Saturday, 30 June 2012

Work-Appropriate Half Moon Mani

My hamster Claude had a bit of an adventure the other day. I let him crawl around on the kitchen floor for a bit while I found him some food and he immediately went to his favourite spot behind the door under a (turned off) radiator. I looked away for a second, and when I looked back...he was gone. I'm pretty sure I had a small heart attack at this point. I eventually discovered that he had crawled up behind the radiator and wedged himself between it and the wall! As if that wasn't stupid enough, he wasn't actually stuck - he was climbing up and down and side to side, just not out. I couldn't reach him to get him out, but after about five minutes he got bored and just sort of plopped back to the floor in a cloud of dust. He was in the doghouse for about two seconds, and then I forgave him. XD

Anyway, back to nail polish. I wasn't really interested in the China Glaze/Hunger Games Collection that came out in March, despite my love for the books, but after seeing some beautiful swatches online I caved and got a couple of them. One of these was Fast Track, which has a taupe base with a chunky gold shimmer. I teamed it with Revlon Smoky Canvas, a greige creme, to make a half moon mani with triangles instead of semicircles.

I think this manicure idea looked better in my head than in execution, but oh well. I'm lucky enough that I can wear whatever nail polish/nail art I fancy to work, but for others I think this would make a great work-appropriate manicure. It's a bit different, but not in-your-face.

And for no reason whatsoever, here's a photo of Sleepy Claude:

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Purple Polka Dots

What a surprise, another purple manicure from me!

I have said it maaaany times before, and I'll say it again: I love purple. There's something very sophisticated and regal about the colour - but fun too. My favourite coat is a bright purple one that I wear almost every day in the winter. I basically live in it for five months of the year. Purple always looks classy and it goes with almost anything. (Obsessed? Moi?)

So today I have purple polks dots to show you. I started with a base of Topshop Parma Violet, which is a greyish lilac shade. It's very soft and very pretty. It's not quite the colour of actual Parma Violets, though:

I am actually eating some of these right now. I haven't seen them sold anywhere for years, and then I found them at the garden centre the other day when I was buying's Claude's hamster food. Random!

I used Nails Inc Little Miss Naughty, which is one of my favourite purple cremes, and a dotting tool to make the polka dots. I'm actually surprised at how straight and uniform they came out!

My mum is a purple fiend too. She often quotes a poem by Jenny Joseph, which I have included below:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in the slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

-Jenny Joseph, 1961

Are you a fan of purple too? What's your favourite nail polish colour to wear, if you have one?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Neon Tape Manicure

I have a little ritual that I like to do every few days (sometimes every day!). I get home from work, make myself something to eat, and then sit down in front of my laptop to look through the latest posts from my favourite nail bloggers. One of the bloggers I admire the most is Sammy from The Nailasaurus. I'm constantly amazed by her creativity and skill. I've taken inspiration from her Disco Nails to create today's manicure.

I started this manicure by painting my nails white (in hindsight I wish I'd skipped this step as you can see it peeking out a bit!). I then did two coats of Nina Ultra Pro Punki Pink and Punki Purple - both neons - on alternate fingers, before placing striping tape on my nails and painting over with Nails Inc Black Taxi.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't turn out quite as flawless as Sammy's, but I'm still pretty happy with it. It's got a kind of retro eighties vibe to it. At least if I ever go to an eighties-themed party, I've got my manicure sorted!

Aaaand just because, here is one of my favourite eighties (read: cheesy) songs ever:

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Thunder and Lightning

Rain, rain go away
Come again another day.

If you live in the UK you'll be aware of how rubbish the weather has been here recently. My thoughts go out to those affected by the flooding in the North. In the South East we've had some roads flooded but no houses that I'm aware of, thank goodness. Getting to and from work the last few days has felt like a bit of an assault course though! It took me TWO HOURS to get home from work on Friday, a journey which normally takes me half an hour. Sigh.

Today's manicure is inspired by the bad weather. I kind of made it up as I went along, but I was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out.

