Friday, 29 November 2013

17 Suede and Smitten Klaatu Swatch

I have been away for a while but I'm back with a bang with two stunning polishes. Smitten Polish Klaatu Barada Nikto (KBN from now on) is a gorgeous blue jelly polish with blue and holographic glitter running through it. 17 Suede is a limited edition polish which is a charcoal grey matte finish polish. I am showing you two coats of each, with top coat on KBN but not on Suede.
I love how these look and I love the contrast of matte and high shine, plus this is the perfect base for me to do some nail art on next week :).
Tomorrow I'm going off on a makeup tangent with some new goodies from Boots. Remember if you like the 17 polish you need to go get it asap because it is limited edition and if you fancy KBN you can get it from Rainbow Connection in the UK and from Smitten Polish elsewhere.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Nail Lacquer UK Queen B Swatch and Review

What a long title! Today I have one of Nail Lacquer UK's polishes to show you. Last week she released a few collections all at once but the one that drew my eye was the Royals collection featuring glitter mixes with gold leaf. However, AJ only released one bottle of each and by the time I got there there was only Queen B left (please make more AJ- I will buy a bottle of all of the other 3 if you do!). Also if you haven't noticed the blog has had a Christmassy facelift :)- I love it, please let me know what you think to it by leaving me a comment.
The gold leaf in this polish is just the right size and mixes perfectly with the glitters. The glitter payoff is also excellent with this being one carefully applied coat.
I decided to pair this with OPI Houston We Have A Polish a three coater purple jelly, this is actually the only polish I own that's anything like this berry colour and I really like it. I had to include the next photo even though it is a little blurry to show you the glitter that you get off this polish- just look at the index finger, stunning!
And because I can't leave you with a blurred photo- one more :)
 I love this polish and am so glad I managed to grab a bottle, if AJ makes any more I'll fight you for them ladies ;)

Monday, 25 November 2013

My Polish Story

Over the last weekend a lot of the British Nail Bloggers posted about their top ten polishes. I have 330 polishes so it's pretty hard to choose just ten- I thought I would choose 10 that tell my polish story, starting with OPI Flashbulb Fuchsia. I think Flashbulb Fuchsia was the first OPI polish I ever bought in spring 2012. It was the start of my fascination with nail polish and I still love it. I used it as the middle colour in this gradient. You can click on any picture to be taken to the blog post it appeared in.
My first indie purchase was from A England and it was St. George the amazing forest green scattered holo. This polish ignited my love for indie polishes and although I have grown my collection of main stream polishes my indie collection is just as large. It is the base for this cloud mani.
Next up is Happy Hands Am I Not Yours? Another early indie purchase, this polish was what I used when I replicated The Crumpet's dragon scale nail art and was very pleased with myself. This polish was the first jelly glitter I owned so I was fascinated but the layers of glitter and it still holds a strong place in my heart.
My swatch of Digital Nails The Pandorica Opens was the first time a polish maker commented on and shared my work! A stunning black holo I managed to catch this awesome picture of it whilst on the move- I mean WOW!
And now a special mention for one of my all time favourite polishes- Nails Inc Covent Garden Ballet. If you haven't already heard me harping on about it I'll tell you again, it's a grey polish with a blush coloured shimmer and it is divine on! I paired it with my black Barry M nail art pen in this tribal design.
It was a while after that before I purchased a polish I fell in love with but Smitten Polish I Feel...Wicked was the one to do it. A gorgeous blend of green and purple glitters, it is based on the story of Wicked. I stamped over it in a swirly gold pattern and loved the results. This was also the point when I changed my blog watermark :).
The next one is the first manicure I did that won me a competition- I used Pocket Money Polish Fever for this manicure and ended up winning a bottle from her range.
Emily de Molly Where Boys Fear to Tread was the polish I used to create my abstract tribal waves mani. It was the perfect eye catching polish to pair with the nude base and monochrome dots I had in mind.
As soon as the swatches of Crows Toes One Mad Crazy Summer Collection started coming out I knew I wanted Tiki Torch. I managed to buy one in the first stocking of Llarowe but Royal Mail destroyed it- thankfully Llarowe sent me out another one once they figured a way to get polishes here safely because I love it!
And my most recent polish obsession is Barry M Espresso from their new matte range. It is simply awesome and has featured in two of my recent posts.
So there you have it; ten polishes which chart my obsession from 2012 right through to this week. I missed off some of my other stand out polishes: Deborah Lippmann Ray of Light (the most expensive polish I own), Dance Legend Teleportation (the most holographic thing I've ever seen), Pocket Money Polish Sparks Fly (my custom giveaway glitter topper) or Tara's Talons Envy in a Bottle (my introduction to the world of UK indies).  I hope you've enjoyed this insight into my polish loves :).

