#MAAfterDark – It’s All About The Party Dress

UNIQUE wedding dresses

 #MAAfterDark – The Event All About The Party Dress

If you follow my blog you will have seen several excited posts leading up to #MAAfterDark. The Hashtag stands for Manchester Arndale After Dark and was an event organised by the Manchester Arndale center all about the perfect party dress and looking glam during this party season.

This evening brought 18 amazing Mancunian blogger babes together as well as special guest and competition judge Victoria from Inthefrow, who you can see in the bottom left in the below image collection.

An Inclusive Event

As I had mentioned in my very first post leading up to this event that I absolutely loved, that is was one of my very first inclusive events. This means here no distinction was made between “normal” fashion blogger and plus-size bloggers. It is nice to be surrounded by lot’s of amazing plus-size ladies and to feel all the support but it is also amazing  to once in a while to be recognised as simply being part of the “fashion scene” and not only plus size.

This inclusive nature of the event was not only reflected through the bloggers that were invited, but also by the represented shops, showing off their current party fashion, with Simply Be, Yours Clothing & Evans having rail space – and I fell in love a few times that evening.

 The Task

Each of us bloggers had been paired beforehand with one of the many retailers in the Arndale Center and given the same task: find your perfect party dress. Finally the best 10 party dresses would be chosesn by a jury. I was paired with the lovely Yours Clothing.


My Retailer


But let’s get to the important part: finding my dress. I was very excited to be paired up with yours clothing, as it is a brand I very much support. Not only do they offer clothes in a large sizing range (up to a 32) but they are also quite affordable compared to others while still on trend.

So last I week,  I set foot in to their yours clothing branch for an epic shopping sessionarmed with a shopping voucher given to me by the Manchester Arndale center. You can read more about this in one of my latest posts here. The last contenders were these three dresses:

Choosing The Dress

Before I went I had a look online and was dead set for the lace skater dress, especially as skater dresses are usually my go to party dress. However, if there is one thing I have learned over the last few months blogging, then it is always to try new things. And ultimately I liked the dress, but I felt I looked a bit unbalanced and bottom heavy in it, with relatively little fabric on the top and the poufy skirt on the bottom.


So I tried the sleeveless 20s style flapper dress in the middle. The 20s are currently very much on trend and this dress had been recommended to me by the Yours girls at the Plus size awards. I loved it on the hanger and although I liked particularly the fringes and had lot’s of fun shimmying for the camera I believed it did not really do my shape justice.


Finally I tried the lace shift dress in combination with a sparkly silver belt, the silver version of the golden belt that I had worn for the Plus Size Awards. To my surprise that combination really convinced me. The short sleeves seemed to really balance my uppper body and the belt nicely took my waist in to create a lovely hourglass shape. The length is perfect for the office when combined with leggins and shows just about the right amount of leg in it’s night look when combined with

The Accessories

With a lovely simple dress like this you can go all out and sparkly on the accessories. And this is what I did. I went for a sparkly silver belt, in combination with a black clutch with silver studs. Luckily I even had a pair of Deichman plateau heels that almost perfectly matched the studs in the bag.

The best thing about this was though that my £100 did not only pay for the dress, but also for all the accessorie: the handbag, the belt, the earrings and the bracelet and that with money to spare. I would say that was a pretty good deal. Interestingly enough, looking at the hangers when coming in, I appeared to be the only one who accessorized the dress out using our budget.

The Styling

After  having a first look at the new party wear collections, a nice prosecco and some nibbles. It was time for beautifying. I got the perfect classy and simple yet effective makeup to match my dress together with the most amazing curl and updo I have had in a long time I really loved what the stylists did.

