Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cartoon nails

Nail art is a fascinating hobby to have - it's amazing what some ladies can do with their nails with a bit of inspiration! I'm nowhere near the level of most bloggers and have yet to design a completely unique mani, but in the meantime it's good practice trying out some of the popular manis that everyone has in their repertoire.

One of the popular manis I like best is the ever fun 'cartoon mani'. I've seen so many variations on this and different techniques, so I decided it was high time I had a go myself!

with flash inside
 I actually purchased the red nail polish on my thumb nail specifically for this mani, but decided to use a variety of colours at the last minute. The polishes are;

  • OPI 'Big Apple Red' - red polish
  • Sally Hansen 'Fairy Teal' - teal polish
  • Barry M 'Shocking Pink' - pink polish
  • Sally Hansen 'Grass Slipper' - green polish
  • Rimmel 'Marshmallow Heaven' - purple polish
Inside light
I started by painting on a few coats of each colour and let them dry. I then used my Barry M black nail art pen to draw the outline on each nail - although I have tried painting on black polish before which worked equally well. I then used my Barry M white nail art pen to draw on the accent.

front on view
After everything was dry I applied a coat of Seche Vite for strength, then used Rimmel 'Lycra Pro Matte Polish' top coat for the matte effect. I must admit I was torn between a matte or glossy finish, but my husband was adamant the matte was 'better' and 'more authentic' (like he knows anything about nails?!).

polishes used (sans matte top coat)
What do you think, do you like these kinds of manis? Have you tried them before?

My next post will be the guest post I mentioned before - it should be a good one!


Monday, 7 October 2013

Jigsaw nails

So, as predicted I haven't been posting much lately due to prolonged study. I still haven't sat my exam (long story!) but have a few manis up my sleeve to post over the next week or so.

I painted this mani a few weeks ago while watching 'The Faculty' one Friday night - which is a truly awful film I have to say!!! I've seen quite a few variations on this type of design and decided to have a go.

I started with a few coats of OPI 'Did You Ear about Van Gogh' and let this dry thoroughly. I then painted and dotted on OPI 'Anti Bleak' and let that dry. Finally I dotted on some of the beige to make more obvious jigsaw shapes.

inside light
After all of that I finished off with the obligatory coat of Seche Vite. I'm really happy with how it turned out, except for my thumb nail which is a little messy!

side on view

I quite like doing an accent nail as well - generally on my ring finger (although need to mix that up a bit I think!

Have you tried any new nail designs recently, or watched any daggy films?

Keep tuned for a guest post from my friend later this week - she doesn't have her own blog but loves nail art too - she better not put me to shame though!


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Leopard print fun

I promise I haven't disappeared or given up on nail blogging - I've just been reaaaaallllyyy busy recently. I also unfortunately have an exam in a few weeks, so any manis I manage to blog about until that has passed are likely to be quick 'n' easy - although that's surely never a bad thing??!! Nail art still provides a welcome distraction though - there are only so many times I can read about earned value formulae and stakeholder management theories (zzzzzzzzzzz).

I decided to continue with the animal theme this week and try out a leopard print mani - plus I knew it would be quick to do which was a definite plus :)

with flash inside
 One big downside of the colder weather and shorter days coming in is the lack of natural sunlight to take nail pics in - I may have to think about investing in a lightbox for pictures (what I really mean is I might need to bribe my husband to make one ;) ).

without flash
 I do love the cool weather though - I sleep with the window open so the crisp night air always clears my head (although the mornings can be a bit nippy and that means a dash to the warmth of the bathroom)!

flash again
For this mani I started with two coats of 'A Butterfly Moment' from the OPI Mariah Carey collection, then used 'You Don't Know Jacques' for the brown blobs. Finally I finished by using my Barry M nail art pen in black to make the outlines and adding a coat of Seche Vite top coat.

side view
 I quite like it and will likely give the neon or pastel variants a go too at some point, especially when my nails get long again!

What do you think, are you enjoying the cooler weather? Have you ever tried a leopard print mani?


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Foxy baby!

The unthinkable happened - I broke two of my lovely long nails :(

I don't think I had properly cut them (apart from shaping) for a few months, and was feeling pretty pleased with myself and smugly self congratulatory. So when two broke within as many days I was surprising upset - and very, very annoyed!

