Thursday, 31 January 2013


This is an idea I had for a while, but yet another one that I just hadn't got round to doing!


Carrots!  I was a little bit lazy and didn't add detail on to my carrots, but it was late and I was tired, and I thought I'd just make a mess if I tried to do something that precise lol.

I used Barry M Matt White and Spring Green, with Max Factor Bright Orange for the carrots.

Now, on to other matters.  I appear to have lost my mind and signed up to a 28 day challenge in February.  Very sensible...  I shall do my best, and we'll see how it goes!

Here's the schedule, just click the picture to be taken to Jill's blog :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Star Studded Nails

Hello lovelies :)

I hope you've all had a good day!  Mine started with me sleeping through my alarm and the water turning brown while I was getting a shower.  Perfect!  And then I saw a dead kitten on my way to work.  Morning's are rubbish.

But anyway, it's no longer morning, it's now evening, and even better it's tea time, so now I'm happy and full of positive thoughts!  Well...

Anyhoo, rather excitingly I've got a product from another store to review for you :)  Next stop, world domination!  But yes, KKCenterHK sells all sorts of nail and beauty products.  They recently got in some new studs, which they asked me to review.

There's all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours - great if you don't have any studs yet and are looking for some basic gold round ones, or if you want to try something a little more unusual.  I decided to try these silver star studs, because they're adorable :)

There's about 50 studs in the pack, and they measure 3mm across.

For my first look, I thought they'd be really cute over some little star stickers.

Here I used Barry M Indigo, then I just stuck on the stickers, added a layer of topcoat and stuck the stars on while it was still wet.  I didn't put any topcoat over the stars.

I have quite curvy nails, but these are small enough that I didn't have any issues with them sticking up off my nail, apart from on my little nail a teeny bit, which did like to catch in my hair.  I have noticed since I started blogging though that my little finger nails do seem to be bizarrely small compared to other people's...  Anyway, I tried to photograph this for you so you can get an idea of how flat they lie.

A few days later I decided I'd like to try using the studs on accent nails instead, so I came up with this look.

I used Star Gazer 232, then on my accent nails I applied some Barry M Black with cling film.  Love this effect!  This time I did put top coat over the studs (on my middle finger at looks like I might have missed my index finger??), and as you can see, that doesn't ruin the look of them at all.

It's also worth mentioning that these are the same studs I used in the first manicure (+1 obviously), so you can totally reuse them.  More starry manicures - yay!

These studs retail for $4.23 (about £2.10).  If stars aren't your thing, take a look and see if there's another shape you fancy :)  They also do matte studs, and bigger ones!

Monday, 28 January 2013

New Technique: Sugar Spun Manicure

Ok, so this wasn't a total disaster!  Yay :)  I really did think it was going to be...especially when 10 minutes in my polish just wasn't doing the strandy thing.

But anyway, here's the finished manicure!  Quite a cute manicure for Valentine's Day maybe?


I used Barry M Matt White, did my strandy business with OPI Flick Chick Cherry, and then added the heart with Barry M Bright Pink.

I did my ring finger first (I figured if it was horribly difficult I could just leave it at a ring finger accent), and you can see I hadn't quite waited long enough.  When I started it was just about making strands long enough to cover half the width of my nail, if I was super quick.  When I moved on to the next nail I was getting really long, fine strands.  Like thinner than hair.  This is what you want!  I just whizzed it back and fore across my nails :)  It honestly took about 20 minutes to get to that consistency though.  I don't know if that would've been affected by the fact that it's an old polish and full of all those nasty chemicals they don't use any more.

My thumb does not feature in this photo didn't quite work out.  This is what happens if you leave the polish too long.

It looks like I had a horrible accident whilst chopping the vegetables for tea.

Anyhoo, you can now head over to my Facebook page to vote for which new technique you'd like me to have a go at next week!

If you have any suggestions for techniques, please leave me a comment and I'll add it to my list :)

Have you had a go at the sugar spun technique?  Or are you like me and shy away from trying new (and messy) things?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Holly Jolly Christmas Challenge

This is a round up of all my manicures for the Holly Jolly Christmas Challenge 2012.  To see the original blog posts, larger pictures, or the manicures submitted by the other participants, just click on a picture!


Sam Attempts Stamping

You may remember from my New Year's blogging resolutions post that I said I was going to make better use of my stamping supplies by posting at least one stamped manicure a month.  I regretted this almost instantly.  I've put it off as long as possible, but now the end of the month is fast approaching, and it'd be a shame not to even make my resolutions last through January...

She here it is, my first attempt at stamping in 2013.

Not wanting to throw myself in at the deep end, I just went for stamped accent nails.  Baby steps, you know.

