Amidst all the chaos, it's the perfect season for a little bit of self indulgence.
One thing I love to indulge in over the holiday season is my nails. Going for manicures and afternoon tea is a mini festive tradition that I started with my mam. And right now, I'm obsessed with Shellac manicures. I first tried out gel or shellac polish, a couple of times last year, but found the Jessica ones peeled up after about 10 days. For years I've been in the habit of biting and picking at my nails so as soon as there were gaps showing underneath the gel, I couldn't resist pulling them off. And of course, tearing half my nail with it. (Note, you should definitely not peel gel nails off yourself.. no matter how tempting it seems at the time). So when I was invited along to the Clarins Spa at Fenwick to try out their gel manicure, I was a little sceptical about how long they would actually last. But who doesn't love a bit of pampering?
As I've said in older posts, I've never really been the kind of person to indulge in regular treatments, (I only had my first massage a couple months ago!), so I'm not one to frequent spas. The Clarins Spa in Fenwick is just tucked on the ground floor near the makeup, and despite the bustle of the shop (it is nearly Christmas though..), it's a perfectly calm little haven. I was greeted by Lyndsey, a chirpy little blonde, who immediately saw to it that I had a glass of fizz in my mitt as she started tackling my cuticles. After having my cuticles tamed, my nails cut, filed and nicely shaped, she cleansed my hands and nails before letting me choose which polish I'd like. Since Clarins prides itself on being quite a sophisticated brand, there's not a huge variety of shades. No neons, or tacky tones, just nice neutrals, this season's chic colours and classic reds. I chose a greyish purple which is a ringer for Chanel's 505 Particuliere, (or Sinful Colours' Nirvana as seen here). I love how neutral it is and it matches everything. After about 30 minutes, three coats and a very relaxing hand and arm massage with some delicious smelling exfoliant treatment, I felt like I wasn't ready to leave! What's nice about Clarins Spa is that even when you're not a regular, the staff are friendly and work their hardest to make you feel right at home. As I chatted away to Lyndsey, she asked me which Clarins products I had tried out (of course I rattled off some of the goodies which came in my delightful Clarins bag of tricks last month), and she was kind enough to make some suggestions on what products including cleansers and treatment oils which she thought may help my skin. Since discovering the Flash Balm, I've totally been won over by the brand. (It's off topic, but honestly if you haven't tried Flash Balm, I urge you to get some.. it's like a full night's sleep in a pot and literally makes your skin GLOW. Seriously. And in a good way, not like a creepy, 'I may be radioactive' or 'I've just discovered what highlighter is!' kind of way).
At £42.50 for the full shellac manicure, it's not exactly a snip. However, unlike the Jessica gel polish, my Clarins Shellac manicured lasted for two and a half weeks! It also left my nails with excellent growth and feeling a lot stronger, so I would say it's worth it. If you're looking for a way of treating yourself over the festive season, I'd say shellac nails are definitely the way to go. You get all the glamour of a nice manicure, without the stress of thinking you'll chip it off when you start peeling the potatoes for the Christmas dinner. And you know it makes sense to get out of the house and away from the chaos... even if only for a little while.