Tag Archives: Beauty

Shine Bright Like A Diamond!


ASU Nail and Beauty Supplies

I was recently asked if I would like to attend a training course for ‘Swarovski  Bling toes’ down in Dublin at a nail and beauty training academy called ‘ASU’. I jumped at the chance!

The training academy was fantastic.  They run courses like clockwork every single month for dozens of different treatments. You don’t actually have to have any previous beauty training behind you to attend any of these courses which is great for beginners and enthusiasts.

The staff were amazingly friendly and extremely professional – these girls really know what they are talking about!  The downstairs of the academy consists entirely of an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ showroom where you can purchase all of the fantastic products and accessories they have to offer. I could have spent an absolute fortune!

For more information about the professional products which they sell, and to see a list of training courses that are on offer, have a look at their website www.asunailandbeauty.ie.

Once we’d been shown around we made our way upstairs to the classroom, took a seat and had a read through the Bling Toes Manual and other paperwork that had been given to us whilst we tentatively waited for the training to begin.

Workshop materials at ASU Beauty Training Academy

Our educator on the day was a lovely girl called Laura who couldn’t have been more helpful or knowledgeable about the course.  The class began with a bit of information on the treatment itself, the products involved and the importance of client consultation prior to completing the treatment on any customer.  Once Laura was happy we were all up to speed with the necessary info she got straight into a demonstration of the treatment which we all eagerly watched, taking in all of her advice and helpful tips along the way.

Workshop in action at ASU Beauty Training Academy

Finally it was the moment we had all been waiting for… it was now our turn to have a go on each other’s tootsies, so we paired up and got busy!  My partner went first while I kicked back and watched her showcasing her newly learnt skills.  Having the treatment applied is a really relaxing experience…  I could barely keep my eyes open.  This procedure is all about pampering and really is the ultimate treat for your feet!

Swarovski  Bling toes workshop at ASU

This lavish pedicure is created by the individual placement of genuine Swarovski crystals being set into a clear gel overlay on to every single one of your toenails.

We used the smallest crystals to give the maximum sparkle. The nails last up to 6 weeks so would be ideal for any brides wanting a bit of extra bling on their wedding day, lasting right through to their honeymoon or even just for those of you who are like me and enjoy a bit of everyday sparkle in their life!

Swarovski Bling Toes Workshop

I was disappointed when my treatment was finished but was keen to give the technique a go for myself!

6xI was impressed with the quality of the gel that we were provided with in our kits as it was very easy to work with.  Once the crystals were applied to the gel and cured under the UV lamp they were stuck there for the long run!

This brings me to the little tool I was most excited about… the wax pencil AKA The Amazing Picker Upper’!  I have spent years using bits of blue tack, dampened cocktail sticks and various other makeshift tools to lift and apply crystals to nails.  This pencil actually revolutionised my work… I’m not exaggerating!!  It is literally just a pencil with white wax down the centre instead of lead.  All you need to do is touch the top of the crystal and it sticks to the end of the sharpened wax ready to be applied to the nail.  You can purchase these from ASU for ONLY €1.50! This pencil made the whole process of applying the bling toes much easier and allowed you to get into a soothing rhythm.

Swarovski Bling Toes WorkshopOnce everyone had completed at least two big toes Laura began talking us through the in’s and outs of after care for your Bling Toes and demonstrated how we should safely remove the crystals from your clients nails.

The final part of our training, which I thought was very helpful, covered how we should price the treatment in our salons and even how we should go about marketing the treatment.

Sometimes beauty training courses can be very daunting but I can honestly say I didn’t feel one bit uncomfortable or nervous at ASU.  The staff couldn’t have made us all feel any more welcomed or valued.  The training course itself was superb, covering every possible aspect of the treatment and I loved every minute of it.  I will definitely be back down to do a few more courses in the ASU academy and I couldn’t recommend it enough to any of you who are considering signing up to a training course, whether it be just as a new hobby or even as a new career.

