Sunday, 2 August 2015

We got married :-)

 Sorry for the radio silence - I've been busy getting married and going on our honeymoon in the last few weeks, it's been pretty hectic! Everyone says how quickly it goes by and they're so right, the day feels like it happened in a heartbeat.

  I don't have much to say other than it was absolutely perfect for us and we wouldn't have changed a thing, so I'll let some pics do the talking:

I've got a couple of other wedding and honeymoon posts planned so keep an eye out for these!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Win a beautiful peony bouquet from Serenata Flowers!

I recently received this beautiful Estella peony bouquet from Serenata Flowers and I have to say it's actually one of the most gorgeous floral arrangements I've ever seen! It contains four different types of pink and white peonies (Mr Jules Elie, Sarah Bernhard, Dr Fleaming and Duchesse De Nemo) along with hosta leaves and greens. I LOVE pink and white peonies so the Estella bouquet was right up my street.

As a bouquet it's HUGE and way surpassed expectations - peonies are generally expensive (I should know, I'm having them in my wedding bouquet and they are pricey) - I was expecting it to be much smaller but I'm so glad it's not! It's one of those rare times when it's better in person than in online photos which I don't think do the bouquet justice at all! The flowers are all really big, luxurious and flawless; just how peonies should be in my opinion.

If there are any guys reading who are looking for a really special floral gift for their partner (or you're single and you really want to treat yourself - don't act like you've never done it) then I'd honestly recommend this, it's really impressive and you can customise a lovely little card in there too so they know who it's from. You can even throw in a little extra gift too if you're feeling generous!

It arrived when it was meant to, was well packaged and the flowers were nice and protected during transit. None of the flowers were squashed or anything and it was nice and hydrated - no drooping here!

I would 100% buy these (or quite a few other bouquets actually, the choice on there is fantastic) from Serenata Flowers in future, I think they look way more expensive than they are (£39.99 with free delivery) and are just amazingly beautiful.

If you'd like to own this beautiful bouquet, Serenata Flowers have kindly offered to give one reader the chance to win their own gorgeous Estella bouquet.  

All you need to do to enter is use the form below and a winner will be chosen at random on 10th July 2015 - good luck! Sorry, UK only.

Monday, 15 June 2015

May Nailbox Review with swatches - a beauty subscription box that's nails only!

Ok, so beauty subscription boxes aren't anything new and I remember when they first came out I found it really exciting but over time I realised I'm a bit too picky to ever subscribe to them long term. I tend to do a lot of research before I buy beauty products and I know the kinds of things I like which mean I ended up wasting or giving away product regularly.

But the latest beauty subscription box from nailbox is right up my street - 5 nail products delivered every month for £13.50-£15 depending on your subscription which is great value! They only launched in April so are pretty new and offer a range of different subscription types - month to month, 3 month prepay, 6 month prepay or 12 month prepay and obviously it works out cheaper the more you buy at once.

You're guaranteed to receive 5 mystery items and this will include 3 or 4 nail polishes and 1 or two nail tools. The other good thing is that subscribers get 15% off at if you want to order a backup of your shade or the same nail polish in a different shade. Y'know, just in case you didn't quite have enough nail polish at this point!

I received the May nailbox for review which included:

  • ORLY Fiery Orange Color Blast nail polish
  • Rimmel Lucky Lilac nail polish
  • Essie Status Symbol nail polish
  • Nicole by OPI Modern Family Alex by the Books nail polish
  • Elegant Touch Cuticle Pusher and Nail Cleaner

I liked all of the products I was sent, however the Nicole by OPI polish is probably one of my least favourite colours so I haven't even swatched that. Swatches are bwloe (ORLY Fiery Orange is work over Essie Status Symbol)
All of the polishes are full size and good quality, all of them were easy to use. Based on this box I'd definitely be happy to subscribe and receive polishes each month as it's really good value, particularly good if you're trying to build up your polish collection or are maybe new to blogging and needing some polishes to review. I think there is a colour for everyone there and the tool I received will always be useful.