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Textured Dots

Yesterday I was in London again interviewing and had a couple of hours to spare so I went and had dinner with a friend at the Southbank. We wandered through the Christmas market there and had a sneaky cup of mulled wine, it was great :). When I got home I wanted to play with finish and texture so I came up with these matte textured dotty nails:
The base here is two coats of Barry M Espresso which has a gorgeous satin finish- not quite as flat as some matte polishes I have seen. It applies quite easily you just have to be careful not to take too long putting it on a single nail as it starts to dry quickly.
I then added dots of Barry M Lady and OPI Alcatraz Rocks. Lady is a new acquisition and I really like it. I bought it to mimic the look of fresh snow and it definitely does that :). Alcatraz Rocks seems to have picked up the black base of Espresso but I quite like it- it makes this mani more monochrome.
I really like this :) I'm not sure how long it'll last because there's absolutely no top coat involved but I'm enjoying it immensely while it does. I thought I'd share my best picture from London just to finish off this post:
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

33DC Black Matte Contrast Nails

The challenge for today is to choose a manicure from your pinterest board and recreate it. I choose this one from Copy That Copy Cat nails. But because my nails are shorter my shiny details are less complex.
I used my Barry M matte polish in Espresso for the base coat and then used NYC Grand Central Station to create the patterns. I much prefer this way of using the contrast between matte and shiny than just doing a french manicure, it gives it a subtle elegance. I'm not sure how long this will last because there's no top coat involved and matte nail polishes are notorious for chipping quickly. Here is Espresso alone at 2 coats:
My computer has done something really weird to the next photo but it made me giggle quite a lot so I thought I'd share it with you.
Remember to check out everyone else's pinterest inspired manis through the inkslinks below :)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Autumn spotty nails

I really enjoyed making these nails :) my boyfriend suggested I do some nail art using autumnal colours and I decided to go a little abstract and just do dots in the colours on a nude base.
The colours used here are Barry M Lychee, OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest, OPI A Woman's Prague-ative and NYC Money Never Sleeps. I used two sizes of dotting tool- just pressing a little more lightly if I wanted a smaller dot. I started by adding the large dots to the nail then filling in the spaces around them, ensuring that none of the dots touched each other. 
These nails are very fun and the fairly neutral colour palette makes it classy.
I really like these although I hadn't noticed until I saw these photos that one of my finger nails is longer than the others... I'll have to rectify that! The leaves on the trees outside my window have just started to change and my nails fit in really well :). I just thought I'd share one of my photos from a recent trip to the cambridge botanical garden. If you have a garden near you I highly recommend a trip now as all the leaves are changing and there are some gorgeous colour combinations.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Blue and Gold Skittle

This is the first skittle mani that I've done for ages! I really wanted to wear OPI Alcatraz Rocks but I have a problem with texture polishes and can only really wear them on one nail without going insane. So I put Alcatraz Rocks on my little fingers and that set my colour scheme (blue and gold) for the rest of the manicure. I used OPI Eurso Euro and NYC Full Metal Jacket for everything else, a striping tape design, tiny polka dots and a stamped nail.
I apologise for the slightly out of focus pictures- the pictures are in focus but I've had to write this post in html because blogger is being weird and it won't focus the pictures for some reason. If you hop over to my Facebook page by clicking the link in the side bar you'll be able to see the pictures in their full focussed glory :)
I love this nail art so much, I really need to take it off and do some more to get ahead for next week but I like it too much...
I made the polka dots with a brush rather than a dotting tool because it makes smaller dots than even my smallest dotting tool.
I've actually painted a set of false nails with the same design as these nails and they will be in my etsy store (Cambridge Nails) sometime next week so if you fancy having this design on your nails for a Christmas party or just every day wear please check it out. I have a few other painted nail sets available as well as my hand painted nail polish jewellery.

