Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Just a quick post for some quick and simple nails. I've been training to be a volunteer at a science museum and today was my final training day before I am let loose on the visitors. I've decided I'll wear science and engineering themed nails whenever I'm volunteering so I thought I'd start that tradition today. A while ago I used some Born Pretty loyalty points to buy this QA9 stamping plate featuring letters and numbers (it only ended up costing me three pence!) so I went with a mathematical theme.

I used  two coats of Maybelline Color Show in shade Cool Blue (usually available in 3 for 2 deals at Boots) for the background and stamped the nails using blue Konad Special Polish. On my ring fingers I used two coats of Party Time Blue by N.Y.C., which is a deep blue jelly with red, blue and holographic silver glitter, over one coat of Cool Blue. I finished the nails with Limited Collection Matte Top Coat (Marks & Spencer).

I also have a 10% discount code for Born Pretty to share with you. If enough people use this code I will be sent some nail art goodies to review, so next time you are buying nail art supplies please take advantage of the discount by entering this code when you check out: PUNDX31

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Lacquer Legion Challenge - Bollywood Glam

The prompt for this April's Lacquer Legion Challenge is "GLAM".

I just couldn't feel inspired by this prompt to begin with. I am a very un-glam person and I'm not very interested in things that most people would consider glamorous.

In the end I found inspiration on my doorstep. One of the things I love most about living in the area I do is that there is a large Pakistani and Indian population which makes the place seem rather exotic to me, partly because I grew up in a tiny rural village. In my neighbourhood there are many shops selling beautiful imported fabrics, stores specialising in Asian designer fashions and jewellers selling stunning gem-set gold jewellery. It is a goldmine of inspiration for nail art.

On special occasions many of the local women wear brightly coloured and intricately embroidered clothes, often featuring stunning beadwork and rhinestones, usually worn with an amazing bejewelled pair of shoes and impeccable makeup. If these ladies aren't glam, I don't know who is! This post should really be called "Daubhill Glam", but I doubt anyone reading this would have a clue where Daubhill is or what it has to do with red, rhinestone encrusted nails.

As I have recently cut my nails very short I decided to use some long oval false nails for this nail art so I'd have more room for sparkly stuff. I used Jess polish in shade Hot Date (Poundland), a shimmery red, for the base colour. I used a gold P.S. Love nail art pen (Primark) to draw a semicircle at the base of the nails and stuck red and silver rhinestones (from the Nail Art Get Creative set) and gold caviar beads (Poundland) to it while it was still tacky. I drew a paisley shape using the gold nail art pen and used a cocktail stick to place caviar beads individually around the edge then stuck down more rhinestones in the centre using blobs of gold polish. I finished everything with a coat of Konad Special Top Coat.

I am a bit annoyed that after all my work the top coat took the gold colour off some of the caviar and left it silver, but I am still quite pleased with these nails even though I don't think I can really pull this look off. The red and gold together make me think of bridal outfits in Bollywood films. I only kept these on long enough to take the photos because the length was driving me crazy. I have no idea how anyone copes with having long nails. I'd end up losing an eye!

What do you think? Did you do any glam nail art for the Lacquer Legion Challenge this month?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

More Beaded Nail Ideas

I made a wheel of beaded nail art designs using the same technique I used for my tribal beaded nails

My damaged index fingernail split yesterday so I've had to cut my nails very short again, so at the moment there isn't much room for elaborate beaded nail art (or much else) on my natural nails. Luckily I have some false nails so I might use those for my next few posts.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Primark Nail Art Pens

On Monday I braved the bank holiday crowds and headed to Primark to pick up some nail art pens. I'd read some good reviews of the P.S. Love nail art pens so I had to try them for myself.

There are two types of nail art pen available in Primark. The P.S. Love sets which cost £2 for a pack of three and are available in a Silver/Gold/Turquoise pack, which I bought, and a Black/White/Pink pack, which had all sold out in my local store. Primark also has some packs containing two slightly smaller nail art pens with a tube of matching rhinestones attached to the base of each one, also for £2. These nail art pens are not P.S. Love and are labelled Nail Art Get Creative. They were only available in a White/Red pack (other colours may be available). I'd not read any reviews of these pens but I thought I'd give them a try.

