Shall I Shellac?

Shellac has been all the rage for a few year now and still going strong down the nail salons.

I still haven’t tried it and feel like I’m probably in that bottom 2% or something like that.

Vibrant super shiny colours that don’t fade, a natural look – sold, surely?

The appeal

Well it looks more natural than acrylics, and the super shiny finish is enviable against everyday polish.

The colour is long lasting and seems more vibrant than a normal nail varnish – never fading or getting dull.


Despite the selling points, a few things are still holding me back.

  1. I don’t like the idea of being stuck with one nail colour and not being able to change it without the rigamarole of having to keep going back to a nail salon for a long winded session.
  2. I just don’t like the sound of anything that requires deliberate exposure to UV rays – the rays we try our hardest to protect ourselves from when out in the sun. Is it just me?
  3. There seem to be quite a few gel polishes on the market that pose as an alternative to shellac, surely one of these must have near enough the same results!
  4. Gel manicure products have been shown to contain cancer causing ingredients (as I think many nail polishes do).
  5. The spread of hepatitis C is a real problem where salons do not sterilise implements properly – implements that have traces of blood on them – though not specific to shellac treatments, this does make me feel a bit wearier about trips to the local nail salon.

The whole habit of acrylics and shellac nails, with all their toxic glory has definitely cast a different light on this indulgence – perhaps less toxic Zoya Nail polish and similar  products are the way to go….😷

Shall I Shellac?

Doctors orders: Sunshine and Hot Weather

From what I’ve read, there is a lot to be said for chasing the sun.

Lets just remind ourselves of some of the health and beauty benefits of being a sun seeker.

  • Sunshine is a natural anti depressant, everyone ( well almost everyone) seems to be in a happier mood when the sun’s out
  • The sun makes you sweat, which helps detox the body, and regulate your heart rate
  • Vitamin D (everyone knows this), is great for bones by helping the body absorb calcium, reduces risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and acne amongst other things
  • Exposure to sunlight can help you sleep better
  • Skin gets more tanned and hair gets lighter/highlights, no chemicals necessary
  • Hot weather makes you slow down and take it easy, so I guess that makes the sun a ‘de-stresser’ and is argued to affect the body in a way that increases antibodies  – the body’s natural defence against bacteria
  • A lack of vitamin D has been said to be strongly linked to a range of  diseases, including breast and other cancers
  • Sunlight can reduce symptoms (and perhaps arguably contribute to the prevention) of  Alzheimer’s disease
  • Exposure to the sun can also lower blood pressure and bring relief to arthritic pain

So for those of us who are not fortunate enough to have 365 days of warm sunshine – a well earned flight is probably due!


Photo taken in Barbados

Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel: Never Again!

A lot has been written about aloe vera, lots of wonderful things like:

  • it has a wide range of medicinal uses
  • it also has a wide range of skin care benefits

I’d never really tried any aloe vera products before, only aloe vera scented things.


If you do your research, you’ll also find much has been written about aloe vera’s potentially toxic effects on your skin and body in the form of allergic reactions.

I had one heck of an allergic reaction  to Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel after approximately three days of light use.

The first strange (seemingly unrelated) thing that happened 2/3 days into using it, was that after a very good night’s sleep, I woke up the next morning with swollen puffy eyes and had to sit with frozen peas over them for about an hour to help the swelling go down, it gradually improved further throughout the day. Very strange indeed, I thought.

A couple of days later, everything was fine, no swollen eyes – nothing to report. I washed my face as usual that evening then applied a little aloe vera to my face neck, shoulders, and wiped the excess off my hands onto my waist and bottom.

Well. 😱 😨 😰

Literally, within about a minute of  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel going onto my skin (remember this was not the first time I’d used it) my face felt a bit funny and I felt a rash building up as I touched my skin. My skin then started to feel really hot.

I  race back to the sink and wash my face again to get it off (not really thinking to wash  it off my body as I thought it was just my facial skin that didn’t like it). Of course, the problem is, this stuff doesn’t sit on the surface of the skin, it sinks deep into your skin, especially when applied to freshly scrubbed clean skin, leaving it impossible to remove it all completely.



From this point onwards, I suffered for just over a week, nonstop, itching like crazy and the more you scratch the more it itches. A raised, visibly bumpy red rash covered all over the areas touched by the  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel, nowhere else, so it was definitely the gel.

Thankfully I had only applied  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel sparingly to my face.

Imagine rolling around in a bed of stinging nettles, this is probably what it would feel like.

