*Review* Stone Bridge Hair Accessories

I received an exciting email a couple of weeks ago from a company I currently 'like' on Facebook and follow on Twitter called Stone Bridge. They saw my hair handling hoo-hahs that I often write about and offered to send me a couple of items for the purpose of reviewing on my blog. 

Arrived beautifully packaged 
First a little something about the company itself, Stone Bridge offers something a little more different than the average hair accessory. They are made to suit your precise hair type, which should mean no more loose and useless clamps or overly tight claws giving you an unnatural facelift (c'mon, we've all been there!)

I was a little sceptical firstly as although my hair is fine, there is a lot of it, so it makes for difficult styling in that any 'up do' will usually fall due to the weight and a 'down do' is often flyaway with volume being an impossibility without heavy back-combing and a cemented still with hairspray.


Up first was the Super Comfy Half Inch Headband in Pale Plum (rrp £25) suitable for all hair types.

When I saw how much these retail at I was wondering why, or rather who, would pay so much money for a hair band. But I didn't let this stand in my way of reviewing this product fairly. It is way out of my usual price range for items such as these.

You can see from the pictures that the band has a very smooth finish in a kind of marble/pearlised design. There are no rough edges that will catch in your hair at all, and although it has a stiffness, it is flexible to your head shape - no manipulating the band hoping it doesn't snap whilst you do it!


The colour is one I wouldn't usually have chosen but the good people at Stone Bridge advised it would suit my hair colour and skin tone, which I actually do agree with having worn it on several occasions and received a great deal of compliments.

The comfort of this item is true to it's namesake. It is super duper comfy. You know when you wear a cheap headband and you get those pain behind the backs of your ears from the pressure of the band? This doesn't happen whatsoever with this product. You simply cannot feel it!

I have a wispy fringe, I usually have to use a kirby grip to slide it to by my ears. You can see from my pictures that once you put the band in place, any hair under it holds like a dream, just ease as much or as little out as you like using a fishtail comb or your fingers.


Next up I had this beautiful Cadre Rectangle Tortoiseshell Claw in Silver Shell.(rrp £33) suitable for fine to medium weight hair.


Again, a bit pricey compared to what I would usually look at, but you have to appreciate the workmanship that's gone into creating this item. It is stunning.
One thing I noticed was how tight this claw closes, I under-estimated how much force you needed to open this at first. I thought 'uh-oh... it's going to give me a face lift!'

I twisted my hair and clamped it up, expecting it to be far too tight, but wow! You just can't feel it in! Honestly, it was weightless and held my style just as I wanted it to - not too tight and not too loose.


It has a sort of 'window' on either side so you can still see the majority of your style, as well as the beautiful hair accessory itself. I hate it when people have a large claw clamp just stuck to the back of their head and you can't see any hair - just get a short back and sides if that's the look you want! (Quite nasty of me really, actually just surprised myself there - but it's true!)


Okay, so honest opinions now:
> Beautifully made
> Comfort to the maximum
> Holds styles perfectly
> Stunningly gorgeous!
>Tad pricey but you really do get what you pay for here.

10/10!

Have you guys found the ultimate when it comes to hair accessories?  
What are your thoughts on Stone Bridge Range?



WIN SET OF 2 SUPER COMFY HEAD BANDS 
AS FEATURED IN THIS POST.

Ensure all entries are completed via the rafflecopter in order for them to be registered.
All entries are optional however if you complete all entries, you'll unlock a free daily bonus entry. The more entries you do, the more chance of winning. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&C's
Closes 17/12/2014 at 11.59pm
Any entries deemed false will be removed prior to the random draw.
Winner agrees to details being passed on to StoneBridge Hair in order for prize to be fulfilled.
Whilst we endeavour to get your prize to you for Christmas,  we ask that you allow up to 28 days for any eventualities such as postal delays, weather etc. Good Luck!

*Review* Rebel Nails Inc - Nail Wrap Art

I was so excited when I stumbled across Rebel Nails Inc website, I actually got lost for over an hour in nail heaven! For a nail-freak like myself, I recently wrote a post about how painting my nails was the ultimate relaxation tool in my life. However, I'm not the best at creating nail art (yet!), so nail wrap art is the next best thing in my life, as of now! Let me tell you...


Packaging

I was sent two varieties to choose from and try out, and I couldn't wait to get started. The set I decided to try - immediately - was: Glittering Camden Town Patterned Nail Art Nail Wraps .You can buy this set for £7.99.

Arriving in a very simple thin sleeve I literally gazed at the clear window within and thought OH EM GEEE!So tasteful, suitable for work or a special occasion and not at all tacky. I do hope my pictures can show just how beautiful they are, because no amount of practicing nail art could achieve this look LOL!