The lids and nibs of the pens are identical for the two types of nail art pen, consisting of a unscrewable striping brush section and above that a push-fit lid covering a thin metal nib. The pen tubes are squeezy, so be careful not to squeeze them as you remove the pen lids (which are tight fitting) otherwise you'll squirt polish everywhere. It is also important that when you are removing and replacing the lids you keep them directly in line with the nib to avoid bending the thin metal. You use the pens by gently squeezing the tube as you draw. The harder you squeeze, the thicker and blobbier the line you draw will be. There is no need to press the nib onto the surface of your nail as you would with a marker pen (you'd probably damage them that way), just gently touch the surface with the nib. As you can see in the photo below there is a little imperfection in the plastic moulding near the nib on some of the pens, but this doesn't affect the way they work at all.

The P.S. Love nail art pens are really excellent, just as the reviews I'd read claimed. The turquoise polish is totally opaque even over black, and the gold and silver are almost as opaque. The P.S. Love pens have exactly the right consistency to draw neat, thin lines and are a pleasure to use. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but by applying just a tiny bit of pressure you can draw lines almost as thin as a fineliner pen.

The Nail Art Get Creative pens contain slightly less polish and the formula is not nearly as good as the P.S. Love pens. The polish is very thin and runny which means it is harder to control the flow and the nibs splutter regularly, spraying flecks of polish and creating bubbles. Because the formula is so thin it also dissolves your base polish slightly which can muddy the colour of your lines. The white pen is significantly better than the red pen, and although it is difficult to use it is quite opaque over black. The red pen is not opaque at all and will only be useful over bases that are lighter than it, and it is so runny that it is almost impossible to draw neatly or do any detailed work with it. I imagine I will get some use out of the white pen (albeit while swearing at how difficult to use it is), but I probably won't be using the red pen again. I might try refilling the tube of the red pen with a more opaque polish from my collection to see how that works. At least these pens came with lots of sparkly red and iridescent silver rhinestones I suppose!

The picture below shows the lines that the different pens draw. I'm afraid it's not the neatest nail art but I was still getting used to squeezing the pen as I was drawing.

So, my verdict is buy the P.S. Love nail art pens! They are fantastic and a very low price for the quality you get. I know I'll be picking up the Black/White/Pink set when they get more in stock. I wouldn't bother with the Nail Art Get Creative pens, they will only disappoint.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Weekly Haul - Ooooh, All The Pretty Colours!

I've acquired quite a few new polishes in the last week. I'm not sure when I last managed to stick to my £2 weekly polish budget. Oops! As I have so much to show you this week, I've swatched everything on fake nails instead of my own fingernails. The pound shops are full of lovely polishes at the moment, so empty out your penny jar and treat yourself!

The most exciting purchases I made in the last week were three more Sally Hansen Sugar Coat polishes from Poundworld. If you love textured polishes, get to your nearest Poundworld as soon as you can! They are currently selling some unusual Sugar Coat shades I haven't seen in a pound store before, including some shimmery and glittery ones. I picked up Candy Corn which is a bright orange, Red Velvet which is a deep pinky-red raspberry shade with a shimmery finish, and Royal Icing, my favourite, which is a gorgeous cool pastel blue with holographic micro glitter. It is so sparkly and icy looking and I know that Royal Icing is going to be great for wintery nail art! Swatches are two coats of polish, as recommended on the bottles. Red Velvet and Royal Icing are both less opaque than most of the Sugar Coat shades so you might actually need to use three coats.

Candy Corn:

Red Velvet:

Royal Icing:

Both Poundland and Poundworld are also selling a lot of Rimmel 60 Seconds polishes in a wide range of shades at the moment. I picked up Jungle Fever, a forest green, from Poundworld and Captain Khaki, a dark khaki-brown from Poundland. I always find that the Rimmel 60 Seconds polishes need two coats for full opacity (even though they claim to be one-coaters on the bottle), but they do dry quickly and I love the wide, flat Rimmel brushes because they are so easy to use. Swatches are two coats.

