Wednesday, 26 August 2015

CND Aurora Collection: Shellac & Vinylux

When I saw the new CND Aurora Collection, I was blown away.  I hear so many nail techs asking for Shellac glitter shades that having two fantastic shades released today was just an overload!  This collection is launching worldwide on the 1st September 2015.

The CND Aurora Collection consists of four new CND Shellac shades along with the matching CND Vinylux colours.  There is not a new collection of Additives as the Contradictions Collection Additives were designed to perfectly pair with these new colours.

The four new colours that are joining the permanent collection are:

Winter Glow - A cream pastel pink shade
Glacial Mist - A mid toned blue glitter with hints of silver.
Nordic Lights - A deep purple with finger and chunky glitter in every Colour.
Tundra - A dusty rose metallic.

I'm actually so glad that they're part of the permanent collection as otherwise I would have had to buy a few back ups of each shade this time around!  I'll be honest, initially I was focusing on the two glitters, Glacial Mist and Nordic Lights but I know that Winter Glow and Tundra are also going to be huge hits with my clients.
I filmed the video at Creative Academy+ Manchester and whilst I was there I spotted the new Swarovski Crystal packs that are complimenting the Aurora collection and completely exclusive to them.  Orders for the crystals only can be placed by contacting them on 0845 2000 311.
Here is my video to introduce each shade to you as well as comparing them to the existing colours.  I do hope you find it useful.  Please come and follow my Facebook Page for future updates, I'm also on Twitter and Instagram - search for @liverpoollashes

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Slim Down Sunday: Week 15

I normally say that this week started off as usual but it really didn't.  Last Sunday I found out I was 3lbs away from 3 stone and I decided that I would do everything I could to try and get there for next Sunday.  Obviously I realise that 3lbs is a lot and is an amount I often lose at the moment, but not always so I had to brace myself on just missing out.  Of course I would be disappointed if that was the case but I know that I would definitely do it the following week.

I try not to go mad on Sunday's.  I know many people who are losing weight tend to have a "cheat day" after their weigh in and to me, that day would just set me back for the rest of the week.  The truth is, I'd love to have a day where as I could just eat anything I wanted just like I used to but not now.  Don't get me wrong though, when I reach my target weight I will definitely be enjoying my meals again but maintaining a steady weight.

That aside, when a friend invites me out to lunch I will chose a decent option, I pick what I want and not the healthiest and then all I will do is work out what it would have been in calories afterwards and have a small meal for the other meal that day.

The cravings are really bad at the moment.  It only takes someone to talk about something and I'm thinking about it constantly.  My friend mentioned that she had bought her son a Toblerone and that was all I wanted then.  I then moved onto pizza, all I wanted was a good pizza... And then cheese on toast!  I finally factored some cheese on toast into my day just to shut myself up and stop thinking about it.  

Fish fingers were my new thing for this week.  I've been thinking about them for a couple of months now, I'm not even kidding.  I totally blame Birdseye as they keep showing an advert where as the woman puts fish fingers in a wrap with salad, ahhhh the sheer thought of that is actually making my mouth water typing it.  

I'm fine with the cravings because I know that I am very much still in control of this weight loss.  I'm always harping on about losing 3 stone in 2011 but that was such a struggle at the end.  I would lose very little per week and be disheartened and it was almost coming to a grinding halt when I finally did hit the three stone mark.    My friend said to me on Thursday that I don't seem to have struggled.  I probably shouldn't tell you that as I'll jinx myself but the truth is, I haven't.  I'm not sure if its determination that I've never experienced before, the fact that last time I was following the Slimming World plan and I was driving myself mad repeating the same foods or that I finally seem to get the concept of weight loss but whatever it is, I'm happy.

I'm to the point now where as every client comments on my weight loss.  I don't expect people to be constantly complimenting me, as I say to everyone, it's my fault I got fat in the first place but it's nice that people can see what I've been feeling for these past few months.  Many say "I bet you feel great" and I really can't put it into works how great I actually feel.  I live near a little bridge and I remember a few years ago having to walk over it for some reason and going up to go over it was quite tiring.  Now I can do virtually power walk over it and for miles after it without my breathing even changing.  

I am still a fat girl at heart, I remember my fat girl ways and the things I used to enjoy eating which are all pretty shocking.    I actually can't imagine going back to them though this time.  Every other time I would think "oooooo but I could go and have a sneaky one of those and no one would know" but the difference now is that I would know and that's enough.
So the weigh in... Let's not waste any more time!  As you can see by the sparkler in my Krispy Kreme Reese's Donut, I hit spot on three stone with a loss of 3lbs.  I actually couldn't be more relieved that I actually hit this goal.  When I lit the sparkler I literally sat and thought of my achievement over these last 15 weeks for the three and a half seconds it was lit for(!)  I'm now at the exact point I gave up last time and I know that I'm not giving up this time, not a chance.  It's exciting as from now on, every new weight I am I haven't been here in at least 8 years and I literally cant believe it.  I suppose it does go to show what is possible when you truly focus your attention.
  • Every day we have a choice, it's a fresh start and the most important part from any healthy eating plan is to just try and make as many days, good ones.

