Thursday, 28 June 2012

Nail growth "journey"

I mentioned in a previous post that I am having to swatch all of my polishes on fake nails, and that the reason for this would be an upcoming post. Well this is that post. When I decided to stop biting my nails I looked all over the internet for some kind of "Nail growth journey", I don't really like that term but hey, that's pretty much what it is, and really didn't find one that met what I was looking for, all I wanted to see was the rate at which my nails would reach my desired length, but unfortunately I could only really find before and after pictures. So I decided that I would start to make one. I have bitten my nails right back to their lowest point and will attempt to take a picture as regularly as possible, after each week I'm going to post that week's pictures on here, then once I have reached my desired length again I'm going make them all into a video so the growth can be seen as it happens. Here's this weeks snaps.
Hopefully we'll see a noticeable growth by next weeks post. Xxx.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lovely but late Lilacism.

I will start with apologies, this post is a little later than promised, I've just been super busy and didn't quite have enough time to post, for this I am sorry, but I make it up to you with the yummy Lilacism. The Essie is a cool toned light lilac shade, with a really nice creme finish. Now, purple and lilacs are most probably my favourite colours, so I own a ridiculous amount of different lilac or purple polishes, it's a bit of a joke really, but this one is, at the moment, my favourite. I adore the colour, but what sets it apart from several other polishes I own which are fairly similar is the quality. This wonderful little polish dries seriously fast, which I love, and covers really well. I think with this one you do need to use two coats, just to get the truest lilac shade but in saying that it doesn't affect the drying time at all. It's a really girlie shade that can be worn with any outfit and at any time of year, suiting all skin tones too. I bought mine from Boots for £7.99 and it was money well spent, but you can also find them online, maybe even for less if you go directly to a beauty supply site. I'm the sort of person who changes their nail polish every day because of either boredom or chipping, I can not stand chips in my nail polish, and with the polish I can wear it for a whole week because it barely chips and it's so pretty I don't get bored of it at all. It really is a great polish, to wear plain for with a splash of design. It looks great with some simple inverted aztec patterns or some classic leopard print. It also looks very cute faded with some Mint Candy Apple. My next Essie post will be Cute As A Button. Xxx.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Mint Candy Apple.

Apologies, but it's just a quick post tonight because I'm a sleepy little thing. Anyway as far as I am aware, today's polish is one of the most frequently posted about, and popular Essie colours, I see it everywhere, and there's good reason for that. It's beautiful! It's a frosty, pale, mint green creme with a lovely gloss to it's finish. I bought mine from Boots for £7.99 and it was well spent. It's very wearable colour that goes with pretty much every outfit I own. The pale, delicate nature of the polish means that it doesn't over power and only really compliments any skin tone or outfit. Mint Candy Apple has a lovely thin quality to it and dries in seconds, even though it's packed with colour your really are best to use two coats, it just ensures the truest, most even colour across your manicure. The feminine, minty hue is really beautiful in contrast to darker colours or more rigid, masculine designs, so it really does look good on it's own or alongside nail art. Go super fem with a black flowers, or a little funkier with some aztec, which as far as I'm concerned will never go out of nail-fashion. Overall I'd say it's a really lovely addition to any collection, really durable and versatile, something you can wear every day or just for occasions, it also looks GORGEOUS if you team it with a matte top coat, the top coat I use it the E.L.F matte coat which I believe was around £1.50, it's awesome value, and really gives this colour a sharper edge. I'll be doing a pastel V neon post super soon where I'll be heavily featuring this little gem so for more of Mint Candy Apple keep checking the posts. Tomorrow, lovely Lilacism! Xxx.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Chocolate cakes