Poundland is currently full of bottles of polish by a brand I'd never heard of called Filthy Gorgeous. After a quick google I discovered that the polishes were launched a few years ago by a company that ran Debenhams in-store beauty salons. Apparently they are professional quality polishes and were sold in Debenhams for £9 a bottle. I'm assuming the company is no longer trading as their website has vanished, their social media accounts fell silent about a year ago and there is no longer any mention of them on the Debenhams website. I picked up Breeze, a light grey shade, and it does feel like a quality polish. It's a two-coater that applies very smoothly and comes in a cute round bottle with a lace design and plectrum charm on the cap. They have other shades available too and at £1 they are a bargain. Swatch is two coats.

I also picked up a new Jess shade. Bolton Poundland has finally got a few of the shimmery and iridescent shades in stock, although they have flown off the shelves and there were only one or two bottles left by the time I found them. I picked up Hot Date, a shimmery rich red. It's less opaque than the Jess cremes and is really stinky, unlike the cremes. It really is the smelliest polish I own, but it applies smoothly and dries quickly to a lovely finish. I do hope they get another delivery of Jess polishes soon because I keep seeing such gorgeous shades swatched online and they never seem to get any of them at my local Poundland. Swatch is three coats on the left, two coats on the right.

I spent my Easter Sunday afternoon swatching and labelling all the polishes in my collection on plastic nail wheels and discovered that I own just over three and a half wheels worth of polish, which is 74 shades. It seems like such a measly amount of polish when I compare it to most nail bloggers. This can only mean that I need more polish! Bwahahaha!

How many bottles of polish do you own?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Earthy Earth Day Nails

This is the nail art I created for the Earth Day challenge on Nailpolis. It was supposed to be leaves and vines in a style inspired by Aboriginal Australian art. I quite like the nails but they didn't turn out quite the way I'd planned and I don't think they scream Earth Day. Oh well.

I used Rimmel 60 Seconds in shade Captain Khaki for the base. Poundland have a lot of Rimmel polishes in stock at the moment so I picked this shade up on Friday when I realised I didn't own any earth-tone polishes to use for my Earth Day nails.

I used a dotting tool and NYC High Line Green, Maybelline Pow Green, MUA All Nude and Technic Canary to do the designs. I used Limited Collection Matte Top Coat to finish them off.

I think the most surprising thing about this nail art is that I now own a dark khaki-brown nail polish. Yuck!

What's the ugliest shade of nail polish you own?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tribal Beads

I am loving all the African and Aztec inspired clothes and accessories in the shops at the moment, particularly the beaded jewellery and bags. I wondered if I could use seed beads to do some tribal nail art so I got out my craft supplies and began to experiment. I am happy with how well it worked. It's really easy to do so I even managed to make my right hand look the same as my left.

To create beaded nails like this you will need a polish for your base colour, a fast drying top coat, a slower drying clear polish, a cocktail stick or toothpick, a pin and a whole lot of glass seed beads. I used size 11 beads (the most common size) and it is important to remember that with seed beads the higher the number, the smaller the bead. Packs of assorted size 11 seed beads are available from craft shops or ebay, but can often be found cheaper from pound shops, discount book shops (like The Works) or market haberdashery stalls.

I started with two coats of Jess polish in shade All That Jazz (Poundland exclusive) for the base. I applied the beads one nail at a time, first applying a coat of clear L.A.Colors polish (£1 from my local pharmacy) and then placing the beads one by one onto the wet polish using a cocktail stick dipped in clear polish. You don't want to push the cocktail stick through the hole of the bead as this makes sticking the bead to the nail difficult, you just want to pick up the beads by gently touching them with the tacky tip of the stick. When you've created the desired pattern, press the beads gently with a finger to firmly stick them in place.

Once you've stuck beads to all your nails, apply a thick coat of the fast drying topcoat totally covering the whole nail and the beads. I used Konad Special Top Coat. Air bubbles will form inbetween the beads and in the holes so quickly take a pin and pop as many as you can before the top coat starts to dry. Repeat this for every nail and once the top coat is dry the beads will be stuck fast.

