Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Liquid Stones with Nail Gel

Hello peoples, I'm back with another blog post though it's been a couple of weeks, I have been avoiding using my computer as I have had some issues with my eye sight and it got so bad I had to give in and go to the opticians! Of the many things I dreaded about entering my 30's, a rapid decline in eye sight was not something I had considered, but over the last couple of months I have been really struggling to see things in focus, and it has gotten so bad that I now have a permanent line in my forehead from squinting all the time! Painting my nails and using the computer had become a real struggle so I decided to hold off for a while until I got my new glasses, I just picked them up yesterday and am amazed at how well I can see now!

My optician says I don't have to wear them all the time, only when I'm reading, writing, drawing, painting, doing my nails, using a computer, watching TV, driving, and 'any other time I have to concentrate my eyes on something'. 
Errrrrm, so all the time then?

Anyways, now that I can actually see to type without all the letters getting their groove on and dancing all over my screen, I'm going to show you a mani I did a couple of months ago using the liquid stone method that's very popular with the Russian nail artists it seems.

At christmas my hubby updated my nail kit with all kinds of wonderful new nail technologies, and I now have everything for acrylic nails, gel nails, resins and gel polish. The acrylic and gel stuff has been great for repairs, and though I don't really enjoy wearing the gel polish because I change my mani up too often, I have enjoyed experimenting with it for 3d effect stuff, the gel products provide a lot of additional artistic techniques without having to go for a full gel mani, and the gel top coat also works better with my nail foils so I will be able to start using them again without being ruined by topcoat, so I'm pretty pleased with the hubby for kitting me out!

Liquid stones are basically 3D jewels sculpted with gel, made sparkly and gorgeous by encapsulating glitters and what not within the gel bead. After seeing a few liquid stone mani's on line I was dying to try it out, so I went for a simple mint mani with jewelled accent nail. 

My base coat is my cheap Italian market brand 'Riveel' that have no names (annoying!) in a lovely minty colour. Normally in the liquid stone manis I have seen they are also decorated with gel paint and gel foils, so the nails look like actual metal and gem jewellry, which I tried to do with my normal foils but didn't work, so next on my nail shopping list is proper gel paints and foils for the full on gilted effect that I am so in love with and looks great with the jewels. As I don't yet have the gel foils I had to improvise for this mani, so I used a nail sticker which is basically an oval shaped decorative frame, and created my liquid stone in the centre of the sticker. To create the stone I used a bit of clear top coat to stick some hot pink mylar flakes inside the sticker frame, and then applied thick, clear nail construction gel over the mylar flakes. I got a huge bead on the end of my brush, and applied it in a circular motion to create the oval dome shape, and then cured for 6 minutes. Et voila! 

The myar flakes look AHHHHH-MAZING in the gel bead, and I couldn't stop moving my hands around in the light to catch all the pretty patterns and colours inside! The gel bead really creates some light & sparkle magic!

I totally loved my little jewel and it was so much fun to make, it was absolutely worth getting gel products just to do this! I can't wait to get my gel paints and foils and create many more gilted and jewelled manis! It goes without saying, jems are my favourite! :)

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Friday, 15 May 2015

Bridal Mani with Framed Stamping

Hello again ladies, I've been sick with a cold the last couple of weeks and this is the third cold/flu in 6 months since I got back to the UK, I hadn't had one in 2 years before that when I was in Australia and Brazil, so thanks British weather, but I'm totally over this shit! (Especially after the insane flu that I had back in January that had me bed ridden and dying for an entire month, happy new year indeed!)

Now that I'm starting to feel remotely human again I'm going to show you a Bridal design I did a couple of months ago for an advertisement for wedding season! I did a few designs which I will show you over the next few weeks, but I think this one might be my favourite!

I confess that I am struggling to remember which pink I used for the base, my memory has been shot recently (I'm getting old agghhhh) but I do remember everything else haha.

So I started with the unknown pink base, and then on the ring finger and thumb sponged a gradient french tip with a white creme from the Rimmel Rita Ora collection. The white stamping detail is done with Moyou London White Knight and stamping plate BP-003, and the silver stamping is Barry M Silver Foil and stamping plate BP-L007. I framed the white stamping with a tiny detail brush, matte top coated everything (cus I'm obsessed with matte lately) and then added some bling to the silver accent nails.