I changed the bedding, washed my hair and anything I thought might still have remnants of the aloe vera gel left on it. Still the torture continued.

After continuously flushing out my system by drinking lots of water, green tea, and smothering my skin with Savlon, TCP, coconut oil and taking Dettol baths, things slowly started to improve after around ten days, yes it took that long.

I will never underestimate the power of an allergic reaction again.

Be careful when trying new products, even if they’re supposed to be organic. Granted, this particular product has a few other ingredients in it which may have had something to do with it. One of the assistants in Holland & Barrett suggested I try using pure aloe vera (with nothing added), which they had in stock.

I declined.

I really wasn’t willing to risk more of the same, or worse, in the name of experimentation.

I know when to call is quits.

When your body speaks, listen. A severe reaction is often your body’s way of letting you know it is in distress and that a substance is in some way toxic/poisonous to your system.

Obviously, everyone is going to react differently to things, but this is the most extreme and shocking reaction I have had to any product in my entire life. It definitely frightened me.


Thankfully Holland & Barrett were very understanding and offered a full refund on both the opened and unopened bottles of  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel I purchased (with receipts, I hadn’t thrown them away).

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 15.30.06
Website screenshot, this is the product I purchased and used.

A woman in the queue next to me said aloe vera had done her skin the world of good, and uses it often. How differently two people can react to the same thing – though she said she uses it in its purest form, not a manufactured product.

I have decided to steer well clear.

Quite frankly, I don’t have any significant need for it, I just thought it would be a good soother to try after being out in the hot sun each day on holiday (thankfully trying and testing it months before I was due to go away). This would have been a complete disaster if it had happened whilst on holiday. There are plenty of other good products that can sooth the skin just as well.

Interestingly, all the product reviews for  Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel seem to be very positive on the Holland & Barrett website, whilst they’re all negative on Amazon ( after checking again today). Don’t rely on reviews from just one website for anything, always research more widely for more balanced feedback.

A week on, my skin was almost back to normal, the affected areas only itched a little bit now. I’m so grateful I didn’t have a more severe reaction. Thank God. Some people’s throat passages swell up, restricting their breathing – which can be fatal.

Aloe vera, thanks but no thanks.

Moving swiftly back to my long standing, tried and tested shea butter and organic coconut oil.



Coconut Oil 38 Thrifty Uses


Pictures: Virgin Coconut Oil (Bought from Holland & Barratt, buy one get one half price)

Since I started using coconut oil I haven’t  looked back – it’s a great all-rounder, making it very good value for money.

The number of things it can do seems endless, but here are a few to get you thinking:

Removes stubborn make up

Conditions and strengthens hair, aids hair growth

Scalp moisturiser and treats dandruff

Body moisturiser

Deodorises skin

Ink remover

Lubricates door hinges

Treats cuts/soars inside the mouth

Breath freshener

Healthier cooking oil – no hydrogenated fats (fry, roast, bake)

Lighter alternative to butter (great for baking)

Aids digestion

Rub into cuticles  – strengthens nails

Makes a great massage oil

Removes rust


Relief from food poisoning

Shaving legs (I still prefer a soapy lather)

Softens cuticles

Helps to clean teeth, whitening properties

Can act as an insect repellent

Improves blood flow

Nappy rash treatment

Heartburn relief

Holds antibacterial, antioxident and anti inflammatory properties (great for cuts, rash, itching, bites, stings  etc)

Under eye wrinkle reduction

Reduces frizz on hair

Softens bath water

Contains lauric acid – which boosts the immune system – also found in breast milk

Prevents stretch marks

Fights cold sores

Helps rid dogs from fleas

Polishes wood and metal

Polishes shoes (leather)

Treats/prevents head lice

Treats constipation (take a table spoon each morning on an empty stomach until relieved)

Eases arthritis

Eases a dry throat




Nails Inc Giveaway



Nails inc:

  • Very ‘on trend’
  • Rich colours
  • Easy to apply
  • Smart heavy duty bottles
  • Popular non UV Gel effect polishes.

Up for Grabs!!


Nails Inc Covent Garden Place Gel Effect Nail polish and New Globe Walk (Glitterglobe)



Nails Inc Vitamin E Cuticle Oil Pen




To win, simply:

  1. Share your top nail care tips in the comments below
  2. RT the competition tweet
  3. Follow @thriftyshopper7 on twitter

Closing Date: 24/4/16 midnight

Winner will be drawn from UK entries 





<!– ThriftyShopper7 –>
<ins class=”adsbygoogle”

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Delightful Deal!!



