Beauty Review: Cliphair Hair Extensions Review and Dying At Home

If you've read my blog for a while, you will know that 75% of my hair is FAKE. Yep. This humble head of hair is over half extensions. 

It's been like that for around 5 years now. From simply experimenting for nights out, to them becoming my daily savior. As I've got older, I've become more reliant on these faux tresses attached in to mine.

From clip in extensions I quickly progressed to using Micro Rings and attaching a weft of hair at home, myself. A lot of people associate the micro ring style of extensions with the single attachments, where you have loads of the tiny rings placed in your hair in individual extensions. I don't like this style personally, as it makes your head feel much heavier and it's so weird to feel like a walking pinhead all the time!

The advantages of attaching a weft (long strip of extensions, for anyone unfamiliar with the terminology), is that you use less micro rings and they can sit more comfortably against your head.

For a longer length of hair extensions, I will use around 6 micro rings. I always attach these myself.

If I go to the salon to have my extensions fitted though, I now opt for the LA Weave Extension fitting.

Dying ClipHair Extensions at Home.

Because my hair is dip dye/ombre/balayage/whatever the label is nowadays, I always have to buy extensions in a lighter colour and dye them myself at home.

Opting for a honey blonde shade, this also gives a better tone for dying with red dyes - as the ashier blondes fade quicker and don't blend in as well.

Dying the hair is very simple. Sometimes I fit them in my hair first and apply the hair dye as I normally would; concentrating on the roots and working down to create the fade, and then sometimes I will do them before I attach them. Both methods probably take the same amount of time altogether to be honest though! I usually opt for attaching first then dying.

Cliphair extensions have probably been the easiest to dye at home, out of most I've tried. Beauty Works have really let their quality of hair go to pot over the last year or so and other hair extensions tend to be a mix of synthetic and real hair (but pretending to be all real!)

I've bought 4 lots of Cliphair extensions now, which kind of speaks for itself as an endorsement!

dying hair extensions at home

Tips for Dying Hair Extensions at Home:

  • Give the hair a quick wash with a clarifying shampoo and dry before dying for the first time - most hair has a silicone coating on to add the silkiness.
  • Treat the hair with extra care when rinsing and try not to wash again for 5-7 days after you've dyed them to help the colour really stain the hair. 
  • If washing or dying extensions at home, use a coat hanger for skirts to attach them to and make blow drying a lot easier!

For my latest round of hair extensions, I've chosen this set of clip ins  and taken the clips off half and fitted the rest. That way I have the versatility of adding extra volume for nights out too!

Travel Blog: A Weekend in Amsterdam!

Travel Blog: A Weekend in Amsterdam!
As mentioned in my last travel blog post,  Charl and I went to Amsterdam for the weekend with Clink Hostels!

Amsterdam is one of those places that has intrigued me for years. I mean, being bought up on Eurotrash for TV entertainment meant that I already had a rather fruity view of Europe as it was. Alongside the constant talk of 'coffee shops' and the red light district, I wasn't quite sure what I was letting myself in for...

However, the experience certainly surprised me...

3 Things I Learnt from my Amsterdam Trip

Hostels are not gross:

I always had an impression that hostels would be properly slumming it. Whilst I was informed that the Clink Noord Hostel was 'nice' as far as hostels go, I still had my doubts before turning up! However, once inside, it was pretty much like a really nice student halls or accommodation. Spacious communal areas, alongside a bar downstairs meant you could really relax and spread out from the dormitory style rooms.

The room we stayed in had 4 beds, made up of two bunk beds. The rooms themselves are definitely function over form, as they lack space to really relax. However, the aforementioned spacious communal areas are there to make up for this. Each room also has their own shower and separate toilet, alongside the plethora of communal ones up and down the corridors. 

Sleeping in a room with 4 'strangers' isn't all that bad (granted, one of the people I was sharing with was Charl!), as each bed is kind of private and you don't really notice the people around you that much once you are lay down in your bunk. Each bunk also has its own plug sockets, USB socket and light so you that you don't disturb others if you need to see what you're doing in the dark!
inside clink hostel amsterdam noord
inside clink hostel amsterdam noord

You can walk for hours and not get bored:

As soon as we landed we started walking.... And walking... AND WALKING. Not once did we get bored, not once did we get lost, not once did we actually notice the length of time we were on our feet.

Amsterdam is such a gorgeous city full of nooks and crannies to emerge yourself in.

