey for the nails. It also has a base coat and top coat.

The process is easy.

Sort nails and cuticles as you would normally. Clean nails with alcohol wipe. Buff nails. Use base coat and pop under light for 30 secs, colour coat and under the lamp for 60 seconds, repeat, then top coat and a further 60 seconds. At this point they are done but feel sticky. A quick wipe with alcohol and it should feel fine. Off you pop.

My lamp is cheaper so has a 90 second off switch but I just use my iphone timer.

To remove either soak in acetone or place cotton wool soaked in acetone over the nails and wrap in tin foil.

These nails last an easy week and I do a manual job.

Some tips for longevity include not painting right up to the cuticles as this makes a wedge of product which you are more likely to pick at and pull off. Also, don’t pull it off as it trashes your nails underneath. I like the fact it wears well, is easy to do and probably quicker than normal polish when you remove drying time. It also makes my nails feel a little stronger with the extra layers.

Here a

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nails and toes

na

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Any top tips for this? Any colours I should be adding?

The winter warmer series- Steak and Ale

This is my new recipe for the week.

Steak and Ale stew
Braising steak
carrots
onions
olive oil
dried thyme
bay leaves
Ale
potatoes
Flour
tbsp sugar ( if needed)

Chop onions and soften in a pan with some olive oil. Add braising steak, and sprinkle with thyme, until sealed and transfer to the slow cooker. Add chopped veg to the slow cooker with 3 bay leaves. In the dry pan add 2 tbsp flour and mix in with oil and flavours. Slowly add the ale ( I actually used Guinness) and mix until smooth. Poor this over the slow cooker food and leave to cook all dat. I then put it on high with the lid off at the end of the day to thicken a little. Also taste and as guiness is a bit bitter I added a tbsp brown sugar at this point.

Serve in a bowl with grated cheese and home made bread.

For a second meal you will need a few of these

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Line a greased pan with pastry. Add the soup using a spoon with holes in it to drain out some of the liquid. Cover with a pastry lid and brush with egg and milk.

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Cook at 200 degrees for around 30-40 minutes until it looks slightly less golden than this…

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Enjoy

Beauty Store Bargains!

There are some great deals out on the high street at the moment and today I blitzed them all. I did need a few things and had held off until a great deal came along and today it was there.

First up I have had very sore dry eyes and under eyes at work. I was getting a little down about my appearance at work as I felt I was looking very old. I think this is due to the dry environment and aircon. I also wanted some intensive moisturiser to use. I have a natio daily moisturiser, from a previous deal, and felt I needed something to add to this. I love my mario badescu at home but have a separate set of skin care at work. So I saw in Natio these beauties. A brightening eye cream and skin firming serum. Together they were under $40 and came with a free gift. This gift has the perfect amount of skincare and handcream for my trip home. Perfect.

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Next I really wanted a new set of brushes for my wedding day makeup. I had considered the sigma set which costs around $130 for all of them. My friend recommended eco tools and I have seen positive reviews of them on twitter. I popped into priceline and they were reduced, plus if you spend $60 you get a free bag with $220 of products in it. I was keen as mustard. I got a selection of the brushes which are tucked away safely on the spare bed for the wedding day ( I have a stash of items ready for home!).

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Wooo hoooo hoo look at these goodies. Although I generally choose more naturally products I love a chance like this to try new items. Included in my bag was

A pouffe
Skin wipes
A dark black/purple nail polish
a nude lippy
mascara
eyeliner
highlighting pencil
a primer
2 sets of false nails
cuticle oil
highlighter
toothpaste and a lipbutter

Needless too say I am delighted and may start reviewing in due course. However as a review of the deal it is great.

I then noticed at the till for $25 you can sign up to be a member and get perks and a free gift. So I did that too!

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A models own eye liner, bag, makeup bag, mirror and lip gloss pencil.

Fabulous

I also picked up the rather good nanoblur. I tried this on the back of my hand expecting nothing but the difference was definitely visible and it was down to $19.99 in priceline so I picked it up. Applied after makeup it makes the undereyes less wrinkled and fresher. I also discovered it minimises pores. BONUS!

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Gold Star Challenge- an update

Last week I blogged about starting the gold star challenge. This week I have come out of my pit and actually started getting some starts.

Stars I have earned:

Monday- ate within points ( 1star), exercised ( 1 star)
Tuesday- none! Meal plan and shop ( 5 stars)
Wednesday- exercised ( 1 star), ate within points ( 1 star), cleaned out (5 stars!)

Plus 2 new recipes ( 1 star each)

I think that I am going really well. Next week I want to focus on completely diet coke free plus no FODMAPs as I have noticed my tummy appears a lot bigger when I have even the smallest amount and It bothers me!

How is your GSC going?

