Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Greens

My local indoor market has recently reopened after a major refurbishment and I was excited to discover that the discount cosmetics stall has got bigger and better. They have lots of branded nail polish for between 50p and £2 a bottle and when I saw a pale, minty green NYC polish called "Cupcakes and Latte" for £1 I had to buy it because I'm a sucker for green polish.

Sorry about the out of focus photo!

The other two polishes I used for these nails both have some sentimental value for me, and by coincidence are both also NYC polishes. Before I discovered the wonders of £1 polish, I bought quite a few NYC polishes because they have a good range of colours and are £1.79 at Superdrug (and are often part of mutibuy offers). They are good quality, fast drying polishes, but I have found that they tend to get really thick and goopy within six months of first opening them.

High Line Green is one of the polishes that I bought and wore for my wedding day. I love this shade and it makes me all sentimental! I used it for the stamping because it is really opaque and I also used it for the first layer of polish on my thumb and ring fingers. The pattern is from my newly purchased Born Pretty plate, M83.

Green Day from NYC's Rock Muse collection is a dark smoky jelly with medium sized green hex glitter and tiny gold and green micro glitter. It is the first glitter polish I ever bought and it was the first step of my journey from having colourful but plain nails to sparkly patterned madness! I used a coat of it on my thumb and index fingers over the High Line Green.

I topped everything with a coat of P.S. Matte Top Coat because I still can't get enough of the stuff! The one problem I have found with this top coat is that although the surface of it dries very quickly, it softens up the layers of polish underneath which doesn't dry fully again for two or three hours. Your nails might look and feel dry on the surface, but put a little pressure on them and all your polish will just wrinkle and slide off. This is not a top coat to use when you are in a hurry.

I really like this pattern in these colours - it makes me think of wallpaper from a grand Victorian house - but I think I'd prefer it if I'd stamped it the other way up. I also realise, looking at these photos, that I really need to use more cuticle oil!
What do you think of these nails?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Klingon Nails

HoSghaj nItlhpach! Which is Klingon for "Powerful fingernails".

On Saturday I was supposed to be joining my husband and his friends to drink lots of coffee and play a Star Trek tabletop war game (yes, that is exactly as geeky as it sounds). I always play as the Klingons so I decided to give myself some fierce Klingon themed nails. In the end I woke up on Saturday with a cold and as I didn't want to spread my germs about, I never found out whether these nails improved my game and terrified my opponents.

I started with two coats of black Jess polish (exclusive to Poundland) in shade Midnight. It's impossible to read the label in the photo as the writing is black on black. This polish really is excellent, very opaque and if you are careful you could just use one coat. While the second coat was still tacky I applied some patches of red and yellow foil from this multicoloured gradient holographic foil from Born Pretty. You can use adhesive to stick this foil on, but tacky polish worked well for the distressed look I wanted. To fill in any big gaps I applied a coat of clear polish (Voltage by L.A.Colors, £1 from my local pharmacy) and when that was tacky I applied more foil to those areas.

On my left middle finger I painted the Klingon symbol with some acrylic paint and a fine paintbrush. As I was experimenting, I decided to see what the foil looked like if I brushed a little more black polish (from an brush with hardly any polish on) over the top on my left hand to distress it further. I topped all my nails with Konad Special Top Coat from a hard glossy finish. I really like the look of the foil on both of my hands and I can't wait to try some of the other colours.

Here you can see the difference between the foil on my left and right hands.

I like to think that a powerful and fabulous female Klingon warrior would wear nails like this, but I imagine that Klingons don't agree with frivolous things like nail art!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Lacquer Legion - Lucky Heather

The Lacquer Legion is a monthly nail art challenge and this is the first time I have taken part. The theme for March is "Lucky".

I took my inspiration for this nail art from heather. According to folklore the heather plant brings good luck and white heather is luckiest of all (hence the accent nail), plus Heather is my middle name so it seemed rather appropriate. There was a perfect heather-like design on the P48 plate that came with one of the Allura nail stamping sets I picked up last week at Poundland.

