Monthly Archives: June 2014

Nailing the Unconventional: Nails by Mei

Mei KawajiriI am constantly browsing the web, keeping an eye on nail art addicted celebs and their amazingly talented nail technicians to find out what the latest colours and trends are.  Whilst browsing Instagram a wee while ago I came across an insanely talented Japanese artist called Mei Kawajiri.

Mei is based in New York and is now one of the most sought after nail artists in the fashion industry, splitting her time between her regular clients and high end fashion, editorial and photographic nail appointments.

Her style of Nail Art is like nothing I’ve ever seen before and nothing I could ever imagine being able to do myself.  She doesn’t use any stencils, stickers or stampers.  Everything is intricately hand painted and each individual set of nails are like a piece of fine art.

Nails by Mei

Her work has been showcased in the likes of Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week to name just a few of her latest projects.

Nails by Mei

Mei takes inspiration from literally everywhere!  Still life objects, musicians, geometric patterns, high end fashion designers, food, nature… The list goes on!  She sculpts many of her designs using different types of gel, giving the nails unusual and unconventional shapes.

Nails by Mei 3

Although some of her nails aren’t suitable for us ladies during our everyday lives I just can’t help but admire her innovative nail art designs and how she can turn a simple bunch of flowers or plate of sushi into a beautiful set of nails.

Nails by Mei

If you want to keep up to date on Mei’s latest nail art escapades you can follow her on Instagram @nailsbymei or find all of her work on her Tumblr

If you have any favourite nail artists you think I would like to take a look at, whether they are your local Beauty Salon or an international nail technician to the stars, be sure to let me know!

Article by Louise Henry

Louise joined The Beauty Cloud team in May 2014 as our Nail expert.  She is a fully trained & qualified Nail Technician running her own little nail bar in Bangor, The Nail Room at Salon75. 

Any questions, email or find her on Facebook

Tanning Tips – Choosing the Correct Shade

With so many different tanning products available, and so many different shades to choose from, it’s hard to know exactly which one will suit you. To make life even more difficult, fake tan can now be applied in several forms, including creams, gels, sprays and mousses.

Tanning products: Mousse, gel, spray, wipes, cream

Tanning towel/wipes tend to give a lighter tan, as will tinted moisturisers and, depending on application, gradual tanning products.  However, most other forms of fake tan will generally provide the same tanning results.  For example, if you use St Tropez mousse you will be able to achieve the same tan tone as you would using their cream version of the exact same product.

How do you know which ‘dark’ tan is really dark and which ‘light’ tan is truly light?
The fact is, you don’t and won’t until you’re caked in the stuff.  It is always sensible to try out a patch test first. Apply the fake tan to a small area of skin, wash off after 8 hours and then you can judge the result. However, just like when you try a paint sample on a small part of your room, this is never a completely accurate test of what the entire end result will look like.

Bad tan. Tanning disaster! Wrong tan shade.

My advice for those of you who have fair skin and want to go slightly darker but are not sure how dark – do not go for ‘dark’ or even ‘medium’ tanning options. Instead, go for a ‘light’ shade and build it up to your preferred tone. A couple of applications may seem like a lot of effort, but it will be worth it as you will be in charge of the result!

If you already have a base tan, or have olive skin and want a dark result, then you can afford to go for a ‘dark’ option. However, if you are worried about the true colour and tone of the tan, then start with a ‘medium’ as it is likely that this will not show up too much on your skin, so you can judge the over all colour without a really strong result. If you are happy, then go for the ‘dark’ stuff! And enjoy looking fabulously tanned!

Article by Jennie Longdon

Jennie started writing for The Beauty Cloud in July 2013. You can follow Jennie on Twitter

Any questions, email

Dress of the Month ~ June 2014

My favourite dress of the moment is the absolutely beautiful Tabitha by Charlotte Balbier!

Charlotte Balbier 'Tabitha' fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline.

A gorgeous fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline. Tabitha is one of Charlotte’s ‘Hall of Fame’ dresses, which means she is a bridal best seller. Charlotte designed this beautiful dress a few years ago and brides continue to love it!

Charlotte Balbier 'Tabitha' fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline.