Today's Essie of choice is the DELICIOUS Chocolate cakes. It's the glossiest, yummiest chocolate brown you will ever find. It's genuinely lovely, and it looks like beautiful melted dark chocolate in a cute little Essie bottle. I originally acquired mine from my beautiful friend Rebekah, who bought it at TKMAXX as part of a set of three discounted due to missing or incorrect labelling, I think the pricing was around £11.99 for three, I did recently see the shade in my local Boots for the full retail of £7.99 with the updated packaging and the newer thicker brush. The brush that came with this is a fairly standard thin, round brush as oppose to the thick, flat brush that comes with the majority of the Essie I own. It's a very deep, very rich shade of brown which I think can be used as a very versatile addition to any polish collect. Again as I find myself saying over and over, it's that same high quality Essie formula that I love and expect from such a fabulous brand. I will say with this polish you really do want to wear a proper base coat, because of its heavy pigment and brown tone it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to nail-stain. We can all imagine how that would look, not so good. I really enjoy wearing this colour, whether it's on its own, chosen for its dark tone but as an alternative to a standard black manicure, or as an accent colour within nail art, it's growing to be one of my more regularly worn polishes. I am a real fan of chocolate browns next to mint greens or baby blues well to be honest most pastel shades. They just bring out that rich brown tone, so for the nail art for this polish two of my suggestions are, using the polish on top of yummy pale colours like I have in the picture below, which slightly reminds me of Aero Bubbles or to take advantage of that melted chocolate look and add cream drips and sprinkles for a fun mani for those of us with a sweet tooth. Tomorrow is the outstanding Mint Candy Apple. Xxx.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Splash Of Grenadine

Day two of my Essie collection week, just a quick little post today and I'm looking at the gorgeous Splash Of Grenadine. It's a vibrant purpley pink tone that really catches your eye. It's not too bubble gum or Barbie pink and it's not too plummy purple either it's the perfect balance between the two colours. Like I repeatedly say Essie's are amazing quality and that really is true of this polish. The brush is lovely, that same brush that I briefly review in my Watermelon swatch, and it coats wonderfully, and you really can wear this with just the one coat and a quality top coat. It genuinely is a strong contender for my favourite Essie polish, it's really easy to wear with any outfit, because it's that perfect blend between tones it's rarely too bright for a darker outfit or too deep for a more summery wardrobe choice, I tend to wear it along side dark velvet outfits for a pop of girlie, glammy colour. This colour dries in record fast time and there tend to be very few bald spots when you paint it on. This quick dry time ans bright, original colour means it's an awesome base for some cute nail art designs. Whether thats a fairly simple design or one with a little bit more going on. Below you see the simpler matte finished base of Splash Of Grenadine with a gloss racing stripe and the slight busier funky hip-hop design with black tips. Both designs are super simple and take a few minutes but looking really striking!
Tomorrow I'm looking at the yummy Chocolate Cakes. Xxx.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Essie Collection.

So, my polish collection is rapidly growing and the brands I am buying are becoming more and more diverse, considering this I thought I would do a brand based, collective posting session. For this I'm choosing to look at my Essie collection, so this post will be a quick swatch and review of most of my Essie's with a few nail art ideas thrown in, posted over the next few days. Some of my polishes will not be included the reasons being, either I have already posted about them individually or they were bought as part of a collection that had been discounted due to missing or incorrect labels and I am yet to find their correct names. You will also notice the swatching has been done with fake nails, normally I will paint on my nails to give the truest likeness but I have cut all of my nails down in preparation for a future post.

The seven polishes I am posting on are a fairly mixed batch in terms of colour, but with all of the Essie polishes I own and in particular these polishes you will get very consistent results. You almost always have a lovely thin polish with a high level of pigment packed into it, which takes quite a while to aerate and become gloopy. Essie generally have really quick drying times, and a very glossy shine to that dried polish. With all of these polishes you could push for a one coat finish, but I have chosen of paint on two, because the flash of my camera will shine through the thin plastic of the false nails, making the polish look thinner than it actually is.