I used Barry M Gold Foil and Teal, and Konad plate M83.  I think my issue with stamping is that I can't get it perfect.  When I do freehand, it's obviously not going to be perfect, because it's freehand.  But with stamping, there's no reason it shouldn't be perfect lol.  I do love that you can get such fine detail that I'd never be able to paint freehand though, and that you can get consistent results on every nail.

A few problems I encountered.

I'm rolling the stamp sideways across my nail, but then it misses off the top and bottom, since my nails and the stamper are quite curved in all directions.  I tried just pressing the stamper into my nail so that it was in contact with nail across the whole length, as I rolled it sideways.  On my index finger this ended up in all my polish getting smooshed up (you might just be able to make this out, although I hid it pretty well with the angle of the photo lol).  Is this what other people do?  Do I just need to let it dry a bit longer, or do I need to go for a roll across, roll up and down type manoeuvre?  Any tips are greatly appreciated!

Here's a close up of the non-smooshed nail.

A few little gaps but, all in all, I don't think it's bad!  Hopefully I can just keep improving from here :)

How about you - do you get on better with stamping or freehand?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Pretty Pretty Glitter

Today, I want to show you another polish I bought from Sally Magpies :)  I've made another order, and I love all the polishes so much!  It's nice to be able to get some more unusual polishes.  This polish is from the first order I placed though, and it's Hits Specialita Moonbow Glitter.

Before I show you any pictures, I do need to say that I couldn't quite capture the beauty of this polish.  I'm looking at it now in the bottle and it's so much prettier than these photos!

Bottle shot first!  This is definitely going to be one of those polishes that I just get out every so often to admire in the bottle (other people do that, right??).


In these swatches, I used two coats of Moonbow over Barry M Black.

The main colour you get in this gorgeous multichrome glitter is a turquoise-y colour, leaning a little more green.


 That shifts into blue to purple, right through to a beautiful burnt orange and gold.


Yum yum yum.

The orange is visible on the edges of all the nails in real life, but I was really struggling to capture it on camera!  However, whilst I was watching TV later that evening, I snuck up on them...


Yay, I actually managed to get all the colours in one photo!

And then, because I had a brief fling with matte top coat last week, I mattified.


Pretty darn pretty...  I seriously struggled taking this off.  I'd planned to get through a few manicures last weekend, but after this went on...didn't really happen.

Have you tried any of the Hits polishes?  I hope you all have a lovely Saturday, whatever you're up to!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Animal Print

Well thank goodness it's Friday.  Ugh.  I've had a migraine since Tuesday and I'm exhausted.  I could do with just sleeping until Monday morning, but I need to pick up my Seche Vite from the sorting office, so I'll have to surface at some point tomorrow.  I also need (read want) some new clothes.

As you'll know by now, I do love my animal print.  So today I have a selection of animal prints for you in this safari skittle!

The elephant skin was a bit of a fail...I tried using cling film for it.  In hindsight, it would've been better to have just painted it one shade of grey, then when it was almost dry pushed it so it all wrinkled up (as I'm oh so good at doing unintentionally).

Not too many polishes to list!  Hopefully...erm...Max Factor Bright Orange, Barry M Grey, Matt White and Black, China Glaze Kalahari Kiss, and OPI Warm and Fozzie and Skull and Glossbones.

You can see my tutorials for leopard and zebra print here and I have one on the way for the tiger print :)  The giraffe print is one of the water decals from Born Pretty Store that I reviewed here.

What are your plans for the weekend? :)

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Union Jack French Tips Tutorial

This is a tutorial to create union flag tips!  I did this a little while back for the 31 Day Challenge, which you can see here.  Back then, I used black, white and silver, but today I'm using the proper colours :)  Play around with it and find a colour combination you love.

To create this look, you'll need:

  • Blue polish (China Glaze Man Hunt)
  • White polish (Barry M Matt White)
  • Red polish (OPI Chick Flick Cherry)
  • Your thinnest nail art brush
  • French tip guides (if you don't have any, you could use some tape for a straight tip instead)
Here's the step-by-step picture tutorial:


1.  Prepare your nail as normal.  When your basecoat is dry, stick on your french tip guide.  You can cheat a bit here and bring it down your nail bed a little, so you have more 'tip' to paint.

2.  Paint your tip blue.  Try painting across the nail to make sure you get right up to the edge of your sticker.

3.  Take your white polish and your brush, and paint along the edge of the sticker.

4.  Thicken up this line until it's straight, and add a line going up the middle of your tip.

5.  Add in two diagonal lines going from the centre of your cross out to the corners of your nail.  These should be skinnier than your first two lines, but they do need to be wide enough for you to paint a red line on!

6.  Using your red polish and your brush, follow steps 3 and 4 again.  Make sure you leave a white margin around your red lines.

