Anyone who’s had a gel manicure will know that while they’re absolutely brilliant in terms of staying power, they can be a right pain in the arse to remove, especially at home.

Most of the time, I end up traipsing back to the nail salon to part with yet more money to have the polish removed, or much worse, sneakily picking it off myself – a habit that I know is absolutely terrible for my nails.

So when I heard about the Stylfile Gel Polish Remover Kit from Tom Pellereau, the former Apprentice winner and inventor of the clever S-shaped nail file, I had to try it out. At a just 15 quid, it could end up saving me a lot of money on removing my manis!

The kit comes with a signature S-shaped file, which you use to buff the gel polish gently ahead of removal, plus a gel polish remover solution, gel remover clips, manicure sticks, almond cuticle oil and a 4-way buffer file.

Here’s my  trial hand before the removal:

stylfile gel remover kit review

It’s pretty easy to use – all you have to do is soak a cotton pad in the remover solution, and use a clip to hold it on top of the nail for 15 minutes (or a further 10 if the gel polish hasn’t started to come off).

It certainly saves the need for all those foil wraps we’re told to use:

stylfile gel remover kit review

The only problem was, when I tried it, even after half an hour the gel polish wasn’t budging at all.

On the instructions included, it says very specifically that you shouldn’t scrape the polish off with the manicure stick unless it gives way very easily – unfortunately it wasn’t lifting at all from the nail, as you can see from the final results:

stylfile gel remover kit review

Not much difference, huh?

I really wanted to like this product, if only because I think Tom seems like a jolly nice bloke and I appreciate the fact he’s trying to solve my beauty woes.

However, I have to say for the amount of effort involved in using the product I saw very little result, and I ended up having to get the job finished at a nail salon – where they were no doubt pleased that their gel removal prowess has yet to be beaten!

Keep inventing Tom – I’m determined for you to solve this…

 

 

 

 

What the hell do you pack for a festival that’s going to be one big mud pit?

That’s the question I asked when I found out that this year’s Glastonbury was set to be the ‘muddiest yet’ (cheers, world), which meant I couldn’t just spend the whole time swanning about in sandals and a miniskirt.

The best way I can describe the conditions is to say I felt like a hippo, wallowing around in the mud with all my flag-waving hippo friends – not that we let it detract from the fun of Glasto, of course.


Here’s my advice to anyone who finds out that the weather for their upcoming festival is going to be less than ideal…

  1. Buy the world’s most practical wellies

Last year, I trotted round T In The Park wearing some of those little ankle-boot style wellies from Primark. This year, I was really annoyed because I couldn’t find them anywhere, and instead had to borrow my mum’s practical gardening wellies. In fact, this turned out to be a blessing from the gods of fate, because the mud was so deep that it would’ve been slopping over the top of those ankle-boots faster than you can say ‘I HATE THIS, I’M GOING HOME’. Definitely choose comfort over style, because you will be wearing your wellies all the damn time, which won’t be fun if they’re painful or rubbing.

2. Take ALL the black bin bags

One thing I hadn’t really considered was that if the ground is pure mud, once you’ve left your campsite you basically can’t sit down ALL DAY. Considering we left our tent around 3pm and didn’t make it back until 2.30am the following morning, that’s a whole lot of standing. Bin bags, which you can put on the floor as a makeshift picnic blanket, are a good option here (although admittedly, sometimes the mud was too squelchy even for that). Another option is to take a camping chair around with you, which lots of people did, but I certainly didn’t fancy lugging that round on my back for Adele!


3. Give yourself extra time to do everything

Wading through mud is similar to walking on really soft sand – it’s hard work and it takes bloody ages. Plus, in some areas the mud was so deep that people were avoiding it at all costs, meaning thousands of Glasto-goers were all squeezed onto narrow pathways as we tried to hotfoot it to the next big act. For this reason, I’d advise giving yourself a lot more time to get around if your festival is a mudbath – and also focusing on the fact you’re bound to have the thighs and arse of Beyonce by the end of it.

 4. Step in the footprints

Stuck in the Mud is obviously an incredible playground game, but it is not so fun in reality. That’s right, the mud at Glastonbury was genuinely so deep that sometimes my welly would sink right into its gluey clutches and I’d have to stand there and wait until some kind soul pulled my foot out for me. Often this process would involve slowly toppling my knees into the mud, thanks to my trapped foot and the fact I couldn’t put my hands out to save me because ARGH MUD HANDS. What I discovered is that stepping in people’s deep muddy footprints was the best way to avoid such a fate. You’ll thank me for this.

