Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween Bats

Happy (almost) Halloween! I've had a busy day today. After work I came home and baked sugar cookies in the shape of bats, pumpkins, ghosts and witches for my friends to decorate tomorrow. I then carved my pumpkin, which was a lot easier than I thought it would be (I've only carved a pumpkin once before, back when I was about sixteen). I went for a vampire face and it looks really cool.

Anyway, for my final Halloween design I decided to attempt stamping again and settled on bat design from one of the Bundle Monster plates. I love bats. We have pipistrelles in our garden and I love watching them swoop around in the evening - which is where my inspiration for this manicure came from. I started with two coats of Barry M Matt White before using LA Colors Shock (yellow), Barry M Block Orange (um...hopefully self-explanatory) and OPI Strawberry Margarita (pink) to create a sunset gradient. It's only the second time I've done a gradient (the first is here) and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Finally, I stamped the bats on using Nails Inc Black Taxi.

The smaller of the two bats didn't transfer very well. The larger one was fine so I think it might be the plate rather than my own ineptitude. I tried to fix it with a brush but ended up making the higher bat on my little finger look really bloated! Oops.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween Spider Webs

When I was in Spain a couple of weeks ago (I can't believe it was that long ago already!) I went on a mission to find some Essence polishes. I thought they'd just be sold in chemists like nail polish is here, but apparently not. After some Googling I found a shop on Calle de Fuencarral called Beautik. It turned out to be a great place - not only did they sell Essence, they also stocked Catrice, Konad, two Layla ranges, and a few other brands. I was quite restrained and limited myself to one Catrice, a Konad plate, and four Essence colours, one of which I'm showing you today.

I really like grey polish at the moment, so Essence I'm the Boss is right up my alley. It's a medium to dark grey polish with sparse-ish silver glitter. It's really pretty and was opaque in two easy coats. To make it Halloween-y I stamped spider webs using a Bundle Monster plate and Barry M Silver Foil. I'm still working on my stamping skills so the image didn't transfer perfectly, but I think it adds to the effect rather than detracting from it (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). Finally, I used Nails Inc Black Taxi and some striping tape to make black French tips.

I went to Waitrose today and they had a section dedicated to Halloween food and decorations. I bought a bunch of it. Apparently if something is coloured orange and black at this time of year, I will buy it. All of it. People don't really trick or treat where I live but I bought some spooky chocolate just in case - and if we don't get anyone, oh well, more for me!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Halloween Mummies

Hi, quick post today because I'm really busy. I've literally just finished watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey, I can't believe it's the series finale next week? What will I do with my Sunday nights once it's gone?!

Today I'm showing you a Halloween mummy design I did a couple of days ago. I followed a tutorial by Kayla Shevonne, although hers turned out a lot more mummy-like than mine! I asked a few people what they thought the design was and no one got it right - my mum thought they were supposed to be gladiator sandals with eyes. WTF? Let's see what you think!

I started with a base of Barry M Matt White before sponging on OPI San Tan-tonio to make it look dirty. I then used my trusty Models Own black nail art pen for the bandages. The lines aren't as opaque as I'd like, but oh well.

What are you up to for Halloween this year? I'm having a few friends over - I'm baking Halloween-shaped sugar cookies in advance for my friends to decorate on the night. Because we're cool like that. I have an awesome costume idea that I'm really excited about, but I'll keep schtum about it until the actual day. :)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

China Glaze Immortal & Glitter Goblin

Oops, I didn't mean to not post for five days but I've been so busy this week that all the days have sort of blurred together. I had a training day yesterday on how to manage pests (insects/rodents) in historic houses, which probably sounds really dull but is actually fascinating. It turns out I knew most of it already so I didn't really learn much, but oh well.

Today I'm showing you the two polishes I bought from China Glaze's Wicked collection for Halloween, Immortal and Glitter Goblin. I actually passed on the blurple colour, can you believe that? It just didn't seem that unique. Immortal, however, is pretty interesting - a medium grey with turquoise and fuchsia shimmer. I'm going through a grey phase at the moment, so I had to have it. Glitter Goblin isn't as cool as I'd thought it would be from promo shots: orange and silver glitter in a clear base. I was expecting awesomeness; I got blah. Anyway, I decided to wear both polishes together, with Glitter Goblin as the accent nail.

You can see that now the weather is dark and rainy and rubbish I am in desperate need of a lightbox. I had to take these photos in the bathroom under the light there, because it's the brightest in the house! Does anyone have any tips for making a DIY lightbox?

Lastly, I decided a while ago that when I got to 30 followers I was going to do a giveaway - I'm only one away now! Come on, let's get me to 30! :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream

Hi guys! Did you have a good weekend? I went to the ice hockey with some friends last night. In my opinion it's not a good game unless there's a fight, and there was the FUNNIEST FIGHT EVER yesterday. A player from each time got pissed off with the other and were both sent to the sin bin. As soon as they were released they threw their hockey sticks to the ground, then their helmets, then their gloves. They stared at each other for a while sizing their opponent up, circled a bit, and finally went for each other. The players and referees just stood there and watched. The whole thing was hilarious/ridiculous.

I managed to cross something off my wishlist recently - it was actually number one on my wishlist! Between March and August I was working seven days a week between my regular job and my internship. It was pretty tiring but my internship is over now (I wanted to do it to improve my CV), so as a treat to myself for all my hard work, I bought Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream on eBay.