I am the biggest baby when it comes to safety in big cities and sometimes feel on edge when I visit somewhere new. You know, like when you walk down a street and there's a rough and tumble atmosphere. At no points in Amsterdam did I feel on edge or unsafe.

There were many shops, bars and food spots to have quick pit stops in whenever we felt a pang of hunger or a hint of thirst. My personal favourite was the FEBO shops. FEBO are basically a bit like the Amsterdam equivalent of Greggs in England. Quick, cheap, probably pretty unhealthy, but there's one in most areas. I kept going for the Kalfsvleeskroket, which is a deep fried croquet of gooey, creamy ragout. Strange at first bite, but delicious once you get used to it.

It's not as seedy or weed-y as people make out:

Before I went to Amsterdam, I'll be honest, I thought it would be a bit gross. People always go on about the red light district and the coffee shops don't they? The reality is that this makes up for around 5% of the things you'll see and experience on the trip.

The coffee shops are discrete and blend in to the surroundings. Some of them you really have to be told about before you even realise what they are. I envisioned people smoking all over the place, on the streets and everywhere. But nope. They simply do it in places where it is permitted, where they are also generally well ventilated and clean looking (of course, I'm the most anti-smoking person ever too, so for me to say this factor was okay is quite the achievement).

The red light district was as you'd expect, but not quite as full on as you'd imagine. Especially during the day time.

Yes there's sex shops and yes there are ladies in the windows. But mostly you'll see neon lights, stag and hen parties having a good time and the occasional butt plug in a window to make you wince and lol in equal measures. But if you don't like it, you literally walk a minute the other way and you're back in the beautiful, quite and calm surroundings of Amsterdam.

All in all, I cannot WAIT to go back to Amsterdam!!

The weather was beautiful, the sights were amazing and the hospitality of Clink Hostel was perfect. 

Other Hidden Treasures of Amsterdam

As mentioned, the Clink Hostel in Amsterdam was located in Noord. Being the Northern end of the city, this often goes forgotten about when people visit. We were lucky enough to not only experience the Adam Lookout, which features the highest swing in Europe(!), but also explore Amsterdam Noord by boat and bike.

boat ride with pure boats amsterdam

As featured on my YouTube video(click HERE to watch) the boat trip (provided by Pure Boats Amsterdam) was a perfectly relaxing way to spend the morning. You can hire the boat for £250 for 90 minutes, which initially sounds expensive. However, it can take up to 10 people per trip. This means you can enjoy the boat trip and a few sneaky local alcoholic beverages for £25 each if you max out the numbers! Don't know about you, but that sounds cheap as chips doesn't it?

We also hired some bikes out from Tip Amsterdam Noord, and rode them non stop for 4 hours around the northern area. On our travels we saw plenty of canals and beautiful houses. We also visited a place called NDSM. 

NDSM has many amazing things to explore and look at. Including the large boathouse, which is an abandoned ship yard, now full of storage containers where local artists display and create their work.

Travel Blog: A Weekend in Amsterdam!

Lifestyle Blog: My Experience with NHS Waiting Times & Wisdom Teeth Extraction

In a previous post, I spoke about how I would never visit an NHS Dentist again. I will only ever go private from now on. If you have a read (here) you will discover why.

Dentists are often forgotten about when it comes to talking about the NHS. I could rant on for ages about how must stress it is to try and get a doctors appointment at my local surgery - but after discussing this on Twitter and in general life, it's certainly no secret that doctor's appointments are ridiculous to try and get. Especially in my case when it was a non-emergency one for a routine mole check.

Because I was told I couldn't get an appointment that day (which I didn't want anyway) I requested one for whenever the next availability was. They told me they could only book me in on the day the appointment was required and I'd have to call every day at 8.30am. A time when I'm actually driving to work. They then said I could ring back the following day for an appointment the next Tuesday... I asked to book said appointment on the phone that day and they said that I could not.

All in all, a very infuriating experience. To which I still have no appointment, as I simply gave up.

Doctor appointment disgruntlement aside, let's get back to the Dentist waiting times and how my Wisdom Tooth Extraction experience has gone.

As explained in the previous post about NHS Dentist Services, I feel that it is extra important to have your teeth attended to as quickly as possible when issues arise. My dad is in the process of a claim due to negligence from his NHS Dentist and the lack of service provided there.(It's also worth noting that if you have a query you can ask someone like Your legal friend about NHS claims)

After attending a private dentist, she instantly referred me to the hospital to have my wisdom teeth removed. As one is growing impacted and the other is already decaying due to the shape of the tooth trapping food in a concave, she recommended that the best course of action was to take them out.