I was worried that I'd lose beads during the day, but after 24 hours of wear including a lot of shopping and handbag rummaging, all the beads were still in place. I did keep getting my nails caught in my hair and snagging my clothes on them though, so they aren't the most practical nail embellishments. I'm going to look for some even smaller size 15 seed beads because I think they would be easier to wear.

I'm pleased with the way my beaded nail experiment worked out. I even got a compliment on these nails from a shop assistant while I was buying my weekly nail polish haul today!

What do you think of the idea of using seed beads for nail art? Is it something you would try?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Going Dotty

I treated myself to a set of dotting tools from Born Pretty and here is my first attempt at using them. At first it was a little tricky to find the right amount of polish to use with the dotting tools, but once I got going these nails were so simple to do that I even managed to do my right hand to match.

I used two coats of an unnamed turquoise-leaning peppermint coloured P.S. polish from the box of four polishes I picked up from Primark last week for £2. This polish is an almost identical shade to Pool Party from the Technic Pretty Pastels range but the P.S. polish is an opaque two-coater unlike the sheer Technic polish. It has a smooth, easy to apply formula and dries to a glossy finish but it is really stinky which is something I've found with all the P.S. polishes I've tried.

I used Rimmel Lycra Pro in shade Blue Vogue (Poundworld) and MUA All Nude (£1, Superdrug) to do the dots and finished it all with Konad Special Top Coat.

Even though the dots aren't neat and perfectly placed, I've really enjoyed wearing these nails. They just look so happy! They remind me of a t-shirt I owned in the 90s that had a big blue and turquoise tie-dyed circle on the front.

What do you think? Have you tried any nail art using dotting tools?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blossom and Sparkle

I started these nails without a plan, I just knew I wanted to try out some of my new goodies, but I actually like the way they turned out. They are feminine without being too girly. Please excuse the white stuff around my nails, it's not dry skin, it's hand cream I hadn't let soak in enough, honest!
I picked up another box of four little P.S. polishes from Primark for £2 at the weekend (this time the blues and greens assortment) and I was really attracted to the light cornflower blue shade that came in the set. Once I had it on my nails I wasn't as fond of it. It is a lovely shade and a smooth, one-coat formula, but it just didn't sit well with my skin tone and made my hands look even colder and paler than they usually do. I decided to warm the colour up a little using the nimbus technique with MUA All Nude (creamy white) and a warm purple P.S. polish from the purple and neon set. It's the first time I've used this technique and it is so simple it's almost impossible to mess up.

Last week I also bought a new Technic glitter jelly for £1 from Bodycare. It's called Amelia's Army and is an indigo purple jelly base with lots of dark purple microglitter and medium sized magenta hex glitter. I used this on my thumb and ring fingers and I can't stop looking at it! The jelly base is very sheer but the glitter is densely packed so four thin coats (which is what I am wearing in the photos) will give almost total glitter coverage. It applies smoothly and the glitter lies flat and has a delicate sparkle, and it dries fast for a glitter polish too. Ooooh it's pretty!

For the stamping I used White Konad Special Polish and tried out a new Born Pretty stamping plate M66 (bought on offer at $0.99). The plate worked well but the stamping wasn't as crisp and opaque as previous Born Pretty plates I've used, and I suspect this plate isn't as deeply etched as the others. All my nails were finished with a coat of Konad Special Top Coat.

What polishes have you been buying this week? Have you picked up any bargains?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Confessions of a Nail Blogger Tag


This is a tag started by the fabulous Galorious (the graphic above is hers too). Go and check out her nail art blog if you haven't already.

I too am a bit of a naughty nail blogger so I thought I'd spend my lazy Sunday afternoon drinking tea and confessing my sins!

1. I peel off my nail polish in the bath.
I try to resist the urge because I know it's terrible for my nails and they are much more damaged than they would be if I just used nail polish remover, but I find it strangely satisfying, especially if I manage to peel it off in one piece. It also makes removal of glitter nail polish so much quicker!
It drives my husband mad though, because the flakes of polish and glitter stick to the bath when I'm finished and they are a pain to clean off.