I started with two coats of OPI Yoga-ta Get This Blue for the sky. The white clouds (I didn't think grey would show up well enough) are OPI Alpine Snow, and I used an Andrea Fulerton gold striper for the lightning. The rain is made of loose blue glitter that I got in a set in WH Smith (I used the orange glitter in this manicure) and stuck on individually.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Nubar Opulent Pearl

Yesterday I showed you the pretty coral shade Nails Inc Drury Lane, and today I'm showing you what I layered over it: Nubar Opulent Pearl. It's a flakie polish that predates Nubar 2010, and instead of the red/gold/green shifting flakies it has ones of every colour. I tried it over white a while ago and it was pretty much a huge FAIL. Fortunately, today's layering was much more successful!

The effect is quite subtle, but I like how it adds a little something extra to Drury Lane without overpowering it. WIN.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Nails Inc Drury Lane

When I hear the road name Drury Lane, the first thing I think of is this:

'Do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

Yes, I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane.'

The second thing I think of is that Drury Lane was a den of prostitution and iniquity in the 18th century! (Have I mentioned I'm a history geek...?) But from now on I'll also think of this rather nice polish from Nails Inc. Drury Lane is a pink-leaning coral creme. I think it's been in my stash for quite some time without me wearing it...I don't actually remember buying it to be honest, so it was probably a freebie or something! It glided on smoothly, like all Nails Inc cremes, and was opaque in two coats (although I'm wearing three for the hell of it). I think it's the perfect summer colour.

...I'll just leave you with this:

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Camel & Blue Leopard Print Mani

I really need to come up with some more inventive titles for my leopard print posts...

Today's manicure features one of my favourite colour combinations, camel and royal blue. If you look at a colour wheel these two colours are directly opposite each other, and as a result they complement each other very well. I wanted a bit of a break from all the bright colours I've been wearing recently. I used a base of Nails Inc Cadogan Square, did some blobs with OPI Dating a Royal, and drew round the edges with my beloved Models Own nail art pen. I accidentally made the blobs a bit big, but oh well.

I took these photos by a window and they reflected onto my nails! Oops.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Nails Inc Pudding Lane

Nails Inc Pudding Lane is from the Sprinkles Collection that came out quite recently, which is four polishes with a coloured base and multicoloured matte-ish glitter. They're based on the idea of cake sprinkles (yum!), and each bottle has a picture of a cupcake on it. Pudding Lane has an aqua blue base with gold and dark blue glitter.

The coloured base is very pigmented and was opaque in two coats, and as the glitter is densely packed there was no trouble getting it out of the bottle. It does need a coat or two of topcoat though as the glitter is very thirsty! Removal was a pain in the you-know-what as a result of all the glitter, but for such a pretty polish I think it's worth the hassle.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Nina Ultra Pro Punki Pink

Since it's summer I'm going through something of a neon phase. Here's one I bought recently, Nina Ultra Pro Punki Pink. I literally don't know a thing about Nina polishes except that my local Sally's sells them and for less than £4 - pretty bargainous!

Punki Pink is pretty much what it sounds like - a bright neon pink. The formula was brilliant. It covered in two coats, and while I didn't bother with a white base it still packed a heck of a punch. I felt like I needed to put on sunglasses while I was wearing it! Unfortunately, it's one of those polishes that doesn't photograph well - in real life it's closer to the colour in the bottle, and even brighter.

Also, this is my 100th post. Huzzah!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Dior Saint Tropez

I showed you Chanel Blue Boy yesterday, which is one of two high-end polishes I got free (!!) with my Boots card points in London a couple of weeks ago. Today I'm showing you the other, Dior Saint Tropez. It's a re-released from last year, I believe, and it's a very nice turquoise creme. It has less of a green undertone to it than some turquoise polishes, such as China Glaze For Audrey or Nails Inc Haymarket. The formula was fantastic, I had no problems; it was opaque in two coats. Another point in its favour was the brush - it was quite wide and covered my nail very easily.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Chanel Blue Boy

Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola.
-Diana Vreeland

When I went to London a couple of weeks ago I picked up two very special polishes, and I'm showing you one of them today. I can't justify spending too much money on one nail polish so the high-end brands have always been denied to me, but I realised in London that I had almost £40 worth of points on my Boots card! (I'm really trying not to think about the amount of make-up/nail polish/whatever I must have bought that led to this sum...) So I popped into Boots to see if there was anything I fancied, and lo and behold, there was a Chanel stand.