Friday, 15 November 2013

33DC Art with your most used colour

The challenge today is to use the colour you have the most of to create some nail art. I have so many blue polishes- I know I have too many but I just cannot stop myself from buying them, I'm addicted! I used three different blue polishes for this; Barry M Blue Grape, My Ten Friends Space Sauce and NYC Aqua Mystic.
There are so many layers to this art but they're not really visible, I started with a base of Blue Grape topped with Space Sauce then stamped over the top with Aqua Mystic and Moyou Suki Collection Plate 09. I just chose some bits off the plate to do each nail but I like the basket weave image on this plate. I'm also super excited to use the koi image.
I then used a medium length striping brush to add in the stripes with Blue Grape. This looked so good in person, Space Sauce gave it a really nice holographic effect and it looked really complex (my boyfriend couldn't immediately work out how I had done it).
I love the complexity and simplicity of this mani :). Tomorrow I have a skittle mani to show you.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

33DC Geometric

For my geometric nail art I decided to use these parallelogram loose glitters I have to create cubes on my nails. I love how it turned out and can only apologise for the light I had to take this in.
The base for this is NYC A suitcase and a donut, a gorgeous greyish, blackish navy, I am showing you two coats which were just perfect for this polish.
These little glitters are incredibly holographic and I just love this easy cube effect. However, on reflection I wish I'd considered the camera and put my cubes the other way up... here's what they looked like for me :):
There we go, I loved this but I have to admit it only lasted for a couple of hours because I pick glitter off my nails...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

NYC has new polishes in Superdrug

It's no secret that I love the NYC polishes, I use them all the time and most of my basic cream finish polishes are from them. I also have all of their foil polishes as they are amazing for stamping with (apart from the orange which is watery and disappointing). So as you can imagine I get quite excited when new ones appear in Superdrug which they have. These are part of the NYC Expert Last Range so £2.49 each and several new metallic finish polishes have popped up along with a couple of cream finishes. The ones I picked up are Grey Haze, Money never sleeps and A suitcase and a donut. From initial swatches on a bit of paper I think Grey Haze and Money Never Sleeps (the two metallic finish polishes) will show brush strokes but the colours are just incredible. A suitcase and a donut is almost a dead ringer for Ink stain but in a cream finish not a metallic one which I absolutely love. There were a few other additions, a metallic red, a black cream and a beautiful metallic pink called Blush. If Blush had been a creme I would have bought it immediately because the colour was amazing but I'm not sure about metallic pinks, it's a little bit too Barbie for me.

I also picked up a Maybelline Colour Show Brocade in Foil Flash- perfect for those wintery scenes we'll all be creating over the next few weeks and Barry M in Lychee because my bottle of OPI My Vampire is Buff has gone ridiculously thick and Lychee is a more affordable alternative.

Monday, 11 November 2013

33DC Pixellated Gradient

Pixellated nail art is something I first did back in July. I have been seeing it around a lot more recently and thought it would be a great way to incorporate the prompts of three colour gradient with a pattern. I love the colour scheme of blue, grey and yellow that I used for this, they just go together so well. I used a single polish for each and then used white polish to change the saturation but keep it the same hue.
The polishes I used were A England Dorian Gray, Barry M Blue Grape and NYC Lexington Yellow. The yellow was the hardest to get different shade of at the right thickness, hence why there is so much less of it.
I did these nails by using the base I already had on (Nails Inc Covent Garden Ballet), putting OPI Matte Top Coat on and drawing a simple grid using my white Barry M nail art pen (these pens work so much better over a matte base. I then used a small brush to fill in the small squares, mixing a colour and putting it in across all my nails, then mixing the next colour. It took a surprisingly short amount of time to do- in the range of half an hour but I didn't have to paint my base colour on as well.
I love how this looks, it's so simple but really effective. If you're going to use the same effect as me with the lighter squares it's easier to pick a dark colour and lighten it in stages with white polish than it is to try and darken a colour without greying it. Tomorrow will be a small update about some new polishes available in the (UK) shops with a few swatches.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Cambridge Nails is busy