I used three coats of MUA All Nude, a warm creamy white shade (£1 from Superdrug) then sponged on a gradient with Rimmel Sweet Lavender (£1 from Poundworld) on most of my nails. I stamped the heather design three times on each gradient nail using MUA Frozen Yoghurt (which looks nothing like the colour shown on the website). I finished all my gradient nails with a coat of P.S. Matte Top Coat (£1 from Primark). I was really impressed that the matte top coat didn't smudge the stamping at all. For my accent nail I used two coats of a purple Primark P.S. polish (£2 for a set of 4) and stamped once with white Konad Special Polish followed by a coat of Konad Special Top Coat.

I'm really pleased with the way these nails look. They have a romantic, vintage feel to them. They remind me of the windswept purple moorland near my home.

After I'd already been wearing these nails for 24 hours I then spent two hours gardening, weeding, digging in compost and potting up plants with my bare hands. Even after a vigorous scrub with a nail brush the nails still looked perfect - not a chip in sight! I'm so impressed with the quality of all of these polishes and I've found that MUA polishes in particular seem to be almost unchippable.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Weekly Haul - Jess Nail Polish

Jess is a new budget nail polish brand exclusive to Poundland with an exciting selection of cremes and glitters, all available for (surprise surprise) £1 a bottle. Today I'll be doing a review of two of the creme polishes, Brazen and All That Jazz.

The polishes come in 9ml bottles labeled as Made in UK, and the only criticism I have of the packaging is that the ingredients are not listed. All That Jazz is a neon primary blue. It's quite an unusual shade and although I own a lot of blue polish I have nothing similar to this. Brazen is a bright, almost neon, blue-leaning emerald green. My camera has a real problem photographing bright and neon shades accurately and I tried every background colour and type of lighting I could think of to make these colours pop, but with no luck. In real life the green is a saturated, rich shade much brighter than the washed out shade in the photos and the blue is also richer and brighter than it looks here.

Both polishes apply smoothly and are very opaque for budget polishes. The brushes are a little narrower than I prefer but the caps are easy to hold. Both shades require two coats for total coverage and dry quickly. They dry to a really glossy finish that seems pretty chip resistant. I wore these for 24 hours without top coat and despite being bashed around aplenty they stayed looking perfect. The quality of these cremes is much better than the Technic cremes I own and as good or better than the best Primark P.S. shades I've tried. I'm really impressed with these polishes and I have a feeling I will be buying quite a lot of Jess shades!

I used two coats of Brazen on my index, ring and little fingers and two coats of All That Jazz on my thumb and middle fingers, then used a floral pattern from Born Pretty plate QA59 to stamp some of my nails with white Konad Special Polish. These photos are all taken without any top coat to show how glossy these polishes really are!

I highly recommend seeking out Jess polishes if you have a local Poundland. These photos just don't do these lovely shades justice! I also picked up a few interesting Jess glitter polishes which I am saving for the next "Weekly Haul" post and I really hope that they impress me as much as the Jess cremes have.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I got nominated for a Liebster Award...

...and I'm so old and out of the loop that I had to google what a Liebster Award was! I was nominated by the lovely Indra at Alice In Beautyland, who is a beauty blogger and polish addiction enabler of the best kind. I suspect that she has magical powers that allow her to sense special offers and clearance sales.

Apparently the rules for this are as follows:
1. You must link back to the person who awarded you
2. You must answer the 11 questions given by the nominee before you
3. You pick 11 nominees with under 200 followers to answer your questions
4. You cannot nominate the person who nominated you
5. You must tell your nominees that they have been nominated by you

So, eleven random facts about me:

1. I like to crochet woolly monster toys.
2. I usually watch videos of mathematics lectures while I paint my nails.
3. Even though I have a rather large nail polish collection, I only own one eyeliner, one mascara and one lipstick.
4. I'm married to the love of my life, an adorable nerd who collects wargaming miniatures faster than I collect nail polish.
5. I have a degree in illustration.
6. I love writing computer programs and learning new programming languages.
7. Two of my toes on each foot are webbed which is one of the reasons you'll never see me post pedicure photos.
8. I am currently training to be a volunteer at a science museum.
9. For my wedding I wore a purple and green party dress and matching nails.
10. I used to play saxophone in a punk rock band.
11. I make amazing lentil and ham soup.

