Christmas Candy Canes

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Merry Christmas everyone! OK, I know I'm a little late, sorry about that. Blame food poisoning/stomach flu/whatever it was. Anywho, my Christmas nail design:

White: NYC Nails, Silver: Leighton Denny "Diamond Diva", Red: Barry M, and the green stripe was a no-name nail art pen.
Now, I hope no-one is offended that I have started "branding" my photographs. They are starting to crop up on Pinterest and the google-bots have found me. I LOVE people sharing my work, but I would like to get as much credit as possible from here on in! I won't be going back and replacing the images I have already posted, because I will lose the links I already have, but from here on in hopefully everything will be tagged.

Remember, Remember...

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I don't know how many of my followers are UK-based, and how many of you aren't and/or have never heard of Bonfire Night. Allow me to help you out.

I apologise. I just LOVE that site. Sorry. Anyway...So in celebration of the last time anyone entered the Houses of Parliament with honest intentions, we basically set fire to things and let off fireworks. La-la-laaaa!!

Here are my firework-inspired nails (though someone has already complimented me on my "space nails", so, whatever you prefer. Fireworks, space, I'm happy as long as they're pretty!).

Nails Inc Motcomb Street (free with Glamour magazine), glitters (from thumb), no name gold, OPI "Save Me" (Nikki Minaj collection), Revlon "Star", OPI "Save Me", Revlon "Star", with blue star crystals on ring finger (thank you Kay! :) .

The Collection

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I get asked a lot at work by customers how many nail polishes I actually own. Well, following an evening of caffeinated flu medications, I can now reveal (organised by brand) The Collection:

I was actually disappointed, I thought I had more than that. Then I remembered the 50+ I gave away this spring, and the 37 that went in the clear-out of deceased polishes.

Prabal Gurung Blood Spatter

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I LOVED the nails from NYFW, especially the gruesome blood spatter nails from Prabal Gurung. I thought I'd give them a go for Halloween!

I can't exactly do what I usually do and give shades, etc. The base coat is Nails Inc South Molton Street, but the blood is actually a mix of reds, all Nails Inc, including Victoria, Tate, Victoria & Albert, and Milan.
The main difference is that I didn't apply a top coat over the "blood". I applied the South Molton Street, then regular top coat, THEN the "blood". 
I mixed the reds on a sheet of paper, and allowed the polish to sit for a minute or so before I applied it with a regular brush. I allowed it to dry on my nails, and then "stippled" it a bit to add some texture. The effect was just what I wanted, and caused quite a stir when I paid for things at the Halloween event we went to! 

#The Leaves They Are A-Changin' #

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I love Autumn, the crisp air, the crispier leaves, the bonfires, the excuse to drag out your woolies again after the Summer...Awesome.

I took inspiration from the colours of Autumn for my latest design, and thought I'd dig out my sponges again.

Now, I was in two minds about whether to post these photographs. In the end I decided to just apologise profusely for the state of the paint job! Yes, my fingers are still messy and covered in nail oil. Usually I wait until I've cleaned it off to take the photograph, but I fell asleep drying and woke up in time to just grab a few snaps before bed!

So please ignore the fact that they look like the base coat was applied by a 5yr old. :S

Revlon "Colour Zing" in 502 Peachzing, No.7 "Taffeta" 90 over the top, no-name irredescent glitter over the top.

Happy Panda!

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I apologise for the state of the base colour (and my out of Nail Envy and had to do something to spin out what I was wearing!!), but my BFF sent me a video of this adorable panda design, and I just had to give it a shot!

Nails Inc "Ascot Ladies Day", with No.7 irredescent glitter topcoat and random black and white for the panda.
I'm told that nude nails are there you go. I'm accidentally fashionable too. :)


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Glitter polish OPI "Mad As A Hatter"*, pink (ring finger) Leighton Denny "Plush Pink", Swarovski crystals in aurora borialis, clear, pink, purple and blue.


*Dammit that polish is soooooo amazingly beautiful it makes me giddy just looking at it. It's also THE hardest colour to photograph well, the only lighting that nearly got all the sparkle? I only had my crappy camera phone (hence it being all blurry). Might take my camera tomorrow to the same place and try again.


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My nails, that is.

In real life, particularly at work, I get SO many people assuming that my nails are acrylic or stuck on or otherwise fake. So, here in all their unadorned glory (not even with a slick of Nail Envy), are my nails.