My Final Look

Black Lace Swing Dress With Contrast Insert* –  (£34) – Yours Clothing
Black & Silver Diamante Across The Body Bag* –  (£20) -(Yours Clothing*
Grey Glitter Thin Belt*-  (£7) Yours Clothing
Bracelet* –  (not on site) – Yours Clothing
Earrings* – (not on site) – Yours Clothing
Shoes – (old season) – Deichman

I am really, really happy with my final look. Individually all things were great, the hair is absolutely amazing but together they are just a killer style. I so love what the stylist has done with my hair, the makeup was subtle but effective and matched the style of dress very well, I just know if I would have done it myself I would have overdone the smokey eye once again.  And finally the sparkly accessories give this simple look the perfect dose of glamour.

#MAAfterDark – The Competition

The jury had a very close look and intensive discussion about the dresses you can see in the group shot. Finally the 10 dresses below were crowned the top 10 party dresses of this season.


These dresses will be displayed in the Arndale Center and here on their website. You can win a voucher for £100 yourself by voting for which one is your personal favourite. Vote here. You can have a closer look at these dresses here, and also enter the competition.


Which Dress Would You Have Chosen

Which of the 18 dresses is your favourite? You can have a closer look at them by clicking on the image to enlarge it. Which one is your favourite? Do you agree with the Jury or would you have chosen differently? And which one is your absolute favourite?

Lot’s of love.



Sensationail Gel Manicure Kit – Is It Worth It?

Image Credits Sensaionail
Sensationail – Gel Polish Kit


Trying Out Gel Nail Polish

Getting my first fuse gelnamel kit really seemed what kick-started a slight nail polish obsession. Here you can find my review of this kit.

After this I wanted to step it up one level and try a “proper” gel manicure. As Sensationail, the same company that does fuse, also does a gel kit, it seemed basically the best idea to give this one a try as I already had half the accessories.Especially as this kit really does not come cheap.

I really did not want to risk spending £60 on something I might not like or that might be unnecessary as I already have the fuse set. So I decided to wait till a used LED curing light might come up on ebay and then to buy the polish separately to use with the accessories I already had.

The Contents Of The Set

The set consists of

  • Gel Cleanser
  • Gel Primer
  • Color Gel Polish
  • A Combined Base & Top Coat
  • Lint-Free Wipes
  • A Double Sided Nail Buffer
  • A Manicure Stick
  • An LED Lamp
  • and an instruction sheet.

The Process

Compared to it’s fuse counterpart this system is not applied in one single colour layer but a series of different coats.

  1.  Prepare your nails with the gel cleanser & the nail buffers to clean the nails and file away the natural layer of shine.
  2.  The gel primer and letting air dry it.
  3. The top/base coat and cure it with the LED light.
  4. 2 colour coats.
  5. The final layer of the top/base coat.
  6. Wipe your nails with the cleanser.
  7. Like with the fuse system, the great thing is from here you are good to go…

Here is the official instruction video:

This does actually not take much longer than the one step fuse as you can cure multiple nails at once, as compared to the fuse “one finger light”. All in all it takes about 20 minutes and you are done, over time I might actually get even faster.

The Good, The Bad, The Price…

Unfortunately at some point between transferring the pictures from camera to computer my pictures of the results appear to have gotten lost… (A Bloggers Nightmare…). So for now (check my facebook & instagram soon) you will unfortunately just have to believe my word about the results.

Overall Quality & Colours

The quality of the manicure is a lot better than the Fuse manicure. I really like the vibrancy and the gloss of the colour as well as the giant colour range. But once again, the quality really should be a lot better than fuse, given the price.

Sensationails Colour Range


Godsend For The Impatient & Clumsy

For me, the same as for the fuse system, the main advantages is: No long waiting for it to dry. Once you are done it is done. Using normal polish I am almost never patient enough to let it fully dry. I can’t count how often a nail polish session has resulted in me ultimately giving up and removing it because I dinged a nail for the 5th time in one attempt.