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 louise@thebeautycloud.co.uk or find her on Facebook

The Beauty Cloud’s Guide to Festival Hair

Fesitval Season can be a tricky one for us ladies when it comes to keeping those tresses tamed, so I’ve come up with an easy 4-Day guide to easy-to-manage hairstyles to ensure you stay looking gorgeous the whole time.


Festival Hair says one thing to me Bohemian Glamour!!

4 Day Festival Hair Guide, House of Fraser, Hair Care, Products Aveda, Tierry Mugler, Chloe Anderson, JW Anderson, Belfast, Ireland, Hair, Beauty, Style

Curls and waves created by spritzing on AVEDA ‘BE CURLY’ ENHANCING SPRAY, then curling by patting GHD‘s over pin-curls formed by wrapping hair around 3-4 fingers giving unique curls and waves of all sizes and shapes. By using the ‘Be Curly’ and GHD’s this will give curls that will last and drop into soft waves in 3-4 days.


4 Day Festival Hair Guide, House of Fraser, Hair Care, Products Aveda, Tierry Mugler, Chloe Anderson, JW Anderson, Belfast, Ireland, Hair, Beauty, Style
Curls have dropped and dressed through naturally giving tousled informal curls and waves. If you have any frizzing, 2-3 spritz of Be Curly Spray again will tame it down.

Lift the front of your brow with a plait creating a practical but kooky twist to the look.


4 Day Festival Hair Guide, House of Fraser, Hair Care, Products Aveda, Tierry Mugler, Chloe Anderson, JW Anderson, Belfast, Ireland, Hair, Beauty, Style

By now the curls have relaxed into irregular waves. Scoop the hair back off your face with two effortless plaits joining into one creating some boho chic.

If our festival babes are feeling a tad un-fresh a mist of TIERRY MULGER ANGEL PERFUMING HAIR MIST will have you feeling as fresh as a daisy!


4 Day Festival Hair Guide, House of Fraser, Hair Care, Products Aveda, Tierry Mugler, Chloe Anderson, JW Anderson, Belfast, Ireland, Hair, Beauty, Style

Continuing on with some bang on-trend plaits simply just pull hair all to one side, letting shorter layers drop softly then plait loosely into a two-strand plait creating a fishtail, giving a Boho finale to our festival style!!

Hair by: Gillian Douglas-Rea / Make-up by: Nuala Campbell

Article by Gillian Douglas-Rea
Gillian has been writing for The Beauty Cloud since way back at 25th April 2012! You can follow more of Gillian’s work on Facebook. Any questions, email gillian@thebeautycloud.co.uk

Can you Rock a Red Lip this Valentines?

Red lips valentines day makeupAs  much as we all would love to pull off a gorgeous deep red lipstick to seduce anyone whose eyes fall upon us, the truth is, it’s just not that easy and if we aren’t careful, we will more than likely scare away all of those wandering eyes if we pick the wrong colour.

So here is the rule of thumb, I’m not saying that you MUST stick to these rules, there are a few who can break the rule depending on the balance they can create with their eye makeup and even their eye colour.

Red lips valentines day makeup penelope-cruz-red-lipstickIf you have darker skin, you firstly need to work out if you have warm or cool undertones.  If you decide you have warm undertones, you will find an orange-red lippy will work best to compliment your skin. Penelope Cruz is a great example of warm dark skin rocking an orange-red.

If you have cool undertones to your dark skin, you will rock a true red.

Fair skinned women are going to be best suited with Blue-Red Lipsticks, this is because they are less bright than that of an orange-red or a true-red. Saying that, ombre lips, valentines day, makeup, beautybecause you are wearing a dark lip, you need to make sure to balance your eye makeup. It is a must that you wear some dark eyeliner and plentiful layers of mascara. Otherwise, you lips will steal the show and your eyes will disappear.

You can always be brave and mix the depth of the reds you choose to wear. I love this image of Ombré-Style red lips.