The packaging isn't quite as glam as I've seen with other subscription boxes but it's functional and I guess it's a good lesson - it's what's inside that counts ha!

You can subscribe to nailbox here - the next box will be coming out on 21st June, you can peek at what's come here!

P.S. Nailbox are looking to recruit someone for what I think is probably the best job in the world - Nail Tester! You basically review nail polishes for a living...amazing!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Annabelle's Wigs Hair Piece Challenge - 3/4 wig

I was sent this 3/4 hair piece a couple of months ago by Annabelle's Wigs to show it styled in 3 different ways. For those of you who don't know what a 3/4 hair piece is, let me try to explain!  It kind of looks like a full wig but you clip it on to the back of your hair using with these:

It looks like this when you first put it on:

You then you blend your own hair over the top to disguise the joins. I found the easiest way to do this way with a quiff at the front of my hair that I pinned into place to hide the clips. This is definitely one for big volume styles! I had the Rachel style 3/4 hair piece in colour 24H613 - this is synthetic hair so you can't use heat on it but it holds its shape just fine.

I have to admit that when I first put this on it felt and looked quite 'wiggy' - there was a lot of hair and it looked a bit fancy dress-ish. However, once I had smoothed it down and styled it into place a bit I was actually really pleased with it and have gone from feeling like I'd never wear it out of the house to thinking I might pop this in for my hen party next week.  I think this must be the type of hair piece I often see some of the girls from TOWIE and Geordie Shore as their hair often looks like this! When I visited Pro Hair Live last year, I saw loads of girls trying and buying this type of hair pieces.

Here's a little before and after of my hair below - my hair is looking a bit sorry for itself still after my experiments with Khaleesi-style platinum hair last year...never again! These photos are taken less than 10 minutes apart, it's so easy to put in and blend:

It's a really glam look and can be styled in a few different ways, I've done a quiff, some boho plaits and a ponytail below - I tried doing one big plait too but I felt like there was a bit too much hair for that!

I was really pleased with this 3/4 hair piece in the end despite my initial reservations and as I said I think I will wear this at the weekend for my hen party. Woohoo! It feels pretty secure but I think I'll probably avoid whipping my hair back and forth too much...

Check out the 3/4 hair pieces at Annabelle's Wigs here.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Posting over at the Wedding Affair blog today!

As you may have guessed from the recent posts I have full on wedding brain at the moment (just over 4 weeks to go, waaah!) so what better way to get it out of my system than by writing a blog over The Wedding Affair about some of my favourite wedding inspirations.

You can read the post here: A Wedding with Sparkle

Monday, 1 June 2015

Looking after your teeth

As you might have guessed from some of my previous posts, dental care and a smile that looks good are really important to me so I thought I'd round up some of my top teeth tips (try saying that quickly three times) for a winning smile!

  • An electric toothbrush - I can't emphasise how much better my teeth look and how much cleaner my mouth feels after I use an electric toothbrush rather than a normal one twice a day
  • Flossing and mouthwash - keeps my mouth feeling fresh and my teeth staying healthy, I use floss harps which are much easier to use than normal floss
  • Regular visits to the dentist - sounds basic but it amazes me the amount of people who don't go to their dentist unless there's a problem with their teeth, it's about maintenance, people!
  • Don't mess around with home treatments too much - your dentist knows teeth, how to get the best results and how to treat you safely. I never find home treatments anywhere near as effective as those at a dentist and I seriously value their advice. If you're wanting your teeth whitened, cosmetic dentistry or even just advice you're best of with a reputable dentist such as Ollie and Darsh in Liverpool where they have offers like whitening Wednesdays where teeth whitening is half price
  • Your diet - again, might be an obvious one, but too much sweet stuff (and sometimes you'd be surprised just how much sugar is in certain drinks for example). I always drink fruit juice etc with a straw! Bear in mind things like coffee, tea and red wine won't do your smile any favours either
I'm by no means 100% happy with my teeth, there's plenty of room for improvement there, but they're healthy and I'm relatively happy with how they look.  I'm considering trying invisible braces in the near future to really get my smile perfect.  I really believe great teeth make such a difference to how you look and feel so I think that anything spent on them is well worth it!