Hi all :). I have no challenge post for you today as I am away at an interview. I am in the middle of a very busy week attending three job interviews in a row and I am really hoping that one of these will become my future place of employment. Therefore research is taking up the time I normally dedicate to the blog and there will be no post tomorrow. I hope to be back on Friday resuming the 33 day challenge with Europe (hopefully my new moyou plate will have arrived). I've made my first ever video below where I explain a bit about what's going on.

To tide you over I thought I'd share some pictures of my halloweeen get up (and my bf's- I did his face paint) and some cinder toffee I made- it's the best sweet ever and so easy to make.
Sorry this pic is so blurry- it was taken at the end of the night... I was the spider queen and the one on my face had little nail studs for eyes that you unfortunately can't see. Stuart was a climber who had fallen off a cliff so I painted him on a black eye and the blood trails. At the start of the night his lips were pale blue as well but that wore off quite quickly...
This was super quick and a really effective halloween look (I think it took 10 mins to paint on).
This is cinder toffee it's a sugary treat which I've never come across anywhere but the north of England (apart from in the middle of Cruchies)... I used a recipe from A Thrifty Mrs to make this- it took 20 minutes from start to finish and as I cleaned off the pan immediately with boiling water it was also really easy to clean up after.
Best part is that this makes just about the right amount and I have some to carry around on this week's marathon interview run.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Top Ten Polishes for Winter

I think Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons, I put together a colour scheme for Autumn to keep running through my posts although I did not share it with you. I thought I'd share with you my top ten polishes to wear in Winter. Half are big brands and half are indies and I have included polishes over a range of prices.
We have NYC Ink Stain (£1.99, Superdrug), the perfect deep blue for when nights are drawing in- it will work with any outerwear and add some definition to your hand. OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress (£11.50, OPI), an idyllic deep red for when you need sophisticated nails to go with your little black dress Nails Inc Maida Vale (£11, Nails Inc) is a full coverage icy glitter that will remind you of a snow storm. Use this as an accent nail in a white dotticure for maximum impact. Also by Nails Inc Covent Garden Ballet(£11, Nails Inc) is a soft grey polish with a blush shimmer running through it, this is nail polish to wear as you cuddle up by the fire in your favourite cashmere cardigan. For the most stunning and powerful ice queen nails try this stunning ice blue holographic polish Moondance by Topshop (£6, Topshop).
Next we have the indies, Fandom Cosmetics Snowing(US$8.50, Fandom Cosmetics) is a clear based bright red glitter with black circles and white hearts, use this as an accent nail with some red rose nail art over a white background for a striking look. Next up we have two Ethereal Lacquers, Callisto the amazing deep grey holographic polish with blue glitter and Thigh Highs a nude polish with a subtle gold shimmer. These are both fantastic soft polishes great for when you just want to wrap up warm and snuggle up. Serum No. 5 Shrinking Violet is a very sheer pale purple polish with blue and purple glitter and gold shimmer. Faerie Wisdom by Liquid Sky Lacquer is a clear based glitter with a great combination of matte neon glitters and holographic glitters. This is a great way to make neon wearable in winter

Monday, 4 November 2013

33DC Inspired by a Tutorial

This wasn't really a tutorial but it is someone else's design. Dressed up Nails did these awesome dotty hearts and when I saw them I knew they were what I wanted to copy for this challenge. I did mine in neon pink and pastel lime green- a fabulous combination which is under appreciated.
The colours used here are Jessica Lime Cooler and Lilypad Lacquer In Pink We Trust- an exclusive made for the UK store Sally Magpies. I did the dots with a dotting tool and freehanded the stripes with a medium length striping brush.
I really like this manicure. I like how in your face it is but also isn't because the pastel green tones it down, just awesome :).
Tomorrow I will have a post summing up my top ten polishes for the winter season now that the clocks have gone back and some of them are a little wild cardy so come and see if you agree with me :).