The initial referral actually took place around 11 weeks ago, and I've been waiting around 10 weeks for the hospital appointment for the consultation. 

When I arrived for the appointment, I was surprised that I was actually seen around 10 minutes after the scheduled time. I mean, once you get a doctors appointment after the endurance test of booking one, I've waited anything from 30 minutes for to an hour in the surgery with appointments always running late.

The consultation was fine. I had to go for an X-Ray, then sat back down for 5 minutes, then was called in to see the doctor? (Or are they still dentists? I don't know)....

Anyway, she explained the X-Ray and the position of the teeth, then after a conversation where I felt like I had to convince her to remove them, she decided that the extraction was the best solution. During this time she also went though the options for 'pain avoidance' during the procedure. I had the option of local anesthetic, sedation or general anesthetic.  

I chose sedation, as I've never had this before and thought it would be the best 'in between' option. 

She advised that the waiting time for the extraction could be another 8-12 weeks, however, I was called the very next day and booked in for the following Friday as a cancellation had come up. 

Wisdom Tooth Removal Experience

My appointment was at 2pm and pretty much as soon as I sat down at 1.55pm they called me in.

As I've never been in hospital for an actual procedure before, I wasn't sure what to expect. To be honest, the idea of a needle in my arm REALLY freaks me out - but that's what I needed to have for the sedation to happen.

Sedation basically makes you kind of ignorant to what's going on. Like you're awake but can't feel anything and your memory is slightly hazy.

Upon entering the room where I actually had to have the sedation done, I expressed that the bit that freaked me out was the needle in my hand and the doctor advised that I was better to just have local anesthetic and see how I go.

The nurses were all so lovely and really put me at ease about it all. I trusted them enough to go with what they were saying and within seconds I was in the chair with the local anesthetic being administered through that massive needle thing.

The pain of that was way worse than the one you get at the dentist for fillings. I could literally feel it move in and through my gum. She injected around 4 times, but after the second the pain eased. Within seconds the whole right hand side of my mouth became numb. As I couldn't feel anything from this point I decided that I didn't need the sedation after all.

As I needed two teeth out they said they would do one on this trip and the second at another time. They chose to remove the impacted tooth (which means it was growing sideways in to my other teeth) as this was the one which was causing most trouble. The one on the other side is just growing upwards so can wait a little longer.

I suppose the easiest way to describe the procedure is by listing the questions I had beforehand and answering them from my personal experience:

Did it hurt?

The procedure itself didn't hurt at all. It was just the pressure and pulling feeling in and around my mouth. She had to drill several times to shorten the tooth slightly, so that she could pivot and pull it out. A bit that did actually hurt was when they were stitching it up and the other nurse accidentally stabbed my lip with the scissors when she went to cut the string... She was VERY apologetic though, so I felt quite bad for her, as it was clearly a complete accident.

How long did it take?

Because the tooth ended up being a little more troublesome than initially thought, it took around 25 minutes. There was a lot of to and fro with the drilling and apparently the knife, because the incision I've had to have stitched up is huge! It runs from my back tooth up and around the jawline. As the tooth wasn't fully grown, it was a little deeper in the gum line than a fully grown one. They had to keep drilling down the tooth as it was so close to my existing teeth that there was no pivot area to pull it around and out. 

Did my face swell and hurt afterwards?

Yes. Very much.

I assumed beforehand that it wouldn't, as I thought it would be a pretty standard procedure and a straight 'in, out' job. But as mentioned, it was a little more difficult to remove than I expected. As it was 2pm in the afternoon, the first evening it wasn't too bad. In fact, I was surprised at how little swelling there was. The next day though? My cheek had doubled in size.

The pain was awful once the anesthetic wore off. A consistent pain that didn't seem to let up. This was soothed with ibuprofen though. After day 2 my chin and lip also started to feel numb, which is apparently quite normal.

Could I eat anything but soup afterwards?

Being a food lover I did try and eat a cheese and ham toastie the same evening. It was hard going, but manageable in small bites. The same the next day when I treated myself to a Five Guys burger. Tough and slow, but totally worth it.

On the third day, the inside of my mouth had swollen up as well as my cheek though. So I realised I had to be more sensible. Now I'm on a strict diet of soup and yoghurts to ensure I don't irritate the wound any further.

Would I do it again?