5. Don’t go bare-legged

I actually thought having my legs out would be a good thing because if they got muddy, I would be able to wash all the dirt off my skin pretty easily. In fact, by the time I’d got back to my campsite, the mud had dried into a fetching knee crust that took about 15 wet wipes to scrub off – that’s the fun of no showers! In the end, I found it much easier to simply wear a pair of leggings and could peel them off, mud and all, before bed.


6. Take a billion wet wipes

Even if you don’t have muddy knees, you will need them constantly to clean grime off your hands/face/phone/boyfriend.

7. Leave as early as possible

After the festival has finished obviously – I’m not suggesting you take one look at the ground conditions and run back to your car screaming. The problem with all that mud, though, is that as soon as people start driving over it, it gets increasingly churned up and then no one’s cars can move. Pre-empting this, we got up at 5.30am on the Monday after the festival and drove off with no problems, which seemed like hell at the time but turned out to be a wise move when I heard on the radio later that many people’s car needed to be towed out of the car parks.

8. Try to embrace it

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a particularly laidback person, but I think that, when you do find yourself accidentally falling face first into a pile of liquid mud, the only thing to do is laugh. Yes Glastonbury was harder work than normal thanks to the conditions, but it was still amazing (shout out to Craig David!) and if anything, the slop-fest made it even more memorable.

I love sales shopping – there’s nothing better than feeling like you’ve got yourself a real bargain, especially if it’s something you’ve had your eye on for a while.

Let’s not talk about those times when the item you’ve already bought suddenly gets reduced by 50%…

The summer sales are in full swing across big brands like Topshop and Zara, so here are 10 things to buy THIS VERY SECOND before they’ve sold out (soz if they have sold out by the time you read this…)

1

Skirt, £20 reduced from £40, Topshop; Top, £8 reduced from £16, Topshop

2

Mac, £25 reduced from £55, Topshop; Boyfriend jeans, £20 reduced from £40, Topshop

4

Heels, £60 reduced from £80, Dune; Sandals, £22.99 reduced from £29.99, Zara

3

Dress, £56 reduced from £80, Oasis: Clutch, £17.50 reduced from £25, Accessorize

5

Dress, £25.99 reduced from £39.99, Zara; Blazer, £29.99 reduced from £49.99, Zara

 

Confession: it’s been a whole day since I went to see the new West End musical production of Aladdin, and I still have ‘A Whole New World’ rattling around my head on repeat.

And another confession: it’s basically the best musical I’ve seen on stage, which is probably very uncultured of me given that this is undeniably a big, brash, expensive, Disney-fied extravaganza. But MAN it’s good.

Aladdin the musical london

Despite not being one of those people who goes completely soppy over Disney films, I do remember really loving Aladdin as a kid (I had a pair of Princess Jasmine leggings that I basically lived in for a year, before switching to a rather fetching pair of tie-dye cycling shorts).

However, luckily for anyone reading this I can’t remember the plot well enough to compare it scene-for-scene with the musical version, although I can tell you is they get Jasmine’s blue harem pant and crop top outfit SPOT ON.

Aladdin the musical london Jade Ewen Princess Jasmine

The costumes and colours of this production are just gorgeous – it’s an absolute treat for the eyes (geddit, Goggleboxers?!) The sets are also spectacular, in particular the bling-filled cave Aladdin enters to retrieve the lamp. In fact, when it was first revealed, this set got its own round of applause (it’s fair to say we were a pretty excitable audience).

Aladdin the musical london gold cave

Aladdin is played by Dean John-Wilson, who it must be noted, looks pretty good in an open waistcoat and Fez, while Jade Ewen plays Jasmine (cue my sister and I having a long interval conversation trying to remember what girl group she was in – it was Sugababes, in case you’re wondering).

The star for me though had to be the Genie, Trevor Dion Nicholas, who brought all the sass and flamboyance you would expect of this legendary character to the stage. I also have to give a shout out to Peter Howe as Jafar’s sidekick Iago, who was so ridiculously creepy I actually freaked myself out walking home by imagining him scuttling out of the dark bushes towards me.

I know, I’m weird.

For me the whole show was brilliant, but it had two real highlights. Firstly, the spectacular dance number when Genie first popped out in the glittery cave, which featured a Disney film medley, Strictly Come Dancing references, amazing tap dancing and enough costume changes to make Beyonce proud.

Aladdin the musical london genie

Secondly, the bit we were all waiting for – ‘A Whole New World’, complete with ACTUAL FLYING CARPET, a beautiful starry night sky and a teensy bit of snogging. So, so good.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone could not enjoy this musical. The songs are brilliant, the cast is on top form and the Genie is so awesome you’ll actually want to dip your entire head in glitter just so you can be more like him. Get tickets here.