* Sponsored post

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best…Gillette Venus Snap with Embrace

How’s this for a holiday/festival essential?  A razor with a full sized head that's made compact and therefore even better to travel with.  I feel a bit silly being so impressed by this as it is a fairly straightforward idea, I just think it's really useful.  It’s not like normal razors are huge but the less space they take up in my case and the more portable they are (less worry about them snapping or ripping clothes…is that just a worry I have?) the better personally.

I also have a friend – honestly, it was a friend, it wasn't me – who had been known to shave her legs in the toilets on a night out if she’d gone out straight out from work. Why she didn’t just get up 15 minutes earlier on a morning to do it rather than hacking at her legs in a bar toilets while concerned bystanders looked on I don’t know! But this would have made that slightly odd task easier I suppose...

It's not fiddly to use at all and any Gillette head fits on it for when you need a fresh razor, which means you could just keep the handle for this in your case really. I switched to disposable razors a while ago and they were awful, I quickly jumped back to using my Gillette!

This is one holiday essential that will be coming on my honeymoon to the Maldives with me in a few weeks (SO EXCITED!!!)! Normally when things have been shrunken for travel, like shampoo and toothpaste I just worry they’ll run out really quickly but nope not worried with this!  I'll post soon about what else I'm taking away on holiday with me this year, even though I'm sure it's generally pretty similar every year, I much prefer to pack light and think c'est la vie about the stuff I've forgotten.

For more information about the Gillette Venus Snap with Embrace click here.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

New NYK1 Secret Nailac Gel System Polish - Tango

You might have seen my review of the NYK1 Secrets Gel System last year, since then I've done my gel nails at home on an almost weekly basis and bought quite a few new colours - thought I'd show you the latest!  The colour I bought is called Tango and is perfect for summer (can't wait to get this on my toes but I've got a red glitter on them at the moment and I want to get my wear out of it!).

I'm still so impressed by the lasting power of these polishes and how easy they are to use.  I've got application down to about 30 minutes now so factoring in drying time for normal nail polish it's not dissimilar.  I've actually stopped wearing traditional polish now as it annoys me putting all that time and effort in just for it to chip within days - ain't nobody got time for that!

I also bought a colour called Nude which, as you may have guessed, is a plain nude colour.  I've had that one on already but I think it'll look better when my nails are a bit longer so I'll grab some pics of that one next time.  It's basically a good, everyday colour that doesn't make my hands look washed out or red.  You could even paint over the nude colour easily if you wanted to wear a colour for a night out or event (or outfit).

I don't plan on getting gel nails done in a salon again, might book in for a nice summer pedicure at some point but just get normal polish.  I actually feel like having gel polish on my nails stops them snapping and keeps them stronger  - normally my nails are quite prone to this so it's nice to have a bit of extra protection and get them growing nice and long!

There are loads more colours that I want so watch this space as I'm sure I'll be picking up more - check out their range of colours and finishes here.

For more info about the range visit the website at

Friday, 8 May 2015

My week on the Exante Diet (review)

At the moment everything is to do with my wedding which is why I haven't been posting quite as much as I'd like to - planning is literally taking up all of my free time outside work and if I'm not chasing down the co-ordinator at my venue I'm having meetings with the photographer, furiously googling where I can buy silver heart shaped sparklers or stalking guests who haven't RSVP'd to find out if they're coming or not.

With my wedding just over two months away now (eek), I want to lose some weight.  I'd been doing really well with healthy eating and the gym but I've changed jobs and have different hours/more travelling so I'm just not exercising and that's having an impact on how I feel about the way I look!  My BMI is still slightly higher than it should be. Plus I tried on my dress again recently and...well yeah, that wasn't the plan.

