Friday, 31 August 2012

Color Club - Total Mystery

Today I am wearing one of the Color Club (Alter Ego, Keep It Under Cover) collection that I picked up at TK Maxx, Total Mystery (911), it's a lovely shimmery purpley blue shade with blue and pink glitter through it.  Unfortunately neither the colour nor the glitter show very well in photographs.  It looks a lot more purple in real life than in these pictures.
I'm a little disappointed with how this polish went on, it was quite thick and gloopy and seemed to start to dry on the brush while I was trying to apply it, three careful coats evened it up though and I do think it was worth the less than perfect application for the resulting colour.
I suspect this might be the sort of polish which looks much better in the sun, with a flash you can see how glittery and sparkly it is so I think in direct sunlight this shade would really sparkle, unfortunately this being Scotland it's unlikely to happen.
In a softer light you can see the pink glitter a little better too, this is much more apparent in real life but yet again my photography skills and camera let me down (as do my clean up skills, there's top coat all over my fingers in this shot).
Those of you who are extra observant may notice a slight difference in nail length from the other day, it seems I don't get any better at just trimming my nails with time.  I don't have the patience to get them all nice and even and the same length so although I start out with good intentions of just having a little trim or giving them a file it always seems to lead to very short nails, like these, they don't half making typing more pleasant though!

Stamping Polish from the UK High Street - Barry M

 When I first started getting into nail stamping my major issue was what polish to use.  I know Konad have a huge range of colours but to be honest I think they're quite expensive and not too easy to get hold of in the UK so I started looking for alternatives.
Essentially any polish which covers well in one coat can be used for stamping, some brands work better than others but with a bit of trial and error you can find lots of inexpensive and easily accessible polishes which should cover all your stamping needs.
One brand which is particularly great for stamping with is Barry M.  I've been a huge Barry M fan for years now; great products, easily accessible at reasonable prices (Superdrug and Boots stock Barry M and there is a website) and as a company they generally tend to be pretty on top of trends, as demonstrated by their recently crackle ranges, foil effects, duochromes and chameleon polishes.
On top of all those good points, several of their polishes stamp really, really well, so, for anyone who hasn't tried them yet here's a list of the Barry M polishes which I own and love to stamp with.

From left to right;
Denim (325)
Foil Effects Gold (320)
Foil Effects Silver (319)
Foil Effects Lilac (apparently limited edition)
Chameleon Pink (330)
Chameleon Blue (331)


When I bought the Chameleon polishes I wasn't sure I'd get much use out of them because although I love the colours in the bottle I wasn't so keen on the colours they turned when a topcoat was added.  For some reason stamping gets totally rid of this dilemma as both colours remain true to the bottle colour even after you apply a topcoat over the stamped pattern.  I can only assume it has something to do with the polish drying as you stamp with it, or some sort of witchcraft. ;)
All of these polishes stamp amazingly well, they go on really opaque and pick up easily for transferring to the nail.  Of the 6 shown here the Lilac Foil is the palest and often a little harder to see on a similarly coloured base coat but over darker colours it also looks fab.


So, if you're looking for some easy to find, budget friendly stamping polishes to add to your collection look no further than Barry M!
There are definitely other brands out there which have polishes that stamp well but so far I've only tested out the Barry M range to a level where I am happy to blog and recommend them, hopefully I'll be able to do more, similar, posts in future with other budget friendly, high street polishes.
What do you use to stamp with?  Any top tips for picking up a bargain stamping polish?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Liebster Award!

The very lovely Claire at nuthin' but a nail thing has nominated me for a Liebster Award! I knew sending her polish shaped bribes would pay off eventually. ;) For those of you unsure what a Liebster Award is (that included me until earlier today) here's a quick rundown of the rules:

  • The recipient must post 11 fun facts about themselves.
  • The recipient must also answer 11 questions created by the award giver.
  • The recipient must give the award to 11 new bloggers with less than 200 followers and post 11 questions for them to answer.
  • These 11 bloggers must be told they have been given the award.
  • They will in turn pass the award on to 11 new bloggers of their choice (no tagging back the award giver).

