Sunday, 30 September 2012

A-England Gothic Beauty: Jane Eyre Swatch

I'm so behind on all the nail news. I didn't even know A-England have a new collection out - the Gothic Beauties. The collection contains 5 shades which are all black based with coloured shimmer and flecks, bar Dorian Gray which is a metallic-y pewter shade.

The hints of colour in these polishes are very pretty in the bottle but not so obvious once it's on the nail. As a lover of black nail polish, this is of no concern to me! Jane Eyre is full of bronze and light pink flecks in a perfect black creme base. The swatches are two coats of Jane Eyre* with a top coat of Essence Better Than Gel Nails.





I stamped on a Red Angel design from plate RA109 using Sally Hansen Insta Dri in Quick Brick. This is definitely some of my favourite stamping ever! It's very subtle but still striking and it looks very oriental. Definitely something I'm going to be trying with other colour combos.



You can buy Jane Eyre from the A-England website with free worldwide shipping!

*This item was sent to me for review. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.

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Friday, 28 September 2012

JENsations Purple Rein Swatch

I don't know if everyone's realised, but nearly all of my blog posts have a 'cut'. This just means that there's more pictures and normally a description of the polish and technique used in the manicure to see if you follow the link at the end that says 'click here to see more...'. I'm not trying to trick you, it just makes the page load quicker if I don't have all the pictures on the front page! 

Today I have another swatch of a JENsations polish. I often find glitter toppers a bit tricky to apply, I always end up with buckets of clear polish piled on to my nails and no glitter in sight! For chunkier glitter like this, I've started painting it on to a sponge, waiting a few seconds for most of the clear polish to sink in to the sponge and then dabbing on the glitter. So far, it's worked very well for me!

These swatches are a 'dabbing' of JENsations Purple Rein* over two coats of A-England Guinevere and topped with two coats of Essence Better Than Gel Nails.

JENsations Purple Rein Swatch

JENsations Purple Rein Swatch

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Beauty and the Beach: Nail Art Entry

 This is my entry to the Beauty and the Beach Competition which is being held by travelsupermarket.com.
I struggled for while to come up with a holiday look so in the end I just sat myself down and thought 'What's my favourite part about the beach?', and the answer is easy... the waves!
This nail art is meant to look like the little remainders of the tide that wash up on the beach. For me, it doesn't qualify as a holiday unless I at least get to dip my feet in that last inch of the ocean.



I used Cult Nails Cruisin Nude as my base colour then used Essie Mezmerized to create a gradient using this tutorial. Then I used a sponge to dab on some Barry M White to create the foam. Finally, I finished it off with two coats of Essence Better Than Gel Nails

Monday, 24 September 2012

I Fail at Video Making

This manicure is the result of my failed attempt to make a gradient video tutorial. I cannot stress enough how much I suck at making YouTube videos, which is why you don't see that many from me. 

I know how much you all loved my picture tutorial so I finally got around to making a video version this weekend but (and you're gonna laugh at me) I forgot to press record when I got to the MOST IMPORTANT PART! DOH! So I ended up with these lovely gradient nails but no video to show for it. Maybe I'll work up the courage to try again soon but it seems like the YouTube powers that be don't want to meet me halfway on this!

My base colour today is an Essie polish and my first Essie polish EVER (except for Matte About You which doesn't count)! I bought a pack of three - Mezmerized, Bordeaux and Lollipop - in TK Maxx for £9.99 and of course assumed that they're discontinued colours. However, when I checked in Boots a few days later, I spotted at least 2 of them in the current range. So there's my money saving tip for the day... check in TK Maxx before you drop £7.99 on one bottle in Boots!



My base colour is Essie Mezmerised and I sponged on Beauty UK Olympic Bronze following this tutorial to create the gradient. All finished with two top coats of Essence Better Than Gel Nails.





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Saturday, 22 September 2012

My Relationship History: Top Coats

I'm no expert when it comes to top coats. When I find one I love I stick with it until, for whatever reason, I can't get it any more. All good things must come to an end right? 
I've had my heart broken by plenty of charming top coats in my time so I'm going to round up a few of my favourite top coat love affairs and the longer term top coat marriage that ended in a nasty divorce.


My current beau is Essence's Better Than Gel Nails top coat. I'm trying not to get too attached because it's kind of a long distance thing. Essence comes all the way from the continent. Despite technically being in Europe, there's nowhere in the UK (that I know of anyway) where I can buy Essence products.
After a cry for help on Twitter, a couple of lovely ladies recommended this to me. I was in desperate need of a fast and hard drying top coat on the cheap and Bregje from Oooh Shinies was lovely enough to send me a few bottles. 
Better Than Gel dries really fast, it doesn't smudge my nail art and it's really shiny. I recommend it to everyone. 

