Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Black & White Challenge #2: Stamping

I WILL get this posted today!  Don't know why I'm feeling so lazy recently!  I also need to pack for a weekend at home, but I've been sitting here watching TV all night instead...

Anyhoo, yes, today the challenge prompt is stamping!  Ok...I can do that...maybe only on one hand, but all the same...

Here's what I came up with:


Of course, once again I used Barry M Matt White and Black, with a Barry M nail art pen on the black nails, and Konad M73 on the white nails.

Sorry, just a short post today!  I need to go and pack all my nail polishes for the weekend!

Don't forget to have a look at all the other black and white manicures!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Black and White Challenge #1: Get In Shape

Nail Art Challengez is yet another Facebook group that I've been a member of for longer than I can remember, but have yet to join in a challenge in.  But, today is the day!  They're currently running a black and white nail art challenge, hosted by Yohana at Beauty-Shoes-Nails-Fun.

Here's the challenge schedule:

After much discussion in the group, it has been clarified that YES black and white means ONLY black and white (but if I mix black and white together I can use the grey right...?  Or I can just use a grey polish and lie to you all :p ).

Anyhoo, the first challenge is geometric.  I painted a few nails with Barry M Matt White, and a few with Barry M Black, and then went to town with my Barry M nail art pens.


All in all, a bit of a Barry M fest.  You'll be seeing a lot more of these over the course of this challenge as well...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

She Who Does Nail Art: Stickmen

I've been a member of this group on Facebook since its inception, but somehow I haven't got around to joining in with a challenge until now!  There've been some awesome themes that I'v missed as well, silly me!

So the idea of this group (which you can find here if you're interested) is that each week there's a different theme, and you can post as many manicures (or as few in my case..) as you like for that theme.  It's a bit more laid back than other challenges, there's no specific day you need to post or anything, so it's worth checking out if you're looking for a relaxed challenge.

The theme for this week was stickmen.  Now...this is rather embarassing.  I actually did this manicure Tuesday night.  I was using my Sharpies, so I painted my base, seche vite'd and left plenty of time to dry before drawing on my design and all that faff.  I only did it on one hand, so obviously I removed it for work the next day!  So I'm in work on Wednesday morning, and as I was washing my hands I was thinking about the manicure, and the thought hit me "er...I don't remember taking any photos of it...".

So yeah, I'm an idiot.  This is version 2 of the manicure, that I repeated on Wednesday night!


I used Barry M Matt White for my base, and then just doodled with Sharpies.  The skinny ends of my red and green have dried up though, which is annoying!  I shall have to invest in some more I think.

What do you think?  Have you had a go at notebook nails?  They're actually something that's been on my to do list for ages, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get them done!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Royal Baby!

So it's just been announced that Kate and William have had their baby today, and the country has a new little prince :)

Think that means it's time for some nail art!


I prepared these a week ago, hence the blue and pink!  I've been waiting very patiently for her to hurry up and give birth so I could post this.

I used Barry M Lemon Ice Cream, OPI Can't Find My Czechbook, Nails Inc Grosvenor Street, MUA All Nude and on my little finger I used my pink Barry M nail art pen.

I did intend to give the duck a crown, but evidently I forgot!  Any guesses what they're going to name the baby?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Orly Miss Conduct

I have a rare swatch post for you today!  Photographing this polish reminded me why I don't do swatches...such a pain getting a polish to look totally colour accurate.

Anyhoo, a little while ago I bought my mum a set of three Orly polishes, which included Miss Conduct.  It caused me genuine physical pain to hand it over to here, having seen Miss Conduct all over the blogosphere.  I couldn't justify buying myself a set as well, because the other two polishes were just a red creme (and I definitely have enough of those!) and a glitter that looked pretty similar to China Glaze Pure Joy.  I did contemplate deconstructing the set and just giving her the other two polishes, but I thought that wouldn't have been very daughterly of me...