Source: ARGOS

I bought two of these,  how could I not – at this price? I’ve vowed never to leave myself without a back up hairdryer again  – in case it stops working and you’re left dripping.

Small and mighty

Smaller than your average hairdryer but a bit bigger than the travel types.

Yes it’s small, yes it’s cheap, no it did not disappoint.

This dryer has two main heat settings:

1))) Very gentle

2))) Powerful, hot and strong – more than you would expect from such a small model

3))) It has a cool button, when you hold it down the flow turns cold, when you release it goes back to whatever setting you have it clicked onto

The dryer is super light in the hand – great if you have lots of hair to dry!!

Absolutely no complaints whatsoever – I’d recommend it to anyone.

No it doesn’t come with any other attachments but for the price I think it’s very good value for money.



Beauty Disaster MUA MAKEUP ACADEMY Competition!!

Win a MUA MAKEUP ACADEMY  Beauty Bundle

So we’ve all (male or female) probably had some sort of beauty or cosmetic catastrophe at some point or another. Whether it’s crazy tan lines, lashes falling into your romantic dinner, bad reactions to products or a simple broken nail – these things can bring trauma and humiliation to us all.

Its always comforting to know you are not alone, and hear about the trials of fellow beauty seekers, from which we can perhaps learn and avoid similar experiences.

Nail polish melting off my nails whilst on holiday was one of my weirdest beauty disasters (stick to reputable brands in hot weather), along with hair getting sucked into the back end of a hairdryer and ending up in knots, (watch what you’re doing when drying your hair) lol.

To be entered into the prize draw:

1. Comment below with your own beauty disasters.

2. Be sure to follow and re/tweet @thriftyshopper7 using the hashtag #mybeautydisaster

Closing date: 14 June 2015 Midnight. Winner will be drawn from UK entrants.

Freebies with Fragrance


It may not always be the cheapest option but if you visit (in person) department stores like Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis etc before buying perfume….it gives you a chance to ask the sales assistants what free gifts there are/which are the best one’s/which one’s have free bags.. ……you catch my drift… oh and get some really nice up free samples too.

Note: unless part of a gift set, these freebies are not usually on display.  

I bought an ESCADA ‘Born In Paradise’ and the Debenhams Sales Assistant dug this bag out from the bottom of a very deep drawer!!! (Even though it is linked to a different ESCADA fragrance he was happy to let me have it).  

ESCADA is one of my favourites by the way! Each year they bring out the most fruity/tropical scents.

The bag:

It’s light-weight, feels like quilted soft leather, gold and pink with an inside zip….would be great on holiday I think…even if just for stashing toiletries or hair accessories.

Note: Debenhams do a loyalty card for beauty and fragrances….I got one last time I was in there but haven’t registered it yet..will do 🙂 



Testers plus Gucci 2014 Christmas bauble…..I think the idea is that I now need to buy Gucci perfume every Christmas to collect a set of baubles as one on its own doesn’t really do much for a tree 🙂

Whenever you buy perfume, always ask for testers, they are fantastic whilst on holiday or away for the weekend – you don’t want to wear the same perfume all day every day, but you don’t want to weigh your luggage down with 10 bottles of perfume either!!

Style Thoughts and Tips

Not that I’m a fashion expert or anything…..

Being stylish really isn’t about how much money you spend, it’s all down to how you put a look together, and the confidence you exude when carrying it off

Low rise jeans are a great style for a slim waist and adds length to a short body.

Try to gather a wide selection of umbrellas in different colours and patterns – then you’ll always have a brolly to compliment any outfit. Your umbrella is an accessory, when it rains you wear it – essentially!!

I cannot bear to see white or orange stitching on denim – in fact I’m not keen on seeing any stitching – I think it makes them look cheap

If you live alone (or even if you don’t !) make sure you would be happy to be seen in whatever you choose to wear for bed should you (heaven forbid) need to dash out into the night due to some imminent emergency (or keep something easy to throw on – close to hand)

I do not like those belts where you push the pointer into the punched hole. The holes have a habit of stretching after a while and then the belt start popping off while you wear them – no good. I much prefer a buckle or friction belt

If you can’t find the time to do your nail polish in the morning and mostly stick to the same colour, invest in a good shellac – a french manicure/white tip shellac would be the easiest to maintain if possible – you’ll hardly notice as they grow out.