Mermaid's Dream has quickly become one of DL's best-known polishes, and it's easy to see why. Its seafoam base with microglitter and larger blue glitter is pretty unique - and simply, well, pretty. There's nothing worse (slight exaggeration...) than getting a nail polish you've wanted for ages and finding out it's not worth the hype, but Mermaid's Dream doesn't disappoint. I think it's actually one of my favourite polishes now. The colour is stunning, and it has a great formula - this is two coats.

SO PRETTY. And it reminds me of this, which makes it even better:

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Viva España

Hola! I got back from my holiday in Spain yesterday and I had such an amazing time. The Spanish are really friendly and the weather was brilliant, 30-35 Celsius in Seville and 20-25 in Madrid. I actually got a tan! (When I mentioned it to my mum she looked at me and said, 'What tan?' but IT IS THERE, MOTHER.) Before I get back to my regular nail posts this weekend, I thought I'd show you a few holiday snaps. :)


Seville has a wonderful atmosphere, a very sort of old-fashioned Spanish feel to it. I love architecture that blends the East and West, and many of Seville's buildings reflect its Moorish (Arabic) past. The country's Columbus Day fell while I was there so everyone was in party mode, which led to a few very late nights! XD I also discovered a fantastic restaurant called Eslava (which it turns out is one of Seville's top-rated restaurants on Trip Advisor), and I highly recommend it. It serves traditional and fusion tapas at very reasonable prices.

Plaza de España

A random street...can't remember which one!

Casa de Pilatos

Casa de Pilatos

Alcázar of Seville

Alcázar of Seville

A dove perched on a pillar with the cathedral in the background

Seville Cathedral


As Spain's capital, Madrid doesn't have quite the same traditional vibe that Seville has, but it's still a great city. It has an awesome nightlife, and I found chocolate and churros were the perfect way to end a night out (Chocolateria San Gines was recommended to me as the best place to get them, and I can't disagree!). One of the highlights was spending four hours in the Prado, Madrid's most famous art museum - I saw so many amazing works of art that I'd only seen in pictures before.

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

Plaza Mayor

Cervantes Monument

Cervantes Monument

Templo de Debod

Monument to Alfonso XII, Retiro Park

Crystal Palace, Retiro Park

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

As Seen On... Rebecca Likes Nails

Hola! Today is the final day of my holiday... I'm leaving sunny (hopefully) Madrid for my dear (but probably wet) Surrey. Today's post features a manicure from Rebecca Likes Nails. She posts stunning nail art and swatches, and I owe her a lot because I got the idea of these posts from her! She always does an 'As Seen On' series when she's away.

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I was originally going to do a different design of Rebecca's, but it shows part of the bare nail and mine are horribly stained at the moment. She recently did this manicure however, which is itself based on someone else's, and I knew I had to try it for myself.

The original version uses a green creme, but as you can see I decided to go with purple instead - specially, my favourite purple creme ever, Nails Inc Little Miss Naughty. The grey is Rimmel London Grey Matter and the black and white are my trusty Models Own nail art pens.

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So that's it for my 'As Seen On' series and my holiday! I hope you've enjoyed seeing these designs as much as I enjoyed doing them. :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

As Seen On... Swatch and Learn

Hola! If all has gone to plan I'm in Madrid now and hoping to pop into Sephora while I'm here. Obviously I'll visit some cultural places like the Prado too, but what's wrong with a little retain therapy?! Today's replicated manicure is from Swatch and Learn. Mary's blog was one of the first I started reading when I discovered the wonderful world of nail polish blogs. She posts gorgeous swatches and a lot of easy-to-follow nail art tutorials.

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I've been wanting to try the fishtail manicure for a while but thought it would be really difficult to do. In the end I decided to bite the bullet and just go for it using the Swatch and Learn tutorial. Turns out it's not that hard to do after all!

It took me ages to decide which colours to use for this. In the end I just stared at my stash and my eyes fell on my mini set of Essie polishes from last autumn. All four colours complement each other really well, but I picked the three that I thought would work best: Carry On, a deep plum; Power Clutch, a grey-tinged green; and Very Structured, a reddish brown. As you can see, I decided to do the fishtail as an accent on my ring finger and use Carry On for the rest.

I love how this turned out - I think the fishtail has a slight camoflage feel to it because of the colours I used. The only bummer is that I was impatient with my top coat and smudged it! Sad.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

As Seen On... Lucy's Stash

Hola! I'm still in Spain (today I'm travelling from Seville to Madrid) so I have another scheduled post for you. Today's manicure is one inspired by the blog Lucy's Stash. Lucy does a lot of beautiful nail art looks, and her swatches are so amazing that I always lust after every single one of the polishes afterwards (even the greens!).

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Recently Lucy showed a stunning half-moon manicure, and I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to try it for myself. Hers used Models Own Jade Stone which I don't own, so instead of searching my stash for a close match I decided to use a completely different polish. I settled on Kiko 336, a bright blue that's a very close dupe for Nails Inc Baker Street.

I began with two coats of Barry M Matt White, and once this was completely dry I used some hole reinforcers to create the half-moon design with Kiko 336. When this was dry too I used my Models Own nail art pen for the small black detailing. I think it looks a lot like a lace doily or something!

You wouldn't believe how many compliments I got when I wore this. In Boots the girl who served me told me my nails looked 'lush' and then called over one of the other sales assistants to look too!