2. My right and left hands rarely match.
I am terrible at painting with my left hand, so even painting the nails on my right hand a single colour leaves me with polish all around my nails that I have to soak off in warm water (if I try to remove it with acetone and a brush or a cotton bud I'll only make things worse). If I'm just doing some simple stamping or I'm going somewhere special then I will do both hands the same, but the rest of the time my right hand gets neglected and just gets painted a single shade, possibly with a bit of glitter. I do get some funny looks when I pop to the shops with the nails on my left hand covered in tiny fimo butterflies or freehand fish or owls and on my right hand I'm just wearing a pretty shade of blue or green.

3. I'm terrible at remembering to apply hand cream and cuticle oil.
I try to stick to a regular hand care routine, but I'm rubbish at it. I'll forget to apply any cream or oil for a day or two, and then feel bad about it (usually when I go to change my nail polish and realise that my cuticles look terrible) so I try to make up for it by using so much cream and oil throughout the day that I end up with greasy hands that leave oily handprints everywhere.

4. My nails are a mess without polish.

For years I never wore polish and my nails looked healthy, even though I took no care of them. Now, after eight months of applying and peeling off my nail polish at least twice a week they are a damaged, flaky, yellow-stained mess. I know it's my own fault. I know that I should invest in a better basecoat and stop peeling off the polish and use more cuticle oil, but instead I disguise the yellowing and damage by painting them bright colours... and the cycle continues....

I tag any other nail bloggers who feel like confessing their bad nail care secrets!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Don't Count Your Chickens

I did this nail art for the Easter nail art competition at Nailpolis. I didn't want to go too obvious and paint chicks and bunnies on my nails so I decided to do pastel patterned nails.

To start I used Technic Pretty Pastels polishes in Pool Party (middle finger), Mr Blue Sky (little finger) and Canary (thumb and ring finger). Technic polishes are available for £1 each from Bodycare or for £1.25 from lovethymakeup.com. On my index finger I used Rimmel 60 Seconds shade Sweet Lavender (Poundworld).

On my thumb, middle and little fingers I used two coats of the pastel polish followed by a coat of Technic Black Mirror, a gorgeous glitter polish with medium and small matte black hex glitter and lots of tiny transparent holographic hex glitter that sparkles in a rainbow of colours. I added another coat of the Technic Pretty Pastels, which have a quite sheer crelly-ish formula, then finished with a second coat of Black Mirror. This gives a speckled effect that is a little bit like the Models Own Speckled Egg collection with added sparkle. On my ring and index fingers I used the pastel shades alone without the glitter.

I painted the black and white patterns using acrylic model paints. The triangle pattern was loosely inspired by the idea of broken eggshells and the pattern on my index and ring finger is based on stylised chicken feathers found in Mexican folk art.

I topped everything with Limited Collection Matte Top Coat from Marks & Spencer. I bought this yesterday using some cashback I earned through Topcashback on my Christmas shopping and had forgotten all about until now. You get a little extra money if you request your cashback in M&S vouchers and I'd been wanting to try this top coat for ages. I love the look of matte nails and although the P.S. Matte Top Coat I bought from Primark does the job for less money, it is very thick and gloopy and tends to soften all your previous layers of varnish and takes hours to redry. If the varnish underneath is more than two coats thick, your nails can remain dentable for a whole day!

This Limited Collection Matte Top Coat is not a disappointment. It applies thinly, evenly and smoothly and it dries quickly to a tough, completely matte finish. Now I can wear matte nails without having to spend a whole evening not using my hands while they dry. Even though it usually costs £3.50, I think that is a very reasonable price for the quality. The other widely available matte top coats from Essie and O.P.I. are £8-£12 a bottle, and although the Limited Collection top coat is smaller at only 8ml, it still works out better value per millilitre. The smaller bottle means it is less likely to get gloopy towards the bottom too.

I love the effect that matte top coat over holographic glitter gives, and I think these nails feel cute and Eastery, but grown-up too. Well, as grown-up as glittery pastel Easter-themed nails can be!
Do you have any Easter nail art planned?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Amazing Stamping Plate Giveaway at Swatch and Learn

I'm just alerting my readers to the fact that Mary at Swatch and Learn is currently having a giveaway and some lucky person will win an entire Bundle Monster stamping plate collection of their choice! What a prize! The giveaway is open internationally too!