I did question the 5 minute application time and of course, how many other nail products promise no chipping or smudging etc. It was a little cliche, so held out no real expectations from this. So I settled into my couch position, brewed up and got cracking.



The first thing I noticed was the fact there are only 16 foils in the pack in 8 different sizes, so if you have 2 nails the same size on each hand you would have to use a wider foil and file the edges to fit your nail.
Nail Sizing Template

Bit fiddly, and bound to extend the 5 minute application time, but luckily there is a handy clear nail sizing template and I discovered that this wasn't the case. Which was quite unusual for me as glue-on nails often present this problem a fair bit for me.

Upon peeling the foil wrap away from the card, make sure you only touch the straight edge, else you'll affect the adhesive at the cuticle end, which will decrease your wear.

Make sure to buff nails first to increase staying power!

Simply lay over your nail and press upwards to prevent any creases. Once you have done this you'll wonder what the barnacles you're supposed to do with the flap at the top! The instructions state to fold this flap over (and slightly under, I found) the tip of your nail and then use a file to shave it off. The filing was difficult to get the hang of at first, as it's supposed to be downwards.

Fold this flap over and slightly under the tip
Turn your hand in to your self and do it by looking down the nail rather than looking at it straight on (see final pictures for the way I held my hand whilst doing this).

Slip the file at the tip of the nail and, from the centre of the nail, file one way towards the edge of the nail. You'll see a perfect perforation appearing and it will simply and easily come away.

One downside was that I noticed I was filing the nail too, as well as the foil, so lost a bit of length by doing this. (Gutted!)

I already had a short pinky nail and it was a little difficult to fold the flap correctly so I wouldn't recommend these for nail biters, unless you're happy to practice quite a lot.

Once you have filed the nail wrap, I applied some gentle heat to seal the adhesive and it's odd because you can feel them get really hot and kind of melt into your nail - not in a horrible torturous kind of way - just in a "it's working" way! I used a hairdryer for this, you mustn't allow the heat source to touch the foil, as I assume they actually would then melt - eeek!

Finished!
In terms of completion time, including pre-buffing and applying heat, it took me twenty minutes. But then it was my first time and I was being super careful.
I have no doubts that I could half this time in future and when taking pre-buffing and heat application out of the equation I think 5 minutes is pretty spot-on.

Can you believe it? A nail product that does what it says in the time stated?!





After 4 days, I noticed some 'curling' at the tips of the foils, which did begin to annoy me a little as they were catching in my hair, on clothes etc.

But they didn't come off completely!

I removed the nails after 5 days, which is longer than glue-on lasts, or indeed 'no chip' polish. Removal is easy. Simply peel from one side to the other, no marks on the nail are left or anything. Wipe over with a cotton wool pad and some acetone to give a completely clean finish and boom! Done!


Yup, they do what they say on the tin! They don't chip or smudge whatsoever - even with excessive bathing of my son (he's at school now so he's a messy monkey!), dish washing, showers, soaks in the bath myself. Even lugging a few boxes around at work the other day, they stayed put!



My score is 9.5/10 - I've knocked off 0.5 simply because of the length lost to my own nails. This could have been my technique when filing, I appreciate that completely. I would recommend these if you're going away and don't fancy hauling a case of polish and nail art tools with you. Or indeed, a special occasion as they are truly beautiful. I received a lot of compliments from these nails and can't wait to open the other set!




Have you used foils/wraps before?

Take care guys, Jo xxx

*I was sent these nails free of charge for the purpose of testing and reviewing. In no way does this affect my score. You know me by now - honest and open!*

*REVIEW* The Village Bakery 'Try Rye Challenge'


I was kindly sent some Rye Bread to use as part of the 'Great British Summer Try Rye Challenge' - the 14 day eating plan which requires you to swap your usual bread with rye bread.

Swapping your normal wheat based bread, for Village
Bakery rye bread, can assist in reducing bloating and can
help make you feel more energetic. This is because rye
bread helps to increase satiety, suppressing your hunger
and the desire to snack. Rye bread contains 4x fibre and 20% less calories than that of standard white sliced bread too.

Village Bakery Rye Bread contains just 3 natural and simple ingredients: Rye Flour, Salt and Water. Organic as organic can be! Just beware of best before dates, both of my seeded loaves went mouldy at least one day before the best before date. The Village Bakery Melmerby have been making Rye Bread for 30 years, including the seeded, coriander and rossisky (original) variety. They are available from stores such as Ocado, Sainsbury's and Waitrose from £1.10 -£1.80 a loaf.

The loaves themselves are very heavy/dense and it's hard to see how it's possible to lose weight by eating this! I couldn't believe the weight of them.
L-R: Rossisky (Original), Coriander, Seeded.