So, without further ado, here are my 11 'Fun' Facts, you can decide for yourself if they are any fun or not: 
  1. I live in Glasgow, Scotland.  The land of Haggis, Irn Bru and men in skirts.
  2. I'm 32, that's not very fun but it is a fact, I still feel about 22.
  3. I have a cat called James who is my most expensive investment ever after costing me £1500 at the beginning of the year when he decided to eat some string and had to have emergency stomach surgery, while I was out of the country on holiday.
  4. Although my boyfriend and I have only been officially together for a couple of years we've been friends for almost 16.
  5. My parents live in Spain which gives me the opportunity to have more holidays than someone on my budget should really be allowed and access to lots of European nail varnish brands, which is a nice added bonus.
  6. I have just re-learned / managed to touch my toes again for the first time in over 15 years thanks to weekly Pilates and Yoga classes.
  7. I used to be a very keen rock climber and I'd like to get back into it one day
  8. My favourite drink is a G&T with lots of ice and a slice of lime.
  9. As well as my huge collection of make up and nail varnish I also have around 150 pairs of shoes.  I seriously worry that one day I'll end up on an episode of Hoarders, I am not good at clearing things out.
  10. I spend far too much time online, I would be utterly lost without the Internet.
  11. I have an embarrassing addiction to TV shows like TOWIE, Geordie Shore and Made in Chelsea.

Here are my answers to Claire's questions:

1) What made you start a blog?
I don't know really, I think initially it started as a sort of online diary for myself to keep track of what I'd been doing and how my skills had progressed.  Then I decided that since I was reading so many other nail and beauty blogs and it seemed like such a big community that maybe I should try and join in properly, so, I started giving the blog address out on nail groups and forums that I'm a part of.  I still haven't shared the link with 99% of my real life friends though.

2) What is your favourite brand of nail polish?
Kiko!  I love their polish and the brand in general holds lots of really happy memories for me.  My parents live in Spain and I discovered Kiko a few years ago while visiting them.  I loved the layout of the shop, all the colours and the great prices so it became a little ritual for my parents and I to go to Kiko every time I visited them, so not only do I love the range and quality of their products they always remind me of good times with my parents too.

3) What is your favourite polish colour?
Too hard!  I don't have a favourite, I could probably narrow it done to a top 100 given enough time though.

4) How many polishes do you have in your collection?
I have 337 on my spreadsheet which I use to try and keep track of them and probably another 30 or so waiting to go onto the spreadsheet, so around 370 at the moment, I think.  I try not to think about it too much though.

5) How do you store your polishes?
In my Helmer!

6) When/where do you mostly do your manis?
I do my nails in the evening while watching rubbish TV, that way I can justify the time spent watching crap programmes and painting by saying I am multi-tasking.

7) What is your favourite type of nail art?
Stamping, definitely, I love stamping.

8) What polish is on your wish list?
Loads!  A whole pile of US only polishes, both cheap drugstore ones and more expensive ones; some Indie polishes; lots more stamping plates; loads of things really.  I try not to have a set list as I tend to obsess over it, track them down by any means possible and pay massively over the odds to own them.

9) What is the next manicure on your "to do" list?
I have loads of new stamping plates I want to try, I also want to do more gradient manis, use up some of the stickers I have and try some water decals, so quite a few things.  I'd also like to work my way through all the polishes I haven't used yet.

10) What is your nail care "must have"?
Lush Lemon Flutter Cuticle Butter.

11) What nail trend do you wish you could master?
Most of them, I have very shaky hands and really struggle to do any fine detail work - part of why I love stamping so much - so really anything involving a steady hand and the ability to make my right hand not look like a small child painted it!

Here are my 11 choices (I think they all have under 200 followers but I couldn't always see where to check, so sorry if I'm wrong!):

And finally, here are my 11 questions:
  1. How do you store your polish?
  2. How many bottles do you think you have?
  3. What's your favourite finish in a polish?  Glitter, foil, cream, something else?
  4. What's your favourite type of nail art to do?
  5. What's your biggest lemming?  The one polish you are desperate to own?
  6. Where and when do you usually paint your nails?
  7. What do your friends and family think of your hobby?
  8. What's the best tip you've ever received / read?
  9. What's your best manicure ever?
  10. And your worst?
  11. Why did you start writing a blog?
I look forward to reading everyone's answers!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Color Club @ TK Maxx