7.  Add red lines on to the diagonal lines.  These shouldn't go all the way to the middle!  Although I'm sure they'd still look great :)

8. Peel off your sticker  If you need to, you can use a little acetone on a small brush to tidy up your line.  Apply a coat of your favourite top coat, and you're done!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Hitman Nails

Hello lovelies!  I hope you've all had a good start to the week :)  My day was good if you ignore the trek through the snow...brr.

While I was revising for my exams before Christmas, my boyfriend was busy assassinating people on the new Hitman game.  Perhaps in an effort to involve me, or just due to the excitement at a new game, he suggested I should do a Hitman manicure.  

I finally got round to doing these this weekend, so here they are!


The polishes I used are OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons, Kleancolor Metallic Red, and Barry M Black and Matt White.

Here's a mattified close-up of the ring finger nail so you can see it a little better (although not that much better - it's rather blurry!).

I have to say, I've really been having fun doing all these silly manicures recently :)  So much better than sensible nails that you can wear to work without having to hide your hands when the boss is around.

Do you get inspiration from other people's suggestions?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

New Techniques and Best of British!

There is s much snow.  So.  Much.  Snow.  This is terrible.  And more just keeps falling out of the sky.  I'm hoping for a miraculous temperature rise before my walk to work tomorrow morning..could happen right?

Anyhoo, first things first.  As of next week, I'll be attempting one new technique each week.  I've made a big list of techniques I've yet to try (although suggestions of things to add are still welcome!) and each week I'll randomly (literally randomly - I am sad enough to use a random number generator for this) select three from the list for you to choose between.  This week the three options are:

sugar spun manicure
velvet nails
jelly sandwich

So pop over to my Facebook page now to vote for which one you'd like to see me attempt first!

If you don't use Facebook, just leave a comment here with your vote, and I'll add it to the totals from the Facebook polls :)

And now to find out what all the lovely British Bloggers have been up to this week!

British Nail Bloggers

This week Lyndsay at Pie's Eyes has created a beautiful Feather Manicure using her stamping plates.

The 31 day challenge still going strong over at Emma's Little Corner with this watercolour mani and this stamping over a gradient.

Wendy at Wendy's Delights found a gem of a very old untried Saffron polish, which is super sparklicious!!

Sam at Polished Art was inspired by all the Christmas chocolate she's still munching away on to create this Ferrero Rocher manicure!

This week The Teenage Shopaholic has been... trying out furry nails! She swatched and reviewed MUA Fur Effects and was pleasantly surprised!

Susan at Lacquerland has been trying the 3 day oil & naked nail challenge here and was very happy with the results!

JustTalkNails has swatches of A Englands Dragon - one of the best scattered holo greens!

This week Nada tried her hands at some flocking; she couldn't resist her furry nails! Check it out!

Mimi tries her hand at tribal eye nails and LOVES them!

Simple Star Stamping this week for the ABC Challenge on Enigmatic Rambles.

Tara at TarasTalons took her basic flock mani up a notch! Check it out here :D  Why wait until Easter!

Claire at nuthin' but a nail thing has been doing some nail art with incorporating her latest Lush Lacquer haul. This one's a blue fishtail manicure with Dreamsicle.... sparkles!

Ruth hasn't had the chance to post since New Year's, but why not look at her New Year nails until she has the time to do some more fun posts!

Steph at Never Mind Suzi is getting to grips with stamping after all - practice makes perfect.

Vic is finally back (and already has posts scheduled to the end of February, just in case she runs out). One of her faves from this week is Song of the Black Swan.

PrettyKittyClaws is trying out the new Enchanted Polish Care Bear collection with Daydream Surprise.  So sparkly and pretty!

Pish Posh and Polish's Kerrie has been working on her 31 day challenge this week, but a simple swatch of ORLY's It's Not Rocket Science is her favourite post of the week and may be her top green polish of all time!

Danielle created a purple skittle manicure using a-England and Zoya favourites over at Totally Nailed, and also swatched some new Zoya purchases this week!

Lou has been having lots of fun with Illamasqua polishes this week starting with the Raindrops reissue and then the lovely Glitterati.  This may be the beginning of a beautiful love affair.

What have you been wearing on your nails this week?

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Layla Bubbly Effect

After lusting after OPI Spotted for however long it's been since it was released, but refusing to pay that sort of money for a polish I wasn't even sure I'd actually like, the other day I bought a Layla Bubbly Effect from Sally Magpies.  By the way, if you've never visited Sally Magpies before, go have a look now!  She imports loads of foreign brands that you can't get in the UK, so that we don't have to pay silly postage costs getting them.

Anyhoo, I bought Layla Bubbly Effect in Black Forest, but it is also available in a few other colours.  I decided to use it over a multicoloured blobby base (technical term there).