I think this is a perfect Bridal Design, and the white stamped image kinda reminds me of church windows, I love it! My sister also loved it and made me do it for her the week after in black which also looked very cool. She wanted me to take pictures for the blog, but she has a nasty habit of biting the skin around her nails so badly that it bleeds, swells and scabs up, so I am trying to motivate her to kick that habit, and have told her she can model for my blog once she stops cannibalising herself and lets her poor fingers heal! It's proving to be a harder habit to kick than nail biting though, so we will see if any progress shall be made and if I have any success in getting her to quit, wish me luck!

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Monday, 27 April 2015

French Mani with Gradient Stamping

Hello luverleys, today I am going to show you a mani I did back in March for Mother's Day.

Since moving back to the UK end of last year I have set up shop doing nail art in my local town, and as most of my advertising is based on local FB groups, I have been trying to think of designs that will appeal to everyone, with different design images that will keep people engaged when seeing my ad over and over again.

I did a special offer pamper package for Mother's Day, and for the ad I wanted to create something that was pretty and a bit artistic, but would also appeal to women who maybe don't get their nails done very often and wanted to treat themselves for Mother's Day without feeling like they had to go over the top.

So I decided to go for a classic french mani which I think appeals to everyone, but adding a dash of colour and glamour with gradient stamped flowers so the mani still had a little dash of wow factor. The result is subtle and delicate but very pretty, and I really like it!

As you know I don't usually use props in my mani photos, I prefer not to distract away from the artwork, but as this was for a themed advertisment I thought it fitting to use something on this occasion, and raided my mums place to find this pretty flower.

As I have tiny little nail beds and really wonky smile lines from years of childhood nail biting and abuse, I can't get away with just white tips over my natural nails, they look ridiculous, and so I am always forced to paint a base when I do a french and it ends up looking quite fake, I still haven't found the perfect nude to match my natural nail colour. (Has anyone?!) So because I have to paint a pink base for a french, and I hate the fake look, for this french I tried something new in an attempt to make it look more natural, and instead of painting the base pink on with a brush, I decided to sponge it on, working from the nail tip downwards and fading out the colour as it got close to my cuticles. Kind of like a sponge gradient but using only one colour and blending it into my natural colour. I have to say as I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, this french mani looks a lot more natural now it doesn't have the obvious polish edge around the cuticle.

To do the white tips I used a large rubber band wrapped around the centre of my nail to seperate the free edge from the rest of the nail before sponging white polish on the tips, I just used a Rimmel white polish from the Rita Ora collection for this. Then I took the rubber band off, used a nail art detail brush to paint the corners of the white tip into a more natural curve, then added top coat.

For the stamping I used plate BP-34 and the same Caiuro polishes from Italy that I mentioned 2 posts ago in the advanced stamping mani, unfortunately every bottle has the same colour name label despite being different colours! I used 3 of them anyway, a purple, a dark fuchsia and a more orangey neon pink.

To mix it up a little, I added a Butterfly to the thumb instead of flowers and added some tiny pearls for a bit of bling after matte topcoating everything for a softer look.

I am glad to report that the mani did very well with local mummy's, and succeeded in bringing in ladies that don't normally get their nails done, so I was pretty pleased all around!

My mani was created with a specific marketing purpose, so I would love to see other Mother's Day inspired mani's that didn't have to adhere to any generalised marketing requirements! Feel free to post links and share your Mother's Day manis in the comments below ladies, (It's about mother's Day in Australia right now I think, so not totally out of place and time!) and I would love to know if anyone else suffers the same french mani problems that I do, and if they too have any success using the sponged base

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Spring Fling With My Pastel Mani

Hello peoples, welcome to my continued effort to get my blog back on track, with my second post in almost a year!

As regular followers will know from my previous posts I am currently back in the UK and I have been here since November, and this was the first winter I have spent at home in almost 10 years! British winters are notorious for being cold, wet, windy and generally bloody miserable, but let me tell you people, there is nothing like coming back to a country after living away for 10 years to make you realise that climate change is REAL.