Winter Warmer Series- Curry

This is not technically a new recipe. This is one of my fail safe recipes I use when I don`t know what to cook. Another slow cooker recipe if needed I whipped this up in under and hour on the hob.

ingredients
3 carrots
2 brown onions
2-3 stalks chopped celery
4tbsp curry powder
chicken/ vegetable stock
1/4 pumpkin
2 potatoes
bag of spinach
red lentils
tin of chopped tomatoes
fresh tomatoes
tin of coconut milk
500g chicken breast or diced chicken
coconut oil

This is such as easy recipe. First of all put some coconut oil into a frying pan and add chopped onions to brown. Add diced chicken until it is sealed. I then add all the chopped veg, except for the spinach and lentils, mix these all around in the pan. Add the curry powder and coat all the veg and chicken. Add tinned tomatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. You can add a little water at this point as well to preference. I then transfer to a big old sauce pan at this point and add a sprinkle of lentils. I find the lentils dissolve down to nothing and help thicken the sauce a bit.

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I let this simmer away for the best part of an hour until everything is nice and soft. Pop your rice on to cook and stir through the fresh spinach in the curry.

Enjoy! I serve mine in a bowl with a spoon of rice, spoon of curry , dollop of greek yogurt and some sliced banana on top.

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YUM! What are your fail safe recipes??

Winter Warmers- Leek and Potato soup

I am going to do a little series on some meals which I have been making. As part of the Gold Star Challenge I decided to try to meal plan, make lists of items needed and also try new recipes. I have been pleasantly surprised at the food bills from doing this and found the meals easily stretch further. In our house I tend to freeze them so the other half can munch his way through them whilst I am at work. At least I know he is getting some good food as well as whatever else he eats when fending for himself.

First up is Leek and Potato soup. An old classic made with no dairy.

Ingredients
6 potatoes peeled and chopped
1 leek cleaned and slices
vegetable stock
Olive oil
Butter
optional: cauliflower chopped

I used a sauce pan and in it melted a little butter and olive oil and then put the leeks in to soften.

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Sprinkle with the required amount of stock powder and stir so that it coats the leeks. I have found this step is quite important to good flavour. Scrape the leeks into the slowcooker and place chopped potatoes on top.

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I then swill out the frying pan with water and add this to the required amount. I think that this makes sure you get all the flavour out of the pan and into the soup. I then leave my slow cooker on low and come home to a lovely soup ready for blending. Top tip: place the slow cooker in a baking tray so any overspill is caught up and doesn’t mess the kitchen.

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Once cooked I blend and season as needed and serve.

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I had this with some grated cheese and home made spelt bread. I used this River Cottage Recipe as I didn’t have the book. I do now.

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What are your favourite Winter Warmers? I find soup a cheap, easy and healthy filling food

Catch up on life

Well hello there. It feels like it has been an age since I last sat down and blogged properly. With my week on week off lifestyle and plenty of activities at the moment it probably has been about a week. Anyhow, what has been occurring??

First up I have been doing the Gold Star Challenge like a champ this week. I had felt quite disheartened with myself lately and been wondering what the hell was up with me. Where had all my motivation gone? Was it so awful that I was eating these these things? Well I seem to have come through the other side and my thoughts are this. It is HARD to eat well and exercise when you are stressed and exhausted. It is more important than ever when stressed and exhausted to eat well. Catch 22. Anyway I am back, pretty much, to it feeling better and if I gained any weight it was 1kg ( but I weighed when I had my TOTM so probably nothing). Life has not gotten less busy but through forcing myself to eat well and exercise I feel better equipped to meet life head on and tackle it.

Things I have been loving this week have included some outrageous work sunsets.

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I have also found this watch by a company called La Mer and am severely tempted. I actually get tax back on a watch as I need one for work as I work underground so it could work out a lovely investment.

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This week I am getting my hair done and have purchased and trialled a few beauty products for my wedding face which I will probably review after the wedding. There are also some great deals about at the moment which I will do a review of.

Finally clearing out the house and focusing on meal planning and home cooked meals as per the gold star challenge has filled this week nicely. At the weekend I am off to a wedding maybe I will even do an outfit post.

Sad times this week because a witchery bag I have owner for under a year and cost $300 has broken. The strap just plain failed. I think it must be a fault and have emailed to ask them if they can fix it. I may drop in a store with it tomorrow and see.

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The quality of witchery is normally brilliant so hopefully they can help me out.

I spent my birthday voucher on a great River Cottage Cookbook. The online service from Dymocks is fantastic.

What have you been up to this week? busy busy or nice and quiet?

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The (lact)eeze life

I was sent these products to have a little trial of last week.

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As you know as part of my digestive troubles I cannot really eat any foods with much lactose. On a daily basis my dairy intake is limited to lactose free milk, one brand of greek yogurt and occasional cheese. I was particularly excited to try these as it is often in social situations when it is hard to avoid dairy completely and it is in social situations that you really don’t need the side effects.