Megan fox red lips valentines day makeup beauty blue red liptstick

With all of this being said, be careful not to wear too much eye-makeup. Yes, you will need plenty of Eyeliner and Mascara (or some luscious falsies), but be careful to keep your eyeshadow in neutral tones. There are few who can carry off dramatic eyes and lips.

So remember as much as we love the thought of having dramatic red lips, make sure you are using the correct colour for your skin-tone so your lips can stand out for all the right reasons. Here are a few examples of people wearing a a Red Lipstick which is wrong for their skin-tone.

celebrity-red-lips-megan-fox-Red lips valentines day makeup red-lipstick how-to-apply-Red-lipstick

Limited-Edition Gift sets AND a new Luxury Boutique?? Benefit Cosmetics are SPOILING us this Christmas!

I love Benefit Cosmetics, as a company, as a brand, as a whole! So to be invited to the special VIP Grand Opening of their first Boutique in Ireland, I was perhaps a little too excited!

New Benefit Cosmetics Boutique, 17 south william street, Dublin

This is not only our first stand alone store in  the whole of Ireland but it is also now the new base for their regional office and training academy!

Nestled in the heart of Dublin, Benefit Cosmetics have created a one stop shop for all your beauty needs. Now there is no need to run from the beauty salon for your waxing… then over to your hairdresser and then to your trusty store to have your makeup done. Now you can have it all done in the one place. The new Benefit Boutique hosts a Beauty Bar to have your makeup done, a Blowout bar to have your hair styled to perfection, a Nail artist to perfect those lovely tips and then to top it all off they have a tanning booth and two cosy beauty rooms for all your waxing needs! Save yourself hours of running around and have everything done in the one place!

New Benefit Cosmetics Boutique, 17 south william street, Dublin

The boutique itself is set in a gorgeous listed building, converted into a bright and beautiful haven packed full of everything girls love! One of the main things I look at when I am at a beauty salon or off having my own make up done for a change, is the light in which you are being worked on with. A big problem with popping into department store makeup counters is that you are having your makeup done in totally artificial light, so as soon as you step outside into the natural light, BAM! Your makeup is no longer that perfect, flawless face you seen in the department store. But the light throughout the Benefit Boutique is like nothing I have ever seen before. It is flooded with such bright natural looking light, so you will have no nasty shocks when you walk outside, what you see is what you get.

New Benefit Cosmetics Boutique, 17 south william street, Dublin

While I was there on Friday night, I took advantage of the opportunity to play with all the new gift sets which are launched for Christmas every year. They make the perfect gift for any female so you need not be stuck for picking gifts this year!

You can view all the new limited edition Christmas sets available here on their website.

New Benefit Cosmetics Boutique, 17 south william street, DublinMy favourite, definitely has to be ‘Little Love Potions’ – It’s very similar to last years ‘Sexy Little Stowaways’. Which speaking from experience, sells out LIGHTENING FAST! This set is perfect for a gift for that girlfriend who hasn’t been able to try out Benefit Cosmetics Makeup, perhaps for financial reasons, this set is perfect because you get mini’s of all their best selling products. It is also amazing for the girl who travels a lot and can’t take all her full size products with her.

No VIP bash is complete without an awesome goodie bag, and boy oh boy my goodie bags was just that! I was treated to a super cool Gimme some lovin’ Gift box with lots of their best selling products.Gimme Some Lovin, Christmas Gift Sets, Benefit Cosmetics

But not only that, I was given the new ‘Bathina – Body Oil Mist’, oh my goodness I am in love! I have to say, I am a cult follower of the original ‘Bathina – Body Balm’, but I think it may be possible to convert me to the mist. It is scrumptious! Here is what Benefit Cosmetics have to say about the mist:

“Silky, sexy skin is impossible to resist. This super-fine body oil mist absorbs instantly for immediate hydration. It includes sweet almond, olive and avocado oils to leave skin feeling soft & moisturized…and vitamin E known to help keep it firm. With a seductive sheen and a hint of tempting fragrance, it’s lust at first touch!”