Essence Better Than Gel €2.59 from Continental Europe


This is 'The Big Ex'. I used NYC In A New York Minute as a top coat since before I even started blogging up until about May this year. I noticed a change in the formula, even though there was no indication on the packaging, and it just 'stopped working'. The formula now is super runny and just seems to make my manis worse if anything. I'd wake up every morning with sheet marks on my nails even if I'd painted my nails hours before going to bed.
Needless to say this relationship did not end amicably. I was determined to make things work and even continued buying it in the hope that it was just a bad batch and things would work out eventually, but no such luck. We don't even talk any more.

NYC In A New York Minute £1.79 from Superdrug


I met Sally Hansen Advanced Hard as Nails right after my divorce from NYC and we have a very casual relationship. Generally speaking, Sally Hansen products are very reliable and do just what they say on the tin. This one's no exception, but it takes a little while to make your polish 'Hard as Nails'  - 2 hours at least.
As I said, we're keeping it casual. I don't use this top coat all the time but we're both cool with that.

Sally Hansen Advanced Hard as Nails £2.99 in The Original Factory Shop


Cult Nails Wicked Fast is way out of my (price) league, but we were thrown together when I was lucky enough to win a bottle in a Cult Nails contest. I knew things would never work out between us but it was fun while it lasted. Cult Nails do ship to the UK but $8.00 is out of my price range for top coats so we probably won't be reunited. Plus, last time I ordered from Cult Nails, I ended up paying import tax on the package which I wouldn't risk again.
 It's by far the best top coat I've ever used. It really does dry 'wicked fast' and it lasts and lasts.
  
Cult Nails Wicked Fast $8.00 from cultnails.com


Have you tried these top coats? What's your all time favourite top coat?
If you're in the UK and you have any recommendations for me, let me know. It's got to be something fairly cheap that I can pick up in Boots or Superdrug!

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Friday, 21 September 2012

NY Fashionail Week Day 5: Prabal Gurung

This is by far my favourite New York Fashion week nail art design which is why I saved it until last! The drippy manicure is nothing new, but I love this colour combination so much. The design was created by Sally Hansen's Tracy Lee for the Prabal Gurung show.




Thursday, 20 September 2012

NY Fashionail Week Day 4: Kate Spade

A while ago, a friend of mine asked if I could do some gingham nail art for her and this past weekend, I did! When I tweeted a picture of the manicure in question, Amy from Gotham Polish, came back and asked if I'd seen Deborah Lippmann's nail art for Kate Spade's NYFW show? I immediately checked out her blog post to see the nail art in question and she had indeed created gingham nails very similar to the ones I did. Great minds think alike hey?!
That's pretty much how this theme week was born, so thank you Amy for pointing out that they have cool nail art at New York Fashion Week!

The catwalk models had all fingers the same colour but I wanted to try out as many shades as I could. I tried to go for polishes that I knew were slightly see through to recreate the gingham effect but only the blue and green seemed to work for that, the other colours were too opaque.

Kate Spade NYFW SS13 Nail Art

Kate Spade NYFW SS13 Nail Art


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

NY Fashionail Week Day 3: Tracy Reese

This nail design is from the Tracy Reese show at NYFW SS13. They were created by Sally Hansen's manicurist, Tracy Lee. There were 4 different colour combinations but the blue was my favourite of course! You can see more pictures of the manicures and the other colour combos at The Budget Babe.




Tuesday, 18 September 2012

NY Fashionail Week Day 2: The Blonds

Today's fashion week inspired nail art comes from The Blonds show and was created by CND's Kristina Estabrooks which you can see here. The theme on the catwalk was 'Psycho Beach Party' and there were a few nail looks but this one, Shark Bites, is my favourite of the bunch!




Monday, 17 September 2012

NY Fashionail Week! Monika Chiang

Welcome to my first theme week for a long time - NY Fashionail Week! The plan is to create 5 looks based on the catwalk looks created for some of New York Fashion Week SS13's runway shows. 

I've started simple today with a design from Monika Chiang's show created by LancĂ´me which you can see here - coral with a silver stripe down the middle. Don't worry, your eyes are not deceiving you, my stripes are actually bright yellow gold. They were silver but as soon as I applied my top coat, something happened and they immediately changed colour to this. I actually like it better than silver, it's way more summery!



Sunday, 16 September 2012

Barry M Gelly Collection Swatches: Plum, Watermelon, Blood Orange, Blueberry and Blackberry

Today I have swatches of 5 shades from the upcoming Gelly collection* from Barry M. Despite the name, none of the polishes actually have a 'Jelly' finish so don't get too ahead of yourselves like I did and start planning your Jelly Sandwich recipes! 