How Lont It Lasts

For me it does not quite last the promised 2 weeks, but I am generally quite hard on my nails. So all in all I am quite happy with the manicures

The Price

While the nails look nice and the manicure lasts, I have been quite disappointed by the nail light. It does feel really flimsy and also is pretty small. Keeping in mind that Sensationail charges £45 pounds for this, it pretty much verges on extortion.

Left Picture: Picture Credits Sensationail

The verdict

I do know now that I am in love with gel polish manicures. I am also loving the Sensationail colours and I am loving gel manicure shine and overall results, but I am not sure I love Sensationail.

The system works well but, but I don’t think I would have been happy  if I had bought it at full price. I am not sure if it is me, having too high expectations or if the price simply is too high.

Generally I am happy with the result, but I am not sure I can endorse the quality or size of product for the price it comes at.

Is Sensationail For You?

If you just occasionally want to wear an a bit longer lasting nail polish and like me have a patience problem and just want to avoid ruining your nails with your impatience, I would say fuse is for you.

The Sensationail might also  be perfect for you if you just want to give home made gel nails a try and wear them occasionally. It claims to contain enough product to last at least 10 manicures and that is still cheaper than the salon.

However if you seriously want to get into doing your gel polish manicure at home, I personally don’t think you will be happy with the kit on the long run. It might be a good starting point, but I think particularly the light might be disappointing. I still have to find out how the

My further plans?

Well now that I have a starting point, I will keep my eyes open and keep trying things out. There appear to be loads of different polished out there and there is also a large community online discussing which brands of gel work well with which LED lights.

So I will go on doing a bit of research and see if there is something better value out there. I am pretty sure I will update you soon with a few link tips and some new experiments.

Taking into account that I have been disappointed particularly by the LED light in this kit I am also pretty excited that I have been asked by USpicy to try out one of their LED Nail lamps. So I am really looking forward to testing those two lights against each other, which I will be doing within the next few days, and you will be the first ones to hear about my conclusions.

Your Experience?

What do you think? Are you using gel nail polishes? Is it Sensationail? Do you like it, and what is a fair price for a kit or light? Any brands to recommend?


My first Birchbox

I love surprises & I love beauty products. And so I decided a few months back to test out a few beauty boxes as a little monthly present to myself.

My Beautybox Experience

After having been with the Glossybox for a few months now, I decided that it was time to give the Birchbox a try.

Due to my busy schedule my post about the July Birchbox only gets published now and unfortunately I did not get to write a post about my June box. But as it happens I received the same products ads Lozzy Loves Lippy. So you can read her review here.


My First Box: The July Box – Sun Sea and Sand

A nice touch  of the Birchbox seemed that that each box stands under a certain motto like for example Sun, Sea & Sand in July or  “The Great Outdoors” in June. They also include quite often practical little makeup bags and one or the other little foodie treat like chocolate or a nice drink.

Here is what my first Sun, Sean & Sand box contained:


The Contents

Wish Three Whishes Lavender Body Butter

I absolutely adore lavender, as the house I grew up in and that I obviously left behind when moving abroad had tons and tons of lavender in the Garden. So for the lavender is the smell of home. Unfortunately most lavender products overdo in and basically choke you with the smell, not so this one. Having a beautiful smell and a great feel I would definitely recommend this.

 Where to buy:
At Birchbox


The Porefessional

This is the product I was definitely the most excited about testing. I am using quite a few benefit products but am still a bit weary about testing new ones as, let’s be honest. They are not cheap. The Porefessional is a primer that promises to virtually erase pores and it is really doing a great job of it. My skin looks so much smoother using it and it also goes a fairly long way. In the meantime this has replaced the primer I used to use and I have also bought the full size version of this. Once again I would definitely recommend this.

Where to buy:
at Birchbox
at feel unique



Laqa & Co Sheer Lip Lube

This lip crayon is not so much of a lipstick and much more of a lip moisturiser with a hint of colour. I received the coral one but there are lots of many lovely colours available you should check out. It feels lovely, does a great job at moisturising and, as mentioned above, there is a nice range of colours available.