Now for Indra's questions:

1. What’s your favourite animal?
Hmmm, a tricky question. Axolotl or panda.

2. Where is your ideal holiday location?
Vienna. I've been twice with my husband (before we were married) and it is the most friendly, relaxed, art and culture filled city you can imagine, and the beer is good.

3. If you could have been born at any time (and in a ‘good’ family, healthy, etc) when would you have been born?
I was born in the early 1980s which, as a woman, was a great time to be born so I'm not sure I'd want to change that. We were one of the first generations of women who could be anything we wanted to be.

4. Pencil eyeliner or liquid?

5. Summer or Winter?
Summer. I tend to get very depressed during Winter.

6. Pasta or Rice?
Pasta. In fact I'm eating a cheesy pasta bake tonight.

7. What’s your favourite item of clothing and why?
Either the green John Rocha coat that my parents bought me for my 30th birthday (it is very "me", and cost more than I would ever spend on clothes for myself), or my turquoise-blue sweater from Primark because people keep telling me that the colour really suits me.

8. What did you want to be when you were younger?
Many things. Artist, poet, mechanic, army officer, electronic engineer, illustrator, rocket scientist...

9. What’s your dream career now?
I'd love to be a software engineer. I'm currently saving up to go back to university so I can make that a reality.

10. Favorite candle scent?
Lavender. I'm an old lady at heart.

11. You have ten minutes to do your make up, what are your ‘go to’ products?
I'm not sure that doing my (face) make up has ever taken me longer than ten minutes anyway and most days I wear no make up at all so that's even quicker! If I'm going to a party I'll slap on some Garnier BB Cream, a little No7 black eyeliner pencil and Clinique mascara and use a purplish pink No7 lip crayon. They are all quite expensive products for a woman with such a love of cheap nail polish, but I have sensitive skin and eyes so I have to be careful about what I put on my face.

For my nominees I've chosen other new-ish nail blogs I have been reading recently:

1. Laura at Lacquered Hearts: Lacquer Tarts (I love that blog name!) who shares my love of value polish.
2. Marge from Nailuminium whose freehand nail art designs are jawdropping.
3. Jayna at The Sequined Nail, for more freehand prettiness.
4. Ivy at Two by Two, Nails of Blue, a fellow polish addict.
5. Galorious, with her amazing freehand nail art.
6. Heather at Polish, Plants and More, another pound store nail polish afficionado.
7. Swishie Nails, which may or may not be a blog written by a nail polish loving cat.
8. Ginge at Cosmos and Crayons, a fun illustrated science blog featuring a cute sloth and occasional geeky nail art.
9. Colorful Cupcake Cat, a nail blogger from Iceland.
10. Lisa's Nails, another UK nail art blog.
11. Rexxx Did It, a Belgian nail art blog.

I highly recommend checking all of these blogs out and following them on bloglovin for lots of nail inspiration.

Now for the questions for my nominees. If you do want to take part remember to paste your Liebster Award to your own blog and nominate your favourite bloggers with under 200 followers.
My questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favourite book?
2. How many nail polishes do you own?
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
4. If you had to choose only one nail polish from your collection and wear it every day for the next month, what would you choose?
5. What was your favourite subject at school?
6. Have you ever worn an outfit that you thought looked amazing at the time, but in hindsight makes you cringe? What was the outfit?
7. Cats or dogs?
8. What is your favourite type of cake?
9. What was the best fashion or make up bargain you have ever purchased?
10. If you could have lunch with any celebrity, who would it be?
11. What actress would play you in a film of your life?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Try Out All The Things!

My inner six year old thinks that this manicure is the most amazing thing ever.

I got carried away in Poundland this weekend. It started with buying some of the new and exciting Poundland-exclusive Jess polishes (which will be reviewed in Thursday's "The Weekly Haul" post), and then, giddy and overstimulated by glitter, I ended up buying four different nail art sets to try out too. I picked up a pack of 12 little glass vials of caviar beads, a wheel containing a selection of tiny fimo butterfly slices and two stamping kits with different plates, all from a brand called Allura.