So the first polish I'm looking at is one of the above mentioned discount Essies, I got it from TKMAXX for cheaps because of incorrect labelling. This particular bottle's label states that it's the A-List shade. This is a lie. After much hunting and colour matching I've come to the conclusion that this is actually the Really Red polish instead. It's a really pretty, almost blood red colour which is so eye-catching and vibrant. I am a firm believer that every girl should own a shockingly bright, red nail polish and this is the red for me. With this, you just can't help feeling super glammy, like a 40's or 50's starlet. The colour just reminds me of a super rich, vintage hue and looks so girlie on. This is one of my most favourite colours to wear alongside tea dresses or navy, polka dot playsuits. This formula of this polish is fantastic, really easy to paint on, the only thing I will say is that this is probably one of the thinner, more translucent Essie polishes I've come into contact with, in fact possibly the only slightly see-through colour from them that I own. This is easily remedied with an extra coat and a high quality base and top coat though. Sometimes even a base white shade beneath it just to make it really pop, you just have to make sure that the white's completely dry before adding this gorgeous Minnie Mouse-esque red, or you get a very bright pink. Nail art ideas:For super girlie go white polka dots, for something a little darker maybe try out black drips. Both looks take seconds do to, and are great to jazz things up right at the last minute.

Tomorrow I'm looking at Splash Of Grenadine, keep an eye out! Xxx.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ciate Freebie Geebies

It has been said that I love a bargain, and it is also notable that I am a sucker for bulk buying, so with this post I'm reviewing the three Ciate polishes that are pleasantly awaiting this month's Marie Claire readers. I have to say, normally I am not a regular buyer of beauty magazines at all, so these polishes actually came to my attention via a beauty blogger. The review they gave was a little bit of a meandering mess of polish lingo and actually didn't really make very much sense to me, describing the Jelly Bean polish in particular to be a Gel finish, which made me think, there is no way they Marie Claire would be giving away Gel polishes to their readers and also, do Ciate even do a Gel polish? This I am still not sure on but, they also mentioned a blue polish in the give-away, which I am yet to find, however really wanted to. So any way, whenever I find a review that makes me question things like this, I have to find the product in question, and I did, three of them... and their beautiful. Frankly I can hold my head up high and feel no shame in buying three of the same magazine, at £3.70 a pop, for the free gift because I made a massive saving, in comparison to buying three RRP'd Ciate shades. £15.90 off!

For you money you get three very different shades which are all named after sweeties and are all delicious! Purple Sherbet, is a really subtle, pastel, lilac. It's a super girlie creme polish with a super high gloss finish. I must say that each of the polishes, to me, seem to have the most wonderfully glossy look once they've dried and I think this is what the review I read was trying to convey. The Purple Sherbet shade is right on trend for the coming summer months, and makes a really nice contrast to a slightly less feminine wardrobe choice. I've never bought Ciate polishes before, but I have to say, I love the formula, they all seemed to dry within seconds and their pigments are yummy. The polish are on the thinner side, but you don't get any compromise between this and coverage, even though this is a thinner, paler colour I think if you wanted a super lucid, delicate coat you could apply one coat of shade and then a nice glossy top coat, in my pictures however I used two coats.

The second creme finish to choose from in the beautifully dusky, almost mauvey coloured Bon Bon. Again, super high gloss polish with a really lovely formula, and over all very subtle looking varnish. For me it feels like a very grown up, classy tone and because it's so neutral it compliments almost every outfit.

The last of the lovely lot is a vibrant, deep pink shade called Jelly Bean. The finish with this with has a slight pearly shimmer to it, taking it from being a standard deep pink to something a little bit more interesting. Again lovely glossy polish that dries almost straight away. This bright colour is really flattering on sunny days, really uplifting, when I've worn it I always get comments on how pretty it is.

Definitely had my eyes opened to Ciate as a brand with these, and it's a great way to try out a new brand for a fraction of the retail price. Xxx.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

When life gives you lemons...

I am still endeavouring to swatch all of my polishes, so it's just a quick post today, but my swatch today is Models Own Lemon Meringue. It's name says it all really, and it's exactly what you would expect, a beautifully light, refreshing, pastel yellow. I must say, it's definitely becoming one of my favourite summer shades, mainly because it's such an uplifting colour which goes with almost every outfit.