The tablets them selves tasty a little chalky with a hint of mint. To be honest the taste didn’t bother me at all as long as they worked. The first day I tried them I had two tablets and ate some normal dairy chocolate. I felt funny afterwards like I knew I should get wind bad enough to poison the dog and an upset stomach but this didn’t really happen. I also had none of the normal cramping.

Today I ate a magnum. Nothing. No cramps, wind or upset tummy. The weirdest side effect was me feeling odd that it hadn’t happened after a lifetime of problems.

I used 2 tablets as I went on a proper dairy eating mission, in the name of research, of course. I would suggest 1 tablet for meals generally dairy free which may have the odd bit in, for example when it is sneaked in sauces etc.

The tablets contain lactase which, as I understand, breaks down the lactose for you! perfect! The RRP is $4.95 for a pack of 10. I have now noticed them in my local chemist.For me, this is quite expensive to use daily. However these tablets will definitely be a regular feature in my house for…

1. when you just want some really nice dairy foods or dessert. Take 2 and enjoy that meal as anyone else.
2. When you literally cannot find an equal product which is lactose free. One problem with fodmaps is we often cannot eat a variety of other ingredients which they add to lactose free products which mean we cant have them anyway. Sometimes the simple lactose filled product is the best otherwise ( e.g. no inulin) and now we can enjoy them.
3. In my handbag for coffees out. Basically soy coffee, in my personal opinion, SUCKS! I use lactose free milk at home but this is not generally stocked by coffee shops.
4. When you just need a treat and nothing else will do
5. When you are out for dinner or at an event. Often you can easily get food gluten free or dairy free but both is a stretch. I shall swing for gluten free and a couple of tablets before the meal and it will save a lot of worry.
6. If you cant have dairy you may well not be getting enough calcium. Chew these and boost your dairy for a while to get strong bones.

I will definitely always have these at home and a handbag pack for the above occasions. I also intend to take them to England for my wedding. No one wants a windy bride! or worse … in white!

For now I am going to get back to my lactose lovers list of joy….

brie cheese
dairy chocolate
iced coffee
trifle
mousse
truffles
cold rock
Strawberries and cream
cocktails!

perhaps I need to ration myself before I undo all that good weightloss.

Gold star challenge

I read about this on Facebook where the lovely jade announced she was doing this challenge and I thought what a great motivator.

So here is my list of things I should do but am rubbish at. Each has a gold star value and over the next 10 weeks I will collect them. For each star I will give myself one pound to spend in the shops when I go home…

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how do you motivate yourself? Care to join us?

Thirty things learned in 30 years

I have noticed a wealth of people on blogs I follow turning 30 and posting a few things they have learned over the years. I have had thirty years full of ups and downs and along the way have also learned a couple of things… Many of them cliches which I had been told but had to work out myself before I believed them.

1. Money does not make you happy. Having enough money to live with the odd treat helps you be happy but money doesn’t make you happy.
2. Having lots of things or disposable income also doesn’t make you happy. Working hard to have more financial freedom and choices makes me happier.
3. Love comes along when you least expect it in a form you would have never expected.
4. Balance works, extreme forms of health/ savings/ exercise or anything positive is Infact negative.
5. Your biggest strength can be your Achilles heel.
6. Your Achilles heel can therefore become a strength.
7. Wishing for something is pretty much as good as having it.
8. Family is everything.
9. Friends can be family.
10. You don’t just have to work for pay… Find something you love.
11. However your hair is and however much you pretend it doesn’t, it probably does look better styled than natural.
12. Your natural hair shade is probably right for you and a range within 4 shades of that is probably most flattering. ( note to self hot pink is not within that range!)
13. You are never going to be ( insert any name) so it’s probably best to stop trying and just get on with being yourself.
14. Travel is good for the soul.
15. Love is going for the soul.
16. Chicken soup is good for the soul.
17. Find an exercise you enjoy otherwise you won’t do it.
18. When you find the love of your life never forget to treasure them.
19. Laughter cures all, or at least makes it better.
20. Once your body clock starts ticking there is naff all you can do about it.
21. You are probably thinner than you think you are.
22. Sunscreen is the best anti ageing item ever
23. After the age of around 19 clothes either look amazing or terrible. There are very few in between items.. Damn that womanly body.
24. Sometimes life is exhausting and you need to rest, that’s ok.
25. You don’t have to be sick to have a sofa day.
26. Reading is brilliant.. Do it… Lots!
27. Cooking for loved ones is a great way to shower them with love.
28. If something is worth doing do it well.
29. Take your time and be in the moment.
30. It is the special touches which count.

And the final bonus one which was very true for me… I was not unhappy because I was fat I was fat because I was unhappy ( or at least my body was)!

What have you learned I your years.?.. Link me up