Where to buy:
At Birchbox



Philip Kingsley – One More Day Dry Shampoo

Dry Shampoo is one of my essential beauty items and a real life saver on overslept mornings and this is a good one. It leaves the hair with a great shine and does not appear to weigh the hair dIown. It is on the a bit more expensive end of scale on full price but so is it’s quality. The sample size has made it’s way into my handbag/travel kit. Although I am not quite sure if I will be buying the full size version.

Where to buy:
Travel Size: at feel unique
Full Size: at Birchbox or feel unique



Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream

Well even though I am hitting the big 30 next year I am still not big on creams like this or even skin routines as such. This is probably where I have the big pores from mentioned above. I cannot say if I would buy this full price but it does feel great the skin no to heavy, like some creams do and on the the first view I would say my skin looks better. However, that might be the placebo effect. So I guess you should maybe test that one yourself.

Where to buy:
at Birchbox (currently sold out)
at Balance me


Glossybox or Birchbox?

Generally the two boxes appear pretty similar. A monthly subscription of the Birchbox costs £10 (plus P&P) just like the Glossybox. Both boxes consist of a mix of ca 5 full & sample size products, out of which some are niche and some high end brand products. However, when looking at the list of affiliated brands, I would say that the Birchbox  appears to be to an extend more exclusive and higher profile. Also, other than Glossybox, the  Birchbox offers an own online shop in which you will be able to buy the full size versions of the products sampled in the boxes, in case you liked them.

Get The Birchbox

Use the below link in combination with the code BBXBTS to get your first box for £10 with free shipping on your first box


Get The Glossybox

If you prefer to test a single box first you can just order a single box or sign up for a rolling monthly subscription.

Or if you like the idea of little presents to yourself you could sign up for a 6 or 12 month membership in for which the monthly box prices are lower.

Just click on the below image to find out more about about Glossybox’s monthly subscription options.

What is your favourite beauty box?

Do you subscribe to a monthly beauty box? Have you discovered one of your now favourites over one of theses boxes? Do you know another box except the Glossybox or Birchbox you can recommend?
I would love to hear from you.


Fuse Gelnamel- The best of polish & the best of gel?

I am a bit of a nail polish addict owning a giant collection of nail polishes. some of which you can see in my past posts So I always have an eye out for new polishes and  for a long time I have toyed with the idea of buying a gel nail polish set.

I am quite impatient and keep ruining polishes by touching my nails when they are not completely dry yet. So the idea of immediately curing the polish with a UV lamp sounded like a really great idea.

 Doing your own gel polish manicure?

While the idea sounds great, the high price tag has always discouraged me. For a quality gel set, the usual price lies at around £65-80. A lot of money to invest in something you are not 100% sure how you are getting along and be happy with. Your nails might be immediately touch dry bit the process quite lengthy. It includes up to 5 or 6 individually UV cured coats consisting of a preparatory coat, a base coat, two colour coats and a top coat.

Here the Sensationail instruction video:


 Fuse  gelnamel – is it the right compromise?

So when I then came across Fuse, Sensational’s sister brand, which is a so called gelnamel system, claiming to have all the advantages of a gel manicure with the simpleness of a normal nail polish I was quite interested. The price tag is still slightly hefty, but with the starter set coming at £35 pounds a lot lower than any gel polish set.

Fuse website
How Sensationail presents its new system on http://www.sensationail.co.uk/fuse/

Currently Fuse is exclusive to Boots and while there are 12 different colours in total, the starter set appears to come only in 2 colours: a very dark purple and a relatively bright pink. I am generally not a too particular fan of either but preferred the pink over the purple.

fuse starting sets & Colours
Image credits: http://www.sensationail.co.uk/fuse/

Using the Fuse system

So I went off to Boots and got my own starter kit.  I went for the pink one, simply on preference. When I opened it up this is what I found inside:

fuse starter set contentsThe set consists of the colour polish, a basically travel size USB powered UV light including USB cable and mains adapter, a cleanser, some lint free wipes, an orange wood stick and a nail buffer.