As it's a short term approach and I need some results, I started looking at meal replacement diets (where you have a low amount of calories but your nutrients are balanced and included) and came across the Exante diet.  It's got really positive reviews and a lot of people have said that it's much better than other similar diets.  They even do an Exante wedding diet where you get some pampering goodies which is a nice little touch.

There are 5 different approaches, which basically varies the balance between actual food and meal replacement stuff.  I've decided to try the Total Solution plan which means no food, just meal replacements for a maximum of 3 weeks to kickstart my weightloss.

Exante kindly sent me some products to review, and included a combination of 'food' and shakes. Here's what I thought:

The majority of shakes were fine - there were a couple that I personally actively avoided (pineapple and orange and hazelnut) but all of the hot food, like the 'shepherds pie' 'spaghetti carbonara' and 'mushroom soup' left me cold (see what I did me  On the plus side the vanilla cereal was a welcome interlude - really liked that.

I'm not going to lie, you will need willpower, especially at weekends or when biscuits pop out at work.  The first few days I did feel hungry but this actually wore off which I was pleased about!  At the end of the week I'd lost 2lbs, in addition to the 9lbs I'd already lost - yay!  I didn't notice any dodgy side effects or anything shocking.

So, after a week what did I think?

  • Quick and convenient - no real preparation, no having to buy loads of specialist ingredients or spend hours in the kitchen.  Each meal takes no more than 5 minutes to prepare.  It's been quite nice to have a bit of extra time and to not have to think about what I'm cooking.
  • Cheap - if you buy in bulk it can work out from 63p per meal
  • Lots of choice in flavours, sweet/savoury and type of food
  • If you stick to the plan you will lose weight
  • Bit of an anti-social diet, especially if you're doing the total plan like me.  It's ridiculous how much of my social life revolves around eating/drinking! Skipping meals out and fun is hard when all you've got is a low calorie packet of food waiting for you at home.
  • Some of the food tastes pretty synthetic/not my cup of tea but I guess that's personal taste.  You might really like it!
  • You need willpower - having willpower isn't really how I ended up overweight, just in case you weren't sure

Would I do Exante again? Interesting question actually!  I'd be happy to have certain shake flavours as a meal replacement when I'm on the go or when I'm trying to lose a bit of weight but for me the Total Solution is quite restrictive - I don't want to be a shake-guzzling hermit for the rest of my life - so I might continue doing one of the other plans in the run up to my wedding.  It's totally do-able especially if you're focused on a goal and more varied that other similar diets.  I definitely want to try the cookies and cream bar!

More information about the Exante Diet here. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

5 signs you're becoming a functioning adult...

I’m going to be 30 next year (*insert screaming emoji here*) and I’ve noticed that while I don’t feel old I’m definitely starting to feel more grown up – I have a mortgage, I’m getting married this year and a lot of my friends are having babies (I have pugs…I’m VERY happy with my pugs).

I thought I’d put together a little list of the things that I’ve noticed that to me, have signified that I’m becoming a grown up rather than a wide eyed, fresh faced youngster in my early twenties:

1. Two nights out in a row is no longer do-able – and if you try it, it takes you the best part of a week to fully recover and start feeling like a normal human being. Two day hangovers are the norm rather than the exception.

2. You find it easier to say no – whether it’s an event you don’t really want to go to, a friend that isn’t necessarily your cup of tea or someone seriously pushing their luck declining doesn’t bother you the way it would have 5 years ago.  You don’t feel like you have to be involved because you might miss out. Your time’s precious. 

3. You’re just not as bothered by hype any more – whether it’s the latest iPhone, 90’s style (that – at the risk of sounding less like a grown up and more like an old lady – should stay in the 90’s) or the latest band everyone’s loving, you’re just  indifferent to that stuff. 

4. You seriously start to scrutinise anti-ageing products – you might even spend a bit of time furiously googling botox (no I never did that…ok I did that) and you regret ever setting foot in the sun without total sunblock.

5. You start saving money – dropping your entire wage on a whole lot of Topshop on the 26th of the month just doesn’t do it for you anymore.  You actually start to care about interest rates, finance deals, mortgage comparisons and making the most of your money.  I’m currently saving for a wedding, a car and the future in general.