New Bathina Body Oil Mist by Benefit Cosmetics

What is not to love about that! It’s not only for the skin though, you can also massage into cuticles to instantly soften them and to leave nails with a subtle sheen.

So there we have it, not only have Benefit Cosmetics brought you yet another year of hassle free, guaranteed-to-please Christmas gifts, but they have also brought you all a brand spanking new Luxury and super cute Boutique in the heart of Dublin City!

2013-10-18 18.03.02

If you are in the Dublin area, pop in to see the lovely team at 17 South William Street.

The 3-Part Series of: Is She Letting Herself Go?


PART 1 :

“I don’t need to buy an expensive underwear to feel pretty”…

As you all know, the beauty industry is dictating new fashion trends, products that “should” be used by all of us and explaining, “what beauty should look like”. But we all are aware of how the marketing works and how it affects our perception of beauty.

Every morning when we wake up, we spend hours getting ready in order to look “perfect”.  We stand impatiently in 7bfront of the wardrobe to chose the right outfit for the day; our arms are tired from keeping them up for so long whilst doing make up and hair; and when we are done, we still do not feel as good as we should.

Let’s then take a step back and have a think: why do I need so many cosmetics, clothes, shoes, bags, etc. Is it because I like collecting things? Or maybe because I am a shopaholic? Or maybe I need a different outfit for different body weight throughout the year? Or maybe I just want to make other girls jealous?

Now, let’s think further: do I wear all that in a year? Do I have space for all these things? Do I put all that make up on my face every single day? How does it affect my skin?


Well, let me tell you this: as far as you feel good in your own skin, you look good!

In this series of posts I would like to teach you all girls, that beauty starts from us standing naked in front of the mirror and smiling. We do not need anything else, except nice, comfortable underwear to feel pretty. What we need is the “happy attitude”. In one of the blogs that I have been reading recently, men have complained not about the size of their girlfriends, but about them not looking after themselves!

And here we are, starting to build the fundamentals to a “feel good mode”.

Lingerie… do I need to go to Anne Summers, Roxbury, Calvin Klein and other 7dexpensive outlets to look great in underwear? No, you do not! If you do not feel happy, you will not look good in anything. So take a “happy pill” and focus on your shape, comfort and variety of products available to you for as little as you can get. Believe me, Triumph panties wear off quicker and wash the same in the washing machine as panties from Primark.

All women’s lingerie is widely accessible on the market where the big pound does 7enot play the main role anymore. It does not matter anymore what size you are and what shape your curves are; what matters is the right choice of your lingerie and if you simply feel good in it.

When thinking about the choice of your piece, you should stop thinking so much fashion, but focus more on comfort. It is not that easy to find the right design and quality, but it is important to spend as much time as possible exploring your body shape with various patterns and fabrics. And please ladies, do not look at magazines and how those girls look! It is not real! You are real! Just you and the mirror… smile 🙂 and let me know what your partner said about the “new” naked you..

Belfast Fashion Week returns for its sixteenth season in the city!

The change of season from summer to winter is never a welcomed one, but there is one silver lining – the return of West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK of course, which brings all the cosy winter fashion must-haves to help see fashionistas through the cold and miserable winter months. 

Belfast Fashion Week BFW

Enthusiastic fashion fans were out in force at the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Belfast last month, for the launch of the city’s sixteenth FASHIONWEEK event. The brunch event showcased a selection of looks from participant retailers and designers while director Cathy Martin outlined key looks for the season ahead from Ireland’s favourite fashion event.

This season’s events will run over four days from 10-13 October across various venues in Belfast but with the key catwalk shows returning to the iconic Ulster Museum in Botanic Gardens.  Following on the success of spring/summer shows, the contemporary and minimalist atrium at the historic building will once again be transformed into a fashion haven as hundreds of fashion fans gather to celebrate winter style.