But then!  A few weeks later there was a different set!  Still featuring Miss Conduct, but now with Halo and Angel Eyes, which I could TOTALLY justify adding to my collection!  So, at last, I had Miss Conduct. sat untried for a couple of months.

So I finally whipped it out to have a play last week.  I actually had thought it was a full coverage glitter (I have no idea how when I had looked at swatches), so I was rather surprised!


It's actually a rather fabulous magenta polish, with a very fine scattered holo.


I used two coats for these swatches, plus a coat of Seche Vite.


The colour is just totally stunning.  And the holo...well, it's holo, what more do I need to say?  It's quite a subtle holo I think, like at times you almost want to call it a shimmer, but it's definitely more than that.


Application had no problems.  No dragging or patchiness that you get with some holos.  And I wore this for a fair few days and didn't have any chipping, just minimal tip wear.


Do you have Orly Miss Conduct?  Or is it a polish you'd like to add to your collection?

I just need a blue holo now...

Friday, 19 July 2013


You know what...I sorted these pictures out when I got home from work, and I've only just realised I didn't actually post them.  I think the heat's finally gotten to me.  That being said, we were in a lovely air-conditioned room today - it was heaven!  The room was built for doctors, rather than lowly physicists like us, so it was rather swish.  And there was free lunch, which never fails to make me happy :)

Anyhoo, two weeks ago I was walking home from the train station on a Saturday morning, so obviously I had to pop into Superdrug and buy four nail polishes.  One of those was my first Barry M Gelly, in Guava.  I popped it on the other day, since it seemed suitably bright for this fabulous weather we've been having!  It's like seriously super bright.  And for some reason, I just kept thinking it needed a bit of bunting...


When swatches of these were first posted, the Crumpet commented on how hard it was to capture the colour of this polish.  I couldn't help but think "yeah right, it's not like it's purple!".  But seriously, I can't believe how much this is not the colour of the polish.  It is bizarre.  I was taking pictures and just looking at the images on my camera baffled!  It sort of leans a little more teal, but isn't teal at all...  Just buy it and find out!

So then I added the bunting using the Barry M Nail Art Pen in White, filling it in with Barry M Peach Melba and Mint Green, Nails Inc Grosvenor Street, and Rimmel Sunshine.

I want more bunting!  I'm trying to think what other designs I could combine it with to create summer fete skittles :)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

New Technique: Watercolour


Last week you voted for me to try out the watercolour technique!  I have to say, I wasn't looking forward to this.  I did, rather sensibly, actually google a tutorial for once though.  I happened across a cheat's version, and I was oh so tempted...  But no, I stuck with doing it properly.  I glanced at a few tutorials to get the general idea, but I don't remember which ones, sorry!

So, the grand unveiling...


I really liked it...although I don't know if I like it in the photo.  I used a base of Barry M Matt White to begin with.  Then, using one colour at a time, I added one or two dots to each nail, then used a nail art brush dipped in acetone to sort of smudge the polish around a bit.  My top tip: use less polish than you think you need; the first colour I did was the purple, and my blobs were too big so it didn't go as faint as I'd like.  Oh, and topcoat over your base colour!  Otherwise you'll end up taking off some of your base when you start with the acetone, and no one wants  to see naked nail!

The other polishes I used are Jessica Ruffled Bottoms, Nails Inc Grosvenor Street, and Max Factor Bright Orange and Cactus Green.

Thank you to everyone who voted, it's lovely getting you all involved!  Don't forget to pop over to my Facebook page to vote for next week's new technique.  Acrylic paint is winning at the moment, so if you'd rather see me attempt needle drag or DIY spotted, get voting!  And if you have any other suggestions for new techniques you'd like to see me try, just leave a comment :)

Monday, 15 July 2013

More Fabulous Born Pretty Store Water Decals

In case you couldn't tell, I love water decals from Born Pretty Store.  Today, I have these ones to show you:

I saw these on the website aaages ago, so I was very excited at getting the opportunity to review them.

