Hello you lovely lot!

I've missed our little Sunday Beauty School meetings. Truth be told, I've been a bad student.

Way back when I started Bridal Musings and these beauty posts I shared my story of going from beauty school dropout to beauty queen. Well, someone who looked half decent on her wedding day, at least. A big part of that story was learning to take care of my nails. I had been biting my nails my whole life but in the run up to my wedding and beyond I managed to grow and maintain long, pretty, healthy nails {with a little help from bio-sculpture gel}.

{via All About Fashion }

However, in the last few months, without the motivation of ‘the wedding' and being under quite a bit of stress, I started biting again. Oh the shame.

Anyway, as some of you may recall, I had a glamourous wedding industry soiree to attend a couple of weeks ago which I was rather nervous about. I had the dress, and my hair and make up plan sorted {ish}. But when I tried on my outfit a couple of days before and did a few poses in the mirror with my imaginary champagne glass {you all do it too don't you?} I gasped at my stumpy bitten nails. They just wouldn't do. But as I only had 2 days till the soiree the only way to miraculously go from bitten to beautiful was to go artificial.

In hindsight, I think bitten nails would've have been a fair better option than what I am left with. As I type this post, I'm looking down at dried out, paper thin, ridged, broken, sore nails.

Let me tell you the story of the worst beauty treatment of my life…

I saw that the local high street salon had a sign for ‘gel nails' I popped my head in to ask for more info and to see if they could squeeze me in. The receptionist ushered me into the seat in front of their specialist nail therapist {who didn't speak much English at all}, she grabbed my hands and asked what I wanted. I said ‘gel nails' and before I knew it she had turned on this horrific buffing machine and was using what looked like a dentist's tool to scrape the top layer of my own nails off!!!

There was a moment when I thought, shall I run? But then I remembered the soiree…and thought how lovely it'd be to have pretty nails.

{Dream nails via Style Frizz}

There was no sanitizing of hands or products, I noticed the therapist had rough hands and uncared for nails herself ~ which is never a good sign. She didn't soak my hands in hot water or gently push back my cuticles but gave them a quick, harsh poke with an orange stick. I was shocked at how roughly she handled my hands and fingers. When I think of that buffing machine it makes me shudder ~ it made such an awful sound when it was cutting through my poor nails and the therapist rushed through each nail like it was a race.

I later realised that it really was a race to fit as many people as possible because as my treatment was coming to an end and the therapist was finishing my 2nd coat of polish, another lady came in and asked if she could have her nails done so I was swiftly instructed to move to the corner of the table {sans a topcoat} to dry my nails in the little drying machine while the therapist grabbed the other lady's hands and got to work. Talk about a conveyor belt!

Also, the therapist took a call. Yes that's right, as she was doing my nails, she answered her mobile and started chatting away for 10 minutes.

But worst of all…she didn't actually use gel {at the time I was wondering why the process was so different to how Chantal, my lovely therapist, who did my gel nails in the run up to my wedding did them}. It was so different because she was actually applying ACRYLIC NAILS! If I had known they were acrylic I would have steered clear.

I wanted to scream at the unprofessionalism of it all and although the finished product looked OK, the service was appalling and ‘after care' was not in their vocabularly…

{Me, Annabel of Love My Dress, photographer, Neda and my half decent looking red nails at the soiree.}

I asked, how do I take them off? The therapist said ‘acetone nail polish remover ~ it's easy'. I asked if I should come back to the salon to have them removed she said ‘no, use acetone'. I also asked the receptionist, who spoke fluent English, just in case I'd misunderstood, and she agreed ‘you just soak them in nail polish remover'.

Folks, let me tell you it's NOT that easy. Last night I popped my nails into a bowl of acetone nail polish remover thinking half an hour should definitely do it as I choked on the chemically smell. Yet when I pulled them out, nothing had happened apart from the top layer went gloopy! Another half hour later and I ended up with dried out, prune like hands and gloopy, sticky nails that were just not coming off.

Then I did a bit of internet research and tried different tactics ~ putting a bowl of hot water under the bowl of nail polish remover, wrapping my nails in acetone soaked tissue and clingfilm…then tin foil and using an orange stick to gently scrape them off. This took me over 2 hours. When that wasn't working and I was in a sticky, gloopy mess, with no hope of getting to the salon till Monday, I ended up having to pry them off. Something I do not recommend at all!

It was like a horror film in our flat last night!

Ok so my nails looked pretty for the soiree…they looked pretty for the next week and a half, in fact. But looking at them now, it's definitely not worth it.

Friends have told me of this sort of quick fix horror story happening to them in the run up to their wedding and having chipped, broken, damaged nails by the end of their honeymoon. And I don't want any of you to go through what I did last night, especially when you're trying to look your best for your wedding so here's some more information on different types of artificial nails and more on my preferred option gel nails.

So what have we learned from my ‘quick fix' mistake?

~ Do your research and find a therapist you feel comfortable with ~ there are some FANTASTIC therapists and salons out there!

~ Never go for panic beauty treatments, especially in the run up to your wedding! Here's a fabulous guide on big day beauty preparations from an expert.

~ Remember that you get what you pay for ~ I only paid £20 for that treatment

~ Make sure you understand the after care instructions ~ in the case of acrylic nails, from my experience, I'd say get a professional to take them off for you so as not to risk damaging your own nails

Have a lovely Sunday, whatever you're up to. I will be spending mine applying hand cream and nail oil to my poor little, traumatized nails.

Anyone else had good/bad experiences with gel nails? Or any beauty treatment horror stories?!