I am actually waiting for a date to have the other side out, but after this experience I think I might pass. Unless it is absolutely crucial. The reason that one needs taking out is more to do with the condition of the tooth, rather than position. I will ask my dentist the next time I go what her opinion is though, as she may recommend a filling.

With that in mind though, the remaining tooth should be easier to remove as it is growing straight, not sideways.

I wouldn't bother booking in for sedation again and go straight for local anesthetic. As, like I say, the procedure itself wasn't actually that bad. It was manageable pain. It's the after effects which have hit my unexpectedly by surprise.

I'm only on day 4 at the moment of the healing process. And so far it is healing exactly how the internet is telling me it will. I've had to have a day off work due to the pain, as it does make it fairly difficult to sleep at night too. But this was expected apparently. Even though I said on Friday I wouldn't need any time off!

So really, whilst there are good stories out there about wisdom tooth removal, I unfortunately cannot vouch for them! However, I did walk in fairly optimistically beforehand thinking it would be pain and fuss free.

Taking everything in to account though, the staff at the hospital were actually brilliant and the waiting times at the hospital itself were nothing to be snarked at. 

Music Blog: Gig List Autumn/Winter 2017

music blog uk
Since festival season is over and dark nights are creeping in, it's time to focus on some casual enjoyment in some smaller venues throughout the UK.

I'm really loving this revival of guitar music which has been progressively creeping back in over the past few years.

By this I mean that genres like Dubstep, Weird Dance and Boy Bands like One Direction have been and gone and there's a lot more of these *real bands* in the charts. In fact, The National and their latest album 'Sleep Well Beast' recently got to number one in the UK album charts!?

Alongside this mini-revival comes a shed load of gigs that I really want to attend:

Weezer // October 2017

After recently planning a series of gigs in 2018, where they will be supporting Foo Fighters in Australia, Weezer are heading out on somewhat of a 'warm up' tour on various dates around America and the UK starting in October. I've already got tickets to the London leg of the tour, because I knew I had to see them again after catching them at Sonisphere a few years ago! Expect to know more songs than you thought you did, alongside a weird and wonderful performance by lead singer Rivers Cuomo.

At The Drive in & Death From Above 1979

Honestly, the idea of these two bands performing at the same show on the same night brings me so much joy. With a plethora of noise coming at you from every direction, it's going to be like sticking your head in a jet engine - but in the most enjoyable way. Even though this tour doesn't kick off until March 2018, I'm already SO excited about it.

Gorillaz - Humanz Tour

From the end of November and on selected dates in December, Gorillaz are somehow taking to the stage in the UK. I need to see them at some point out of intrigue, because you know; they're cartoons?  I always watch this Madonna and Gorillaz video on YouTube wondering how they actually did it, with her weaving in and out of the projected band members. Boggles my brain it does.

Are there any gigs you're looking forward to seeing this season?

Food Blog: Beefeater Bar + Block Steakhouse, Birmingham

Beefeater Bar + Block Steakhouse, Birmingham

Whenever I think of Beefeater I always think of those horrible chain pubs with no character or personality. I'm not sure why, as to be honest I cannot recollect a time I have ever actually visited a Beefeater restaurant in my life, but I think it is the one that used to have a Bear as a mascot isn't it? Well if it was, times have certainly changed and the Beefeater Bar + Block Steakhouse in Birmingham has done a sterling effort of breaking my silly preconceptions of the franchise! Granted, this version isn't like your standard Beefeater Grill and is a slightly 'posher' version, but they still serve a variety of classics, alongside it's main attraction. And that main attraction comes the form of STEAK.

I visited the restaurant a few weeks ago with my bloggy pal Tereza from Cityscape Bliss (You can see a vlog of the day over on my YouTube channel here). By the time we'd done some shopping we were feeling pretty ravenous, so as soon as we sat down we ordered a cocktail each and the waiter bought over some of the meaty flavoured popcorn, which was highly addictive from the first bite. Before we even looked at the mains menu we spotted the intriguing Chicken Wings, which came in a BBQ, Raspberry and Tabasco sauce. If there's one thing I love it's a contradiction of flavours, so these were straight on the waiters list to bring to our table. We did decide to share the starter, but in retrospect it would have been better to go for one each. When eating to yourself it was an adequate portion, but when sharing the size was probably just under 'enough' and you got 2 wings each. The sauce itself was nice. It has a little bit of a kick with a tangy, fruity flavour. I'd definitely guzzle these down again all to myself.