There are 15 images in the pack, so there's plenty for you to make mistakes.  And if you don't make a mess of any of them, you have a few left over for accent nails, hurrah!

There's a picture of these on the Born Pretty Store website over a pink base, and they are stunning.  But I thought I should be a good little reviewer and show you them over a different colour instead.  I went for OPI Mermaid's Tears.


I found the decals took a little longer than usual to soak (about 40 seconds).  No idea if this is actually the decals, or if the heat did weird things to them.  But anyhoo, 40 seconds and they happily slid off the backing paper.  Really really easy to use, and you've got a little bit of time once you place them on your nail to reposition them before they dry.

I totally love these, I think the pictures are so beautiful, and I love that they're all different.  The only negative for me is that they're slightly translucent, so I think you lost a lot of the pretty colours when you use a dark background.  I shall be using the remainder of my pack over a paler base!

You can check these decals out here (these ones are G074).  As always, if you decide to treat yourself to some nail art goodies or anything else from Born Pretty, you can use the code LKL91 for 10% off :)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Nail Art In A Hurry #4

Hello ladies :)  My iPhone tells me it's going to be 30 degrees here today, so naturally I'm hiding out indoors.  There's a lovely breeze coming through the bathroom window, so I'm just going in there to cool off every so often.

Today's the last post in the Nail Art In A Hurry series.  I hope you've enjoyed, and that they've been useful!  Is this something you'd like to see more of in the future?  Any changes you'd make if I was to do it again?

So the last suggestion I have for you when you're running short on time is the cling film manicure.  AKA saran wrap (honestly, it was months before I knew what you were all talking about with your saran wrap manicures).


1. Paint your nail with your base colour.  This does need to be dry before you do step 2, so stick with thin coats!

2. Paint one generous coat of your second colour over your nail.

3. While this is still wet, scrunch up a bit of cling film and dab you nail with it (one dab should do, but you can do some more if you like).

4. Topcoat, and ta da!

There are infinite colour combinations you could do this with - I think black and white would look great!  I personally like to use a foil over a creme, but have a play around and see what works for you.  And when you have a little more time, why not use some studs or rhinestones to add that little something extra?


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Nail Art In A Hurry #3

Aloha ladies.

It's the weeeekend!  I have been since stupidly early waiting for the postman.  Sometimes he likes to come at 7am, sometimes he likes to come after lunch.  Undoubtedly, because I got up early, he'll come after lunch, but there we go.  He has by Fragrance Direct and Nail Polish Direct orders and I neeeeed them.  And my neighbours have my Ciate order but they haven't been in when I've been to knock.  How rude of them to have lives.

Anyhoo, here's the third post in the Nail Art In A Hurry series.  This one is super super simple (I only have four steps in the picture tutorial so make it consistent with the others...).  All we're doing today is adding a stud to the base of your nail.  Yep, that simple.  Even on plain nails it just gives it that slightly more finished look - makes it look like you've spent a bit more time on your nails, when really it's probably taken you 30 seconds extra, and that's the name of the game of course :)


1. Paint your nail with your chosen colour.

2. Apply a layer of topcoat.  I normally use a cheap slow-drying one, but you can of course use your usual fast-drying one if you move quickly enough!

3. Place a stud at the base of your nail (I pick them up with a dampened cocktail stick).

4. Topcoat, and off you go!

Of course, this isn't just limited to studs.  You could use rhinestones, stickers, pearls or anything else you can fit on your nail.  And when you've got a little more time, you can use these to jazz up the plain nails when you've got busy accent nails, or to add that little something extra to a patterned manicure.  Here are a few of the ways I've used them:


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Nail Art In A Hurry #2


Today is the second Nail Art In A Hurry post.  Never again shall you have an excuse to leave the house with plain nails!