As I've said before, when it comes to paler shades you may expect a compromise between tone and coverage, but with Models Own I generally do not have this problem. When it comes to Lemon Meringue I definitely don't, the cover on this polish is amazing. It paints on really well and I very rarely find a problem with a layer balding or looking thin. The pictures here were painting with two coats, for the sake of the photographs, but in day light would have been lovely with one coat and a high quality top coat. It also dries wonderfully, very quick, very little waiting around or messing about.

One of my favourite brands, and easily my favourite yellow right now. Xxx.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

One whole year after I stopped biting my nails

This time last year I was on holiday with my man in beautiful Rome, and it was there were I decided to stop biting my nails, and honestly I couldn't be prouder of myself. After feeling crappy about biting my nails, thinking they looked awful and disgusting, worrying about people seeing them and dealing with the pain of severely bitten talons, I am so glad that I managed to curb a 19 year habit. I really do think that this was one of the most fantastic choices I have ever made, which may sound a little bit over dramatic but I don't really care, because it's true. If I hadn't turned this corner and sorted it out I never would have discovered the passion I have for nails and nail art. This my seem like I very shallow thing to feel passionate about but I don't mind, even if it is. When I stopped biting, and gained a little bit of length to my nails I began painting them constantly, catching up on all the learning and nail experimentations us ladies mostly do when we're little girls. I wanted to try every polish, every brand and every colour ever, all at once, because I never had the opportunity before. As I became more confident with painting block colour I started to play around with designs, most leopard print to start with as you don't need specific brushes or tools it's easy to do with just an orange stick. This is where I came to the realisation that patterns distract people from shorter nails, something I particularly loved, because when you're starting to grow your nails you can start to think that people look at your nails and think "Why would you bother to paint nails so short?" and if there's some form of nail art to look at they're more likely to think "Cool, zebra print!". Anyway, from there I started to take pictures and branch out with techniques and designs and this is turn led to the confidence to start publishing my opinions and designs on here and my Tumblr, and confidence I me. In both my ability to complete something, changing things for the better, and my ability to be creative. So I am super proud of my last year in nails, because I can now stop thinking about my nails as something to be hidden and start seeing them as ten little opportunities to feel good about myself, be creative and make people think "Wow, that's cool!".

I know this was a little bit of a self-indulgent, self aggrandising post and I'm sorry about that, it's just that when I was looking for inspiration to stop biting I saw very accomplished nail blogs and no real posts about the pride you feel when you see a difference in yourself and start to feel good about something you've done. Xxx.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Essie Watermelon Swatcheroo

I went shopping, again, and picked up the most beautiful hot pink shade and I couldn't be happier. Lately I have been swinging towards cooler, bluey green hues as far as polish is concerned, but when I saw Watermelon by Essie I just had to own it! I purchased this lush little bottle at Boots for £7.99, a little bit on the pricey side, but you know you're getting a high class product, so for I treat it's money well spent. As you would expect from the name it's a delicious deep, warm, pink colour. Now normally when I see a polish close to this colour, it tends to have a pearlescent or metalic finish, and sometimes a girl just wants yummy, glossy, pink! So as you can imagine I was very happy to add this little cutie to be ever expanding collection.

There are several reasons why my Essie love is steadily growing, one of which is their brush. I find that, even with some of the more budget polishes, a high quality brush really can make the difference between loving a brand and just avoiding them all together, with most Essie polishes, you get the most fantastic brush.

It's a flat edged, tapered and thick brush, three factors that I always search for in a brush. It's thick bristles mean that it picks up and holds colour really well, which helps to avoid those heart stopping moments when you think you're going to drip paint on your newest of the new dress! The flat edge means that it's easier to clean off excess and you can also get a nice clean stroke of paint with each sweep down the nail, meaning less bubbles, less balded spots and less thick gloopy re-do sweeps. The tapered tip of the brush may well be my favourite thing about this brush. It perfectly fits the line of you cuticles, now I am an extremely lazy but extremely fussy little thing when it comes to painting my nails, Meaning that I hate clean-ups, but not quite as much a I hate polished cuticles, so when I paint my nails I will attempt to get it spot on first time round. This picture above was taken without a clean up. This brush makes it pretty much impossible to over paint your nails and hit skin. HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE NAIL PAINTING LORD!