And my final point is where Nutmeg comes in.  Nutmeg – and bear with me here – is an investment platform that uses the information you provide to build and manage an investment portfolio for you for a reasonable monthly cost.  They take into account your attitude to risk and aim to produce the best return for low cost without you having to worry about managing your investments and fund choices yourself.

You can pay in a lump sum or a monthly amount too which is great whether you’ve got some money stored up or you’re trying to build up your savings. For someone like me, who has a broad understanding of finance but not the detailed technical knowledge (or time and inclination) to spend time managing investments and choosing funds it’s ideal for me to still get results - you can set things up in 10 minutes.

There are a range of investment options (including ISA's which are tax free - so many people don't realise that you pay tax on income you make through savings in an account) and it's all fully regulated by the FCA.

I told you I was growing up...

Sponsored post

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Help me choose my wedding invitations! (Review of PaperShaker)

I still haven't sent my wedding invitations out yet (something which seems to be causing concern to some of my guests) - with 4 months to go I'm not worried but I thought I'd start sorting out some invitations.

My initial thoughts were that I would make my own but after a first attempt I decided to get them printed but I didn't know where or how to get it done really.  I want them to look professional and impressive but at the same time my budget is important.  We're just having a small wedding and are prioritising what we feel is important to spend on and where we can save (without it looking like we've cut costs).

My friend then sent me a Save the Date for her wedding next year (she's getting married in Greece so is trying to gauge numbers early) and they looked great, I asked her where she'd got them from thinking it would be somewhere out of our budget as they were so well done (and she's spending at least twice as much as us on her wedding).  It turned out she got them online at PaperShaker, a website a bit like Moonpig etc where they have template designs that you can personalise.  They do all sorts and I have to say their wedding invitation section is extensive, there's a design to suit any kind of wedding and budget - quite often there are big discount codes flying around too which helps!

Here's what I thought was great about using PaperShaker:
  • Easily personalise your designs with photos, text, font styles, colour, images and layout
  • Choose different paper types (matte, pearlescent, glossy or texture) and envelope colours to match your colour theme
  • Quick delivery - even standard arrives in a few days.  Next day delivery didn't quite arrive the next day for me but I think that was down to the post office rather than PaperShaker
  • Really easy to use interface that makes designing your invitations easy even down to centre lines, text boxes and print margins
  • Ability to order a variety of quantities and even individual samples if you design your card but want to see it "in the flesh" before you commit to ordering a large amount

I'd always recommend that you get samples printed to check out the colours and finishes as some of the colours will look different on monitors and might not be quite as you'd expect.

So, I've spent some time designing a variety of different invitations but I'm struggling to decide which one to go for so I thought I'd ask for your help!  To help me choose all you need to do is:

  • Visit my PaperShaker Wedding Invitations board on Pinterest (find it here)
  • Favourite the invitation that you think I should go for for my wedding invitations
  • Whichever one has the most votes by the end of April 2015 will be the one I go for
 You can find photos of the samples I ordered below too, I've tried to vary it up and do some different designs.  There were even more gorgeous designs I'd have used too if I was having a different type of wedding but they just didn't "fit" with mine. 

I've added some wedding inspiration pics to the board too so you can get a feel for how my wedding will look and how the invitations fit with the theme - colours are cream, pink and silver.

For more information about PaperShaker and to see the range of designs and product types they offer click here.  You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

Friday, 13 March 2015

BaByliss Diamond Hair Straightener - Review

For the past decade ( it a decade?!) I've been a GHD girl through and through when it comes to hair straighteners, I think I'm on my third pair now and it wouldn't usually cross my mind to even try another brand.  However I was recently sent the BaByliss Diamond Straightener to review and I have to say I'm really impressed.

Firstly, they look fantastic, glossy black with a subtle gold sparkle to them so they look great on your dressing table.  Secondly they're really easy to use - heating up quickly with the ability to adjust the heat setting up to 235 degrees, I've been doing mine on a low setting to try and help my poor hair get back into good condition and pleased to say they're no less efficient!  I actually find these feel better to use than my GHD's.