Today I have a twist on a French manicure.  I am properly rubbish at doing a normal French manicure, I just can't get a smooth, even line.  But this method is fool-proof.


1. Prepare your nail and apply your basecoat.

2. Starting at one side of your nail, sweep diagonally across your tip.

3. Repeat on the other side.

4. Clean up (or just don't make a mess to begin with), topcoat and you're done!

And when you have a little more time, try jazzing it up by adding lines or dots along the bottom of the tip, or maybe a rhinestone on the point.  And you just just have to limit yourself to traditional French manicure colours, this technique also looks great with other colours!

I have two more Nail Art In A Hurry posts coming up for you this week, but in the meantime let me know how you spice up your manicure when you don't have time for nail art?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Born Pretty Store Polish Review

Hello, happy Tuesday!

Today I have a polish that I was sent from Born Pretty Store to show you.  I was so excited when I saw these go up on the website, I was itching to get my hands on one!

They have the rather catchy name of Candy Color Glitter Sparkle Yoghurt Series.  The bottles are quite a cute shape, and not a bad size at 10ml, and the brush is quite similar to a Barry M brush.


The colour I have to show you is #17.


The polish consists of red a gold medium hex glitters, with silver microglitter, all in a lemon jelly base.


Coverage was good, I used two coats for these swatches and I didn't have any problems with dragging or the glitters clumping.


And here's a macro shot!  I love that silver glitter in there so much.


You can see this polish, and all the other colours, here.  They cost $4.36 (£2.94) and shipping is free to wherever you may be in the world.

Don't forget, if you decide to make a purchase of this or any of the other nail art goodies, you can use the code LKL91 for 10% off.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Nail Art In A Hurry #1

Hello lovelies :)

I hope you all had a good start to the week.  We still have lovely weather here, although I do wish sunshine didn't have to come hand in hand with high pollen counts. I've scratched my eyes so much today I'm amazed I even have eyelids left...

Anyhoo, today I have the first in a short series of posts of Nail Art In A Hurry.  Countless times I've heard people say "when I'm in a rush I just put on some polish and a glitter topper".  Well, if you've got time to do that, you've got time to do these things too!

I have four short tutorials for you this week (unless I think of anymore...), and these are just simple, and most importantly quick, ways of making your manicure a little more interesting when you just don't have the time to do something more complicated.

Nothing here is ground-breaking, but hopefully it may be inspiration for you to give your nails that little bit more love next time you're in a rush.

So, first up, the reverse glitter gradient.  This is one of my favourite fall back manicures.  And if you've got time to apply polish and glitter topper, you've definitely got time to do this, because it's basically the same thing!


1. Prepare the nail and apply your base colour.

2. Apply your glitter over the bottom two-thirds of your nail.  Fairly dense glitters work best for this, but not full coverage ones!

3. Now apply your glitter over the bottom third of your nail.

4.  Topcoat, and you're done!

Here are a few more ideas for colour combinations, and don't forget you can use any shape glitter for this, why not give the feather/confetti ones a go?  And if you've got a little more time on your hands, glitter gradients make a great choice for skittle manicures.


As always, if you have any requests for tutorials, or suggestions for nail art, please let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Lions

Happy Sunday everyone :)  I hope you're having a lovely weekend.  It's just about cooled down enough here for me to be able to handle being near my laptop (this thing produces a lot of heat...).  I know I shouldn't complain about the sun, because I'll only whine when it gets cold again, but there we go.  There's just no pleasing me.

Anyhoo, yesterday I went with a few friends to watch the last of the Lions games.  For those of you who don't know what on earth I'm talking about, it's rugby.  Every four years a squad is put together of players from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland and they go on tour to either Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.  They play a load of warm up games against some of the smaller teams in the country, before finishing off the tour with three games against the national squad.  This year the tour was in Australia, and yesterday was the last of the three matched against them.  We'd both won a game each so far, so it was all hanging on yesterday's game.  And we smashed them!  It was epic :D  It's the most points the Lions have EVER scored in a test match.  Woohoo!