Cathy Martin, director of FASHIONWEEK added: “We have a very busy schedule this season – and we have teamed up with Belfast City Council’s Restaurant Week to share some events, which is great for the city as a whole – but ideal for foodies and fashionistas”.

“In terms of trends to look out for this season, the key colours and patterns include deep reds and burgundy, pale pink hues, plaid and leopard print.  Texture is important too and we can expect to see leather, velvet, lace and chiffon as well as lots of embellishments.  As for shapes, design and cut – the turtleneck and poloneck are both back, and new this season are sexy thigh high splits on skirts and dresses as well as large oversized coats and capes.”

The city’s independent retailers and boutiques will kick off FASHIONWEEK on Thursday 10 October with CRUISE, Liberty Blue, Blush, Helen McAlinden and Diamond Dolls in Banbridge all confirmed to take part. In a move off the runway this season, leading designer Una Rodden will also host an exclusive and intimate fashion installation that evening, where her fashion will become art, in an alluring display of fabric, textile and texture.

Then for the ever popular High Street catwalk show, which sees the return of Next, Jigsaw, Mexx, CastleCourt, M&S, Oasis, Heaton’s and George at Asda – among others.

Saturday 12 October sees a busy, jam packed itinerary of chic events.  The popular Fashion Souk at Spire’s Mall will be selling vintage and previously owned pieces from 10am – 2pm, swiftly followed by a delicious Fashion Tea at the Merchant Hotel where designer emporium CRUISE will showcase their high end collections from Victoria Beckham, Armani, Vivienne Westwood and Marchesa, among others. This up-close-and-personal look at the season’s top end designer collections is an intimate and indulgent way to enjoy fashion at its most elegant.

Saturday evening will play host to some unique creations from our local talent with the popular designer night.  This season Nor Lisa, Goddess and Swift, Ruedi Maguire and Grainne Maher, among others, will all take part; dazzling crowds with their creative and quirky designs which never fail to impress the crowd. Lucky students from across Northern Ireland will also feature on the catwalk with selected outfits from the secondary school competition Junk Kouture, which challenges students to create fashion art from junk and recycled materials.

Also on the Saturday schedule is the ever popular highlight of the Diet Coke Design Award, which is back for the fourth year running. The award seeks to reward aspiring design talent – from design students to style fans with a passion for fashion.  Three stylistas will be shortlisted to have their ideas and sketches made up by designer Una Rodden and showcased on the catwalk at the finale night’s show on Saturday 12 October, where judges will decide which lucky fashionista will go on to win a mini scholarship to the London College of Fashion plus a shoot with photographer Khara Pringle.

Last but by no means least is Style Sunday, which will take place this season at SHU restaurant on Sunday 13 October from 1-5pm in association with Mencap.  This glamorous four course gourmet luncheon accompanies trend forecasts, a mini fashion show and seasonal style tips from some of the country’s top style experts. It is very often sold out within days of being launched.  Tickets cost £45.00 per person. Places can be booked directly through the restaurant on 028 9038 1655.

Once again, hair partner Andrew Mulvenna and his team will be tending to the tresses of all the models throughout the week and if previous seasons are anything to go by, we can expect to be blown away by his creativity.  Andrew said, “This autumn/winter I’ll be focusing on four key looks for women. 

“‘The Lady Undone’ is a quirky asymmetric version of Dusty Springfield but with a fresher look; ‘The Woman Warrior’ is all about volume – high at the sides, with hair pulled back from the face, channelling the power blow-dry which was really popular in the 90s; ‘Church Girl’ is a sweet angelic centre parted look in the style of grace Kelly only sleeker and more modern.  Lastly, we’ll be exploring with ‘The Tuck In’ which is the practice of creating a shorter look by tucking length into collars as well as making use of braids to create necklaces and collars.”

Throughout the week, breast cancer charity Pretty‘n’Pink will collect funds at all shows to support women who need to feel better about themselves after undergoing debilitating breast cancer surgery or treatment.