My hair is naturally thick and frizzy - not really curly or straight - but unnaturally it's really damaged and thin which sometimes means it doesn't straighten so well.  Not the case with these.  These straighteners have a Diamond Radiance Shine System which combines diamond infused ceramic plates with ion technology for smoothness and shine.  I think you can definitely tell this as they do seem to keep my hair straighter for longer as well as adding some much needed shine while still keeping my hair looking/feeling soft.

I'm really pleased with these straighteners and tellingly, I haven't used my GHD's since these arrived!

For more information about the BaByliss Diamond Straightener click here.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Wedding Hairspiration

Ok so there are 4 months to go until I get married (eek!) so at the minute I've totally got weddings on the brain - most things are sorted, I just need rings, a wedding car and oh, to actually get the invitations out.  I've got my hair and make up trials happening next week so I'm excited to see how that looks and to start seeing my bridal look com together.

Here are some of the hair styles I'm thinking of for my wedding day:

As you can see, I'm going for quite a glamorous, "big hair" look and from what my hairdresser has said I'm going to need some hair extensions in there for quite a few of them.  I've been experimenting with various types of extensions to take with me when I go for my appointment, one of the latest I've tried is the American Dream Instant Bun that I was sent for review a little while ago.

These buns are 100% human hair and come in four different sizes. The size I have is large (given my penchant for big hair!) and it's not ridiculously huge but definitely big enough.  As you can see from the pics above, it fastens with a drawstring.  I've been trying it out before my appointment and basically what you do is tie your hair into a little bun and secure with a bobble, then place the American Dream Instant Bun over your own hair, pull the drawstring tight and tuck the string into the bun.  I usually secure with a couple of pins but to be honest it feels secure enough without.

When I've worn this I've had so many compliments on my hair - with people saying how nice it looks and asking how I've managed to do that with my hair, not one person has said "oh I like your fake hair" ha!  It does just look like my hair but better and it's so easy and quick to use.  I would definitely recommend this and am definitely happy to keep wearing it - it turns a bad hair day into a good hair day with minimal effort.

I haven't taken a photo of it in because my hair colour is still slightly in between shades and this doesn't quite match yet - the plan is to be a natural blonde colour again by the time I get married but at the moment it's more brown with blonde hightlights and a bit of ombre still going on at the bottom.  Never again will I experiment with trying to bleach my own hair at home - after 6 months of doing so the whole of the top/front of my hair has snapped off and I've had to lay off the bleach for the past 6 months.  Given that I want to be blonde it my wedding pics there has been a few times where I've had a slight panic!

This looks way more natural than a structured bun ring and because it's human hair it behaves like it should rather than getting any weird kinks or overly shiny "Barbie" hair going on.  It always feels secure as well so there's no worry of it flying off when I'm walking to work or anything.

For more information about American Dream Extensions click here.

To see my Wedding Inspiration and Hair I Like boards on Pinterest for wedding and hairstyle ideas click here.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

LDN Skins Self Tan Mousse (Tone 3 Medium Dark)

I've had this for a while to try but it's taken me a while to get around to it as I sometimes find applying a full body "proper" tan (rather than a gradual one) to be a serious effort!  I had a night out last week that I felt warranted a nice deep tan so I decided to finally give it a go this LDN Skins Mousse a go!

This is a mousse formula tan and I have to say it is one of the easiest, mess free tans I've ever used.  It comes with a professional application mitt and really easily and streak free using this.  The guide colour is really easy to see as you apply which takes out a loss of guesswork and stops you over applying.  I have to admit as it came out of the bottle the colour wasn't quite what I expected, it was a bit more....ashy than brown which worried me.  It actually felt really moisturising on.

The other thing, which I thought was great, was how quickly it dried - no hanging around in the bathroom freezing cold for 40 minutes while I dry off!  Absolutely no drips or mess, and the best part was that because it dries so quickly my bedding was spotless the next day - I hate it when you tan and then the next day your sheets are tanned too!