So, naturally, today I have some Lions nail art for you :)


The Lions badge is a shield made up of the four nations badges, which is what I've attempted here, and the logo for this year's tour was a lions head in the shape of Australia which I've drawn on my thumb.

I used Barry M Matt White, Nails Inc Knightsbridge Green, Barry M Bright Red and Nails Inc Southwark for my base colours.  All details were done using my white Barry M nail art pen, Sharpies and a little bit of yellow acrylic paint.

Did you watch the game yesterday?

Also, I'd love some feedback on the new header and removal of the border from the photo!  Please leave your thoughts in the comments :)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Born Pretty Store Stamper (and a little 4th of July)

Good evening :)  I suppose I should be saying good night really...definitely past my bedtime!

Today I have a stamper from Born Pretty Store that I was sent to review.  You may have seen similar stampers on some other blogs recently, as I've seen them pop up in a few other places too.  They're a little different from your Konad style stamper, and here's why!

There's no plate, scraper and stamper here, it's literally just the rubber stamper with the images on it.  I chose this plate because it has full nail designs, and I do love me a full nail design.

So the way you use these is obviously a little different from stamping plates.  You paint the polish on to the design (as normal), then use a toothpick or similar to gently swipe off some of the excess - you really don't need to be too neat at this point.  Next, to remove the rest of the excess gently stamp on to some paper.  My top tip is this - stamp it on to paper as many times as you need to to get rid of ALL the unwanted polish.  I was a bit worried at first that if I did it too many times I'd start losing polish from the design, or that it would all dry and it would transfer!  But it was fine :)  So stamp away.  Finally, just stamp it on to your nail!  I used a rolling motion like I would with Konad.

The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the stamper was the size of the images.  They are really small.  I was so disappointed!  There was absolutely no way they were covering my full nail (except my little finger, but that is weirdly teeny), so I didn't even try.

So below I have two nail art designs that I did with this stamper, using it just over part of the nail.


For this look I used Barry M Black, Star Gazer 232 and a Konad stamping polish.  I fully intended to stamp the star design, but it was like 10:30pm and apparently I forgot that's what I meant to do, and ended up with zebras instead.

It took me a few attempts to get these so that I was happy with them.  I realised at this point I wasn't going to get nice clean lines with these, so I decided to embrace the messiness and go for this messy 4th July manicure!


Here I used Barry M Matt White and Nails Inc Southwark, and Konad stamping polishes again.  You can see some of the stars came out really well as I got a bit more practice.  My little finger though...they're more blobs than stars.  You can also see on my ring and thumb nails that because of the shape of the stamper, it's really hard to get right up to the cuticle.

So, my final verdict?

Hmm...I'm really not sure actually.  I really don't think you'd be able to get the same kind of crisp lines that you can with stamping plates (well, that you can if you're better at stamping than me!), but I did find it a lot easier to use than plates.  The fact that you just stamp away on paper until you've got rid of all the excess is so much less faff that the scraper, and I felt like I didn't have to work so quickly.

So, I'd probably buy one again over a stamping plate, but not full nail designs because, well...they don't cover your full nail!  I'm eyeing up A25...

You can see this product here.  They're $2.99 (£1.98) each, with free shipping worldwide.  And don't forget!  If you decide to buy a stamper or anything else (anything at all!) from Born Pretty Store, you can use the code LKL91 for 10% off.

PS. Happy 4th of July to all my American readers :)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Gouda Gouda Swirly Nails

Happy hump day!

I hope you've all had a good day :)  Only two days left until the weekend, woohoo!  

Today I have one from the vault for you.  I did these a little while ago when I just wanted something subtle for work (I'm over that now - besides, I get more complements when they're bright animal print :p ).