Since we haven’t been stocking Charlotte’s collection for very long Tabitha is brand new to us, but she was definitely one of the dresses that were on our ‘must have’ list when we visited Charlotte’s showroom last year.

Charlotte Balbier 'Tabitha' fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline.

I love everything about this dress but mostly how soft and light the lace is! So many of our lace gowns are much heavier and sometimes even a little bulky, but this dress is the complete opposite and really means it could be the perfect option for a wedding abroad!

For more information about Charlotte Balbier dresses click here.

Article by Catherine Massey

Catherine has been writing Bi-Weekly Article for us since the 8th May 2012 and is our very talented Bridal Specialist. Catherine is a Bridal Stylist for their family Bridal Boutique, Cathedral Gowns. Find them onlineat or on Facebook.

Any questions, email

Speedflex: A Low Impact Calorie Busting Workout

With the pressures of everyday life rarely letting up, we’re always looking for the most efficient ways to get fit, making the most of a workout. This is most prevalent when it comes to cardio!

A good cardio workout doesn’t just mean pounding the treadmill at the same steady pace, day in, day out. One popular (and very effective method) of burning fat and increasing fitness is through high intensity interval training, or HIIT, combing bursts of very high intensity training with a short recovery period to bring your heart rate back down.

Speedflex Logo

One company leading the way with this form of training is Speedflex. Originally based in Newcastle, Speedflex now have centres in London and Leeds, with a new one due to open in Edinburgh soon. Two weeks ago I attended a Speedflex induction, and have since taken a number of sessions there. These run every hour throughout the day even if there is only one person booked in, but they do say it’s more fun with a bigger group.

The principle is simple…there are 8 machines in the studio, all identical. These were originally used for rehab purposes and are run on hydraulics so the resistance is never more weight than the user can handle. The difference comes with the varying exercises that are performed – these can be high pulls, bent over rows and even a clean and press. The classes run as a circuit, taking turns on each machine with additional auxiliary exercises between each – press ups, sit ups, medicine balls, kettlebells etc.

Speedflex - Low Impact, High Calorie Burning Workout

Each session is led by a personal trainer, and the structure is different every time depending on who is running it. It could be a set time per exercise, a particular number of repetitions, or even the amount of time it takes another class member to complete a certain amount of reps on a machine. This definitely keeps the classes interesting – don’t expect any two sessions to be the same. It also creates a great team environment in there which helps the time fly by.

Throughout the class you have a heart rate monitor to wear, with video screens at each end of the room telling you the training zone you’re in – this is by percentage of maximum expected heart rate for your age. At the end of the session, they will go through each person and let you know how long you spent in each zone, and also how many calories you burnt. As a predominantly cardio exercise, you’re not going to bulk up with Speedflex, instead expect to get leaner with increased muscle definition.

Speedflex - Low Impact, High Calorie Burning Workout for All Levels of Fitness

Their big selling feature with the concept of Speedflex is that anyone can train together, be it someone just starting out with exercise, or a seasoned athlete. Expect to burn anything from 400 to 1000+ calories in a 45 minute class; it’s a great way to compete with yourself to see if you can burn more than last time! But will vary depending on your current size and fitness levels. I tend to burn over 500 each time, which is always a good feeling before breakfast!

Everything about the centre itself is clean, new and shiny, with great facilities including free towels and lovely big showers. The staff are friendly and welcoming, and it’s far more luxurious than many fitness centres I have been to! Prices start at £120pm for an annual contract paid upfront, or £150pm on a rolling contract. I would want to use this in conjunction with other strength training to get a rounded workout, so if you were to be paying for another gym as well it could get pricey. However, for a great way to get fit quickly it really works, I can’t recommend it enough.

A free induction and taster class is available to anyone, as well as a personal health assessment which will tell you all about your body composition and even cholesterol levels! Membership packages allow you to have this assessment every 3 months so you can monitor your progress. Find out more at

By Courtney Pipkin

Courtney is our Health and Fitness wirter.  She lives in London and is always trying new and different ways of getting a good workout.

You can follow Courtney on Facebook and Twitter.  If you have any questions for Courtney, email