I finally took the plunge and submitted my first piece of coursework a couple of weeks back and received my first certificate on my journey to being a nail technician.  Now to crack on and get the rest done, so that I can decide where to go from there.  Originally, I started all this so that I would be able to return to work after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, as well as others, working from home.  Try as much as I do and still have limited support, so where do I go from here???

I am quite interested in doing some extra courses, so that I can offer more services than just nails.  Lash extensions is high on my list, along with; threading; waxing; brows; few more nail courses to update my skills and possibly, make-up to round it all off.  This may just be the time I need to establish a business and getting things moving properly, fingers crossed.

With everything happening the way it has, I have started looking at the possibility of working in salon, just to make sure I’ve got all my bases covered.  But I have one huge problem when it comes to applying to salons and that is EXPERIENCE.  This is not something that is new to me, its something I’ve never really been able to understand as such.  How can someone gain experience, if nobody is willing to give them a chance??  It doesn’t make sense to me whatsoever.  I fully understand that some salons are mega busy, but I think some people tend to forget that everyone has to start somewhere and once upon a time, the salon owner and staff, would all have been in my boat.  What would it take for someone to say “we have two afternoons where we’re a bit quieter, would that be of any use??  Just so we can see what you can do??”  Or at least have a private meeting so that you could display some of your skills.

Does anyone have any pointers??


Me and Gel Polish

Me and Gel Polish

I was a bit stuck as to which topic I would like to cover first, my heads been all over the place this last week or so.  But while I was doing swatches of my latest delivery of gel polish, it dawned on me what topic to cover.


Up until I started my gel polish course, I had only ever used standard polish and as far as I can remember, never worn gel polish.  Plenty of hard gels and acrylics (liquid and powder).  So, I started my gel polish course with Essential Nails along with my spa manicure and pedicure course.  The beginning of my gel polish collection arrived along with all my course material.  Their range of gel polishes are rather vast and go by the name of Gelaze.  They are fantastic polishes; nice consistency; good size bottle and so many to choose from, its unbelievable.  They have neons; thermals; glitters and a lot of different collections.  Each bottle costing £12.95, you can imagine how much a whole collection can cost when there’s 10/12 bottles within this collection.  You can buy them in set quantities at a reduced price, but still rather a vast amount of money….. Especially when your a student with a young family.


Although there is money to be made once qualified, it doesn’t help when your first starting out and have other equipment to purchase (I soon realised how much of a small fortune all of my equipment was going to cost) to allow me to carry out even the basic services I was about to be offering as a nail technician.  Then on top of the price of the polish, you have base and top coats, wipe off fluid (which removes the sticky layer left after curing under the UV lamp) and then there’s the soak off fluid (acetone) which you need when it comes to removal of the polish.  Then to add a little twist, some companies are now selling the gel kit that can turn your standard polish into a gel polish.  Cost effective when you have a large collection of polish.

I absolutely love the durability of the gel polish, as long as you look after them right and treat your nails as you should.  Then there’s the fact of the low/no odour compared to the smell that comes with standard polish and (the best part by far…) no smudges because the polish wasn’t quite dry.  Whilst reading the theory side of things, I found out that some polishes can actually take up to 4 days to completely dry!!  The quick and easy drying of the  gel polishes makes it so much easier and quicker when doing nail art.  Whether its adding embellishments or using the polishes for freehand art.


With my love of gel polish growing and not being able to buy too many due to the price of the Gelaze (one of their thermals in the above pic), I began to see what else was on the market.  I’d love to be able to buy things like the Gelaze, CND, OPI and IBD but for the moment they have been placed on my wish list for my future  business/career.  I stumbled across a few different ones and thought I’d try a couple and see where to go from there, my first choice was Elite99 (couldn’t even tell you why I chose them first, a lot has happened since 😉 ).  Before actually taking the plunge, I checked out the brand and did a little bit of research online.  My first order was some glitter gels, base and top coat.

Elite99 – So my order arrived and I was quite excited to give them a try, as it turns out, every time I get nail mail, I’m like a child in a sweet shop ;-).  The brush wasn’t great but I knew the polish was relatively new and everyone has teething problems.  The polish itself looked quite thick on first glance but I ploughed on anyway.  The consistency was a little bit of a problem, so I took my item and tried to make sure that it was evenly spread.  Once cured under my LED lamp, the consistency problem was all forgotten….  The glitter coverage was amazing, wall to wall glitter, I was so glad I had persevered.