Back when my nails started featuring stamped patterns and glitter for the first time, I told my husband that if I ever started sticking "gaudy plastic crap" to my nails, he was to stage an intervention. I'm expecting him to check me into rehab any time soon!

When I got all my goodies home, of course I wanted to try them out. The sensible, adult part of my brain told me that I should just pick one thing to try because if I used them all together it would just be tacky and hideous. I ignored my sensible, adult brain and set to work on my nails like a kid in a sweet shop. As I had butterflies and the stamping plates mainly featured flowers, I decided to go with a summer garden theme.

I started with two coats of Constance Carroll Diamond Shine in Neon Green, which is actually more lime than neon (bought last year for £1 for a pack of two at Poundworld). I was planning to use the "seran-wrap" marble technique, but I discovered that we'd run out of cling-film so I improvised by using a plastic shopping bag which seemed to do the trick. I used a Jess polish in shade Brazen which is a bright emerald green (not as teal as it looks in the photo) for the marbling.

I chose to use the Allura stamping set with plate P21. The stamper itself worked perfectly and is very similar to the Konad one I own. The scraper has a plastic blade, works well and I actually prefer it over the Konad metal bladed scraper I have. The plates aren't as finely detailed as some other plates, but I tried several of the designs and they transfer very well. They metal is thinner than other plates and the edges are very sharp (no plastic backing), so be very careful when taking them out of the packaging and handling them. I used white Konad Special Polish for the stamping.

If you are interested in trying out nail stamping I would definitely recommend these Allura sets. For just £1 they contain everything you need to get started except polish. I recommend NYC Foil Explosion polishes (although the orangey shade isn't supposed to be as good) as excellent, reasonably priced polishes for starting stamping and they are often available in multibuy deals at Superdrug.

The Allura caviar set contains a nice range of colours and finishes including metallic, pearl, transparent and opaque beads. I made a mix of the dark green metallic, light green metallic and silver caviar and sprinkled it on top of a thickish coat of the Constance Carroll polish on my ring finger nails. After patting it down and waiting for it to dry I covered it with a coat of Konad Special Top Coat. The colour of the caviar didn't bleed or come off with the top coat and even after 24 hours of wear they have stayed put except at the very tips of my nails. They seem to be good quality for the price.

I have always thought that fimo slices for nail art are rather cute (especially the fruit ones) but I could never really see myself wearing them, but then in my pound store frenzy I saw these little butterflies and thought why not! There is a good selection of colours and designs in this set, some of them are more realistic looking and others are quite cartoony, and the set also contains a nail file and an orange stick. I put a coat of Konad Special Top Coat on my thumb and middle finger and placed the butterflies using the orange stick dipped in a tiny amount of top coat. The slices are quite thin and even, but they don't bend around the shape of the nail very well, so another coat of the top coat was needed to smooth over the edges so they wouldn't catch on things (any top coat that dries quickly to a hard finish would do). 24 hours later all the butterflies are still firmly attached to my nails and haven't caught on anything.

I'm very impressed with the quality of all the Allura products I bought. The nail art I created with them is very over-the-top and silly, but it makes me smile. I know that the six year old me would have wanted to wear nails like this every day!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Weekly Haul - Sally Hansen Sugar Coats

When I first started to see textured polishes in shops my initial reaction was "Yuck, why would anyone want nails that look and feel like sandpaper?".

Then, as my obsession with reading nail blogs grew, I saw more and more swatches of various textured polishes and the look began to grow on me. When my local pound stores suddenly seemed to be full of bottles of black and white Sally Hansen Sugar Coat, they both found their way into my polish collection.

I love greens, blues and purples (90% of my polish collection consists of these colours) so when I found Sugar Coat polishes in Spare-A-Mint?, Laughie Taffy and Gummy Grape in Poundworld this week I had to buy them!

I was planning to do some nail art with these shades, but I like them so much as they are that I decided to just keep each nail a single colour. Spare-A-Mint? (middle finger) is a teal-tinged green. In real life it is much closer to emerald green than it looks in the photos. Laughie Taffy (thumb and ring finger) is a rich navy blue and Gummy Grape (index and little fingers) is violet.

