Tuesday, 31 July 2012

China Glaze Neon Leopard Mani

I went a little mad a few weeks ago and bought eight polishes from the China Glaze Summer Neons Collection - yes, eight! Well, originally I bought six, but then I decided that I had to have a couple of the others too. XD This is the most polishes I have ever bought from one collection, but I'm going through a neon phase at the moment and the CG ones are just all so gorgeous. Today I'm showing you a leopard print manicure that uses five of them. This is great if you're indecisive like me and can't decide which one to wear!

I began with two coats of China Glaze White On White before doing random blobs of Surfin' For Boys (coral red), Sun-Kissed (yellow), I'm With the Lifeguard (green), Splish Splash (blue) and Beach Cruise-r (purple). Once they'd dried I used my trusty black nail art pen to do the outlines, and covered with a top coat. I was really chuffed with how it turned out.

All five of the neons have a beautiful shimmer running through them that shows best in the sunlight photo below:

This is not a manicure for the faint-of-heart! My nails practically stood out from a mile away. I wore this for much longer than I usually wear my manicures because I couldn't bear to remove it!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Nails Inc Haymarket Tape Mani

Good evening! Continuing with my quest to eventually swatch all my Nails Inc colours, today I'm showing you one of my favourite turquoise polishes, Nails Inc Haymarket. I'll probably do a comparison of all my turquoise polishes at some point, but for reference it's very similar in colour to Essie Turquoise & Caicos, only it's a creme rather than a jelly. This means that it covers in two easy coats, and it has the same flawless formula as all Nails Inc cremes.

Instead of showing it on its own, I decided to use it in a tape manicure. After painting on two coats and letting them dry thoroughly, I placed a lightning-edged French tip guide diagonally on each nail and painted over with Barry M Silver Foil. Turquoise and silver is one of my favourite colour combinations - it reminds me of Navajo jewellery.

Yeah...I don't know how that scratch on my ring fingernail got there.

The only disappointment was that Haymarket stained my nails, so I'd recommend doubling up on basecoat when you use it. It's a shame because my nails had just grown out from their previous staining (I'm looking at you, OPI Fly!). Ah, well.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympics Manicure

A couple of weeks ago I showed you this manicure inspired by the Olympic torch, and today I have one inspired by the Olympics itself - just in time for the opening ceremony tonight!

White - OPI Alpine Snow
Blue - OPI Dating a Royal
Yellow - LA Colors Shock
Black - Nails Inc Black Taxi
Green - China Glaze Holly-Day
Red - 17 Risky Red

It's all freehanded (as you can probably tell!) using a striper brush and a little brush. It's kind of wobbly and wonky, but still better than I thought it would turn out. I added a Union Jack as an accent nail just in case there was any doubt as to who I would be supporting! XD

Will you be watching the Olympics opening ceremony tonight? I'll be watching with curiosity and some trepidation to see how on earth sheep and whatnot are going to feature in it!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Nails Inc St John's Wood

Today's nail polish is very special to me. Nails Inc St John's Wood was the first salon polish I ever bought, and it is what really got me interested in nail polish to the extent I am now. So as well as sharing swatches of it, I thought it might be fun to tell you how I became such a polish addict! If you don't want to read this, you can skip to the photos at the bottom. :)

I've been a fan of painting my nails for as long as I can remember - when I was very young I used to paint my nails with a Polly Pocket pink water-based nail polish that was intended to peel off your nails. When I was eleven, my parents gave in to my persistent begging and let me get my first proper nail polish. I got rid of it years and year ago, but I remember that it was by Rimmel and was pale blue with silver glitter - not exactly a conventional polish for your average eleven-year-old!

Once I got my first Saturday job when I was sixteen, I began to buy more polishes and accumulated quite a collection of Barry M ones. I used to like doing skittle manicures and paint each nail a different colour of the rainbow. Regular customers at my next Saturday job (in a supermarket...fun times) began to comment on them and tell me they looked forward to seeing what colour I would paint my nails next.

Then, about three years ago, I went to London on a shopping trip and walked past a Nails Inc salon, and I'd treat myself to a manicure. The colour I chose was St John's Wood, and I liked it so much that I left with a bottle of it. I Googled Nails Inc when I got home and bought some online. Then I bought more. And more. They were more expensive than I was used to paying for a single nail polish, but I couldn't believe the amazing formula. Two years ago, I subscribed to Grazia magazine and got five OPIs free. Then I bought more. Last year, I moved to the Isle of Wight for a summer job, and I stumbled upon a salon selling China Glaze. I had never heard of this brand before, so I Googled it... And the wonderful world of nail blogging opened up before me.

I've discovered a lot of incredible nail polishes since then, but St John's Wood will always hold a special place in my heart/collection. It's a stunning dusty blue/purple creme that is impossible to photograph correctly. (Just look at how different it appears under the two lighting conditions!) It applies like a dream and is so pigmented that it's almost opaque in one coat, but needs two to look perfect.