This was the nicest, mildest winter I have ever known in my country! Sure it got cold, but there was no rain, no 100 mph winds that blow said rain into your face like a million tiny frozen needles, no constant dampness frizzing my hair, no seasonal depression due to the sun not showing itself for 6 months solid. I actually saw the sun plenty, it barely rained, the wind was occasional at best, I had many a hairstyle survive the season, and even wore a dress quite comfortably for a christmas do! Due to our movements between the northern and southern hemispheres, my husband and I had just enjoyed 4 summers almost in a row, (but as good as in a row as they were divided by only one very mild tropical northern Australian winter) after that kind of sunny luxury I was quite concerned about our move back into an extreme cold climate, and I spent a month trying to mentally prepare my Brazilian husband for the sensorial torture that is the British winter, but now he's just wondering what all my fuss was about!

Even now that spring has sprung, we should be barracaded in our homes so as not to shrivel up in the rain that normally occurs without respite from March to May, instead I have been laying in the garden enjoying an early summer. I don't know how to feel about it though, it's the weather we have always dreamed of having here and I'm chuffed to bits to be enjoying it, but at the same time, you know the weather is great because we fucked around with mother nature, and however glorious it may be now, it probably won't be that way forever, especially when that lovely sun has melted the north pole that the tiny island that is the UK just happens to be situated next to...

So when concerned with issues of climate change, and worries of being swallowed up by the cold northern sea, what better way to distract oneself than with a pretty seasonal mani! hahahahaha
My island might appear to be sinking, but I'll have the prettiest nails when it takes me down!
(And as it is almost Earth Day, you can then overcome the guilt of prioritisng your mani over climate change, by using said mani to raise awareness of climate change in a relevant blog post, wink wink!)

So in an unjustfied celebration of the effects of climate change, I present to you all a pastel spring themed mani, that for the first time in history represents a sunny, colourful, glorious spring time that Britain is actually having for once!

 I did this mani about 6 weeks ago as soon as the sun started showing itself regularly, so I am struggling to remember all the polishes I used at the time. I know the thumb is Nfu-oh 354, I couldn't guess the index finger as peach is one of my favourite colours and I have this colour in a million brands ( I really should start writing this shit down if I'm not going to post while my memory is fresh!), the middle finger is maybe a Rimmel or Sinful Colours, the ring finger is a cheap Italian brand called Riveel, and the pinky is a cheap British brand called La Femme whos bottles never have names or numbers on them! The glitter polish on the middle finger, was actually just a bag of glitter mix that I won from a facebook seller and that I then put into a bottle of suspension base. If anyone is that bothered to know what the polishes are just drop me a comment and I will go through my stuff and see if I can figure out which I used.

To create the design on the tips I used the same polish colours, and painted a rectangular strip of each colour onto grease proof baking paper, when it was dry I then used a tool that I borrowed from my mums craft room, its just like the shaped hole punchers, except that it is long and regtangular, and used for creating a pretty lace edge on paper or card. (My mum makes celebration cards so she has a few interesting tools that can be used in nail art too!) Once I had punched out the nice shapes from my baking paper, I cut a piece out to nail size and just stuck it on over a layer of tacky clear coat, finishing with a generous layer of top coat to smooth it out and then matte topcoat for that velvety look.

I really loved the paper edge punching tool, and my mum has a couple of different designs so I will probably play with them again in the future!

I really loved this mani and thought it was so pretty and fun to do, have you guys ever used a paper edge cutter before? If not I suggest you go find some, they will not disappoint! x

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Come Back Mani - Advanced Stamping

No, you are not imagining things... this is a real, live post, with actual words, and pictures and everything. I know it's hard to get your head around, I know that it doesn't feel real, but yes, I have actually done a blog post for the first time in almost a year!

For those of you who don't know my blog all that well, or haven't chatted to me in various FB polish groups, I'll break it down... I used to live in Australia, I married a Brazilian man there, a new government in Australia then changed all the immigration rules and kicked us out, and then I discovered that my home country the UK had also changed their immigration rules, and I wasn't allowed to bring my husband home with me because he was a hard working student aiming towards a very specific goal of one day being a rich man, but not actually a rich man *yet*. Yes you heard that right, my right to a family life in my own country hangs entirely on how filthy rich my chosen foreign partner is because they don't want to risk letting in welfare spongers instead of hard workers. Shame on me for marrying a non EU, highly qualified, higher education student who was still a step away from achieving his career goals. How bloody well rude of me!

Our only way home was to take advantage of his Italian ancestors and claim Italian/European citizenship for him so we went to Brazil for 6 months, he got all his paper work, and I got a massive stash of awesome nail polish. (Scroll through my older posts to see them, you won't have to scroll that far, that was basically the last time I was able to post semi- regularly.) After that we went to Italy, where the long, time consuming, arduous and expensive process of claiming his citizenship ensued, and that was the death of my blog because I had no spare time anymore. :(

The good news is, we got it sorted, we are finally in the UK, my husband has every right to be here regardless of the lack of flthy richness, we won. It's just that now we are poorer than we have ever been, actually quite a bit in debt with family members, and sponging off my parents as we cram ourselves and our belongings into their tiny spare room. So thank you UK immigration, we weren't as filthy rich as you had insisted we should be, but we had savings and were comfortable until you stuck your nose in, now we are broke and in debt, and starting our adult married lives in the same financial position that we were in when we were 18 years old. AWESOME

The real joke is that the new law was put in place to prevent British citizens from illegitamately marrying poor foreigners who would then come to the UK and claim benefits, well we didn't need to do that. Our marriage is legitimate, we weren't poor and had substantial savings, just not quite the absurd amount that they insisted on, but thanks to them now we are poor and did need to claim benefits, but we never claimed them because the joke just get's funnier, and it turns out we would never have been entitled to them anyway!
So yaaahhh, great system ya got there, really, top job.

 It's a bitter sweet victory really, made tastier only by the fact that within 3 months of being here, my darling hubby had walked right into an amazing job for one of the biggest companies in the country, in a position for which they had been desperately searching for the right person for over a year. So suck on that immigration, welfare sponger indeed, I sincerely hope you don't choke on the 40% taxes you'll be taking fom his wages within the next 5 five years.

Needless to say, after all that my head has not really been in a blogging frame of mind, hell, my head hasn't even been in a paint my nails frame of mind, and it has taken me a while to get myself out of this funk and back into my passions. Christmas helped when a bunch of family members got me lots of new nail goodies for gifts, including a few stamping goodies from MoYou and Born Pretty that I requested, because my entire plate collection had gone missing somewhere between Australia and Brazil and I haven't been able to stamp since. (Would I be justified in blaming the A-holes in immigration for that too???) So since christmas I have been getting back into my nails, slowly slowly, and have recently come up with something that is actually blogworthy.

I am not going to make the mistake of committing to X number of posts a week, I want to be realistic about what I am actually able to achieve with all my other normal life commitments and so I will just post as and when I can manage, but the fact of the matter is that I need my blog as my outlet, it's my safe space and helps me pull my head out of the darkness, so I do need to make an effort, if only for the sake of my mental health. (If I start to disappear again, maybe come and remind me of that...? lol)

Let's just say that my come back mani has certainly helped to do that. This is my first attempt at advanced stamping, and for a first attempt it was pretty damn ambitious, but I personally feel that I have pulled it off quite spectacularly and this has definitely made the top 3 of my favourite designs ever done! Here is a quick pic before I go on to explain how I did it, then I will show more pics as I couldn't decide if I prefered this design in gloss or matte, so I did both!


 Ahhhh, I look at this picture and think maybe it was worth waiting a year to post again if this is what I got out of it! I think this design has got quite an oriental feel to it, which I wasn't expecting but absolutely adore!

So, down to the ins and outs of this mani. The base is a cheapo UK brand called La femme, but annoyingly the polish doesn't have a name or number. I got it from a local sales group on FB from a nail tech who was closing shop, and bagged myself 16 bottles for £5. Winner. For a cheapo it has a pretty nice formula too, and cherry reds/pinks are some of my favourites.

For the stamping I used Born Pretty Plate BP-L002, the gold stamped outline is WJCon from Italy, I think its number 428 but the middle number has rubbed off a bit, so the 2 could be a 3? I have a whole bunch of awesome polishes that I got whilst in Italy, hopefully I will get around to swatching them all for you soon, and I also bought a bunch of Kiko's for a giveaway which I really need to get on with organising! Anyways, I digress. The Polishes I used to colour in the stamp were: Nfu-Oh 354, OPI You only Live Twice, and 3 bottles that I got in Italy - Shaka Holographic Violet and 2 colours of a brand called Caiuro, which I bought in a chinese store in Italy and then discovered is also available here in the UK, I couldn't tell you the names of these Caiuro colours though, as the labels are pretty messed up, I have 3 botlles all totally different colours, and they all have the same label that says 'Bluberry', go figure. If you haven't seen this brand yet go find it, the formula is a PITA for painting your nails with, but they are awesome for stamping and small bold details.

I used the standard technique of painting in the spaces while the stamped design was still on the stamper, (for the partial designs on my thumb, index and little fingers I used a clean up brush with acetone to cancel out the parts of the design I didn't want) and then painted a layer of topcoat over it once I was done. At first I peeled it off the stamper then attached it to my nail like a decal, but for some reason I kept having issues with huge air bubbles getting trapped under the decal and ruining the design, so I changed up my application method, and after topcoating the final design instead of peeling it off the stamper I left it on there, I painted a coat of clear top coat (non fast dry) on my nails and let that dry for a minute to get tacky, and then I just stamped the design straight from the stamper onto the tacky nail and it went on as smooth as a babies bum!
With this method the whole image comes off the stamper in one piece, so I still had to trim off the excess from around the edges of my nails just as I would have done with the peel off decal.

I loved the glossy look of it but have recently been a bit obsessed with my matte topcoat and so had to try both, let the enslaught of pretty pictures begin...

Gloss Finish:

Matte Finish:

I really cannot decide which finish I prefer more, I just love this mani and that's it! What do you ladies reckon?

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Friday, 2 May 2014

Holographic Matte Dotticure

Ohhh I'm really excited about today's design! Not only does it look really cool with the matte effect and holographic dots, but this is also my first successful attempt at a flawless and perfectly even polkadot pattern! After the success of my singular dottified nail in the last skittle mani I posted, I was feeling brave and went for a full dotticure, and I am glad to say that I finally feel like I have mastered the dotting tool! Fuck yeeeaaahh! 

So without further ado, let's see my first perfect dotticure!

And just so you can appreciate the holo-y goodness of the polkadots, here's a close up!

To do this mani I started with a simple black creme polish for the base, and mattified it using my awesome Mode matte top coat. To do the polkadots I used a large sized dotting tool with Nfu-Oh 61, a bright silver holographic polish which already has an almost matte finish all of it's own and tied in perfectly with the base.

So what do you think? Have I finally nailed the dotticure?! (pun totes intended haha)

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My First Skittle Mani!

Though this is a post I prepared months ago and have dragged out of the vault whilst I am busy getting life organised in Italy, I'm hitting a first with today's mani, my first (and so far only!) skittle! I don't actually know why I haven't done a skittle mani before, I guess it just never appealed to me more than all the other stuff I wanted to do, but then I got these 2 polishes that were sent to me for review (I already showed you swatches of them late last year so they may be familiar!) and they were just such great colours together they actually inspired me to do a skittle for the first time!

So the polishes I used were as follows: Mint Green = Mode 'Cool As'. Lavender = Mode 'Gorg'. Holographic glitter is Nfu - Oh GS07.

Despite many previous dodgy and wonky dotticure attempts I managed to do a nice even polkadot pattern  on the index finger. On the ring finger I used masking tape cut into chevron shapes and painted over it, and for the little finger I used a fine striping brush. Of course I had to have a glitter finger too to give it some sparkle!

I'm actually quite pleased with my skittle mani, it was more fun than I imagined it to be, and it was actually quite simple and not very time consuming, you've gotta love those designs that have high impact with minimum effort!


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