They aren't the most long wearing polishes and I usually start to see wear on the tips of my nails within 24 hours, but that is to be expected with such a rough finish. I know textured polishes are old news now, but I really enjoy wearing them. If you do too, get down to your local pound shop because Sally Hansen Sugar Coat polishes are a bargain right now!

Monday, March 17, 2014

We'll Gather Lilacs in the Spring

This is definitely my most feminine manicure to date, and after I'd done it I realised that I own a summer top in a very similar colour and design, so why not photograph my nails against it!

I started with a gradient, with Rimmel 60 Seconds in shade Sweet Lavender (Poundworld) at the base of the nail merging into Frozen Yoghurt by MUA at the tips. I'm rather in love with this MUA shade, and for £1 a bottle at Superdrug it is an excellent value polish.

I used Cheeky Jumbo plate N and white Konad Special Polish for the stamping, and on the accent nail I used a coat of Chit Chat glitter in Violet (Poundland). It's all topped off with a coat of Konad Special Top Coat, which dries quickly to a hard glossy finish and doesn't smudge the stamping when it is applied.

These nails make me feel like spring is on the way! What do you think?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My First Water Marble

On a whim I decided to have a go at water marbling my nails. I used a whole bunch of blue and purple polishes and started to experiment. I'm not thrilled by the look of my nails - my thumb, index finger and ring finger nails look sort of interesting, but my middle and little fingers are not great.

I did learn some useful things for next time I try it though:
  • Just because one polish spreads out nicely on the water, it doesn't mean that another polish from the same brand/collection will.
  • Don't use icy cold tap water. Your polish will turn to tar.
  • Use a shot glass, not a cup. The smaller the better!
If you want to know how I did these nails, just google 'water marble nails'. There are loads of videos and articles showing the process step by step.

I quite enjoyed doing them, but boy is it messy. Even though I taped my fingers, the clean up operation was huge. It wasn't helped by the fact I chose some really skin-staining colours so my cuticles were left with a greeny-blue tinge even after cleaning them up with a paintbrush and some acetone.

I think that in future when I try water marbling again I will just stick to doing one accent nail. Taping, dipping and cleaning up ten nails requires more patience than I have!

Have you tried water marbling? Do you have any hints and tips for next time I have a go?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

P.S. Pop Art Skittles

I bought a box of four P.S. polishes for £2 from Primark at the same time as I bought the very exciting matte top coat from the last post. The bottles are 6ml each, so about half the size of a full sized polish. There were three or four sets like this with various colour schemes and the one I chose contains a lavender, a rich purple, a neon pink and a bright red.

Here I have two coats each of the red (thumb), lavender (index finger), purple (middle and little fingers) and pink (ring finger):

The pink looks like a bubblegum colour in this photo, but in real life it is a vivid neon that my camera is unable to capture. The red is similarly neon-bright.

I was really impressed with the lavender and purple polishes. They were both highly pigmented and opaque in one coat and they dried with a nice glossy finish.The pink is a shade I would never usually wear and was a little more streaky to apply, but was totally opaque in two coats. The red was rather disappointing as it was really sheer and was only just opaque after three coats. It seemed to have a totally different formula than the other polishes in the set. Both the red and pink polishes dried to a satin finish. The tiny bottle caps and brushes are tricky to handle but all the polishes were smooth and easy to apply.

The colours of the swatches were so bright that I thought I'd turn them into a pop art inspired skittles manicure.

The formulas of the purple and lavender polishes were excellent, easily the best I've come across in a budget-brand polish, and it got me wondering if they would work for stamping. It turns out they are not bad at all - not completely opaque, but better than any other non-metallic polish I've tried that isn't a special stamping polish. I used Cheeky Jumbo plate N for the stamping, and stamped the purple on the lavender and vice versa. I topped all my nails with Konad Special Top Coat to make them all super glossy, then used some striping tape and the P.S. Matte Top Coat I was raving about in the last post to add some diagonal stripes to my thumb, ring and little fingers. I still really love this top coat and I think I'll be picking up another bottle next time I'm in Manchester as they only contain 7ml and I have a feeling I'll be using a lot of it!

