Written in the stars

As soon as I saw this collection, I knew I had to have at least a few shades, but wouldn’t you know it? Only available in the US. So I begged whined and pleaded with an ex-pat friend who was coming home for Christmas if she would grab a few shades for me and bring them over – and she did! By chance, the day before I received them, I saw this post from a fellow UK nail blogger, and I just had to try it out with two of my new polishes.

So here we have it, my first holographic gradient manicure, using Avon Cosmic Eclipse (the dark blue/grey) and Avon Cosmic Celestia (the light blue/grey). I used the same sponging method used in the tutorial linked above, except that I put PVA glue around my cuticles to minimise clean-up, which was a masterstroke even if I do say so myself. Not only does it make clean-up superfast, but anyone who remembers primary school will know just how intensely satisfying it is to peel PVA glue off your fingers. Both polishes are stunning on their own, but I love the way they look together, and I’m chuffed that the gradient came out this well on my first attempt. The formula is a little on the thin side, but 100% worth it, as it dries fast and holds without chipping for days. And they cost me less than $4 each!

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

I really love it. I will definitely be doing gradients again. I reckon the next lot will be even better!

Stay frosty!

I got bored last night, and decided to break out the toys. So here it is, my first ever sponged glitter gradient!

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I started off with a base of China Glaze Tongue & Chic (£4.29/eBay seller: nailswestcom), from the new fall collection. It’s a gorgeous deep teal shimmer, which is about as close to a one coat polish I’ve ever seen, though the formula was a little on the thick side. I then sponged over a layer of Model’s Own Southern Lights (£5/Boots), a dense silver holo micro glitter, and then a final layer of ORLY Angel Eyes (£6.79/Beauty Bay), which is a blue micro glitter with slightly larger holo pieces.

Flash.

Flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

The result is pretty fantastic; I can’t stop looking at it. It’s so sparkly! I will definitely be repeating this one, probably for Christmas. Sponging turned out to be a lot easier than I feared, so I’m keen to try some 2 colour gradients in the very near future. My shaky hands prevent me from doing a lot of really skilled technical stuff, but I’m pretty sure I can get to grips with gradients!

Triple Trouble

It’s a bumper threefer day today; I’ve been on a spree trying to swatch the last of my birthday haul, and the remaining greens just seemed to gel nicely together, so here you go. First up is Butter London Thames, a delicious bottle green shimmer with just a hint of blue undertone. The formula is quite thin and required 3 coats, though it was smooth and even. It’s subtle, but I really like it.

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And now, the double whammy! Below is 2 coats of Nubar Reclaim, a moss green holo, and on my thumb and ring finger is a single coat Nubar Teal Glitter layered over. The holo isn’t quite as strong as some I’ve tried, but the effect is quite lovely and the glitter is really dense and shiny! I really like this mani, though it’s definitely more summer colours, and as the weather is turning, it’ll soon be time to start breaking out the fall/winter shades.

With flash.

With flash.

Sunlight.

Sunlight.

This is almost the last of my birthday polishes, just one more to go!

In other news, back in August, I bought a box of 7 Color Club polishes in TKMaxx in Oxford. Unfortunately, the boxed sets in TKMaxx often get muddled up, so it’s not a complete set. Add to the the fact that the discounted sets usually don’t have the colour names on the bottles, and I basically had a jumble of unidentified polishes on my hands! However, after 6 weeks of madly pawing through swatches of old Color Club collections, I now believe I have successfully identified all of them; they turned out to be a mix of the Back To Boho Fall 2012 set and the Alter Ego Spring 2011 set. Both collections are gorgeous, so I’ll be swatching what I’ve got very soon. Somehow it looks as though I got the best of both collections, and considering the whole box only cost me £7.99, I am feeling pretty damn pleased with myself!

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Nice, huh? Can’t wait to see them on my nails!

Ultraviolet

Just a quick one today, this is Nabi 3D Holographic Effect Dark Purple (from my birthday haul) over Sally Hansen Virtual Violet (from Poundland). Virtual Violet is from the Hard as Nails Extreme Wear collection, and wow, is it long wearing! I used two thin coats of each shade, over my usual ORLY Bonder and finished with a coat of Seche Vite Fast Dry, and despite my usual disregard for the quality of my manicure, it last 4 whole days before even showing the slightest wear, so I will definitely be picking up some more colours from that range whenever I can find them. The holo top coat is full of sparkle, and I really love it. I’m keen to try it underneath a few other shades to see how the colour changes!

With flash.

With flash.

Natural light.

Natural light.

My nails are somehow looking great at the moment, so I’ve already got a stockpile of swatches to show you over the next couple of weeks. I might even try doing some arty stuff again soon, now that life has calmed down a little!

A little for what ails you

Bleargh, I am sick. Have been struck down with a horrible throat infection that is sapping all my energy. I almost didn’t get around to posting today, but as I’d already taken the pictures before I was assailed with germs, I figured it would be an easy one.

To make it even easier, what follows is more of my birthday haul. This is A England Lady of Shallott, a dense navy blue shimmer in a blackened base. As with all A England polishes, the formula is perfect; smooth and incredibly easy to use, and what’s shown here is 2 coats with no top coat.

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I’ve paired it up below with one coat of Nabi Purple Jumbo Glitter, which as you can clearly see is more like a holo or a multichrome glitter than just purple, even though it looks very purple in the bottle. I love this glitter, the colour shift is so clear and strong, I’ve been sitting around just wiggling my fingers, admiring all the pink, orange, yellow, green and even blue shifts. I expect the colour changes a bit based on what you wear underneath it, so I’ll play with some different shades at a later stage. The formula is pretty great too, you get a lot of glitter in one coat, and I didn’t have to dab it to get extra flakes on at all, which is a welcome change.

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The only bad thing I have to say about this glitter is that OHMYGOD does it ever stink! Honestly, it’s by far and away the worst smelling polish I’ve ever used, it was like jet fuel, cat turd and vinegar had a really nasty smelling baby. Ergh. Won’t stop me using it though, cause it’s just so damn pretty!

Anyway, send me some get well vibes, and maybe I’ll even get around to building my lightbox soon. Fingers crossed!

What a saint, indeed!

stgeorgeHere we have another of my birthday polishes, the stunning Saint George by A England. I simple cannot put into words how beautiful this polish is, a deep rich green holo with plenty of sparkle and an incredible formula that made it one of the nicest polishes I’ve used probably all year! My swatch does not do it justice at all, I really can’t stop looking at it. It really only needed one coat, but I used two anyway, as I wasn’t very precise with my first. If you are a fan of holos or green polishes, you are missing a trick if you don’t own this shade!

In other news, I have picked up some lovely treatments for my hands this week. I got treatmentsBurt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (£5.99 for 15g/Boots), which I haven’t tried yet, but I’ve heard great things about. I also got Sanctuary Hand and Cuticle Scrub (£6 for 75ml/Boots), which is an exfoliating scrub that left my hands feeling lovely and smooth and well massaged, would definitely give it a go if you have dry or rough skin problems. And finally, Soap & Glory Hand Food (£5 for 125ml/Boots), which might just be the silkiest, softest hand lotion I have ever used. I adore it, and it just happens to smell delicious as well! Highly recommended, whatever your skin type.