According to the instructions you should buff your nails to get rid of the natural shiny layer, apply the cleanser with the lint free wipes and once your nail have dried, apply one coat of the colour polish and immediately cure the polish for 30 seconds using the mini UV light and then give it another wipe with the cleanser. Simple enough.

And so I got started

I followed the above instructions and all was very easy and worked quite well. After 30 seconds of curing, the nails have a great shine and appear as hard as a rock.

With each nail curing only taking 30 seconds I was fully done with the whole manicure in only about 20 minutes and that with perfectly touch dry and shiny nails without any ruining of half dry nails on the way. So to a very big part it is actually really keeping it’s promises.

fuse in action2

How long does it last?

As it was my first try I had one or two imperfections and so the nails chipped a bit after a few days, but the promise of the polish lasting  at least a week is really not far fetched.

However, you really have to play close attention to push back your cuticles, properly buff your nails and also properly clean your nails before the application of the polish to make it last as long as possible.

How to get it off?

The nail polish is actually sticking so well to your nail that it is really not that easy to get it off. Normal nail polish remover; indifferent if it is containing or not; won’t do anything to it.

gel remover & tool
Image credit http://www.sensationail.co.uk/

So I went back to Boots and bought, as instructed by the fuse website, the sensational gel polish remover (which  turned out to be basically nothing else but nearly pure acetone) and a removal tool, which is used to scrape off the polish.

However, even with this high acetone remover, just wiping your nails will not be enough to remove the polish. You will need to lightly file the polish to break the top coat and then soak the nails for approximately 10-15 minutes before you can carefully and lightly (make sure not to damage your nail) scrape off the polish with the tool.

Sensationail sells special wraps for soaking your nails , but I could not be bothered to buy those. So I just cut up some cotton pads which I soaked in the remover and wrapped my fingers with tinfoil, which looked quite peculiar.

Tinfoil Removal

But after 10 minutes in my home made tinfoil wraps, scraping the colour remainders off was actually quite easy. The tinfoil method was ok, except for one slight  problem: tinfoiling the other hand when the first hand is already wrapped is not that easy.

To avoid this problem in future I have ordered some soak off finger caps online:

Soak OffCaps on Amazon
Wearable Salon Diy Remover Soak Soaker Cap Tool

Is it worth it?

Ultimately I was very happy with the product, being simple, working well and keeping more or less all its promises.

I really like the little usb curing light. It is particularly practical as you can easily take it travelling with you. I am  planning on taking it with me on a trip to Germany where I will be going as a guest to a wedding, and I am sure thanks to fuse I will have great nails matching my dress.

The only downside is that price is still a bit high. This might be due to the case that there is not so much competition yet. Particularly as Fuse is still exclusive to boots, at the moment of this post being written.

If you are having a look on ebay and you are lucky you might even find a starter kit from the USA or Australia that might be cheaper even including the shipping cost. However in this case customs may spoil your plans  if you want to save that way.

Ultimately if you are as impatient as I me and unhappy with how short a normal manicure lasts Fuse can be a really great alternative for you, if you are happy to pay £35 for a starter set and £15 pounds for individual polishes.

I have actually gone and bought a few more colours and as I will be putting them on and wearing them I will be posting a few pictures like the one below on my instagram and/or tumblr account to let you see how the other colours look and to keep you up to date.

glitter fuse manicure

So don’t forget to follow me on tumbler and/or instragram to keep up to date with my nail, fashion or beauty adventures and also any  other interesting news and events of my life as plus-size Geek in general.

Upgrading to a gel kit?

Beeing happy with the Fuse kit I am now part thinking about and am actually quite interested in maybe upgrading at some point to a proper gel kit. However at the moment I don’t really have that much money lying around to invest in something like that.