The full show schedule and design competition details are all available online at www.belfastfashionweek.com along with details of this season’s trends plus links to all participant retailers and sponsors.  Catwalk tickets, which cost £20 (or £25 for a limited number of exclusive front row seats), are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609 or via the website. Ticket price includes a fabulous goodie bag and a refreshing West Coast Cooler.

Schedule of shows:

  • Thursday 10 October 8pm, Designer Boutiques show
  • Friday 11 October – Fashion Friday Lunch demo – James Street South Restaurant
  • Friday 11 October 6-8pm Fashionweek at the Fitz! Private cocktail party with prizes up for grabs
  • Friday 11 October 8pm High Street Fashion Show, Ulster Museum
  • Saturday 12 October 10am – 2pm –  Fashion Souk at Spire’s Mall
  • Saturday 12 October 2pm – Fashion Tea, CRUISE designer emporium at The Merchant, showcasing Victoria Beckham, Armani, Vivienne Westwood, Marchesa etc 
  • Saturday 12 October 8pm NI Designers show and winner announcement of the Diet Coke Design Award, Ulster Museum
  • Sunday 13 October 1pm – 5pm Style Sunday, SHU Belfast

Tanning Friday Review: Garnier Ambre Solaire – No Streaks Bronzer, Natural Wash Off Gel

6aThis week’s fake tan is an instant, wash-off gel by Garnier. This is a great product for anyone who has either forgotten to tan in preparation for an event or night out, or who has an event sprung on them and needs a beautiful, natural looking tan asap! Instant tan is great for these situations because as soon as you have applied the gel, you immediately have a gorgeous summer tan!

However, as you will know from my other reviews, advance skin preparation is extremely important for any kind of fake tanning. This makes it difficult when you haven’t had time to prepare, but still want that perfect bronzed look! A lot of instant tans, however quickly they develop, still only look great and streak free when the skin has been prepared in advance.

6bAll that being said, this little beauty is a bit different – it is enriched with apricot extract which helps to keep your skin hydrated for up to 24 hours. This means that if you are caught out short, and have to quickly shave and exfoliate that same day, this is one of the only tans that I have found, which still goes on smoothly with no streaks, even when the prep is done just before application! So for me, this is a true instant tan, as you really can rely on it in these last minute situations.

I love the colour of this tan! It is extremely natural. Rather than orange, or drastically dark, it develops into a lovely, warm olive colour. Which means you can confidently apply it for day events as well as evening do’s.

6cThe gel is non-greasy and non-sticky and once applied feels smooth on your skin. Then on top of that, as mentioned, it keeps your skin hydrated so there is no drying out. This also means that you don’t get any offensive dry, orange patches forming in the usual places such as elbows, hands, knees and feet. I would still recommend using a bit of moisturiser in these areas before application though; this is a rule of any fake tanner that must always be done!

6dAs this tan is a gel, it is very easy to apply. Rather than a lotion which can run away from you and become hard to absorb, this gel is very easy to manage and rubs in easily, without any streaks whatsoever! I would always recommend using a tanning mitt for any fake tan application, however – again, if you are caught short and can’t find your mitt or don’t have it at hand, then this tan can be applied with your hands (as long as you wash them 6estraight away afterwards!)

This product has next to no smell. When applying you may get a small hint of a fruity, sweet aroma (which I really like), but once applied there is no noticeable smell at all.

If you are after a stunning and natural looking tan which is very easy to apply, and really can be used at the very last minute, then I would strongly recommend this product! It is also now available in a shimmer as well, if that’s the look you prefer.


Then, once you are all partied out, and have some very gorgeous pictures that you can’t wait to upload and proudly showcase to others…simply wash off with soap and water, it is easily removed.

At around £6.99 a bottle, this really is great value for money. It is available in Boots and many other beauty stores online and on the high street. And please let me know if you would like me to review any more of their fantastic range of products, which you can explore here