Sunday, 26 July 2015

Orange Criss-Cross Glitter Gradient

Today's nails are a bit of an all-in kitchen sink mani! I started with no overall plan in mind, I just added bits and made it up as I went along!

I started with two coats of Barry M Full Throttle. This is a really pretty peachy orange colour, but it's a streaky, awkward formula, which I always forget. Still, it's a good colour. 

I then taped off a couple of nails with a grid of striping tape, and sponged a gradient of Full Throttle and Barry M Satsuma.  I decided to add some glitter for good measure, and used China Glaze Electrify, which is packed full of gold and red glitter. I sponged this over the tips, with the odd dab further down the nail.

I loved how the quilted nails looked, but it took a while to do, and was quite fiddly, so I did something different with the other two, and used striping tape, Satsuma and Electrify to add some blocks of colour. The Satsuma looked quite overpowering on its own, so I then added the tiny studs. 

I'm so pleased with how these look! And they were a total happy accident, which makes them even better.


Friday, 24 July 2015

Dance Legend Thermo Trio with Stamping

These are the nails I've worn for the last couple of days - more thermal polish with stamping, which is one of my favourite things to do.

This is Dance Legend Thermo Trio, which shifts from a pretty pale lilac when warm, through pink to dark purple when hot.  I then stamped over this with Barry M Silver Foil and Born Pretty Store stamping plate BP-48.

I love how this came out, although it was really hard to capture the cold colour, as it's been so warm recently. I'm always really hot at the moment!

The Born Pretty 48 plate is fast becoming one of my favourites. The pattern is so pretty. I especially like the swirly bit on my ring finger.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Freehand Orange Roses

Today's nails were done using nine different Barry M colours, and a fine paintbrush.

I started with a base of Truffle, the neutral nude colour from the Silks range, and then went crazy with a painbrush and several Gelly colours: Cotton, Mango, Mustard, Papaya, Satsuma, Key Lime and Watermelon. 

The roses were a very odd work in progress. First they looked absolutely AWFUL. Then they looked worse. I kept dabbing away and adding extra swirls, and extra colours...

Then they looked merely disappointing. Then they looked acceptable. Then all of a sudden, they looked really nice! At least, I think they do!

I even think my right hand looks ok!

What do you think?



My Essential Nail Care Products

I was in the mood for a different sort of post this weekend, so today I'm going to share my favourite nail and hand care products with you. 

These are my favourite and most-used items for keeping my nails clean, strong and in decent condition most of the time. Sometimes my nails break, or my cuticles look dry anyway, but that's usually because I've either neglected them, or because I've done something stupid like trying to prise things open with my nails!

My number 1 most essential, CANNOT live without nail care product, by a country mile, is OPI Nail Envy. I go through gallons of the stuff! I use it as base coat for every mani, and I paint it under my nails whenever they're long enough. I paint it on the free edges of my nails, I paint it on the sides of my nails. If my nails are feeling particularly delicate, I use two coats. I buy mine on Amazon, where it's usually half the price of places like Boots. I always keep empties too, because they're useful for putting stuff in, like homemade peel-off basecoats, or spare acetone for cleanup.

The rest of my essentials, in no particular order are:

HAND CREAM! I'm currently using this lovely Clarins  Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, which was a gift. It's pricy though, so I don't buy it for myself! Any hand cream is better than no hand cream at all, and I have some everywhere - on my nail desk, next to my bed, in the bathroom, in my handbag, in the car, in my desk drawer at work... I can't get enough. This Clarins one is gorgeous though, really nice and soft and non-greasy. 

Next up is cuticle oil. This is my favourite, China Glaze Peppermint Cuticle Oil, in a mini bottle. This stuff smells AMAZING - it's like Christmas! The brush is stiff, and I like to cover my nails top and bottom, and rub it in and let it soak in, every couple of weeks or so. I also use it on my cuticles only (just a dab) after most manis, just to soften and get rid of any dry bits. 

Another cuticle product I really like is Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab. I use this less often, as it's really greasy and takes ages before nails are ready for nail polish again, but it's a really good product for very dry cuticles. The brush is soft, and the product squeezes out at the base of the brush, and is sort of an oily gel consistency. 

Next up is a nail brush. I've always used a nail brush almost daily, and in the past used a cheapy traditional one. I've recently switched to a BruzZ though, and I'm a total convert! See my earlier review here.

Another of my essentials is a glass nail file. My first one was a gift, but I managed to break it (don't drop your glass nail files on concrete!) and I replaced it with a Leighton Denny one, which I'm sorry to say I hated. I didn't like the texture of it, and the blunt, rounded end was a pain to use. My current one is (I think) a Mont Bleu, which I bought on Amazon.

I love the way this one feels - it's so smooth and gentle, but really effective at shortening and smoothing nails, and the pointy end means it's easy to get in to the sides of your nail if you need to (and you can use it to clean under your nail too). The crystals are so pretty, and the file is pretty much everlasting, unless your concrete floor comes into play!

