Today I visited The Belmore Centre for a Deluxe Manicure. I last had a manicure almost seven years ago before I had my children, which involved the regular upkeep of plastic fake looking acrylic nail extensions at the local bustling Chinese-owned nail bar in town. They always left my nail beds bleeding and my hands looking like ridiculous Freddy Kruger claws – at my own request I should add. I’m blaming the fashion of the good old days for my plastic claw desire and hope that if I cringe enough from the memory of it then it will somehow erase itself entirely.
Fast forward almost a decade and I’ve decided to come for a manicure today, and it’s not just any old manicure, it’s the Belmore Deluxe Manicure! My hands are dry and old looking, washed out, worn out and sadly neglected from way too many hours in the washing up tub. My hand regime is to pop on a bit of moisturiser whenever I’m not rushing around too much to remember; but it’s often washed off several minutes later when I wash my hands, do the dishes, clean the house or have a shower where my hands go back to their shrivelled and sad looking selves almost instantly. I do like to keep my nails painted, which always looks so pretty to start with, but not even twenty-four hours after spending rather painstaking time and effort on painting my nails and I always seem to crack and chip them somehow, if not snap my nails off completely whilst rushing around after the children. I like my nails to be natural looking, I grow them as long as I can, and they only ever seem to look good for the first few hours after I’ve painted them so long as I don’t get fluff stuck in the varnish or dent and smudge them from touching things before they dry. Somebody call in the professionals! Oh, they did, thank heavens for The Belmore Centre.
Pulling into the car park of the Belmore Centre which was clearly signposted from the main Stoke Mandeville Hospital road, I was pleasantly greeted by the friendly and welcoming staff at reception before being shown to a beautiful white stone waiting area filled with beauty products, soft lighting and soothing music. A few moments later I was greeted by Lauren, my therapist, and shown to a peaceful, cosy and quiet treatment room upstairs which was furnished with beautiful white and purple materials and sumptuous soft fluffy towels. After answering a few questions about my health concerning the procedure that I was about to have, Lauren showed me to a chair where I sat down and the forty-five minute appointment began.
Lauren began by filing my nails to shape for which I chose square as opposed to round tips. Unfortunately I’d broken a nail this morning which tore it down to the skin and made my middle finger very tender, it also meant that my other nails would have to be shortened down to balance out the length and make them look more uniformed. My second school-boy error was to have worn a dark red nail varnish which I removed just before my appointment and in doing so had smeared the colour all across my fingers like a child returning home from messy play. What a relief it was to put myself in the hands of a professional beauty therapist, poor Lauren certainly had her work cut out with me!
I then had a liquid squirted onto my cuticles to soften the skin at the base of the nail so that it could be pushed back and trimmed off, which was completely painless, giving the perfect clear nail area for painting. And then came the amazing paraffin wax bath for which I dipped my hands into the warm cloudy water, instantly coating and moisturising my skin as it formed a seamlessly gorgeous glossy case around my hands. My smooth waxy hands was then wrapped in an airtight bag before being tucked into a soft mitt and left to hibernate in their warm womb-like wraps.
After a few minutes the mitts and plastic was peeled back and the wax rolled off in a perfect glove leaving my hands looking so much younger, plump and impossibly smooth to rival the skin of a newborn baby. Lauren then gave me a dreamy hand massage which worked out the aches and strains starting from my cracking tight wrists right down to my aching fingertips, leaving them not only feeling beautifully smooth but revitalised and lighter than air.
My nails were then buffed and filed lightly to remove any traces of wax before the varnish was applied. With a selection board covering every colour of the rainbow I ooh’d and ahh’d for a few minutes before finally settling on a gorgeous espresso brown colour that twinkled with a metallic shimmer. First a base coat was applied to my nails followed by two coats of colour and a top coat for which I placed my hand under a drying machine in between to set each layer. Minutes later and my Deluxe Manicure was finished and my hands transformed. Not only do my nails look natural, sophisticated and perfectly glossy, but my hands are beautifully soft, younger looking and thanks to the massage and paraffin wax they feel amazing too. I adored my Deluxe Manicure today and at just £27.00 it’s the prefect Christmas stocking filler or gift idea for a loved one. I now have stunningly perfect nails that will last between two to four weeks before my nails regrow which quite frankly put my old plastic claws to shame and have gloriously restored my faith in manicures. It was the perfect bit of ‘me’ time that I needed and I can’t wait to work my way through every colour on the chart throughout the year. Perhaps next month I’ll try a French Manicure.