At first I wondered how I was supposed to incorporate this into any usual meal I would eat, as it doesn't make nice sandwiches due to it's strong taste overpowering any filling. However I soon found the Coriander loaf made a great alternative to naan bread with a low fat curry by simply toasting, the Seeded was fantastic as 'croutons' with my cuppa soups by slicing a thick piece - toasting and dicing. With trial and error it was noted that it flash fries quite well in Fry-Light - adding to the crunch of the crouton after toasting. The Rossisky was tasty on it's own, not toasted, with  low fat spread. It's 'tar-like' taste reminded me of a less-sweet malt loaf and was even appealing to my hubby and 4yr old son (papped below!)

Hubby caught in the act munching Rye!
It's important to note that my husband has IBS so he was intrigued as to how this Rye Challenge would assist in his usual bloatedness. He wasn't the only one to benefit from this throughout the challenge either. I noticed a dramatic difference, especially towards the end of the challenge when, let's just say the time of the month would usually counteract any reduced bloatedness I had previously achieved. No more sluggish carb slumps when you eat this, I tell you!

The fact it has 4x the fibre than standard white sliced could explain the flatter than usual stomach and the less uncomfortable feeling. It does call for the need of a loo to be within close proximity some hour or so after ingesting though - please bear this in mind!

I'm not sure whether this is why I failed to lose weight by swapping the Rye for normal bread. I don't usually eat a huge amount of bread anyway, but decided that as I received 6 loaves in total, I needed to make the most of having it so incorporated a more 'bread heavy' diet.  I found that it would 'speed things up' after eating, and ultimately noticed I was hungrier sooner than I would normally be. I think this means I'm backwards :-( as surely this is supposed to be the benefit and whole point of the challenge?!

Carson loved this bread, which really surprised me.
From the 2 week diet plan I was provided, as an example, I particularly loved the home-made soup with toasted (flash fried) croutons. You just can't get tastier than using The Village Melmerby Rye! I tried the original and seeded for this and preferred the seeded as it added to the crunch factor, but both were tasty.

The future of Rye bread in my home?

I would buy the coriander loaf definitely, as it will forever replace our naan breads for sure. The original can make a malt loaf alternative in any given weekly shop and although the seeded was fab as croutons - my favourite - the loaf goes off far too quickly and although the loaf appears small it is too large for just my family of three and it means there is a lot to waste. The loaf is also so jam packed with seeded/nuts that it is difficult to eat as a slice on it's own. Perhaps for someone who usually eats that kind of bread - yes, but it wasn't for me.

I put 1.2lbs on throughout my 2 week challenge, but can noticeably feel the different in my mid-riff despite the 'date'! My husband gives great credit in this department too as his IBS has dramatically improved these past 2 weeks.

AdvertisementMy score: 8/10.
Marked down for the speed of going off, no weight loss and the inability to completely cut out normal bread due to the difficulty in making pleasant sandwiches. The pro's of a less prominant stomach and healthy alternatives for meals such as curry definately do outweigh the negatives in the long run.

For more information on the Try Rye Challenge you can click the Try Rye badge or visit their Facebook Page

I was sent the plan and loaves free of charge for the purpose of this review, my views and opinions are my own. 

My Nail Obsession!

PICNIC:
Barry M Cyan Blue (294) , Matt White (66) spots

My nail obsession hasn't been with me for long... in fact, probably since Easter of this year. I don't know what it is about nails that has suddenly taken my fancy either.


I mean, c'mon, it takes ages filing them, removing old polish, base coat, perfecting the left handed application to your most often forwarded hand! Then there's the pattern - if you choose one, followed by a top coat. Oh, and then you have to wait for a good while before you dare scratch your head or pull your pants up for fear of smudging.

MUA Black (shade 2) Barry M Gold Effects (321)



Of course, once you've mastered this, there is then the pain of ensuring you don't chip the bloomin' things before it's time to restart the whole shabbang again!


But somehow, I enjoy it. It's therapy in the mildest form.


I have something to concentrate on that's not regarding work, the ironing, sorting out Carson's friend's a present for the next birthday party he's been invited to, it's not weight related. It is a simple escape from all that is pressing on my mind.




We women (sorry guys!) are all too good at multitasking, but nail painting is something that has to be done on it's own, with a clear mind. Even taking a half hour soak in the bath leads me to multitasking in one way or another - twitter on the mobile, magazine reading, wondering when my belly will be below the water line... it just never ends!
ICE QUEEN:
 Barry M Matt White (66) and MUA Nail Quake (Quiver)



I've a couple of photo's I wanted to upload throughout this post and give my 'verdict' on some of the best polishes that I've come across in the past few months.



