Fade to blue

There’s an awful lot of weather going on outside my house, that’s for sure. It’s put a bit of a damper on my social life, but on the plus side, I’ve had plenty of time to faff around with my nails! Alas, the lack of outdoor daylight has pissed all over my photo taking skills, so it’s just the one today, a new blue gradient using Barielle Sky’s The Limit and Rimmel Azure.

Flash.

Flash.

Despite the mess involved, I’m really loving gradients at the moment. I could’ve done better on this one, but I’ve got the technique down, so it’s just a case of luck and practice. Now that my nails are getting really long, I may soon try adding a third or even fourth colour in!

Updated: ZOMG the sun came out!

Sunlight! Huzzah!

Sunlight! Huzzah!

Happy new year!

Well, there is it, it’s 2014 now, and I am finally done with the complete shitbag of a year that was 2013, in which I lost one of my oldest and most cherished friends and a beloved partner at the same time, I ran out of money on numerous occasions, my darling son turned into a horribly rotten teenaged black lagoon dweller, and my general physical and mental health has taken more tumbles than an elderly lush. But I’m still here somehow, and there’ve been a few positives towards the end of the year, but basically, I am glad it is time to be moving on to bigger and better things.

Also, I just discovered The Nail and Beauty Link, which is supposedly a trade website for nail polish, but appears to allow personal transactions. They stock a lot of OPI, ORLY, Nubar, Essie and Zoya at some pretty excellent prices. I have ordered a few things, I will report back on the quality of their service when I have received my goodies.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you a few of my festive manicures just to tide you over until I have time and energy to start swatching again. I still haven’t built my lightbox, but it’s high on my new to-do list, as is actually taking the time to catalogue my collection!

First up, Barielle Holiday Madness (TKMaxx/£9.99 for 5). This is a stunning olive green metallic shimmer; very festive and classy, and only required 2 coats. This held up well, even while my nails were at their longest and I was doing a lot of typing. Really like this one, will definitely wear it again.

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Next, vampy glitter tips from a combination of Revlon Black Star, a black shimmer and Maybelline Color Show (Brocades Collection) Ruby Refined (£3.99/Boots), which is a dense, delicately textured, pinkish red glitter, which made for a really gothy look. I think this one would actually look a little better if my nails had been shorter at this point, but it had a lot of drama. Wish I’d been able to show it off!

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Then I had to cut my nails back to almost nothing, and it was a quiet few weeks while I waited for them to be an acceptable length again. By the time I went to my first Christmas party of the season, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and decided to go for something short and funky. So here’s OPI Russian Navy (£5.99/TKMaxx) over Sally Hansen Raspberry Rave (£1/Poundland). This is a striping tape job, I wanted it to look sorta like random techno lights streaking over a dark sky, and I think it came out pretty well. Both polishes were delicious on their own, but Russian Navy is one of my picks of the year so far, it’s jaw-dropping! It’s a particularly curious shade, somewhere between royal purple and navy blue, with a subtle shimmer.

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And finally, here’s my Christmas day pick, Revlon Mistletoe (£1/Poundland). It really didn’t photograph that well, in natural light it is darker and has an almost green tone to it. But even as it is, a multicoloured micro glitter in a darkened base which took just two coats, and lasted through the whole of Christmas day and Boxing day, despite me spending a good portion of it wrestling with a live lobster and burning my fudge.

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Hope you all had a tolerable holiday period, and that you’re looking forward to the promise of a shiny new year. I am cautiously optimistic. I really hope 2014 doesn’t suck too much, for me or for everyone I love. Or you lot either.

In absentia

Oops! Didn’t mean to leave it quite that long! To make up for my prolonged absence, today’s a twofer. Enjoy!

First up: Barielle Lily Of The Valley (TKMaxx/£9.99 for 5), a grass green shimmer, which took 3 coats for opacity. The yellow tone is a little too strong for my skin tone, but it’s gorgeous anyway.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

And secondly, here’s a double Revlon, one coat of Grape Jelly over 2 coats of Plum Night. Grape Jelly is part of the scented range, and while it is supposed to smell like Grape, it really smells like industrial toilet cleaner. I tried to dampen the smell with a liberal coat of Seche Vite, but alas. This mani only lasted about an hour before the smell was just too much and I had to take it off. A great shame, as the polish itself is a gorgeous purple jelly with violet flakies, and I would happily have worn it again. Plum Night is a fairly basic greyish purple creme, which is actually quite lovely on it’s own.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

Well, some you win, some you lose, eh?

In other news, I’ve been getting caught up with other handicrafts recently, and am thinking about re-imagining this blog. How would you lot feel if I covered a wider range of domestic crafts? I’m think things like knitting, baking and that kind of thing. I have a new name picked out and everything, which is much more suited to me anyway, but if people would rather I stuck to the nails, I could live with that!

Blue’s Twos

Whoops! Have gotten a bit behind in the ol’ blogging. Been a bit busy with one thing or another, so there’s still a huge backlog. My nails are almost long enough to need cutting back for a while, but damn, even though they’re sharp and it’s a pain to type, I do love them to bits when they’re long!

Anyway, here we have two coats of Color Club Masquerading (£7.99 for 7/TMaxx), a metallic steel blue, underneath a single layer of Barielle Jillian’s Jammin’ (£9.99 for 5/TKMaxx), a sheer turquoise/violet duochrome shimmer. The shift is really hard to capture, but it’s definitely there, and very cute.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

I think you can just about see the violet tone in the second picture. The good hours for natural light are fading now, so I really have to get my lightbox set up soon, otherwise I’ll never get any good photos taken!

Pretty Chill

I’m so sorry, I’ve been away for a week, and I bought a load of new polish for a ridiculous bargain price (18 polishes from Sally Hansen, Revlon, OPI, ORLY and Barielle for £27!), but I didn’t have my camera with me so I couldn’t take a photo good enough for the blog. When the rest arrives on Sunday, I’ll show you my haul.

Today’s polish is very appropriate, given the current weather. This is Barielle Coalest Day Of The Year, a delightful gunmetal grey metallic with scattered silver shimmer. Two coats to opaque, great formula, and lasted for several days without chipping. It’s a really lovely simple shade, and perfect for the season.

Flash.

Flash.

Direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight.

Please don’t think that I’ve carelessly forgotten Hallowe’en. I haven’t. I just hate it, so I’m not even going to let my nails celebrate it.

Pennies from Heaven

Oh TKMaxx, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Not only did I get the amazing Color Club set, but I’ve also snagged 2 boxes of 5 Barielle polishes, one for £9.99, and the other for just £7! If you’re not regularly plundering your local Poundland and TKMaxx, you are definitely missing a trick.

Here’s one of my favourites of the £7 set, Barielle Sky’s The Limit. It’s a warm cobalt blue shimmer, two coats for opacity, non-staining, hard-wearing and smooth formula – basically, a winner all round.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

I’m really starting to like Barielle as a brand. They have a lot of amazing shades, all 3free, and the discount prices are pretty unbeatable. I’ve got loads more of these to share, watch this space!

Stained grass

It’s a weird time in my house at the moment, but my nails are still intact, so I’m still painting! Here we have Barielle A Banquet For Ava (£9.99 for 5/TKMaxx), a lovely 2-coat deep teal creme, underneath Zoya Opal which is a dense green/blue flakie top coat which I am officially in love with.

With flash.

With flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

Sadly, as with so many teal shades, the Barielle polish stained the hell out of my nails and fingertips, even with base coat. When will I ever find a non-staining teal? Do they even exist?