Matthew Curtis Hair Retreat at Hoar Cross Hall Spa Hotel

As a blogger I’m lucky enough to get invited to some fabulous events, but every now and then an invitation lands in my inbox that gets me especially excited, and and email asking me along to the launch of the new Matthew Curtis Hair Retreat at Hoar Cross Hall was definitely one that belonged in this category (I think there may have been an audible ‘squee’).

Hoar Cross Hall is a beautiful spa hotel that I’ve been to a few times now – my mother and I tend to have an annual Summer mini break there to catch up and relax in its gorgeous Staffordshire country house surroundings. I’ve had a few beauty treatments there, from facials to brow reshapes, but never used their hair salon – it was a bit away from the spa itself, and to be honest it had just never crossed my mind! [Read more…]

Review – PHB Ethical Beauty Shampoo & Conditioner

PHB Shampoo Conditioner review birmingham ethical beauty


So, hands up who knew that Birmingham has its very own ethical beauty brand? I hang my head in shame at the fact that I didn’t, especially now I’ve had the chance to try some of their products!

PHB Ethical Beauty was launched by Rose Brown in 2012. She was keen to develop a range of products that used cutting edge natural formulas and ethically sourced ingredients. The entire collection is organic, and free from alcohol, animal ingredients, animal testing, parabens, SLS, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, phtalates and petrochemicals. This means that they are ideal for sensitive skins, vegans, and those concerned about chemicals on their skin. [Read more…]

Giveaway – Nava Hair Straighteners

Fancy winning yourself the Nava Hair Straighteners that I reviewed recently here on the blog?

The lovely folks at Nava have a set to give to one of my luck readers! All you have to do is enter via the widget below.

Here’s the ‘small print’!

1. This giveaway is open internationally
2. The prize is one Nava Hair Straightener with a retail value of £79.99
3. The winner will be sent their prize directly from Nava (Emily Jayne takes no responsibility for this).
4. The giveaway will run for 3 weeks.

Best of luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review – Nava Hair Straighteners

My old, trusty straighteners are definitely starting to give up on me (you know the signs – they don’t get hot any more, they snag my hair like crazy, and no amount of cleaning will get rid of the product build up of them!) so when Nava Straighteners contacted me to see if I’d like to do a review, I jumped at the chance. 
The Nava Straightener arrived in a lovely navy blue box, and when I opened them up I found that they are a gorgeous metallic pink colour. There’s a nice long electrical cord on there – its so annoying when you have to start moving mirrors around or contorting yourself into odd positions because your hair tools won’t reach!

Here’s the techie stuff – they are designed with a 100% ceramic plate to distribute heat evenly, and use FAR-Infrared, a type of heat which apparently doesn’t damage the hair, and you can use a dial next to the on/off switch (which has a handy light indicator on it) to adjust the temperature from 60 degrees C to 230 degrees C, meaning that if you have fine or damaged hair you can turn it down – a feature I really like.
So, how well do they work? To be honest, I rarely use straighteners for actual straightening, due to my hair already being pretty darned straight in it’s natural state. Here it is after being washed and blasted dry…

Yup, pretty straight! However I do get a few in my layers and some flyaways, which a quick run of the straighteners through can help sort out. Here’s my hair after straightening the one side with the Nava…

(left side with Nava, right without)
I know there’s not a huge difference, but the straightened side is definitely smoother, and the layers are lying flat. For me the most common use of a styler like this is to make straightener curls. Here’s how the Nava did…

Bingo! Big, bouncy waves achieved with a simple flick of the wrist. The curved edges of the Nava help make these waves really easy, and I found that the plates slid smoothly even once my hair was wrapped around the styler, not snagging or getting stuck in a way that could damage my hair like other straighteners can. I used the highest heat setting to achieve this look, and it holds well. However be aware that the width of the plate means that you will get these large waves rather than a tight curl.

If you want to nab yourself a Nava Straightener they are currently available for a special introductory price of £79.99 in the UK (usually £99.99) with free shipping and a lifetime warranty. However, as a pre-Christmas treat, readers can grab an extra £30 off with my special voucher code ej_supersaver , you can get your pair here (and also look out for a special giveaway with Nava next week!)