Having short nails just feels weird - I can't pick sellotape on the roll, can't drum my nails loudly on my laptop (annoys my husband greatly, one of my pleasures in life ;) ) and I'm able to type without making a multitude of errors - ok well maybe the last one is a bonus.

The biggest annoyance of all though is how much is restricts what designs I can do with my nails - I know plenty of bloggers have short nails by default and they do a fantastic job, but for me I'm used to having that extra canvas to work with. So - it will be simple nail art for a while I think!

And with that it's on to today's post! I saw this design months ago and for the life of me can't find it again (always like to give credit), and as it was fairly simple while being a little different, I felt now was the time to do it.

In sunlight

I started with 3 coats of MUA 'Fever Red' as my base, then used OPI 'You Don't Know Jacques' for the 'fur' of the fox. Ideally you would use a lighter colour of brown or even dark orange for this, but it's not a colour I have  a lot of so had to make do.

partial shade

I then used a nail art brush for the white on the fox using NYC 'Pinstripe White' and finished off with some black dots for the eyes and nose using China Glaze 'Liquid Leather'.

side view

You could do this design on all of your nails, it's really easy to do and not too fiddly, but I decided to stick with an accent nail :)

We get a lot of urban foxes round where I live as we're really near to some woods - I might need to ask them what they think!

What do you think, have you used animals in nail art before? My next attempt is sure to involve bunnies!


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Blog your heart out award nomination!

The last week or so have been crazy busy for me, so I haven't been keeping up with my blog reading (although will rectify that today). Imagine my surprise when I see a comment on my blog from The Nail Snail saying she had found my blog from my 'Blog your heart out' award nomination from ProcrastiNails!!! Squeeee! How exciting!!!

If you are nominated you have to answer 5 questions (below) and then nominate 5 other blogs you follow that have less than 100 followers. It's a great way to help these ladies get some new followers, and to share blogs you find inspiring that perhaps aren't widely known about.

My answers and nominees are as follows;

1. What/who encouraged you to start blogging?
I've always liked painting my nails and had followed quite a few blogs for a while. When I was on a recent holiday with friends I realised my nail polish collection was a bit excessive compared to theirs (although still paltry compared to proper bloggers), and so I thought why not turn this into a proper hobby! I had never tried any kind of nail art or anything like that, so my posts are generally the first time I've tried a particular design or technique - I have no doubt I'll look back one day and laugh at my attempts!

2. How did you chose what topic(s) to blog about?
I was torn between blogging about food and restaurants as I find that really interesting too, but decided nails would probably be cheaper in the long run and definitely better for my waistline ;)

3. What is something that most people don't know about you?
I love bunny rabbits! Well ok maybe 'most' people don't know that (I bore my friends to death), but I have two bunnies and I just think they are sooooo cute. They're my fur babies :)

4. What three words describe your style?
If relating to nail style - easy, fun and evolving!

5. What do you like to do when you are not blogging?
Spend time with husband, friends, family and aforementioned bunnies, cook, read and watch cheesy 80s films!

My five nominees:
Looks 2 B Loved - not just nails but fashion and beauty too - I really enjoy reading her blog!
The Polished Fangirl - have loved some of the manis she's posted
A Mani Maniac - she enters quite a few challenges, and I really enjoy seeing what she comes up with
Little Night Flower - LOVE some of the designs she's posted recently
The Sparkle Queen - another blog with some great inspiration!

So that's it! Thank you so much to ProcrastiNails for my nomination - you can see the actual post here

I'll be posting some nail art later today - I've had a couple of broken nails *sob* but I'm soldiering on bravely with my nubbins....