One of the other, many, reasons I love Essie is the quality of the polish. It's always just the right consistency and loaded with pigment so you know that the finish you're going to get will be packed with colour and dry super fast. Making it my brand of choice for the "in a rush mani" I find myself frequently experiencing! Now I know that it is on the more expensive end of polishes, but you can occasionally find these on offer or even a discount store so shop around if you're just testing the water with this brand and then break the bank if you love it as much a I do, £7.99 I'm glad to have paid! Xxx.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Gone Fishing swatch.

It's my second post du jour, and this one's a cheeky little Topshop swatch! Gone Fishing is a gorgeous mint green and it's yummy! It paints on really well, and it's nearly a one coat varnish, which is something that I always look for. It's a really fresh pastel green which is super summery. It's a very girlie kitschy shade which I tend to wear when I'm sporting slightly less feminine outfits, just to keep things contrasting and cute.It also works really well with contrasting colours and nail art patterns, over all beautiful shade, highly recommended!

Singing the blues.

After a little bit of an absence, I've decided to spend a lovely day off post blasting, and catching up on what I've neglected to do over the past few weeks. I haven't posted in a little while because I was waiting for my nails to gain a bit more length after the tragedy of breaking all of them in the space of about three days and I've been very busy, finishing my second year of university and beginning my transformation into a skinny mini, I hope. Anyway, to kick off my day of posting I'm starting with beautiful bluey shades that I'm particularly fond of at the moment. For this post I have selected four very different polishes, in both finish and brand, but they are equally favoured by me.
The first of the bunch being the Models Own Balearic Cool, from the HedKandi collection, it's a super yummy nearly neon bright blue which paints fairly well. It's a gorgeous summery colour great for sunny days or miserable, cloudy days where you want to feel a little bit brighter. I really do like this shade, the only complaint I can find with it is it's consistency. This particular polish, to me, seems a little bit thinner than what I have grown to expect from this brand, meaning that it does require a few more coats to cover up bald spots, and being as impatient as I am, I tend to favour one coat polishes, I just don't have the time or patience to wait of multiple coats to dry. However, like I said before the hue is lovely, really bright and eye catching too, so when I have the time to spend on a proper mani I always choose this polish.

The second polish of the four, is a lovely deep blue Marine Scene by Topshop. I love this polish for so many reasons, it's a gorgeous rich shade, super pigmented, which paints on beautifully and it's a one coat polish! I generally love Topshop's range of polishes anyway, even though sometimes I feel they can be a touch too thin with not enough pigment, but with this one I don't think you can go wrong. It's £5 from Topshop, as the standard shades often are, and as far as I'm concerned it's £5 well spent, a quick dryer that really stands out, not too bubblegummy blue, the darker shade has a little bit more of an edge and looks great with black tips for an alternative French mani.

Number three of my beautiful blues is a polish by Claire's, unfortunately, the polish I have is missing a name, now I don't know if this is a fault with my bottle or it just doesn't have a name. It's a very sheer polish with really tiny blue glitter flecks in it making it almost pearlescent, it's nice for a subtle glitter mani that isn't too over the top. It's also ideal over more vibrant blues to soften the harshness that comes with certain brighter tones. When I bought it the price was £2.25, so it's an absolute bargain, a really expensive looking hue but for less, leaving more money to buy more polishes, and that's what we like!

Last but certainly not least is a pale blue from Nails Inc called Albert Place. It's a very cute pastel blue, and surprisingly, with this shade you can get away with one coat. I really love the subtlety of this polish, I think it makes a really lovely base for leopard print or zebra nails, giving the designs a little bit more pop that a brown or white base. Now normally with a Nails Inc polish you'd be looking at spending around £11 per bottle, but I got this shade in a set of three from TKMAXX for £11.99, which is an absolute wonder, so I would probably recommend having a look in those types of designer brands discount prices shops, just to see if you can find a little gem like I did!

Four very different blues but all equally yummy! All recommended by me!

What are your favourite blues? Xxx.