I'm still mighty impressed with the polishes though - their formula is creamy, easy to apply and shiny as hell! I didn't use a top coat in any of these swatches. For realz!

This is without a doubt the longest post I've ever published (there are a whopping 25 photos after the cut) so sorry if it takes a while to load! I promise it'll be worth it!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Barry M Blue Plum with Studs

Another cheeky nail art post today. Can you tell I'm procrastinating with these Barry M Gelly swatches?!

So many people are doing the 31 Day Challenge and it's making me really want to hop on the bandwagon and do it all over again. Even though I nearly went crazy when I did it last time! The only thing I'm worried about is that I won't have enough time to create the nails and post regularly, but I suppose I can just work my way through it if and when I can. I'm just spilling my brain produce all over the keypad right here but you follow me right? Let me know what you think, should I put myself through that again? After all, it did force me to come up with some kick ass manis!




Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Stamping with Barry M Gellies!

Today, I got in from work and set about swatching. I've swatched 4 colours in one sitting this evening which is definitely a personal record! It's been a long time since I had a whole evening to dedicate to blogging/nail artz because real life responsibilities have been popping up all over the place. I know they tell you in school not to use this word but the best way I can describe my evening is 'nice'! I just sat down to paint my nails over and over again with no interruptions and it was nice!


These colours are from a new Barry M collection coming to stores and online towards the end of this month - Gelly Nail Paints. Although they're not actually 'jellies' in the 'nail polish finish' sense of the word, I'm still very impressed, particularly with their stamping suitability! Full swatches and reviews coming very soon!

Monday, 10 September 2012

JENsations Bubble Gum Swatch

From what I hear Etsy is a great place to buy polish nowadays. The selection on there is endless! It's especially fun if you're looking for something a bit unique that's different to the stuff you see on the shelves - but I haven't looked too deeply in to it myself as I'm sure I would just end up with massive cravings for polishes that are a bit out of my price range! Especially once you add in shipping from the US and the potential taxes at this end.

When Jen from JENsations asked if I would like to try a few of her polishes, I jumped at the chance. Her shop is full of pretty glitter and shimmer polish toppers. This particular polish is called Bubble Gum - a clear base packed with tiny Blue, White and Pink hexes with a few larger Blue and White ones scattered in there too.


Friday, 7 September 2012

Snippet: Bronze Stamping

I'm on the move all weekend and I probably won't have much time for posting so here's a snippet to tide us over until next week. I can't remember all the details and I don't have the stuff to hand to check names/numbers, but I'll put in everything I can remember!


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Polish Days: Geometry

It's September Polish Day and the theme for this month, in honour of back to school time, is Geometry. Yesterday you got some science and today you're getting some maths! Well it's not really maths since I decided on a Tetris theme cuz if I was a teacher, I'd be the cool teacher. Tetris shapes are geometrical right? Right! 
I had an idea for a freehand Tetris mani but the perfectionist in me was crying at the potential failure rate of attempting to draw tiny squares on my nails. Then I remembered these square studs and went for a typically minimalist approach.

Studded Tetris Nail Art by The Nailasaurus

Studded Tetris Nail Art by The Nailasaurus

Monday, 3 September 2012

YEAH SCIENCE! Breaking Bad Nail Art

Breaking Bad is a series I started watching ages ago but I only saw the first few episodes before I was distracted by something else. Well I picked it up again yesterday and have been watching back to back episodes since! A few episodes in to my Sunday afternoon marathon, I decided I had to dedicate some nail art to Walt and Jesse.




The Radioactive and Biohazard symbols don't fit perfectly in to the theme but when I posted these yellow nails way back when, someone said they looked like Breaking Bad Nails. So I thought I'd slip them in there today.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

H+M New Moon Swatch. This is a Flakie.

This is a polish I picked up in H+M. I spend a lot of time admiring the polishes in H+M but have never bought one before. I really like the look of some of their blues, although I couldn't tell you the names of the ones I'm picturing!

Anyway, I spotted this little gem which was in a different bottle to the standard H+M polishes. It's smaller and round. I spent ages just staring at it trying to figure out what I was actually looking at because it's gold and has the sparkle of glitter, but the pieces are distinctly flake like. Then I saw that the polish was only £1.50 so definitely worth a try and whatever it turned out to be, I'd have fun trying it!



Well it turns out that it is a flakie, a very pretty flakie. There's no duochromy colour changing tricksyness here, it's purely gold which I prefer. When I don't really know how to describe polishes, I just make up words and hope that you'll know what I mean!

By the way, it's called New Moon!
I dug out my much neglected extension tube (which is the cheap alternative to a macro lens) for some major close ups of this beauty.

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