There turned out to be a few more larger items that needed purchasing, so my gel polish collection would have to go on hold for a little while.  Whilst I worked my way through purchasing my apparatus, I completed my coursework for the gel polish course, as well as persevering with my other coursework.  Once I had freed up a little cash, off I went to grow my collection further.  The colour polishes are a lot smoother and flow so nicely.  They have good pigment and I think they’re so nice to use and wear.  I have also invested in some of their magnetic, cats eye, various colour ranges, chameleon and thermal collections.  To say they are relatively new and quite low cost, their quality is fantastic and I think I may just have found my gel polish of choice, well…… At least until I can get my hands on some Vetro, anyways 😉

Where it all started.

Where it all started.

My first ever blog consisted of who I am and where I’m at……

I’ve spent pretty much all of my working life in customer service, with a few other attempts at trying to change direction.  All of which failed due to not really being what I liked getting up for each day.  All of which stems back to not being able to do what I wanted when I left school (a long story that I won’t bore you with), so I spent my working life plodding along, working to pay the bills.  Along came child number one and I decided, I didn’t want to plod along any more.  I had the pleasure of spending a little bit of time in a small hair salon, where I was suppose to get trained up…..  That fell through quicker than it started, but the owner told me not to give up as I was a perfect person for salon work.  Great, but that doesn’t help me pay the bills.  I got the application forms for college quite late in May, ready to start in the September of 2002.  Knowing I had been let go from the salon, my long time friend and old employer gave me a job.  It was seasonal, so would fit perfectly for me to go to college in the September.  Whilst there, I was talked into doing something completely different, applied for the course and gained entry.  So I’d wandered off track and on to one of my passions, science.  Originally, it was all about becoming a teacher, but when we came to applying for University, I wandered even further off track and applied to do biomedical science.  It was going to be a long, hard slog but I was up for the fight.  Lets just say things went completely wrong and it all ended in tears.  I moved up the coast to be with my then partner (now my husband) and carried on plodding along in customer service.

I joined a temping agency as my husband had been given a really good opportunity and when I sat down to do the tests, my time at University paid off and they put me forward for admin work.  My first placement was only a short one as I was filling in for the receptionist at a local MHC (Mental Health Care) home.  Whilst I was there, they lined up my next placement, sales administrator at a caravan sales office around the corner from my house.  At first things were great, I thought I’d finally found me niche.  I’d get my tasks done and then go off and do other little jobs here and there to help out where I could.  Then fate struck, hubby came in to work to tell me he’d been sent home after having an accident at work and I saw the dressings on his leg.  He’d fallen whilst carrying a set of petrol hedge trimmers, thankfully when they were on the way back to the van (or he’d have had no leg left).  It had gone in quite deep and had caused all sorts of problems, which is where our slippery slope began (unbeknown to us).  We decided that as I was already at home to help him, it would be ideal time to have baby number two.  Once baby was here and hubby was back on his feet, I would be able to return to work, or so I thought…….

With a whole host of fun and games over a couple of years (including pulmonary embolism number two for my hubby), we decided to move up the coast from where we were living at the time, fresh start for us all.  I managed to gain employment at a local betting office and was doing really well.  A few of higher management wanted me to start my mangers course but one woman stood in my way.  I carried on plodding along, pretty much running the shop, single handed most of the time at some points.  Over the Christmas period we’d been running various in shop competitions, one of which happened to be table football.  Competitions end and the table gets dumped in the back office and being as I spent the majority of the time on my own, ended up having to move it.  I’d been plagued by back pain for years after having child number one as she was a big baby.  So yet again, I managed to pull my back.  I went to see the Dr who gave me some painkillers, all of which worked for the first week maybe two.  Then I was popping painkillers at a rate of knots.  I’d supposed to have been on light duties, not something that was seen as good conduct in my place of work and a few weeks later my Dr signed me off and referred me to the pain clinic, not to return to work until I’d seen them and been advised  on what course of action to take.  So the woman who had stood in my way of management, decided it wasn’t good enough to have my Dr’s word and each and every month a lady from HR and her turned up at my house.  Unfortunately the wait for pain team at the time was 36 weeks.  I soon got fed up of them coming, they turned up 2 hours late one time, and I handed in my notice.  I was on a lot of morphine alongside a range of other meds to try and help control the pain.  I’d had an MRI can which showed two bulging discs in my lower back, but they were not bulging enough to warrant surgery, so its a lifetime of suffering instead.  Then fate hit hard. In the previous years we’d tried for baby number three but it ended rather badly.  I managed to get all of my morphine pills and oramorph in the right combination, leaving me kind of pain free-ish and we used it to our advantage (or so we thought).  Turns out I’d caught with baby number three.  I ended up in hospital at 33 weeks and they started inducing me the day I turned 37 weeks.  But as we know all to well, nothing is straightforward in this house!!  Finally she arrived and a huge amount of pain disappeared from my pelvic area.