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OK, I caved...I went for the Olympic nails. I have to say, I am SO jealous that all of the atheletes get their own amazing nail bar that does all of the world flags. I don't know if I want to go there or work there, but either way, I am jealous.

Gold Glitter OPI "Bring On The Bling" (love love LOVE this shade! It's mainly gold, but with pink, blue, green, and red mixed it), Rimmel 085 white (I really need a new white, it's getting gloopy :( ) and KISS Nail Art black striper. The stones are just randoms from eBay. The yellow doesn't look as yellow here as it does in real life. :( My Olympic rings look pretty cool in real life!

Baby Blue...

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I am overwhelmed by the number of page views I have had on this blog! And also slightly ashamed...I really need to update more often! I have a pretty good excuse though...A couple of friends have recently had babies. One of my other hobbies besides nails is cross-stitch (yeah, I'm such a party animal you can see some of my crafty exploits on my other blog, as well as my holiday snaps!). However, sewing and wet nail polish do NOT mix, so I have spent most of the summer so far just wearing a quick coat of Nail Envy and nothing else. :S

However, to celebrate the latest little guy making his way into the world, I decided to go for one of my favourite colour combos: Blue and Glittery!!

Collection 2000 #230, with NYC 101A over the top, though you can't actually see the glittery NYC even though there's about 5 coats on there. The dots on my ring finger are just Rimmel Lasting Finish 085. I put the dots on AFTER the glitter, so they stand out a little better.

I apologise for the state of it! I've had the same polish on for about 10 days now, so it's starting to look a little tatty, I forgot to take a photograph when it was fresh. :S

Also, hopefully by the time you read this (unless you're really fast!), I should have added Pinterest. Feel free to share!

Minnie-cure: Testing the Rio 14 Day Manicure

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I am very very fortunate to have an awesome BFF, who in turn has an awesome sister, who bought her the awesome Rio 14 Day Manicure kit for Christmas! I was also fortunate enough to get to borrow it to create a manicure that would last the duration of my Disney World holiday. :D

The kit contains everything you need to create a manicure that lasts for, guess how long? Correct (I'm going to assume here that you yelled "14 days!" at your screen).

I read up online before using the kit. Basically, professional nail techs (probably obviously) don't like it. More specifically, they don't like the fact that untrained people are using it. Speaking as an untrained person, I can see why, because it is pretty easy to use and, assuming you don't mind a couple of "quirky" looking efforts whilst you're getting used to the products, if you were the right sort of person you could easily replace a trip to the salon with this kit, after a few practice runs.

So how does it work? You push back your cuticles. Buff your nails with the whiteblock included in the kit. Wipe over with their "Preparation Lotion" (alcohol wipe) to remove any oils, and then apply the Rio base coat polish. Once that is dry, you apply your manicure, using whatever polish you like. I didn't try glitter, I kind of wish I did now. I DID apply crystals, which the gel seemed to pull away from during the two weeks. I already knew about capping the nail at the end as I do it as a matter of course, so maybe a clear coat of polish to seal in the crystals would have given a better finish. That said, after three layers of gel the crystals were more just a mirrored dot than a faceted crystal, so as the gel pulled back from the crystals and the facets came out, my mani actually got better-looking!! How many manicures improve with age?! Once your polish is completely dry, you begin with the gel, applying three layers, curing under the UV lamp between layers. When all three layers are cured, wipe off the sticky residue, and voila, a completed gel manicure.

Good Bits:

* Easy-to-follow instructions.
* Easy to use products.
* Manicure DID last for over 14 days. I didn't go easy on it either, it survived an action-packed holiday (and much price-tag picking/peeling) with ease.
* The colours don't run/smudge when you apply the gel.
* Product refills can be re-ordered.

Bad Bits:

* Allow LOTS of time. You can't apply the gel until the polish is completely dry. I guess that's not so bad if you're using a one-coat colour. I used two colours and nail art, so that obviously added on a couple of hours drying time. I think with practice, I would get quicker/less cautious. Also, don't gauge the application time based on a salon application. 1) the salon know what they're doing!! 2) whilst one hand is curing at the salon, the tech is applying to the other hand. Unless you are a mouth-painter, you cannot do this yourself.
* It took a good few wipes to get rid of the sticky residue. The instructions make it sound like a quick swipe with the pad will get rid of it. I found I had to rub quite hard, and even after I washed my hands there were still a couple of stubborn sticky bits. Now, that's probably down to my inexperience at using the kit, but I did begin to wonder if I'd made a mistake at one point.