Well I will keep you up to date if anything changes. In the meantime it would be great if you could let me know your experiences with Gel, Shellac and similar kinds of manicures that are out there now. What is your favourite? Have you had your nails done at a salon or do you use/consider a home kit. I would love to hear about your experiences!



GlossyBox – Treating Yourself To A Monthly Makup Surprise

As mentioned in my last post, I am currently testing out beauty boxes. And now it is finally time to unbox my very first Glossybox. Ok, to be honest, it is my second Glossybox. But as I had been a bit too impatient when I received the box to properly document the unboxing and also was a bit disappointed with the content.

So but this time, with the May box, it is a completely different story. The May Glossybox is a cooperation with Superdrug and consisted of 5 full size products and two testers. Out of which almost all were a real hit for me.

So this month in my box I found:


Garnier BB Cream (Full Size)

BB cream

This Cream is an absolutely lovely and light BB Cream that gives you a great even and very natural complexion for the summer days on which you might not want to wear heavy make up. In combination with its SPF 15 the perfect match for a day out in the park. At a retail price of 9.99 I might be tempted to stock back up on this cream once I will run out it

Rimmel London – Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara (Full Size)


This is another one of the products that has potential for me to fall  in love with. So far I have only tried this mascara only once but it appears on the first look to be keeping it’s promises. I do very much like it’s hour glass shape that helps you to push up the lashes in the edge of your eyes and helps deliver the curved lashes for the wide eyed 60s lash look it promises. I am looking forward to try it out with my lash curler, when I give it a proper try.

For now the lashes have been a little bit too clumpy for my liking, but that might be rather due to my somewhat rusty mascara skills rather than the mascara’s fault. But so far I love it the way it is and I will definitely give it another chance, especially when combining it with my lash curler.

B. – Complete Long-lasting Nail Polish (Full Size)

B - complete long lasting

According to it’s description this nail polish provides intense colour with a high shine finish and come with a wide brush. So far I have only tested the colour only on one nail to find out how the colour comes out. So I can not say much about how long lasting it really is, but I am a fan of the colour. It is a great subtle nude tone that will go well with anything you wear. It might not be the right colour for the night out but it will be great for a subtle and natural summer outfit (once the summer should come to the UK) or an office outfit.

Superdrug  – Large Doughnut Ring

large doughnut ring

Well when I found this in the beauty box I did not really know what to think. It is going to be an interesting one… I have actually never used a hair doughnut ring and I have no idea how to make any half way reasonable hairstyle with it. So I guess look forward to some quite interesting posts in which I will be trying to actually do something with this…

 Shimmer & Shine LipGloss (Full Size)

lip gloss

This is kind of the only product that is a bit of a miss for me. I am generally not a fan of lip gloss and on top of that I am really not a fan of cosmetics that are supposed to smell and taste like food. But it at least it delivers a nice shimmer and this month’s box can get away with one miss.

Ghost – Eclipse (Fragrance Tester)


This was a very surprising big hit. I am usually very very picky when it comes to perfume. There are only very few scents I like. Almost all of my perfumes are from Hugo Boss, including “Pure Purple”, “Deep Red” and my favourite “Boss Nuit”. The downside of these is that all of them are quite high priced.

For me Ghost eclipse is scent wise on a near par with the Hugo Boss Scents but with a somewhat lower price tag. So I am very sure, once the next pay day comes I am going to treat myself to a full size bottle of this lovely perfume.

 The bottom line

After my first box was mainly a miss for me. This box was truly a great one with a few products I knew I would like, a few surprises and a few I will re-buy. There might be a few follow up posts to come of me actually using the products. But I am definitely looking forward to find out what is in next month’s box.


Want To Test It Yourself?

If you want to test it out yourself you can subsribe for 1,3.6 or 12 months and here is where you can get it: