Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Pink Wednesdays are cracking!

Yes!  I've jumped on the bandwagon that is PINK WEDNESDAYS! ... for this Wednesday anyway ... I'm far too lazy to paint my nails pink every single Wednesday .. usually my nails stay the same colour for at least a week!

I tried Barry M's black crackle ages ago and thought it was great fun but haven't tried any others until now.  I found a ridiculously cheap crackle on ebay and thought what the heck!   It seems to be by a brand called 'Laushine' and there are dozens of colours to choose from.

Here are the polishes I used.  CND in Times Square, Icing (really old!) lilac/clear base with silver glitter and Laushine in pink.

without flash
                                                                               with flash

Please excuse the messy application... I took the pics before I cleaned up.

As with most crackles, the thicker you apply the coat, the deeper  and fewer the cracks.  If you apply the polish thinly you'll get lots of little crackles (like my ring finger on the top photo).  I prefer the deep crack look myself, it's slightly less reptilian -  I bet green crackle will be flying off the shelves come Halloween for that very reason!

I actually think I'm a little bit over the crackle phase now, but it's a bit of fun!  I really wanted to find more of a crack crackle polish like the one below, but Laushine was more of the normal crackle polish you get everywhere.  It was a bargain though at £2.46 inc p&p!)
Photo taken from Nihrida's blog here 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Let's have thumb fun - butterfly style!

Today I had another little play with my nail art pens and came up with a little butterfly on my thumb.

It looks pretty messy as I only added the white background afterwards (I still had the rose nail art on!).  There's no way I could do this on every nail as it would take forever to do but it was a bit of fun to try!  My mum thought it was a transfer which made me pretty happy!  If I do this again I think I'd make the head a  bit smaller as it kinda freaks me out! hehe!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Benefit freebies with Glamour magazine

This month in Glamour magazine (UK) they're giving away free one free Benetint, Posietint or Highbeam (2.5ml) free with the magazine.  The magazine came out today (June 9th) so there should still be some left!

Over past few months I've been reading enviously about some of you getting some great freebies with magazines and now it's my turn, hurrah!

Posietint, Highbeam and Benetint in their cute little bottles.  All 3 have little brush applicators.

I have wanted to try all three of these products for SO long but could never justify the cost but now I get to try out all three for £6.  The man in the shop was thoroughly bemused at me buying three of the same magazine.. even AFTER I said it was because of the free gifts!  Men have NO clue sometimes do they? lol
I'll be taking the extra mags to my doctors surgery as lord knows people want to read something a bit more recent than "Brad and Jen split" and "100 ways to celebrate the millenium". 

If you're not aware, Benetint is Benefit's best selling cheek and lip stain that is supposed to last all day and is loved by beauty gurus far and wide.  Posietint is a recent addition by Benefit which is basically a lighter, pinkier version of Benetint especially for us paler girls and Highbeam is a highlighter for cheeks which is also exceptionally popular amongst the Makeupistas of the world! (yeah I know that's not a word but it should be! ;) )

Cue swatches on freckly hand:

  Left to right: High beam, Benetint and Posietint.  (None have been blended in.) 

 I must say so far I'm loving these products.  The High beam leaves a really lovely dewy sheen on the skin and both the tints stayed on my hand even after several hand washes, this stuff has real staying power!

What's the best freebie you've ever had with a magazine?  Do you own any of the products above?  Do you rate them?  I'd love to hear from you! :)

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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Floral and striped nails - Nail art attempt #3!

Hello there lovely people!  I'm so happy to have some followers now, if you're following me thank you very much, it means a lot! :)

And now to the mani!  Earlier in the week I tried out Maybelline Sweetie Pie and yesterday I decided to play about with some nail art on top (actually I did the stripes one day and the flowers the other as I got too tired after the stripes, haha!).   I've seen designs similar to this one in a lot of places and I was dying to try it out!

I was attempting flowers but they kinda look like spots, ah well! lol  Perhaps I should do fewer, bigger flowers next time.  I think I probably need to get some of those itty bitty nail art brushes too as this is what I'm currently working with ...
Gnarlyyy!  lol  It's an old watercolour paintbrush and it's completely rock solid from previous neglect so it works like a cocktail stick would! lol

This is everything I used to create the look.

Maybelline Express in Sweetie Pie              
Boots 17 polish in  Mint choc chip              
White and Pink nail striper/ art pens            
A bobby pin                                                
A gnarly old brush                                      
Essense quick drying top coat

I'm not that great at doing stripes with the striping brushes yet.  I might try out the trick I see a lot of you doing by using scotch tape in future... once I buy some scotch tape that is! ;) (I wonder if normal sellotape would work?)

Aaaand finally here's the other hand!  Weirdly I think I did a better job on this hand (painting left-handed) than I did painting right handed which is funny as I'm right-handed.

Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A not-very-scientific-at-all test of CND's stickey base coat.

 When I was doing the leopard-print mani I decided to test out my CND Stickey basecoat. From what I've gleaned, Creative Nail Design (CND)'s Stickey basecoat is meant to prolong the life of your manicure by giving your polish a good base to adhere too... (it's tacky to the touch when you apply it to your nails) and it seems to make sense that that might work!  So a few months ago I decided to give it a go and I bought some on Ebay to try it out!

I decided to use an old topcoat I had lying around which was Boots 17 Double Gloss Topcoat to test it against (as I don't have another basecoat!). 

Here are the results!  This is after a total of NINE days wear!  They had hardly chipped at all by day 7.

 As you can see, to the naked eye the two bases are indistinguishable.
After 9 days 2 of the CND nails are chipped and one of the 17 nails is chipped badly.  Nails on the ring and pinkie fingers remain chip-free.

On the right hand (which I expected to chip more than the left as I'm right-handed) we see minimal chipping, mostly just one little chip on the index finger which is the 17 topcoat.  Both base coats have lasted well on the other nails.

 So... the verdict?  Well I can't really see all that much difference between the cheap  old topcoat (which I used as a basecoat!) and the CND Stickey basecoat.  However, I did add two coats of Essence top coat over my nail design.  Perhaps if I hadn't have done that the results may have been different? Who knows!  Do you think there's REALLY a difference between basecoat and topcoat?  Hmmm, after this test I'm not so sure.  I do know however that if I don't put a clear layer on before a dark varnish that it can stain my nails horribly!  Do you swear by basecoat or can you take it or leave it?  Leave a comment below and tell me what you think :)

Van D'Go Dupe - Maybelline Sweetie Pie.

Hello lovely people!  It's heating up here in Wales now and I'm in a very summer mood so I've been hunting for the perfect demure summer shade for my nails (especially after the crazy smurf leopard nails of last week!).  I've seen Essie's Van D'Go on so many blogs for ages and it looks gorgeous but as I'm a blogger on a budget I thought I'd try the reported dupe (which I found out about here!)

I don't have Van D'Go, so this is just a review of Maybelline's Sweetie Pie which I bought a la Ebay for £3.65 including P&P.
This polish is a pinky-peach creme with a nice creamy consistency.  It was quite a streaky formula and took 3 coats to get properly opaque and non-streaky (which I'm guessing doesn't happen a lot with Essie polishes!)


Although this isn't the best of all the photos I took, this is the closest to the real colour of Sweetie Pie.
       It's still a bit more peachy in real life than it is in the photos and I just love it!

I think this is the perfect shade to wear to meet boyfriend's parents for the first time - understated but pretty.  I know I've got this the wrong way around but I'm desperate to buy some peach clothes to match this varnish now, hahaha!  Luckily peach is everywhere this summer so I'm sure I'll find something!

Do you have a colour obsession at the moment or an even better peach varnish you can recommend?  I'd love to hear from you if you do! :)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Leopard print nails ... smurf style!

Ok so I'm sure you've seen this type of leopard print nail art ALL OVER the bloggosphere by now.  I've seen this colour combination everywhere, but it looked so fun I HAD to try it for myself with my new nail stuff!
So here it is!

 If anyone knows of a half decent yet not too expensive camera that they use, please let me know!  I realise my photos aren't the best!  :)
This was pre-cleanup!  As you can see, I made a right mess, hehe!
The base colour is Turquoise Day Glo by Primark (a mere £2!), the pink bits (yes they look more white in the pic!) are Barry M's Strawberry Ice cream and the black is the black rio art pen.

I've worn this mani for a week and it's STILL going strong with hardly any chipping whatsoever which is  surprising given all the varnish I used was low budget.  I finished the mani with a topcoat of Essence top speed gloss to seal it all.

I must admit I think this mani makes me feel a bit like a drag queen, but it has left me grinning every time I see it as I'm not used to seeing patterns on my nails being a nail art noob and all!
Have you discovered any good combos for this sort of mani?  I'd love to hear your ideas! :)

Monday, 30 May 2011

Rio nail art kit

As I had a nail art kit from my boyfriend recently I thought I'd do a little blog post showing it to you.

Complete with the original Rio nail art kit are 8 nail art colours, a teensy tube of gold glitter, some rhinestones and a brush.  Each bottle you can see is a pen and a striping brush.  Here's a better explanation.
Ahem, yes I was a bit worried about sploshing nail varnish everywhere trying to photo the actual things, so I thought I'd just photograph the manual! haha!

The striping brushes are really easy to use, I quickly tried a union jack on one nail to test them out.  Not too bad!

Monday, 23 May 2011

My first attempt at nail art!

It was my birthday recently and as I'm forever gabbing about nail varnish and pouring over nail art photos on the internet my long-suffering boyfriend bought me a nail art kit! 

The base colour is Nails Inc Victoria which I got free from a magazine.  I'm really very impressed with the quality of this varnish actually, smooth even coverage, glossy finish and it lasted for a week before it chipped. 

Apologies for the blurry pic, it was taken on my phone when I was a bit tipsy on birthday pink bubbly wine!
Here's another pic that shows scary zombie hands!  Pale skin + flash = bleuuurgh!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Polish, puttering and ponderings giveaway!

Hello again!  My lord,  my posts are like buses, none for ages then three all at once!
Over at Polish, Puttering and Ponderings there's a fab international giveaway in which you can win:
China Glaze's Pom Pom, Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails and Revlon's Perplex.  Look at the pretty!!

To enter, go to Kelkel's website here

Microwave mug cake.. mmmmmmmm!

 Do you ever have one of those days when you MUST have something really sweet and really bad for you?  No sugar-free sweets or yoghurt will do... it must be sweet, calorific and it must be now!  Well I had one of those days today and there was no junk food in the house.  I fancied cake, we had all the basic ingredients but I just didn't have the energy to make one, it's so much effort and cleaning up etc etc (for me anwyay!)  Then I thought... I wonder if you can make cake in the microwave... I googled it and VOILA!
Behold Microwave mug cake in all its glory!
It took about 3 minutes to make, no scales and nothing but 1 mug, a spoon and a fork to wash up!  It wasn't as delicious as oven baked cake but it DID taste like cake and it DID satisfy my sugar cravings!  I found the recipe here

.... of course it probably would have been more delicious if I hadn't used hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa powder (which we didn't have).   I ate it straight away, piping hot, served with ice cream and had lots left to spare for another day as you can see!!  Om nom nom!

 When I emptied the rest of the cake into a tin my true (microwave) cooking skills were revealed!  Unintentional half drinking chocolate-half plain cake, mmmmm!  I'm going to make someone a wonderful wife!

Hibernation over!

Ahem, so yes, if you're ill and you do a blog, it doesn't always get updated that frequently .... or even that infrequently .. or even for six whole months!  Hehe!  Ah well, I'm going to give it another go just for fun!
In November I had to begin to push myself physically so that I'd be well enough to go to a rehabilitation place in Brecon.  When I say push myself physically I mean sit upright in a chair for more than a few minutes every day, walk for more than 20 seconds or so and wake up before 2pm (oh yes!) and STAY awake all day until 9-10pm.
Now for me, this was a HUGE challenge and it meant I had no energy left to do anything else other than eat and .. exist really! For some bizarre reason even sedentary activities like reading tire the heck out of me, sometimes more so than doing something more physical -bizarre I know, but there you go!  You know, I haven't read a whole book for years and years. Aah I do miss it but I listen to audiobooks to get my literary fix now, so it's not all bad!

I went to the rehab place in January which is for those with chronic pain and fatigue and since then it's been an uphill struggle keeping up with the regimen.  I'm still finding things really tricky, but I feel I have just that little bit more energy now to re-start my blog about the things that make me happy.  So ... bring on the good times!