I don't think the products are as strong as the ones used in salons. From what I understand, every brand of gel/acrylic cures at a different rate, and the lamps are designed to work with one brand only (ie, for Shellac, only use a Shellac lamp), so whilst you can get refills for the products in the kit (and replacement lamp bulbs), you should ONLY use those products ordered from the Rio website. The refills didn't look too expensive when I checked it out, and there are also extras not included with the kit that are available.

The golden rule it gives you is to NOT pick off the gel. The golden rule is AWAYS do not pick off the gel. Well, the golden rule does not allow for an 8.5hr plane journey, now does it?! Anyway, whether it was because it was 16 days old, or whether it was because I have notoriously oily nails (I can usually remove nail polish in a complete piece if it's been on long enough), most of it actually peeled off rather easily when picked. That could be because, certainly on my left hand, I was a bit over-generous when applying the gel so some of it had set on my finger, and given a nice edge to start picking when it started to grow out a bit (I know, I'm terrible. Don't do it, you'll ruin your nails!).

However, the proper method of removal is soaking cotton balls in acetone (actually, I didn't want to waste what came with the kit, so I used a regular Sally Hansen polish remover, just make sure it's not the acetone-free version or you'll be there forever) and then wrap your acetone-budded nails in foil for 10 minutes.

TIP: if you use face-wipes/baby wipes that are that weird throw-away fabricky stuff, save them, and cut them into doubled squares big enough to cover your nails. They sit better and are much easier to wrap in foil than lumpy cotton wool.

At some stage, I will most probably buy a kit. I really liked it, I could get much better results with better practice and, best of all, my nails sustained NO damage, which has never been something I was able to say after having gels applied/removed at a salon. I didn't have to trim my nails down at all following removal, and with previous gel experiences I ended up having to cut off damaged nail and start again from scratch. Plus, just think of the things you could do! Glitter! Caviar! Nail art that lasts for 2 whole weeks! I get a little bit giddy thinking about it. Also, in summer when I brave sandals and paint my toenails, my mani-pedi cycle always gets out of sync and I end up having to take of my toenail polish wearing plastic gloves so that I don't damage my manicure...So it would be nice to avoid that.

Anyway, I know you don't care about my ramblings, so on with the photographs!

I got SO many compliments on my nails every day we were in America...Someone even asked if I had them done in the park at the Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boutique!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think the "hidden Mickey" sealed the deal. :)

Caviar Manicure

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I spotted this manicure the other day and decided that I HAD to do it:

Photograph © Ciaté Available to purchase here.

But, not having a rediculous amount of cash to splash on nail polish, I came up with my own:

I'd like to add some more colours (like a proper can't even see that there's blue in there. Then again, the beads I used weren't strictly meant for this!!) but I was really happy with the overall effect.

I have to say, after I took these photographs I did topcoat it a couple of times to seal the beads in! I do NOT want one of those lil suckers in my eye by accident!

Best Exotic...

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We went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel the other week, and I LOVED it. I love beautiful sari fabrics, and the vibrant colours and golds.

So with the first sunshine of the year, I went for some sunny colours!

The colours...I'll add in the actual shade numbers later, but in general: Barry M [Pure Turquoise], I can't remember the pink right now (duh!), and the gold crackle is Nails Inc.

Now, you might notice that the last shot isn't really my normal photograph. I haven't made an error, my thumb is covered for a reason. That reason being that on Thursday morning I woke up to a loud crack (I thought my husband had clicked his fingers!), followed by immense pain (bear in mind that I never wear false nails, that is my real nail that made that noise!)....and this:
Accompanied by a bleeding 2" scratch on my opposite elbow.

I still have no idea what happened, but BOOOOOO! It has ruined my lovely long nails that I was growing for Disney designs in a couple of weeks. :,(

Long Time No Blog!

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Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates around these parts. Mum's been in hospital, and over Christmas/New Year I did a lot of baking/cooking/ things that do not allow me to sit and dry for long periods of time!!

I just checked the stats for this blog, and realised that I've had over 6000 views since I started it, so firstly WOW, secondly THANK YOU,  and thirdly I'd better get my @$$ in gear and update more often!

BarryM (#295 Pure Turquoise) with OPI (NL E62 Silver Shatter Ltd. Ed. Pirates of the Caribbean series).

The design doesn't come across so well on the photos, but in real life I'm pretty pleased with it!