I've seen a few mentions on various blogs recently that TK Maxx has had some pretty decent nail polish stock in of late, so I decided to go and check it out.  Low and behold the rumours were true, there was a load of polish; Essie, Models Own, Color Club, Bella Pierre, Nails Inc and several other brands which I'd never heard of, all at pretty good prices. 
Nothing really grabbed me except this one set from Color Club, I remember when it was released lamenting the fact we couldn't easily get it in the UK so I was pretty chuffed when I got my eye on it today.  Here is a promo shot I found online, Alter Ego - Keep it under cover:
Notice a slight difference with the one I picked up today (£7.99, bargain!), no V!vid topcoat in my set instead there was a random green metallic...
The list on the back suggests I should have had a V!vid topcoat so I'm not sure what happened, one of the joys of a store like TK Maxx, I guess.
So, here are the polishes that are part of the Alter Ego, Keep it under cover set:
I took an individual bottle shot of each to try and show off the colour a little better.
914 - Masquerading
 912 - Alias
 913 - Ulterior Motive
 911 - Total Mystery
 910 - Secret Agent
 909 - Alter Ego
And my bonus / odd addition which after a little research seems to be Perfect Mol-Ten from the Foiled Collection, out around the same time.
I'd like to have tried the V!vid topcoat but I'm not too disappointed as it seems like Perfect Mol-ten might stamp quite well so that would be a nice little perk as I don't have a green stamping polish.
I'm looking forward to trying these out, some of them seem a little sheer so I think they might work better as topcoats and layering polishes but all in all for under £8 I'm a pretty happy bunny as there are some really lovely, shimmery shades to try out.
Have you had any TK Maxx bargains or good finds recently?

Mesh Stamping

This was not the look I was going for when I started stamping last night but thankfully I'm still quite pleased with the end results.  Initially I was trying to do a sort of whimsical, girly stamping manicure using a butterfly image from BM 307.  
I used Barry M Lilac Foil Effect polish to stamp with but for some reason it just wouldn't show up nicely on the base colour, so, rather than remove the whole lot and start again, I stuck the very faint lilac butterflies underneath a nice opaque silver mesh done using BM 209 and Silver Foil Effects, another Barry M favourite. 
 You can just about see the faint butterfly image if you squint a bit.

Here are the plates I used, apologies for the rotten photos, I took them more as a reminder for myself than to post here but then decided I should include them for reference.

It's definitely about time for a trim, I'm struggling to get images to cover the full length of my nail and I am definitely not neat enough to be able to double stamp and match up the images so the only answer is a good severe trim, I think!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Sally Hansen - Lapis Amethyst

Today I have another of the incredible Nail Prisms by Sally Hansen, Lapis Amethyst, to show you.  I think I missed a trick by layering this over a Kiko blue cream (341, fact fans) rather than a black polish, or maybe even a lilac as most of the duochrome has been sucked out of the polish. 
In certain lights I can see my nails shifting through various blues and turquoises to a lilac sheen but unfortunately in the pictures you just get lots of different angles of the main blue colour.

You can almost see the lilac here, just, maybe, if you squint hard...

As with many of the Nail Prisms, there seem to be a couple of versions of this polish, from what I can tell mine is the darker more blue shade, you can see the bottle shots here on NailXchanges excellent page about the Prisms Collection.
Next time I wear this polish I think I'll change the base colour, I'm also quite keen to test it beside a couple of the Models Own Beetlejuice collection as I think there might be an almost dupe there somewhere.
For now I will admire my pretty turquoise shimmery nails and try and decide what to stamp on them later, since I am incapable of leaving plain polish alone for any more than a day or so.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Models Own - Mirrorball Collection

I saw Models Own update their Facebook page about these over the weekend and now I can't wait to get my hands on them.  They describe them as:
The MIRRORBALL Collection, a completely unique glide-on glitter that will revitalise your entire polish collection! Wear alone or over your favourite colour polish to give a frosting finish, taking nails from boring to BLING!
There are 5 colours:  
  • Disco Inferno - a glittery gold disco bomb
  • Hot Stuff - an intoxicating mix of pink and gold sparkles
  • Freak Out - a crystal shimmer mix of bold blue and purple
  • Dancing Queen - fabulous flecks of emerald, blue and gold
  • Boogie Nights - a multicoloured mix of intriguing purple, pink and blue
The collection launches exclusively at the Models Own Bottleshop on Thursday, September 6th, on the Models Own website from Monday, September 10th and in Boots stores nationwide from Wednesday, October 3rd. 
Since I am nowhere near a bottle shop I'll probably end up ordering online, as soon as possible to try and get a set of bottles with the limited edition metallic coloured caps.  I am a sucker for any for of limited edition, a marketing man's dream. :)
So far I've only seen one picture, on Models Own's Facebook site, so I've borrowed it for here:
I'm hoping to see some swatches of these very soon, it will be interesting to see how densely packed the glitter is, I love glitter but I hate having to apply 47 layers to get it to look like it does in the bottle shots so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that isn't a case with these shiny beauties.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Louboutin Nails