The majority, in fairness, have been Barry M. I like the thin brush. I know some prefer a wide stroke so as not to overload the nail but personally, I find it far too easy to make mistakes and end up with 'globs'. I rarely have the typical chipping as well. This may be down to the trust base/top coat that I also use from Barry M!



SUMMER RAVE:
w7 Fluorescent Pink (14)



Aside from the w7 Fluorescent Pink (LEFT), I do prefer to have an 'effect' over the top of my base colours. My main reason is because I simply cannot master the smooth "no ripple" application. I've yet to find a 'bubble-less' or perfectly smooth polish that is suitable for non-experts such as myself.



RASPBERRY RIPPLE:
Barry M Matt White 66 & Pink Nail Effects 314










How about you? 




Got any recommendations?



I hope you enjoy taking a look and maybe trying a few yourself. 

CANDY HAND:
 I borrowed the yellow and purple base from a friend.  Barry M  Pink Nail Effects 314.









*Review* Batiste Dry Shampoo



I was kindly sent 3 varieties of Batiste dry shampoo to test at the end of July. I have really taken my time to use and review these items as, well, being one for washing my hair everyday (usually) I was finding it a little difficult to get to grips with at first and wanted to make sure I was being fair, not frustrated!


I have just past shoulder length hair and although there is a lot of it, it is very fine. It leaves up-do's as the only option on most occasions as a down style will fall and drastically fail. Back combing is such a pain and very time consuming - something I just don't have a lot of.


I was sent the coconut scented one (as I usually use a coconut scent shampoo - I thought that would be the safer transition!) Along with the brunette variety and XXLVolume - both perfect for my hair predicament!

As I briefly touched upon before, At first, I'm not going to lie, I found it difficult to blend in correctly. And even when I did, my hair felt "tacky" like, well, grease and powder!

However, after 3 or 4 uses, I was beginning to see where I was going wrong. The label instructions on the can, although correct, are not quite clear enough for a serial hair washer like myself.

XXL: Ok,so not styled, but certainly not greasy: RESULT!
In my case, It's separate the hair into 2 inch chunks and direct spray at the root but with a distance of 30cm. 2. Tip head upside down and rub vigorously (handy hint: upside down head helps residue fall to floor, not on clothing!) and 3. Use fingers to style - or a thick bristled brush, combing or using a standard plastic bristle brush made for more 'tack' feeling and also started a very feint grey colouring, like the powder has become stuck (although I couldn't be sure... it might have been mine?!)

I was able to wear my hair on the side when I was using Batiste - something that is usually an impossibility due to my fine hair failing to hold. You can from the picture that it does look quite impressive and keeps a healthy shine about the barnet - not a grease slick.

COCONUT: Side do was possible!
Good grief, I'm making it sound like I'm an oil making machine, the way I'm commenting on grease! Bottom line is, I need to wash my hair every day. So having taken my time to get to grips with Batiste, I was slowly but surely gaining a God-Send!

I found the actual performance between the three varieties were equal, despite one of them claiming added benefits of  XXL Volume. I felt all three created it XXL Volume anyway so it should be incorporated in to each name - for me.

I used the brunette shade on a day when my greys were bothering me. I was very surprised at how natural it looked. I was concerned I'd look like a Just for Men customer gone wrong - especially with my earlier experiences of  the 'tacky' feel. However I was pleasantly surprised and again, was able to wear my hair in a side messy bun. The increase in natural volume (i.e without heated appliances) was also a fantastic benefit. My straighteners have recently blown up (no, seriously - blew up!) and I'm not the worlds best blow-wave expert either. My fringe usually sort of sits flat if I don't use hairspray and heat, but Batiste allows for a natural look without either.

Conclusion:
In all, once you've practised the application, Batiste is the best thing you could have in your bargain beautifying regime. It reduces the need for heat when styling, you don't need hairspray/mousse as Dry Shampoo doubles up, plus you save a wedge and a half when it comes to shampoo/conditioner - especially if you usually wash every day. You get rewarded for your patience, and with practice you can complete an entire 'hair-do' in just minutes.

There is NO difference with regards to the added volume after application. XXL is the same as the Tropical and Brunette and you get a good, quality ooomph every time!

I feel sorry that I've mentioned my 'awkwardness' with this product at first and I hope it's not put people off, purely for the fact that it really does work. Sometimes though, not everyone can see the obvious from the off :-s

I've checked out how much these would be to buy, I make it approx. £3.99 per variety for the 200ml size as I was originally sent.

My total score is be 9/10...  Marking this product down for just one reason, the fact I had to persist in practice. Eventually, I'm left with a gift from Hair Heaven!








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