This manicure is far brighter and bolder than anything I'd usually wear, but I quite like it. Please excuse the dry cuticles. I had put on handcream to try to disguise them, but that just caused fluff to stick to me, as you can see in the photos!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Weekly Haul - Pretty glitters and P.S. Matte Top Coat

Today I'm going to do some reviews and swatches of my new polishes. It's almost as if this is a proper nail blog! I'm planning to make this a weekly feature, but this week I went over my usual £2 polish budget and had a bit of a splurge (I found three forgotten pound coins in a jeans pocket when I was loading the washing machine, woohoo!) so I'm going to split the polishes over two posts.

I was excited to discover that my local Poundland has relocated to bigger premises and now has a whole aisle of nail stuff. The selection of discounted big-brand polishes was uninspiring this week (it seems every brand has its own discontinued shades of sickly pale yellow and drab olive) but I did spot a whole rack of polishes by a budget brand called Pretty. I've seen this brand in pound shops before but never such a wide selection. Most of them were special effect polishes (concrete, denim, crackle, matte) and there were some sets containing polish and caviar or flocking powder, but what really caught my eye were the weird and wonderful glitters.

The first bottle I picked up was Graffiti Effect in Blue. It is a glitter topper containing a generous mix of medium sized red and turquoise-blue hex glitter and small gold and red bar glitter. Here I have swatched it over Rimmel Blue Vogue:

Wow! I really like how this polish looks. I've been lusting after Rocket from the Models Own Fireworks collection for quite a while but this just satisfied that glitter craving for a fraction of the price. The consistency is a bit goopy and it dries quite slowly, but there is plenty of glitter in this polish so no fishing around for bits.

My second Pretty purchase was Scatter Effect in shade Purple/Multi which is a very pale greyish lilac jelly base with red, pink and turquoise-blue medium sized hex glitter. In the bottle it looked a bit like an untextured version of White Barry M Sequins with different coloured glitter. My thumb, middle and little fingers have four coats of the Pretty polish, on my index and ring fingers I used three coats over Technic Pretty Pastels in Mr Blue Sky (a very pale grey-blue available for £1 at Bodycare).

At first I didn't really I like this polish on my nails. It looked like they were covered in gloopy white glue and glitter like a nursery school craft project. The first thing I noticed when applying it was the smell. The other Pretty polish smelled a bit strong, but this one is really offensive, worse than any other polish I own. At least the ingredients lists show that both of the Pretty polishes are 3-free.

I soldiered on through the smell and found that the base of this polish is very sheer. For the first two coats I didn't think that it was going to change the colour of my nails at all, but after a thicker third and fourth coat my nail line was only just visible. If you don't have a spare few hours to wait for layers of polish to dry I'd definitely suggest layering fewer coats over a pale colour instead. There is a good amount of glitter in the polish, but it does require a bit of smooshing around the nail to get an even distribution.

The thing that changed my mind about this Scatter Effect polish was actually my third purchase of the week. My local Primark doesn't sell many polishes, but I had heard that the larger branches do, so I had a look in the huge Manchester store. I'm so glad I did because alongside some rather lovely looking £1 polishes I finally found what I had thought was just a mythical creature, a £1 matte top coat! For months I have been trying to find such a thing with no success.

I tried out this P.S. Matte Top Coat over the Scatter Effect and have decided that this is the best £1 polish purchase I have ever made. I love this top coat - it has turned a polish I didn't like into magic space candy! This top coat makes bad polish look good! It's a miracle!

Next post I will review some more P.S. polishes from Primark.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Midnight in Morocco

After being so impressed with the Born Pretty stamping plate I used for my last manicure I decided to try out one of the designs from QA65, the other plate I bought.

I picked up a bottle of Rimmel Lycra Pro in Poundworld last week thinking it was a black polish, but getting it out in the sunlight and reading the label I realised that it was Blue Vogue, a rich midnight blue. I decided to use it as a base for this manicure and it's fantastic - perfect coverage in one coat, quick drying and super glossy.