Last night I decided to try an idea I'd seen online a while back, ever since Adele wore this style of manicure at the Grammy Awards there have been pictures popping up everywhere and the black and red combination is a good match for an outfit I am planning on wearing on Saturday night, so while my nails are long enough to try it I decided to give it a go.
Unfortunately the pictures are rubbish, but they give you a rough idea.
It's a very easy look to create, all you have to do is paint the underside of your nail tips red, like the soles of the famous shoes.  It remains to be seen how easy it is to get the red polish off the underside of my nails but I'm just not thinking about that for now.
The actual nails are just painted with plain black polish.
Clean up is a little tricky, I am hoping that what didn't come off with acetone and a bit of persuasion last night will come away after a bath this evening to soften up the little pieces that are still clinging to my finger tips.  Thankfully, in person, this manicure doesn't look quite so messy as the macro shots suggest.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

OPI Black Spotted

There's been quite a lot of talk of late about this polish online recently.  It was released as part of OPI's The Amazing Spider-Man collection but only in certain European countries (possibly just in France) and due to it's hard to find, limited edition nature bottles have been selling on eBay for up to £50.

When I saw swatches on The Swatchaholic I decided I had to have it, although a polish looking amazing on her blog means nothing, she manages to make all polish look incredible!  I wasn't willing to pay quite as much as £50 so, along with a few friends to split the postage costs, we ordered from Sephora's French site.  In total it cost just under £16 to have the polish delivered to my door.

Applied well this polish is pretty lovely, unfortunately it's hard to apply it well!

The key is VERY thin coats, the thinner the coat the more obvious the spotted effect is.  I found that the best way to get a thin enough coat was to completely scrape the brush against the side of the bottle until it appeared like there was no polish left on it at all and then apply.

The formula is thin and very watery, as you apply it to the nail it has an almost oily consisteny which immediately pools to create the spotted effect.  Reports suggest that it seems to work best over very dry polish so I covered the manicure I had on from yesterday in it to create this petrol on water sort of effect.

Clean up is difficult to say the least, Black Spotted doesn't seem to like nail varnish remover or acetone at all so it's best to be as neat as you can when applying it rather than relying on being able  to clean up mistakes afterwards.  I didn't realise this until after I'd applied it hence the rather sloppy edges show in these photos.

Another slight issue with Black Spotted is tip wear, as you can see in some of these photos my manicure is already sporting tip wear.  It was only done last night, with the photos being taken first thing this morning, so it appears that as well as being a little awkward to apply Black Spotted also doesn't wear that well.

All that said, I do like the way this polish looks and I have some ideas for other colours to try under it which I am hoping will look even better than today's effort.  So, in conclusion, was paying £16 to import a bottle of polish a bit silly; yes, but am I glad I did; definitely! :)

Have you tried Black Spotted?  What do you think of it?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sally Hansen - Garnet Lapis

I love this polish!  It's so hard to photograph well though.  Garnet Lapis is an amazing duochrome that shifts through purple, lilac, royal blue, aqua and turquoise; this is two coats over two coats of black.

Here are a few pictures which while not doing it justice give an idea of the colour shift.

I am going to use this as a base for my new OPI Black Spotted.  Apparently the Black Spotted works better over properly dry polish so I decided to wait 25 hours before applying it, which means I also get the chnace to wear this gorgeous polish out on its own for a day.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Unsuccesful Stamping

It's not really the stamping which is unsuccessful, I just don't really think any of this manicure works particularly well. 

I wanted to use Models Own Indian Ocean and previously I had layered it over a light blue which turned out beautifully, so I decided to do something similar and use another Kiko polish, this time 340.  However the end result was a very bright, in your face sort of colour which seemed very 80s to me somehow and not half as pretty as the last attempt.

I decided to try stamping over the top and chose QA28, which is a plate featuring lips and moustaches.  I thought the lips might look good as an all over pattern and used Barry M Chameleon polish, in pink, to stamp with.  As an aside, the Chameleon polishes are amazing to stamp with, some of the best I have used, they go on so opaque!

Unfortunately the result of the stamping wasn't really what I hoped for either, it's hard to tell what the stamp is and the shimmer from the base colour shines through a bit too much making it seem even more blurry.

So, overall, I'm not really happy with this manicure at all.  It'll be coming off tonight hopefully to be replaced by my new bottle of OPI Black Spotted which just arrived in the post today!