Ok I know it’s ‘cool’ at the moment and lots of women do it BUT, personally, I’m not a fan of a mis-matched bikini. It’s like taking the cherry of the cake – the whole look seems to be missing something and lacks impact.

Check your VPL before leaving the house, especially in the summer when wearing lighter fabrics, or a slinky dress. (Visible panty lines can cheapen an otherwise impressive look – take heed). Invest in some seamless knickers.

Smarten up boring cardigans and jackets/coats with some stylish buttons. A bit of haberdashery can go a long way!

When wearing heels, please do not drag your feet across the floor when you walk – unless you are trying to pull off “how not to be elegant” 

Boost black cotton garments with Dylon fabric dye every now and again – keeps the looking rich in colour. 

Every underwear drawer should also have a few tshirt bras. Bumpy textures are not a good look when wearing chiffons and thin vests


Garments with movement, swish/swirl/float, automatically add femininity to any look

No point wearing nice shoes and a scruffy bag, bags and shoes are worth investing well in – they really set off your whole look 

Sunglasses in a hue to match something you are wearing really makes an impact.


Thick parcel tape is great for removing fluff off dark clothes


Lovely smart clothes for work+trainer+rucksack = style demolished

dresser-576045_1280.jpg 2


Do not let your heels wear down to the point of leaning: this is not a good look and bad for posture


Polish your shoes and iron your clothes, it makes such a difference to the quality and makes you look well groomed


Nail polish remover is great for removing marks from patent shoes


Patent shoes look fabulous with ultra glossy tights

Personally, putting full make-up on while sat on the tube is as good as blowing your own cover ladies. Some things should remain mysterious


Keep a bottle of topcoat clear shine nail polish in your bag 4 any time you need a gloss-up b4 a meeting, lunch, after work drinks etc


I prefer to wear two signature pieces of jewellery at time, three’s a crowd


Sandals and socks – just don’t


Unless your job prevents it – always wear nail polish (even if only a clear shiny one), dull nails look like you haven’t made an effort


Wear a pair of gloves when putting on tights or holdups to prevent nails from catching on them.


If the shoes pinch in the shop, do not buy them, you will end up wearing them once and then never again


People always look at your nails. Keep them well groomed & polished. 

DIY manicure while watching TV, no excuse to neglect.


When wearing leggings, wear a top that covers your bits. Too much information is not pretty!!


A distinguished hat will add drama and charisma to any outfit.


There is something about a person’s shoes that just gives you a whole vibe about them


Have a stash of boob tubes in every colour going, they are great for layering and adding colour


Bra straps showing (even clear ones) can often look tacky. Invest in a range of bras with racer back, hater neck, multiway options


When wearing sheer clothing, wear underwear that is as close to your skin tone as possible


Nails that are ‘just’ over the tip of the finger look better than talons


A scarf is another great way to add colour, texture and charisma to an outfit – for any season


Make sure your coat length is longer than your dress or skirt – flows better and looks more elegant


Round and high neck tops will accentuate the bust, V necks have a minimising effect


Bring coloured jeans back to life with Dylon machine dye, especially black and dark blue. Anything that looks like faded black looks cheap and scruffy.


Sleep with a leave in conditioner and plaits for glossy waves in the morning


A purse to match your bag really looks impressive


An umbrella to match the colours you are wearing – impressive, most people mismatch. Get brollies in as many colours as possible, they are an accessory after all all.


Carry sunglasses in you bag as standard, the sun can shine anytime of the year whether its hot or not


The flatter the sole of the shoe, the more elegant and expensive they look (as opposed to chunky platform soles. Hidden platforms are also preferable….you don’t see the adjoining line between the shoe and platform piece)


Spray perfume inside the underarm of coats, cardigans and jumpers, the warmth in this area makes the scent radiate

perfume-1087756_1280.jpg 2

When wearing a ponytail, cover the hair band by wrapping a strand of hair around it and discretely pinning under the nape of the neck


For me, sports wear (including socks and trainers) should only be worn when playing sport


Keep spare tights in your bag unless you are wearing a thick denier

A scarf can inexpensively style & edge-up bland outfits, stock up on scarves for all seasons, silky and chunky.

I’ll add more if anything springs to mind!!

Style is a very personal and individual thing, there are no rules really, but we all have our preferences, and even though I’m sharing mine, it really is ‘how’ you style and carry your look, rather than merely ‘what’ you wear that makes a positive impact

……and another thing, ten people could all wear the same thing, following the same ‘rules’ and perhaps only one would make your head turn in admiration, so “wear it your way”!!