I used OPI Gouda Gouda Two Shoes and Teenage Dream (drooooooool).  I literally have no idea what I used for the attempted swirly pattern.  It doesn't look like any colour I own...I'm very confused.  Perhaps I mixed something with white...

The swirly nails didn't quite turn out how I'd imagined, but I still liked the overall effect :)  And the glitter was so pretty under the lights in work :D

Do you go all out with crazy nails for work, or do you tone it down a little?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

New Technique: Acid Wash

Before I did my little June disappearing act, I had a vote for which new technique I should try out, and acid wash won.

I can't believe I'm even showing you this.

I think I went in a little too cocky, and definitely too ambitious.  I didn't bother looking up a tutorial or anything, looked straight forward enough.  And I had this wonderful idea of using all the colours of the rainbow!  How amazing right??

Well, not so much.  Here we go... (please don't judge my nail art abilities by this photo lol)


Utterly disastrous...

I used, from bottom to top, Jessica Ruffled Bottoms, China Glaze Man Hunt, Barry M Spring Green, Nails Inc Notting Hill Carnival, Max Factor Bright Orange and OPI Flick Chick Cherry.

Six different polishes was definitely too much.  There was so much polish to get through to show a bit of the purple, that all the other colours just ended up blending together into some sort of brownish mess.  And I had like full on craters in my manicure lol.  You can also see in some bits where I went right through all the layers and revealed some bare nail - lovely!  I've since learnt that I should've top coated between colours.

Oh well, you live and learn!  I'll definitely give it a go again, maybe with white on top and just two colours underneath, so it looks like a gobstopper :D  Any tips for success for next time?

Don't forget to pop over to my Facebook page to vote for which technique I should try next!  And more suggestions are always welcome :)

Monday, 1 July 2013

I Will Go To The Ball!

Hello lovelies!

So...June was a bit of a no-go on the blog.  Sorry!  It ended up being a pretty hectic month for us and I just didn't get a chance to blog (and the broken laptop definitely didn't help matters).

At the beginning of the month, we went down to St Ives for a few days to meet up with my fiance's family.  We had some sunshine and everything (unfortunately I got sunburnt whilst wearing turned up jeans...not a good look).  The next weekend we went camping with a few people from work.  Then the next week we went down to Swansea, where we booked our wedding (eeeeeee!) and had an engagement party.  My mum got us this amazing cake!

How cute is that??

My fiance's family surprised him and came down for the party, so we spend the next day showing them my parents' local beach, and went for tea at the hotel we're getting married at.  Then the NEXT day we flew to Portugal!  So it's been a rather busy six weeks.

My fiance's left again today for work, so I'm determined to get more organised with this blog again!  I have a few things lined up, so watch this space :)  One of those things is that I'd like to feature some nail art inspired by your suggestions, so if you have some, please leave a comment!  Alternatively, you can pop over to my Facebook page and leave a wall post there.  I'll also be bringing back my New Technique posts, so while you're over on my Facebook page, don't forget to vote on that!  I'll also be attempting to finish the Untried Polish Challenge, and posting a few more tutorials (again, if there's anything specific you'd like to see, leave a comment!).

So, for the time being, I shall leave you with this.  I work in an Oncology Centre, and this year is its 20th anniversary.  To celebrate, we had a ball :)  It was a lovely night, helped along by the free wine of course, and who doesn't love an opportunity to dress up?  I foolishly forgot to take a picture of my dress, but here are the nails that I did to match it:


I used Barry M Black and Matt White, and Barry's nail art pens for the details, and then added some old glequins I found in a drawer.  You'll just have to take my word for it that they matched my dress perfectly :p

Ooh, I forgot to mention, I fixed my laptop!  Yay!  Although it's currently so hot that it actually smells like it's melting or something...can't be good.  For the life of me, I cannot get my photo editing software, my card reader or my scanner to work, but it's certainly better than it was (i.e. not dead).

Don't forget to leave your suggestions for nail art or tutorials!