I chose a stamp design which reminds me of Islamic tiles and made me think of the photos my parents brought back from their holiday in Morocco. I used NYC Foil Explosion in Aqua Mystic (often available as a 2 for £2.49 deal at Superdrug) which is a fantastic polish for stamping. Just as with the last Born Pretty plate I tried, the stamps came out perfectly. This plate was only $0.99, an absolute bargain, so I have a feeling I'll be treating myself to a few more Born Pretty stamping plates in the future.

The only problem I have found with the Born Pretty stamping plates is the designs are quite small. My nails are quite short and narrow and the designs just cover my finger nails, but my thumb nail is slightly too wide. Instead I used some silver diamond shaped glequins (a name I have borrowed from The Nailasaurus to describe sparkles that are too big to be glitter and too small to be sequins) from this set (#4) to make a star shape on my thumb nail.
I topped everything with a coat of Konad Special Topcoat, but unfortunately I didn't wait for my base coat to dry enough on my thumb, so the glequins shifted and the base colour dragged over the glequins a bit. Oops!

I also managed to catch the ends of my nails before they were fully dry so there are a few little wrinkles on my index and ring fingers. The moral of this story is don't drink a massive mug of tea while you are painting your nails - nature will call before your polish dries!

The shine on the topcoat makes it a bit difficult to see what is going on with my nails, so here are a couple of close up shots of my thumb and fingers without the direct lighting. The dark blue is a pain to clean up if you make a mistake, so of course I managed to get it all over my cuticles!

I love this pattern and colour combination, although I'm not so happy with the glequins on my thumb. What do you think?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Peppermint Paisley

Last year I fell in love with some swatches of Illamasqua's Fragile, a gorgeous polish that is way out of my price range. I realised that I could create a similar look by layering a sheer pastel polish with black glitter, and for a while I wore speckled egg nails in a different shade every week. I decided to use a more subtle version of this look for the base of this manicure.

I started with two coats of Pool Party from the Technic Pretty Pastels collection (Technic polishes are available for £1 a bottle at branches of Bodycare and other discount stores, or for £1.25 from Pool Party, like many Technic polishes, is thin and sheer. It's almost jelly-like, takes four coats to become opaque and it dries really quickly which means it is great for layering with glitter. It's a lovely pepperminty turquoise colour and I wear this polish quite a lot.

I added a coat of Violet by Chit Chat (a Poundland purchase). Chit Chat is another budget brand, apparently made by the same people as Technic. This glitter polish is a bluey purple with small and medium hex glitter. The violet glitter gives a more subtle speckled effect than the black glitter I usually use.

After another two coats of Pool Party the purple glitter shows through as a matte blue colour. These nails are pretty enough to wear as they are.

A month ago I discovered the Born Pretty store, ordered some goodies and last week my order arrived. I bought striping tape, some diamond shaped glequins and two stamping plates.

I've never used striping tape before so I thought I'd start simple. I found some Sally Hansen Sugar Coat textured polishes in Poundland last week and I thought the white Sugar Fix would work well with the peppermint colour and the texture would add some interest to horizontal stripes.

On the rest of my nails I used the paisley pattern from Born Pretty stamping plate QA59. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the plate. It's a really detailed design and it stamped just as well as the Konad and Cheeky plates I own, even with the slightly uneven nail surface due to the glitter. I used white Konad Special Polish for the stamping - it came as part of a Konad stamping set that I picked up cheap on Amazon. I used Konad Topcoat on the stamped nails.

I know it's not the neatest manicure - the stripes are messy and the skin around my nails is horribly dry at the moment - but I rather like these nails. What do you think?


Hello folks! Thankyou for taking a look at my new blog.

I'm Ceri, I'm from North West England and I've developed a fairly recent obsession with painting my nails. It started with purple and green alternating nails for my wedding day and has now become an urge to paint my nails in a new garish design every few days. I love stamping, glitter, bright blues and greens, but most of all I love a bargain.

I've not got much cash to fund my nail polish habit, and I quickly discovered that by spending a bit of time rummaging in pound shops and market stalls I could make my £2 a week nail polish budget stretch to two polishes rather than one, and I could even afford Revlon and Sally Hansen!

This blog is a place for me to post pictures of my thrifty nail art. I hope you enjoy it!