So that's my story! Sorry I rambled a bit. XD I would be really interested to hear how you got into nail polish and/or nail blogging. :)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Rimmel London Grey Matter

Today's manicure is a very simple one. I had a work function so I didn't want my nails to be OTT, but I didn't want them to be boring either. I'm not really a huge fan of neutral polishes, but for some reason I love grey ones. I've shown you Rimmel London Grey Matter in a leopard print mani here, but this time I wore it on its own with only a tiny bit of bling.

Grey Matter is a medium to light grey (duh) creme that covers perfectly in two coats. Honestly, it has the nicest formula - I didn't have to do any clean-up! I then used a top coat (I hate nail glue) to stick a square rhinestone to the top of each nail near the cuticle. Voilà!

Summer weather has finally begun in the UK, and so far I am not loving it. While it's nice not to have rain any more, I don't function well when it's very hot and humid outside. Claude seems to be suffering too - he has taken to sleeping in his little plastic house with his balls sticking out the window to cool them down. Seriously. I took a photo of it because it's so amusing/gross, but I won't show it to you because trust me, it's not a pretty sight (sorry, Claude).

Monday, 23 July 2012

Layla Ocean Rush & Ultra Violet

Hi, today I'm showing you the other two Layla holographic polishes that I meant to show you three months ago! (You can see Mercury Twilight and Flash Black here.) Today's are definitely my favourites - with a purple and a blue, how could I resist?! I didn't use a base or top coat for the swatches, I just prepped my nails with the Layla nail buffer.

First up is Ocean Rush. It's a bright blue linear holographic. It's quite pigmented and only needed two coats. The holo effect is very strong, even in the shade.

Ultra Violet is a blue-toned light purple linear holographic polish. I used two coats again.

Sometimes when I see a really hot guy or a really cute puppy my brain just sort of stops working for a moment like it's gone into cardiac arrest, because it simply can't handle the gorgeousness... These polishes have the same effect. They're just too pretty! I'd be hard-pressed to pick my favourite of the two. Layla recently released some more holographic shades, and while I haven't bought any of them yet, my resistance is waning!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Layla Mercury Twilight & Flash Black

Today's post has been a long time coming! I bought four of the Layla holographic polishes back in April (I used one in my St George's Day manicure) but waited for a sunny day to swatch them all. This finally happened in May - thanks, British weather! - but then the photos just, um, sat on my camera for the next two months. The reason? I took close on fifty photos of each polish, and I liked them all so much that I just couldn't narrow down which ones to post!

So more than three months after I first bought these polishes, I have finally been ruthless and chosen the best photos. Today I'm showing you two of the polishes, and I'll show you the other two tomorrow. The swatches show no base coat or top coat.

First up is Layla Mercury Twilight, a classic silver linear holographic polish. I don't have any other silver holographics to compare it to, but it looks pretty darn holographic to me. I found the formula to be a little lumpy, which I've heard can be a problem with some linear holos, but I then shook it well and this got rid of them. It was also a little sheer; I used three coats.

Layla Flash Black is, as the name suggests, a black linear holographic. It was more opaque than Mercury Twilight and I only needed two coats. I think I like it more than MT - I'm a huge fan of unusual black polishes. It also wasn't lumpy!

I got these polishes from Simply Occasions, the UK supplier of Layla polishes, for £11.25 each. They were dispatched very quickly and came with a free Layla nail buffer, which I used to prep my nails before painting them. Even having done this, I found that I still had to be careful when painting each coat not to press too hard or it would create bald spots. Still, I think such gorgeous nail polishes are worth a bit of hassle!

Do you have any of the Layla holographic polishes? What do you think of them?

Pretty Digits Giveaway

Hi all, Pretty Digits is holding an amazing giveaway where you can win an assortment of prizes including Max Factor Fantasy Fire and your choice from the Nails Inc Spinkles Collection! It's a really great competition - click the picture or go here to enter. :)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Nails Inc Garrick Street

Hello! Is everyone having a good weekend? I was at my internship today, but last night I saw the Olympic torch again, this time as it passed through Guildford. The weather was surprisingly nice and my friends and I went for a lovely meal afterwards, so I was very happy. :)

I've been showing quite a few Nails Inc swatches recently, mostly because I have so many of their polishes and I haven't actually worn half of them before! Hopefully I'll catch up eventually and have swatched them all. Today's Nails Inc is one I bought on eBay recently at the same time as Regent's Park Road. Garrick Street is a blue/purple duochrome, which shows best in the final photo:

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with chrome finish polishes. Some of them just don't agree with me. Sadly, this was one of them. It's such a gorgeous nail polish and my photos really don't do it justice, but it was such a faff to apply. It took quite a while to dry, too, hence the dent in my index finger. Boo.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Purple Gradient

I've had a lot of firsts recently: my first jelly sandwich, my first stamped manicure, and now my first gradient. The colours I used were OPI Done Out in Deco and Nails Inc Little Miss Naughty, using this tutorial.

Weirdly, it actually looked better on my right hand than my left, which normally never happens! I attempted to take a couple of photos of it, but be warned - I'm rubbish at photographing my right hand so the angle is weird and makes my fingers look really short and fat!

And just for laughs, here's a photo of what my nails looked like before I cleaned up and put on a top coat:

What a mess!