For main course, well, I simply had to go for a steak didn't I? A 10oz Sirloin Steak to be exact. Served with a side order of sweet potato fries which had a sprinkling of goats cheese and chorizo on the top. Good God, I am drooling just at the thought of that combination. It raised so many questions, such as WHY THE HELL HAVE I NEVER COMBINED GOATS CHEESE AND CHORIZO BEFORE? The sweetness of the fries also added to the amazing experience eating this side order of deliciousness was. 

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the side view of my steak? This juicy, juicy bad boy was possible one of the most delectable pieces of meat I have ever put in to my mouth. The knife glided through like butter and the texture was the epitome of melt-in-your-mouth. 

I only have one criticism of the meal which comes in the form of the Chimichurri sauce which I had on the side of the plate. This was probably my own mistake though, as I thought Chimichurri was a spicy sauce, where as this was a powerful garlic taste. I don't usually mix well with garlic, so after a few attempts at eating it I left it be. However, with a steak so succulent it was almost a crime to even think about having a sauce with it anyway.

For Dessert I chose some Lemon Sorbet to take the edge off the garlic flavour that was residing in my mouth. No matter what the meal, or however filling, there is always room for a light, refreshing sorbet.

Overall, the experience at Beefeater Bar + Block in Birmingham has swayed me in to trying more of the Beefeater restaurants and has certainly altered my opinion of the Beefeater name as a whole! Not only was the food excellent, but the service was quick and friendly, with the waiter not realising until the end that we were there for review purposes. Prices are about average for a steak eatery, with the cuts of meat setting you back between £11.95 for a basic rump, up to £24.95 for the different fillets.

Travel Blog: Packing for a Weekend in Amsterdam

This weekend Charl and I are heading for a little weekend in Amsterdam with Clink Hostels!

I'm SO excited, as everyone keeps telling me how great it is to visit. Forgetting the *obvious* attractions in the city, there's also a tonne of heritage and interesting places to see and do.

With the weather across the globe seemingly erratic AF at the moment, I'm attempting to pack cleverly, by pretty much taking on a 'festival packing' mentality. As it's hand luggage only, we're talking light layers, waterproofs and comfort.

The team at CLINK Hostels (who are being ever so kind and organising our trip) have also mentioned that there will be filming during our adventure as well. Eep. So we have the following to consider:

Potential sun
Potential rain
Comfort for being a tourist
Pretending I have a slight sense of style

So what do you pack for a weekend in Amsterdam?

A Lightweight Waterproof Coat

This waterproof coat from Millets is perfect for weather that's not quite cold, but a little chilly, but also kinda sunny but definitely gonna rain at some point... Which let's face it, pretty much sums up the weather in the UK and Europe at the moment it seems. In this blue nautical style, it's also perfect for those who want one of those yellow rain macs but just KNOW they'll look like an actual child in it. I mean, I really, really want one, but this is the closest to nautical/fisherman chic without being ID-ed.

A Small yet Versatile Backpack

This backpack was from TK Maxx and it's perfect for dressing up or down for (most) occasions. I used to use it all the time when I commuted to Manchester for work, as it doesn't stick out like other backpacks tend to. It squeezes my lightweight coat in and also any other essentials I'll need throughout the day. As we are doing a bike ride on the Saturday this is going to be ideal for that.

what to pack for a weekend in amsterdam

Comfortable Footwear

I'm taking my failsafe Clarks Boots in case it is a rainy weekend, as they are SO comfortable, and waterpoof. Alongside those I am also taking my Nike Trainers because I basically live in these anyway so makes sense! I find it hard to wear certain shoes for a length of time because I have awkward feet, but I literally can't go wrong with these two options for footwear. 

And the essentials, of course...

Mini toiletries, change of pants, disposable contact lenses and a pair of glasses! 

These glasses were from which is another overseas retailer who beat UK high street prices. They always have loads of offers on, like getting your first pair of glasses for free(!) - So worth checking out. 

Of course, I'll be reporting back here on the blog about all the fun things we get up to in 'The 'Dam' so check back if you're interested!

About Hello Terri Lowe

A UK Lifestyle, Food, Beauty and Music Blog, based in Staffordshire, you can also expect to see reviews of places around the country. Often spotted Manchester or Birmingham at the weekends, you can expect to see a little bit of everything from festivals to food and everything in-between. When not blogging, you can find me having a nice sit down with my cats, Stevie and Kitty, or enjoying a fine cup of coffee. Don't forget to take a look at my 'about' page if you're interested in collaborating on any exciting opportunities!

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