Last of all, I use a basic, traditional cheapy pair of nail clippers. I don't regularly use them to cut my actual nails (only if I have to drastically shorten all of them at once) but I do use them to clip off ragged corners, or those tiny bits of hard cuticles or hangnails at the sides of my nails. The pointy bit it also really useful for cleaning under the nail, for pushing back cuticles, and for helping to peel off latex protector layers round my fingers. 

If I sound like an advert in places here, I really don't mean to! I'm not being paid or sponsored or anything else for mentioning these products - I just really really like them. Most of them are things that I have used and loved for years. 

What about you? Do you like these products? Is there something else you love and want to recommend?

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Gold Sparkle with Pink Stamping

For the last couple of days I've been wearing China Glaze Mingle with Kringle, a gorgeous, sparkly, gold foil polish. It looks wonderful on its own, but last night I decided I wanted to add to it.

I stamped using Models Own Chrome Cerise, and a Born Pretty Store stamping plate BP-48, which I blogged about previously here.  This is a really nice plate, one of my favourite Born Pretty ones.

As you can see, apart from the bit I missed on the side of my thumb, this has stamped really cleanly, and I think it looks fab!

The pink looks more red over the gold, which is fine with me. 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

China Glaze Pastel Water Marble

Today I was in the mood for a water marble. I wanted to make a neon rainbow one, but I just could not get the polishes to spread on the water, so I gave up that plan and made a pastel one instead using China Glaze polishes. 

I started with a white base, and then used Tart-y For the Party, Pink-ie Promise and Keep Calm Paint On for the marble.  

I've added topcoat for shine. This looks a bit scruffy round the cuticles, especially on the thumb, as I found it quite hard to clean up for some reason. My cuticles are really dry at the moment too. I need to do a deep-moisturising treatment! 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Born Pretty Store Stamping Polish

Today I have a stamping polish from Born Pretty Store to show you.  It's by a brand called Temix and is available here for $2.99 at the BPS website. Mine is colour #1, the purple one. 

I used this in a couple of manis to test it out.  For this first one, this was done with a base of Rimmel Ultra Violet, and stamped using the Temix polish and MoYou London Gothic 11.

The stamping polish has really good coverage for a full-nail design like this, and is crisp and sharp in the small details of the design.

For the second look, I tried something I hadn't done before, which was stamping a design over a bare nail. For this, I used MoYou London Mother Nature 11.

The first coat was the Temix polish over the bare nail. I really like how this looked, and part of me wished I'd left the design at this!

But I then stamped a second layer using Barry M Lilac Foil, and a third layer using the Temix again.  

I really like how this came out! In macro closeup it's not that neat, but I think it gives a lovely shiny, dappled effect. 

As a stamping polish, this is really nice. It's quite a thick formula, and stamps cleanly and crisply, and the colour is gorgeous. It doesn't stamp successfully over black, but then I don't know how many colours do. 

The colour range available at the Born Pretty Store is huge - there are lots that I'd like to try!  If you fancy trying some, you can get 10% off using my code:

I received this product for review purposes, but words and opinions are entirely my own. I do not receive anything if you use my discount code, although when it's been used ten times, BPS will let me host a giveaway for my readers! See my Disclosure page for more details.


Monday, 6 July 2015

Orange-Red Secret Thermal Stamping

I've done this sort of look a couple of times now, and it's become one of my favourite ways to play with stamping. As you know, I love a nice thermal polish, so today I've used one with a bit of a twist. 

This is two coats of Ferity MissMatch Red Temptation, which changes from a bright yellowy orange when warm to a bright scarlet red when cold. I wore this on its own today, and it mostly appeared yellow with red tips for me.  Then tonight I've stamped over it to create a sort of secret stamping design. 

I used an orangey red polish, Barry M Blood Orange, which matches the cold colour of the Ferity thermal. I used the MoYou London Pro XL 06 plate again, one of my favourites. 

When cold, the stamping is almost invisible, but when it warms up, the design appears.  

I love this kind of look, and I do love reds and oranges. 

Silver Floral Stamping

Just a quick post today to show you what I was wearing at the weekend.  This is a base of the OPI Color Paints and stamping with silver over the top.

I started with a base of OPI Silver Canvas, and then used a coat of Pen & Pink.  I then stamped over that with silver (I was going to use Silver Canvas, as it does stamp, but I only have a mini and I don't want to waste it! Instead I used Barry M Silver Foil.)  The stamping plate was the MoYou London Pro XL 06. I really love this plate, and use it a lot as there are so many good designs on it.

I really like how this came out. It's so shiny and bright and pretty!  What do you think? I love it when you comment!

Friday, 3 July 2015

June Round-Up

Apparently I was busy with my nails in June!  I did a lot more designs than I have done for ages - I actually missed one out of this collage because it wouldn't fit. It was pretty dull though, so that's fine.

Here are all the looks I did in June. My favourites are the white ones with rainbow curves, the guitars with the sunset, and maybe the Color Paints flowers middle right. Which did you like best?
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