  • Losing a pound a week is still over three and a half stone in a year!
  • If you're feeling particularly down about your weight, remember that if you stick to a balanced diet then by this time next week you could have dropped quite a few pounds, just the kick start you need to get going!  Even just by cutting down on treats you could make a difference, how good would that feel?!
Why not come and be my friend on the My Fitness Pal app - search for 'liverpoollashes'
If you have a FitBit then why not be my friend on that and send me a challenge? click here.
If you want to read my previous Slim Down Sunday posts - click here.
If you want to read my explanation of Slimming World - click here.
If you want to read my explanation of calorie counting and basic weight loss methods - click here.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Mystery Shopping A Salon

I signed up to a mystery shopping company a while ago but none of the assignments they had available were anything that suited or interested me.  I had read a follower had been talking quite a lot about mystery shopping her salon in a Facebook group so I volunteered to do it.  I suppose in my mind, there's no other person to check that the therapist is following their training than another therapist, I'm trained for most skills so I have knowledge about what should and shouldn't be happening, even if the training they received is a little different.

The truth is, we would like to think that clients aren't being swindled out of the full treatment and that the training the therapist received means that they do things to the book but this isn't always the case.  As you gain more experience you may realize that certain steps can be easier if you do things a different way  around.  In college the tutor reassured us that if we accidentally got confused with the steps of a manicure, the client didn't know any different and to carry on.  This is good advice to stop nerves but on the flip side it shouldn't be taken advantage of either.

I arranged with the salon owner to phone at a specific time of day as she knew who would be available to answer and wanted feedback on it.  Of course the phonecall is really important as it gives the initial impression of the company.  I know that I have an advantage with this because I worked for over ten years in customer services on phones so I was trained as to how to speak, how to mirror the clients tone and learning soft skills as well as not leaving large gaps whilst your speaking which can make you sound like you're unsure.  

I understand that if you've only worked in a salon environment then you won't necessarily have this training or experience but I'll run through some things that I have said to the salon owner and perhaps may be something you might want to consider for your own salon policies.  The last thing you want is for your client to get off the phone and think 'Hmmm I'm not going there.'
  • Once you find out the clients name, use it again in the call, it makes them feel valued.  It could be something like "So did you want CND Shellac with your pedicure Nicola?"
  • Sound enthusiastic about their appointment, I don't mean go over the top like an excited puppy but even just "oh you'll love your luxury facial as we've brought in this amazing moisture mask and it smells like oranges"
  • If you have to have a gap in the conversation if you're checking something, keep the client informed.  I would probably say don't leave it longer than around 20 seconds without saying something, even if it's just "oh I'm sorry about this, the computer is just taking a minute to show me the available dates."  
  • Make sure you sound confident to the client and speak clearly.  If you sound unsure, they will leave the phonecall unsure that you have everything under control.  
  • Close the call in a friendly, enthusiastic way, you want the client to put the phone down thinking "oh I can't wait for my appointment, they sound lovely."  You might want to say something along the lines of "we shall look forward to see you Nicola on the 29th September at 10.30am for your luxury pedicure!"
The therapist I spoke to  on the phone at this salon was actually the same therapist that was carrying out one of my treatments.  When I spoke to her on the phone she was quiet and answered in short sentences, literally just "yes" at one point however in person we had a giggle. From the phonecall alone it's a shame that her personality didn't shine through as I couldn't have felt more welcome when I was actually there. 

When I got to the salon (which I hadn't been to before) all staff were dressed smartly with an overall tidy appearance.  I feel like this makes such a difference.  Although I work from home and only with my existing clients, I personally do wear a uniform.  

The salon itself was extremely tidy and clean.  Everything had its place and I liked that as it was clutter free and very relaxing.  The floor was tiled and virtually gleaming so from a hygiene point of view, this was good to see.  Staying with the hygiene topic, the therapist also dispensed her products from the tubs using a spatula which is how I was trained.  To me this is standard practice but unfortunately I realise that it will not be globally at the same standard.
I had a neck, shoulders and back massage and a luxury pedicure.  I wont go into too much detail of what I said in regards to the therapist but there were a few things that I noticed were things such as a top coat being used as a base coat.  All of this was noted to be fed back.  

I also made a couple of suggestions of tools that I felt they could invest in to offer the best results and even a piece of inexpensive equipment that they hadn't seen before (and speaking to other therapists, they werent trained to use them) that would just make their pedicures more comfortable.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this little bit of undercover work.  Since I'm not actively on photographs I can go undetected although the staff were aware that someone would be visiting within the month.  I think it's definitely worth doing so that you can truly find out how the average client is made feels about the service you offer.  Also if the client doesn't return, it may give you an idea of why the business could have been lost.