There is only 1 day left to enter so enter now! Go on, it'd be daft not to!
Sorry! Too many exclamation marks!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inspired by Mara Hoffman

Recently I've been spending far too much time searching the internet for interesting fabric designs and looking at photos from New York Fashion Week in my quest for nail art inspiration. I found myself particularly struck with Mara Hoffman's Spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection. I've always been drawn to African and South American textiles because of the bright colours and geometric patterns, and her clothes have all that and more! There are two garments in the collection (this dress and this dashiki) which feature a brightly coloured beaded triangle pattern that I thought would make fabulous nail art, so I set to work.

I used three coats of MUA All Nude, a warm creamy white, for the background and the pattern was painted with Vallejo acrylic model paints. I used Konad Special Top Coat to protect it all and make it super glossy.

My wardrobe is best described as "Primark-chic" (although using the word "chic" is being a bit generous) so this nail art is probably the closest I'll ever get to wearing high-fashion! I love these nails, they feel so fresh and bold.

I do need to practice my freehand work to get the lines looking cleaner and crisper. I have just bought myself some nail art brushes and some wheels of plastic practice nails, so hopefully that will help. I've found so much inspiration in Mara Hoffman's designs that you can expect more nail art influenced by her work soon.

Do you have a favourite fashion designer or artist who has influenced your nail art designs?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Weekly Haul - N.Y.C.

This week my new purchases came from the Beauty Bargains stall at Bolton Market. My attention was draw to the basket of N.Y.C. polishes for £1 and I found a lovely glitter jelly from the Expert Last range called Party Time Blue. It has medium sized blue hex glitter and lots of small red and holographic silver square glitter in a rich blue jelly base. It is really glossy and in real life it is much more sparkly and the flecks of red glitter really pop.

I also picked up an N.Y.C. Foil Explosion polish in Magic Earth, which is a metallic silvery sage green. I love the Foil Explosion polishes because they are great for stamping and excellent value even when they are full price, so I was really excited to find this one for half what I usually pay!

You'll only have to put up with my badly lit photos for another few posts because I have a light tent on the way!

Although the two polishes are are not an obvious combination to put together I really liked the way they looked next to each other when I took them out of the bag. I used three coats of Party Time Blue on all of my nails, except my ring finger on which I used two coats of Magic Earth.

I stamped over my thumb and middle finger using Magic Earth and this QA65 Born Pretty stamping plate which I bought when it was $0.99. On my ring finger I used Konad Blue Special Polish for the stamping and I like the inverted colours effect this gave.

It's not my most elaborate nail art but I've enjoyed wearing it and I'm very pleased with these bargain polishes. Have you found any good polish bargains on market stalls recently?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tropical Aquarium

Here is the tropical fish nail art I created for the Superdrug competition and I love it! I'm much happier with this than I was with the goldfish nails from my last post.

I started with a coat of Seventeen Fast Finish polish in shade Wave, a lovely rich turquoise that I picked up for 50p in a Boots clearance sale. I topped this with my favourite glitter of the moment, Jess Sea Breeze. This is another of the new Poundland exclusive polishes and it is beautiful. It contains tiny square turquoise and silver holographic glitter and turquoise micro glitter. For some reason this glitter seems to dry quicker than Jess Flash Harry, but that might just be my imagination. Here is a close up of one coat of Sea Breeze over Seventeen Wave but it's a bit messy as it's my right hand.

I stamped over the glitter using a wavy, slightly zebra-print like pattern from Cheeky plate N and NYC Foil Explosion polish in shade Aqua Mystic, a metallic silvery blue. I love how watery the waves of glittery and metallic blue look together. On my ring finger I used three coats of L.A.Colors Tahiti Sunrise which is a shimmery orange.

I painted lots of little tropical fish and seaweed using Vallejo acrylic model paints and a tiny paint brush. On my ring finger I used these diamond glequins again, but this time in red and orange. I topped it all with Konad Special Top Coat to protect it.

I took a few more photos in an improvised light tent to try to show the colour of the glequins better. I really need a better setup for taking photographs!

What do you think of this tropical nail art? I'm really enjoying wearing it!