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Pastel galaxy mani

I've been dying to try out a galaxy mani for aggggeesss and finally decided to attempt one at the weekend. I particularly like pastel versions, and a quick search brought me to a tutorial posted by The Nailasaurus here. I pretty much followed it to a T using the list of polishes below.

artificial light

I used the following polishes for my 'basic' colours;

  • OPI 'Thanks a Windmillion' (sea foam green) - used as the base
  • Sally Hansen 'Yellow Kitty' (yellow)
  • MUA 'Bold Blue' (blue)
  • Rimmel 'Marshmallow Heaven' (purple)

artificial light
 I then used the following colours for little splashes of shimmer to make it all look more ethereal;

  • OPI 'Not Like The Movies' (shimmery green/silver)
  • OPI 'Play The Peonies' (pale pink pearl)
  • OPI 'Significant Other Colour' (sheer lavendar/yellow duochrome)
natural light, partial shade
 Once that had all dried I dotted on some NYC 'Pinstripe White' to make the stars, and topped with a coat of Seche Vite for strength. Later I then applied two coats of Rimmel 'Matte Finish' to give a matte effect.
Partial shade
 My favourite nail polish in this line up is 'Not Like The Movies' from the January 2011 Katy Perry collection, which is a silvery green and light purple duocrome with some silver microglitter mixed in. Its one of the first few OPI polishes I bought and I haven't even looked at it for at least a year - I'll definitely be using it again in the near future!

all of the polishes together!
What do you think, do you like galaxy manis? When I try this next time I'll vary the pattern across the nails I think, but I'm very pleased with my first attempt!


Friday, 9 August 2013

Understated OPI saran wrap mani

I haven't managed to post anything this week (or even do anything fancy with my nails) as I've been feeling a little under the weather - I know, get the violin out eh ;) - so was determined I would do a mani and post tonight, albeit something relatively simple.

I decided to have another go at a saran wrap mani with colours I wouldn't normally choose to use, just to see what happened. It turned out fairly well but I'm definitely not in love with it! Never mind, I'll do a better one tomorrow :D

natural light

I started off with two coats of 'A Butterfly Moment' from the spring 2013 Mariah Carey collection. This is a pinky peach with gold shimmer, and is surprsingly quite likeable when you have it on.

I then put on one coat of 'Are We There Yet' from the autumn 2011 Touring America collection and dabbed it off with clingfilm. This is a really nice peachy orange shimmer, and while I would never, ever choose orange - I would seriously think about wearing this on it's own.

partial light
 Finally I applied a coat of 'Play The Peonies' from the spring 2011 Nice Stems collection. This is a very pale oyster pink with a pearl finish, and is one that I love as I wore it on my wedding day (awwww).

artificial light
 For a little accent I applied an owl decal and finished off with Seche Vite. I really like decals at the moment and have quite a few to play with. This is one I'll use quite a lot in autumn I think - I don't know why but owls mean autumn to me!

L-R: A Butterfly Momemnt, Are We There Yet?, Play The Peonies, Seche Vite

What do you think, do you like the colours together? Do you have any of these? I'm off to enjoy a friday night Amaretto and lemon :)


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Nice mani, but rubbish topcoat!!

After my first go at a gradient mani (I won't post that, it's not worth the two minutes of your life you'd waste reading it ;) ) I decided to have another go combined with a dot manicure. I was really pleased with how it turned out until I put on topcoat - and subsequently ruined it :(

I decided it was still worth posting though, if for nothing else it warns others not to use that particular topcoat!

in sunlight
I started with three coats of NYC 'Pinstripe White' on all of my nails, then waited for it to dry completely. I then applied the gradient on to my thumb and ringfinger using the following colours;

  • China Glaze 'Below Deck' (dark purple)
  • NYC 'Downtown' (reddish purple)
  • Sally Hansen 'Fairy Teal' (teal)
  • MUA 'Ameretto Crush' (peachy pink)
before the gradient

 I then dotted on the same colours in a random pattern on my other fingers with a mixture of large and small dots.

You can see the mess a gradient manicure makes in the pic below, total nightmare to tidy up but worth it :)

Indirect sunlight
 The next step was to add white dots on to the nails with the gradient pattern carrying the theme through all of the nails.

Finally, I added topcoat. Now, normally I use Seche Vite but my bottle has less than half left now, and as anyone who has used it before knows it starts to get a bit thick and gloopy about then, and causes some major shrinkage on your nails. So I decided to give another top coat I have a go - OPI Rapidry.

BIG mistake - as you can probably see in the pic below the dots all bled after I applied the top coat. At first I thought I hadn't let everything dry enough (although I was sure I had), but tried using Seche Vite on my other hand and it was absolutely fine. Therefore I can only blame the topcoat and won't plan to use this again!

 What do you think, have you ever used this topcoat before? Did you like the mani before it all went wrong?

