Saturday night’s alright

I had other plans last night; plans to go out and see friends and maybe get a little drunk, but I couldn’t quite muster the get up and go required, so I decided to stay in, pop on my onesie and do silly things to my nails. I used the wikihow tutorial for water marbled nails, but substituted tape for PVA glue, which was still very messy, so I will be trying with tape and vaseline on subsequent attempts.

It’s not perfect, but for a first attempt I’m pretty pleased with myself, so much so that I think I’m going to have another go tonight! I can’t remember all the colours I used, but I used Revlon Timeless as a base, which is a pale grey creme. I took photos of both hands, because the beauty of this mani is that every nail came out different.

Left hand, flash.

Left hand, flash.

Right hand, flash.

Right hand, flash.

Left hand, natural light.

Left hand, natural light.

Right hand, natural light.

Right hand, natural light.

So yes, despite the mess, an excellent result, and tons of fun! I look forward to doing an even better job next time.

Let me be your fantasy

Been looking forward to this post for a while. A few days ago, I replaced my bottle of Max Factor Fantasy Fire (£3.99/Boots). I’d owned it before, but passed it on because I was still a neophyte in the nail polish world, and I easily gave up on polishes that still weren’t opaque in 4 coats. However, it is basically the internet’s favourite polish, so I thought I’d give it another go.

I started with 2 coats of ORLY In The Navy, and then put two coats of Fantasy Fire over the top, and sealed it with Seche Vite. I sometimes have trouble replicating other people’s amazing swatches, but I was blown away. Yes, it’s very sheer, but with a dark base, it comes alive! The duochrome is very strong, and I had great fun wiggling my fingers to see all the shimmery green to pink to purple to orange micro-glitter. Like a lot of the best duochromes and multichromes, full flash tends to wash it out, but in sunlight and natural lighting, it’s glorious.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

Then out of curiousity, I popped a coat of Boots No7 Matte Top Coat (£7/exclusive to Boots) over it, which I’d picked up on a whim because I had No7 coupons and I’m still trying to find the best matte for me. Folks, I think this is it! It’s a really strong matte, definitely closer to the chalkboard end of the spectrum than the satin end, but it goes on really smoothly and has a lovely feel to it when it’s dry. It’s not at all rough like some mattes can be. And you could still see Fantasy Fire‘s amazing colour shift underneath it!

Mattified, flash.

Mattified, flash.

Mattified, sunlight.

Mattified, sunlight.

It’s so delicious that I feel kinda silly for getting rid of my first bottle, but I hope the recipient sees this and has a good go with it herself. I’m going to have a lot of fun playing around with different base colours. And I’m so happy that I’ve finally found a matte top coat that I really like, it’s been a long arduous search!

In other news, I am soon to receive my first indie polishes. I know I said that I wouldn’t be showing indie brands on this blog, but I think I’ll have to, if they are anything like as stunning as I’m hoping they’ll be. I’m really excited, and they’re a lovely reward after spending most of the last 3 months only buying discounted polishes.

Graffiti my heart

Six new polishes, and three new manicures today! I recently picked up a small handful of the new Maybelline Color Show Street Artist top coats, so I’m showing them off over some other polishes I haven’t have time to swatch before.

First up, Maybelline White Splatter (£3.99/Boots) over two coats of Sally Hansen Blue-Ming Fast (Poundland). White Splatter is made up of various sized white, metallic green, blue and pink hex glitters, small circle glitters and large white strands. It’s not too dense, but also you get enough glitter pieces on the brush that you don’t have to muck around dabbing it on to fill it out. Blue-Ming Fast is a warm sky blue creme, quick-drying and hard-wearing, and lovely on it’s own.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

Next, here’s Maybelline Boom Box Black (£3.99/Boots) over Revlon Emerald (Poundland). Boom Box Black is a mix of black and pale lime green hex and small strand glitters. As with White Splatter, it gives great coverage without fuss and looked fabulous over Emerald, a forest green creme which was fully opaque in two coats.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

And finally, this is Maybelline Alley Attitude (£3.99/Boots) over Nicole By OPI Back To Reality…TV (£3.99/TKMaxx). Alley Attitude is the same mix as Boom Box Black, only the glitter pieces are cyan blue instead of green. It really pops over Back To Reality…TV, a deep mauve with pink shimmer – the formula is quite thin, but dried super quick and built up nicely.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I think Boom Box Black will be the one that gets the most wear. There was a fourth shade available in Boots called Urban Vibe, which is the same again with orange glitters. I didn’t pick it up first time round, but I might have to go back and get it; I’m not a big fan of orange, but I think I could make it work over a fire red or something similar. But whatever colour you like best, they’re a great collection of top coats from an excellent brand. Highly recommended!

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.

DSCF0813

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!

DSCF0832

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.

DSCF0871

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.

DSCF0866

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!

Beyond the yellow brick road

Another polish from my last Poundland expedition; this is one I would never have expected to find!

Here we have 2 coats of Revlon Emerald City from the Matte Suede collection. It’s a smooth satin matte racing green with surprisingly bright flecks of green glitter. I added a topcoat to it to see what it was like with a bit of gloss, but I actually prefer the matte effect.

Flash.

Flash, no top coat.

Natural light.

Natural light, with one coat of Seche Vite.

I may have to do a little eBay hunting to find the rest of the shades from this collection – if they’re all this lovely, they’ll be worth the money!

As above, so below.

Two beautiful polishes for you today, both from my last trawl of the discount stores. First up, here’s Revlon Black Star (£1/Poundland), which is a drop-dead gorgeous black shimmer. It’s just packed with sparkle, and even though it looks quite tame in the bottle, it really comes alive on the nail. This may well be my new favourite black!

Flash.

Flash.

Then, I coupled it with ORLY Go Deeper (£4.99/TKMaxx), a blue/green hex glitter mix in a delicate blue jelly base. I’ve got a few blue/green glitters, and this isn’t the best of them, but it’s perfectly pleasant, and as it’s ORLY, it’s a great quality polish.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

I do like that it has a few different sizes of glitter in it, but it’s not quite the right balance, and I think it needs to be a little more dramatic to match up to similar things I’ve tried.