So basically, what my rambling is leading to is that I bought Chanel Blue Boy from the Les Jeans collection! It's my first Chanel polish, and it's even more special because it was technically free. I ummed and ahhed over which one to get, but it probably comes as no surprise that I ended up with a blue. I chose Blue Boy because it's the medium shade of the three Les Jeans polishes, and probably the most wearable as it's neither too bright nor too dark; too summery nor too autumnal.

Anyway. Photos, yes?

Gawd, I loooove this colour! But the formula was, erm, okay. Only okay. The polish was a good consistency and didn't pool at my cuticles, but it took a I had to wait ages between each coat (I did two), which was a bit of a pain. It's not one to paint your nails with as you're heading out the door. Given how much the polish costs - £17.50!!! - I would have expected better.

Regardless of the fact I could have run a marathon in the time it took for Chanel Blue Boy to dry, I'm still really glad it's entered my collection. It's a lovely colour that works all year round. Tomorrow I'll be showing you the other high-end polish I got. :)

Do you have any high-end nail polishes? Can you justify spending so much more on a polish for the brand name alone when the formula might not make it worth the price?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

From the Vault

I have bit of a different post for you today. I have a lot of photos I haven't posted of manicures I did late last/earlier this year before I became more serious with my nail blogging. I'm actually cringeing a little at the thought of posting these because they're so amateurish. I know my manicures aren't as good as many other nail bloggers', but they're a helluva lot better than they were even just six months ago. (I'm really recommending this to you, aren't I?!) But I'm going to show these anyway, because if nothing else it shows how much I've improved! There are some swatches and some attempts at nail art. I stress the word 'attempt'.

Nails Inc Black Taxi with OPI Rainbow Connection on the ring finger. A weird combination. Also, a bizarre hand position. It reminds me of that moment in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear asks the little alien toys who's in charge: "The claaaaw."

Illamasqua Kink. It's one of those rubber-finish polishes. Terrible photo, but I really like the polish. Also, my index fingernail appears to be freakily long in comparison to the others here.

OPI Warm & Fozzie. Love this polish. Barry M Copper, a new release, is supposedly very similar to this if anyone is looking for a cheaper alternative.

Nails Inc Old Bond Street. It's a dark grey with a pink/purple shimmer. It's completely gorgeous and I should really re-swatch it so you can see it better.

Essie Lady Like. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's a greyish pink. It's very work-appropriate. I actually wore it to the interview for my internship a few months ago.

Essie Lady Like with Essie As Gold As It Gets. A random combination I tried out. Subtle, but I like it.

OPI Alpine Snow with Nubar Opulent Pearl. I wanted to see what Opulent Pearl, a flakie top coat, looked like over a white polish. Not much, apparently. I also seem to have decided that painting half my skin would be a good look.

Nails Inc Jermyn Street. I think this was the first nude polish I ever bought, and it's still my favourite. Its formula is unbeatable.

OPI Fly with OPI Save Me. Not a very original combination, but they go well together.

China Glaze For Audrey with Nubar White Polka Dots. LOBSTER HANDS!!! I used a Big Ruby nail tattoo on the ring finger.

a-england Galahad and a-england Tristam. I remember I was so chuffed with this manicure, but my Seche Vite was getting to the gloopy stage when I put it on and the whole thing just bubbled like a witches' cauldron! I was devastated.

Nails Inc Seven Dials with Barry M Silver Foil. I quite like this manicure, but it's a terrible photo. Although the foil looks gold, I actually used a silver polish but the green underneath changed its colour!

So there you have it, my crappy swatches out there for all the world to see. Am I the only one who cringes when looking at early photos of one's manicures? Does anyone else feel they've come a long way since they started nail blogging - whether a few months or a few years ago?