I applied this late at night, not particularly carefully, and slept in it while it developed.  It actually smells alright too, and not too "tanny", even the next day.  It's lightly lavender scented , I don't usually like the smell of lavender but this was fine for me.

After I rinsed this off I was really pleased with the colour - yes it was pretty dark but not orange or over the top at all.  There was some colour that clung to my knees and elbows but that happens with every tan I use because my knees and elbows are so dry, even with extra moisturiser.  I really felt happy with the colour and more confident with this tan on.

The fade off wasn't too patchy (except on my hands and face which I wash several times a day).  I will definitely use this tan again and would repurchase in the future as it's easy to use and gives me a colour I'm really happy with.

For more information about LDN Skins visit their website - the mousse I used can be found here for £28.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Enlighten Teeth Whitening at Smile Stylist

Ages ago I was reading something about people from TOWIE (why I don't know because I don't even watch the programme) and it mentioned that a lot of them had had Enlighten teeth whitening.  I don't normally use TOWIE as my style inspiration but you have to admit they all have really white teeth!

I did a bit more reading about Enlighten whitening and found out it's the only teeth whitening system that guarantees VITA shade B1, the lightest shade on the dental shade scale and quite often people who have the treatment will go off the dental shade scale and onto the whitening scale which is exciting! Check out the before and after gallery here - it's impressive!

I decided to get Enlighten whitening before my wedding in July and was just in the midst of getting together local prices when the lovely people at Smile Stylist in Manchester got in touch. 

Smile Stylist are a cosmetic and private dental practice based in House of Fraser on Deansgate (as well as other nationwide locations).  The practice I visited is really modern, clean and spacious and all the staff that I met were very friendly and helpful.  Quite a few local celebs (Michelle Keegan, Jorgie Porter, Catherine Tyldsley) get their cosmetic dentistry done here so I felt like I was in good company.  The dentist that I saw - Sam Hainsworth - was very knowledgeable, explained things clearly and answered all of my questions, even when I went off track a bit and started asking about braces!

The first step is getting a mould of your teeth made so that they can create some whitening trays that fit your teeth perfectly.  This isn't particularly glamorous but it's straightforward, quick and doesn't hurt or anything.  My trays were ready really quickly so I just popped back a week later to pick them up, get the Enlighten whitening gel and have someone talk me through the process.
The process itself is really easy too, you clean your teeth and then just add a tiny bit of the gel to each 'tooth' section of your whitening trays, pop them in your mouth and leave for 3 hours.  You do this for 14 days.  It wasn't painful or awkward, the first time I used the gel I had a few 'jolts' where it feels like a bit of a 'zing' down your teeth but it wasn't bad. 

My teeth felt quite sensitive from the first treatment with the whitening gel - again, not painful but very aware of the cold air outside on my teeth (which sounds weird) and eating stuff like ice cream was out.  I slept with my trays in a few nights, mainly if I hadn't got in until late on, and I did find that this increased my sesitivity the next day.  They also recommend you avoid eating or drinking 'anything that would stain a white shirt' which includes stuff like tea, coffee and beetroot for 24 hours after a treatment which is no biggie.  The sensitivity goes away after about 24 hours which I thought was good news.

I was really pleased with the results, and I felt like my teeth looked whiter 2-3 days in.  I plan to get a top up done near my wedding so my teeth are extra blingy in the photos!

Here's my results in photographs - neither of these photographs have been edited (other than cropped), I'm just wearing a different lipstick in the after photo.  My skin in both pics is the same colour which is testament to how much the colour of my teeth has improved.  So impressed with the difference as it's hard to tell when you're scrutinising your teeth each day!



I'd thoroughly recommend Englighten teeth whitening at Smile Stylist, I found the whole process really straightforward, the staff put me at ease from start to finish and I think the difference in my teeth says it all really.  So pleased!

For more information about Smile Stylist or Enlighten Whitening visit their website at - they're based around the country, not just Manchester so see if there's a practice near you!
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