Disclosure – Nava provided me with these straighteners for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links.

You can also find Nava on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram

Review – Getting Sunkissed Hair at Lisa Shepherd Wombourne

I’ve been a customer at Lisa Shepherd salon in Birmingham as long as I’ve lived in the city centre, and used to go to the Kidderminster Salon many moons ago, so when the LS team invited me to ‘complete the set’ by reviewing their Wombourne Salon, how could I resist?!

The salon is in a village just outside of Wolverhampton, and definitely has a more chilled out ‘village-y’ feel to it than the fast-paced city centre salon that I’m used to visiting. However, it still has all of the Lisa Shepherd trademarks that I love. Upon entering the salon I was greeted by the front of house manager, Michelle, who directed me to their waiting area where I could help myself to a drink. I went for a lovely coffee from one of their machines (as I’d not yet managed to get my daily caffeine fix!) but if a cold drink or a glass of wine is more your pace you’ll find a well stocked fridge (of course, it’s in LS yellow!)

I was then led over to my ‘pod’ seat, where Salon Manager Hayley began my appointment with a short consultation, asking about my hair history, and what I was looking to achieve. I explained my colour ‘journey’ from highlights, to bleached, to lavender (via pink and blue dip dye!), back to natural golden blonde via a pretty spectacular transformation, then to red, peach, finally being left at a blonde ombre long bob. (Phew, that’s quite a journey when I type it all out!!)

I explained that I love the low-maintenance aspect of the ombre, but really missed being a brighter blonde, as especially when I tie my hair back or put it up it feels really dark. So easy peasy (!) – I wanted to go much blonder, but keep the ombre look and avoid having to go back to having my roots done every 4-6 weeks again! (I really don’t miss those days, even if I do miss the blonde!) I had a feeling that my brief have been slightly impossible, but never fear, Hayley had a solution!

She suggested their Sunkissed service – a half head of highlights around my face and hairline (rather than the usual ‘top of the head down’ approach) that would noticeably brighten up the colour, but keeping the darker roots working towards the crown so that the ombre look wasn’t completely lost and the highlights would still work as they grew out.

Sounded perfect! So off we went. Foils were woven around my hairline and a few scattered further back to keep the colour looking blended. I then went off for a cup of tea in the waiting area and a relax with some magazines.

Once I was ‘cooked’, I was taken through to the wash room, which is dark, quiet and calming, with one of my favourite parts of the Lisa Shepherd experience – massage chairs! The chair reclines and your feet are raised and you are treated to a massage as your hair is washed. I must admit I relaxed so much, and the conditioning treatment that was applied smelled so good, I was tempted to have a little nap.

Then it was back through to the main salon area for my cut. As I’m growing my hair for my wedding (urgh, I’m such a cliche!) and it’s in pretty good condition since my last cut (thank you at-home oil treatments!) Hayley decided to not take anything off the length, but trim in my layers and take some of the weight out of the ends that has developed as it has got a little longer. I may have fine hair, but there is a lot of it which weighs it down flat at the roots,  and it can easily just grow out into a triangle shape if I’m not careful!

A quick trim and a bouncy blow dry later and boom – new, sunkissed hair.

It’s absolutely perfect – noticeably blonder, especially when I pull it back or put it up, but still very much natural looking with a darker root. It was also suggested that as it grows out I could maintain the look with the Brighter Lights treatment at the Express Color Bar (a series of quick ‘lunch hour’ services offered on a walk in basis at all Lisa Shepherd salons. You can read about my earlier experience of this here) which I will definitely be trying out in a few months time.

I’ve loved all of the colours that I’ve been, but there’s something about blonde that just feels ‘me’ – and I’m so much happier being a brighter shade!

Now I just have to resist that full head of highlights…

Disclosure: This service was provided to me free of charge for review purposes, however I am happy to (and frequently do!) spend my pennies at Lisa Shepherd Salons.