I'm away to take this mani off now and put on some plain polish *sob*


P.s. if the mani was staying I would clean up my cuticles a bit more as there is some staining, but didn't see the point really :)

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Spotty dotty manicure

My dotting tools finally arrived last week - yaaaay! So I (of course) had to give them a go with a spotty, dotty mani. I've seen quite a few variations of this so it's by no means a unique or complex design, but I really like it - it's fun :)

in sunlight
I started off with 3 coats of OPI 'Did you 'ear about Van Gogh' from the 2012 spring Holland collection. This is a lovely light beige creme and will be really useful to have as a neutral base for manis in the future!

I then dotted on Sally Hansen 'Grass Slipper' (the green dots) with two big dots and 3 small dots on each nail, followed by the same of OPI 'Anti Bleak' (purple dots).

with flash
  Once those had tried I dotted Barry M 'Shocking Pink'on top of the green dots and 3 smaller dots arond, then Barry M 'Peach Melba' on top of the purple dots and around. I then finished with a topcoat of Seche Vite (of course).

indirect sunlight

I really like this effect and plan to repeat in the future with different colour combinations, and to perhaps spice up with some stripes. What do you think, do you like the colours? Have you tried this before?


Monday, 29 July 2013

Pastel skittle mani with decal

After a few more complicated manis recently (posts to follow soon), I decided to go for a simple mani with a little embellishment. I ordered some moustache decals from amazon a few weeks ago, so decided tonight was the night to give them a whirl :)

in daylight

A skittle mani is basically five different nails often following a theme. So you could have all with the colour blue, all with stripes etc - or you could throw caution to the wind and go wild!

Fot this one I decided to go with pastel colours, and used the following;
  • Barry M 'Peach Melba' (orange)
  • Sally Hansen ' Yellow Kitty' (yellow)
  • MUA 'Pistachio Ice Cream' (mint green)
  • Essie 'Cool Cascade' (pink)
  • MUA 'Bold Blue' (blue)
indirect sunlight

All of these are 4 coats, with the exception of the yellow one which needed SIX coats - seriously?!

I then applied a coat of Seche Vite and the moustache decal, then glued on black gems on to each nail (and a pink one on to the nail with the decal). And then finished off with another coat of Seche Vite.

Partial sunlight

 What do you think, do you like the colour together? Have you tried something similar?

Polishes used


Friday, 26 July 2013

Striping mani with bright colours

My striping tape came from China - FINALLY! Five weeks I've been waiting for these bad boys to  get here, so naturally I had to try them out in a mani IMMEDIATELY!

I'm going to say this up front though - I don't really like this mani, it didn't come out all that well and I definitely need to practise more! Although I was a little distracted as I was putting it on when all the media coverge of the royal birth started, so I'll maybe blame it on that ;)

indirect sunlight

I think when I try it again I'll be very careful not to flood my cuticles as I think that's why it looks so messy with the white peeking through.

So, to start off with I applied four coats of OPI 'Funny Bunny' which is a fairly sheer milky white creme. Now anyone who knows me in real life will know I bought this polish for the name only, and it will most definitely not become my 'go to' white polish!

with flash inside

I then applied the striping tape in the pattern you see with a fair amount of help from my husband, and painted on two coats of;

Barry M Gelly 'Guava' (the blue polish)
Barry M 'Shocking Pink' (the pink polish)
Barry M '325' (the green polish)

I took the tape off while the polish was still tacky, although the tape had stained a little on my thumb nail so I had to go over the white with my Barry M nail art pen. I then topped off with a coat of Seche Vite as usual.

I was really disappointed with the geen polish, which is a limited edition from the summer range. It looked so rich and vibrant in the bottle but came out pretty wishy washy on the nail.

Partial shade

I do quite like the three colours together though!

What do you think, do you like the pattern and colour combination? If you've tried striping before did you need help? Any tips (please)?!


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Blue and white polka dot mani

I received a fairly large haul on Saturday - about 25 new polishes and a variety of nail art peripherals. So it was inevitable that I would spend most of Saturday morning trying out some of the goodies!

in shade outside
 I started with four coats of OPI 'I have a Herring Problem' from the 2012 spring Holland collection. This is a lovely dusky blue with both gold and silver micro glitter. It's a gorgeous polish but a bit thin - hence the 4 coats!