A few years down the line and a whole host of other things have happened along the way.  I’m still no better, but have learnt a few tricks to get me through most days.  We ended up moving back down the coast after finding out that my father in law was terminally ill.  In doing so, I finally found a GP willing to listen to what I said.  We tried a whole range of ideas to try and get me right but nothing seemed to work.  Then I had an appointment where he felt he hadn’t helped me and asked me if there was anything else.  Yes, a whole list!!  As I reeled them of to him, the final piece of the puzzle landed for him and he printed out some information for me.  Off I went, read the information he’d given me and then started to do my own research.  Finally, I didn’t feel like I was losing my mind any more.  All the stuff I’d been scared to divulge in case the Dr thought I was crazy and the stuff that past Drs and physiotherapists had told me were in my head, it was all in front of me in black and white.  I have since been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and now getting the right help for my illness.

With finally knowing what I was dealing with and up against,  I decided it wasn’t going to beat me but also realised that long hours stuck on my feet was not going to do me any good.  So with a lot of thought, I decided I was going to finally take the plunge and go down the route I originally wanted to do when I left school.  College wasn’t really an option, I still needed to be at home more often than not.  So I searched the net and stumbled across Home Learn UK and Essential nails.  The job centre said they could help with some of the cost, they could give me a certain amount with no funding request, so I went back home and weighed up my options.  Home Learn were offering an acrylics course at a good offer and it meant me only putting a small amount towards what the job centre were giving me.  Plus, if I was wrong and decided nail technician wasn’t for me, I hadn’t lost a fortune.

My materials arrived and I quickly got to it.  I realised I was liking it more than I initially assumed and looking back on the website I only had a small amount to pay to make it up to a full nail technician diploma in levels 1,2 and 3!!!  Then I saw the gel polish course on Essential Nails and thought it would be a good way and easy way to make some of the money laid out, back.  This came along with spa manicure and pedicure, which is a bonus.  On top of all this I am also covering a spray tan course with Essential Nails, which is a lot of fun and another qualification under my belt once I’m ready to travel down south and do my certification examination.

Well, things didn’t turn out as well as I anticipated and I soon learnt who my “real” friends were.  Without them to help me display my work its been a right struggle.  My kids have been a great support along with my hubby and my best friend.  So things are taking a bit longer than I expected, but I’m starting to get somewhere.  Working from home is becoming a distant thought and I’m really considering employers so that I can gain some experience.  For our future plans to work, I need the experience.  Once all courses are completed or as near as possible, its going to be time to start trawling for work, which so far is proving no good.  So, if there is anyone out there who reads my blog and would be willing to give me a chance……….

First blog post

First blog post

Hi everyone!!  I am Iona Walker,  I have recently made the jump to re-train as a nail technician/beautician.  I am 35 years old, so this was not an easy choice, especially with a family in tow.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but something always got in the way…..  Not this time,  my heart and determination has been set on completion and qualifications.  I have actually found the one thing I actually love doing on a daily basis.  No day is the same, well, not so far, lol.

I am learning from home due to a whole range of different issues and it makes it so much easier to fit around family life.  Especially if I have to work late at any point.  So far, I am studying a full nail technicians course; spa manicure and pedicure; gel polish and recently added spray tanning to the list.  I have managed to finish the gel polish, just some finishing touches to apply but everything else hangs in the balance at the moment.  The disadvantage to learning at home, is finding out who your real friends are.  My kids have been really great in supporting me and do everything they can to help, my number one guinea pigs, lol.

We’ve started making a lot of plans for the future, the first time in a long time and we’ve set them in stone, so no going back.  Which leaves me with the dilemma of gaining experience…..  If I carry on from home will I manage to build enough of a client base….  Or do I take the plunge and start looking what jobs are on offer and apply once I’ve finished my courses and gained my diplomas….  The joys of life!!

I’ve wanted to start a blog for a fair while, but couldn’t quite decide on whether or not to take the plunge.  I’m on Facebook; Instagram; Tumblr; Swarm; Snapchat and a couple of other sites, so this seemed the natural next step…..