I then took the Barry M White nail art pen and dotted on polka dots all over my nails. Now this was a total pain in the bum to do and many swear words were uttered, but I do love the finished result!

in sunlight

Finally I drew on a heart on my ring finger then went round it with the same nail art pen in black. I will confess - this is my 2nd attempt as the 1st one was a total disaster! And a coat of Seche Vite to finish it all off.

partial sunlight
 I'm really pleased with this mani and will definitely be doing it again (or some kind of variation of it anyway). What do you think? Have you tried the nail art pens out yet?


love the shimmer!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Mint mani for Talia

Many of you have probably heard of the 13 year old blogger Talia Joy Castellano who become famous for her beauty and fashion vblog on Youtube.

Talia tragically lost her 6 year battle with neuroblastoma on Tuesday this week, and as a tribute to her memory many nail and fashion bloggers are dedicating posts to her. The last mani she posted was a mint design, so many nail bloggers are posting mint manis in her memory.

As you know I haven't been blogging for all that long, but I've known of Talia for a couple of years so felt I wanted to contribute. Loss of life at any age is sad, but it seems especially tragic when someone so young, bright and full of life passes away.

You can see Talia's work on her Youtube channel here.

artifical light
For my mani I decided to go simple and sparkly with 3 coats of MUA 'Pistachio Ice Cream' followed by one coat of OPI 'Rainbow Connection' from the 2011 Muppets collecion.

'Ranbow Connection' is a clear polish with different sizes of hexagonal glitter in silver, pink, yellow, green, blue and orange. It sold out very quickly when it was released and is now another relatively rare polish increasing in value.

artifical light

polishes used
I added some fimo hearts to the design as well - although I confess it was meant to be one in the centre but I had a little mishap! It kind of looks like those love heart sunglasses you get though which I could totally have seen Talia wearing, so hopefully it's ok :)

My thoughts are with Talia's family


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Hot pink waterfall mani

So after I removed the beads from my nail constellations mani and repainted my ring fingers with MUA 'Bright Pink', I decided to give a waterfall mani a go. I've seen a few blog posts on this recently and it seemed relatively easy to do while being pretty and eyecatching - perfect all round really :)

partial sunlight
I had a rummage through my collection and decided to go for a variety of colours. I used;

  • MUA'Pistachio Ice Cream' (mint green)
  • MUA 'Bold Blue' (light blue)
  • OPI 'Anti Bleak' (dark purple)
  • Rimmel lasting finish 'Marshmallow Heaven' (light purple)
This seemed like quite a summery combination to me and I really liked the colours against the hot pink. I only wish I had invested in some half decent brushes as I found it quite hard to paint the strokes on - they should really be a bit more delicate than they turned out!

direct sunlight

I went over some of the strokes twice as they needed some opacity to stand up to the pink, then finished off with Seche Vite topcoat.

closer up

polishes used
What do you think, do the colours go together well? Have you tried this design before? If you know of any good nail brush kits please let me know :)


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

MUA nail constellations

Being a newbie in the world of nail polish blogging inevitably means I have a small polish stash compared to the established bloggers - I think I have around 40 at the moment. So I decided to up my collection with a couple of online orders from discount sites (yet to arrive - can't wait!) and a quick shopping trip to Superdrug to stock up on the MUA £1 nail varnishes.

While eagerly choosing some colours I came across the MUA nail constellations product and was instantly in love! I bought one to take home and try out with a promise to myself to purchase more if it was any good.

So, what did I do with my new purchases?

Firstly I applied 4 coats of MUA 'Bright Pink' - a really pretty hot pink creme with a touch of coral and a very glossy finish. It did need 4 coats for full opacity but I was really pleased with the result when it was finished.

I saved appying the 4th coat on my ring fingers until my other fingers were finished, then applied them and dusted with the constellation beads.

In sunlight
I purchased the 'Scorpio' constellation (my star sign) which in the bottle looked like gold, green and hot pink. However when I applied Seche Vite top coat it seemed to strip the pink beads of their colour as you can see in these pics - what a shame! I also lost quite a few beads over the next few hours, so tonight decided to take them off and try something else, although will definitely be going back to experiment further with different designs.

in sunlight again


products used
What do you think, do you like the constellation beads? Have you tried them before?