So this needs to be applies super thin.  I did my ring finger first, and thought I'd wiped all the excess polish off, but like the brush needs to be almost dry.

The colours underneath are Max Factor Bright Orange and Cactus Green, Barry M Blueberry Ice Cream and Bright Purple, and Rimmel Sunshine.

I love this look though.  I think it'll look great just over one bright colour as well :)

And here's a close up of the most succesful nail.

This is what the underneath looked like by the way.  I was going to sponge, but then decided that since it was being covered up I could just brush it on.

Did you manage to get your hands on OPI Spotted?  Or do you know of any other dupes?  I've also seen a load of people doing a DIY Spotted effect using water, which looks pretty awesome.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Ferrero Rocher

I love these nails.  I don't even care if I'm blowing my own trumpet - they are epic.

My boyfriend bought me one of the cone-shaped Ferrero Rocher things for Christmas.  I don't know how many were in it, and I'm glad, because if I did know I probably wouldn't be feeling too good about myself right now lol.  Anyhoo, as I was stuffing another chocolate in my mouth yesterday, I was struck by an idea - a Ferrero Rocher manicure!


I used OPI Over The Taupe for all the brown bits, and Barry M Gold Foil for the lines.  I should've used tape for my lines really, but it's such a faff...

I used some of the gold foil I received from Born Pretty Store for the ring finger accent, with a coat of matte top coat over it.  I wonder if anyone can tell what I used for my thumb...?

And here's a closer look at the accent nails!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Zebra Print Tutorial

I just received an email reminding me about an essay I was supposed to submit on Monday...whoops.  That's the rest of my night gone!

So here's one I prepared earlier!

This is a tutorial for zebra nails!  You can see examples where I've used this technique here and here (yes, that's orange zebra print, not tiger print...).  It's super easy to do and, like all animal print, it's faaaaabulous.

You will need:

  • Black polish
  • White polish
  • A striper brush
Of course, you can play around and use different colours :)  Just make sure you either use a darker polish for your stripes than your base, or one that's opaque in one coat.


1. Prepare your nail as usual, and apply your white polish.

2. Using your striper brush and black polish, paint a slightly curved V shape on your nail.  You can vary the size, position and orientation of this V on all your nails, then you don't have to worry about making every nail identical!

3. Starting from the other side of your nail, paint lines either side of your V.  Don't make these lines too straight - keeping the lines relaxed and a little bit curved is the key to this look :)

4.  Try making some of your lines fork into two, to give it a more zebra-y look.

5. Carry on with your lines until you've covered your whole nail.

6. Clean up any rogue polish and apply your favourite topcoat.  Ta da!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


I think I mentioned after Christmas that my brother and sister-in-law bought me a case for all my nail polish for Christmas, and now that it's all filled I have some pictures to show you!

Look at it!  Isn't it amazing??

It's the perfect height for polish bottles and just about holds all my full size polishes (I did have a little mini breakdown when I couldn't get them all to fit in at first though lol.  My Barry M's, OPIs and China Glazes all have their own sections because they're my faaaavs.

In the top, from left to right and top to bottom, I have striping tape and nail scissors, sponges, microbeads, Nail Envy, Sharpies, nail file, nail art brushes, dotting tools, silver and gold glitters, and black and white nail art pens.

And here's how everything else is stored!  Starting top left and going clockwise...

1. All my stickers, decals and nail foils.  Also some flocking powder because it had no where else to live and fitted in there so nicely...

2. The essentials for every manicure - my basecoat, selection of top coats, nail polish remover and cotton pads, acetone, Lemony Flutter and cocktail sticks.

3.  Crackles, magnetic polishes, minis and other nail art pens.

4.  Various pretties!  Rhinestones, fimo, dried flowers, pearls...anything in a wheel is welcome.

5.  My OPI minis - obviously these have to stay in the box because that's half of the appeal of them.  It does mean I hardly ever use them though...Perhaps I should have a week of manicures only using those, what do you think?

6.  My little mini stamping collection.  The set came with 2 plates, I bought another 2, and I have one on the way from Born Pretty Store.  A rather poor effort when you hear how many plates stamping fanatics have!  But I'm so rubbish at it lol, I might as well just spend the money on pretty sparkly polishes instead :D

All those bits go in a bag, so this is the collection all together:

Only slightly larger than the boyfriend's collection of xbox games behind...ahem...

How do you store your polishes?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Animal Print Water Decals

Look at me posting two days in a row - I'm like a new woman!

Anyway, today I have another Born Pretty Store product to show you, and frankly, it's pretty awesome.  It's a sheet of 11 water decals.

To give you an idea of the size, here's a picture of one of the rectangles next to my naked (argh)  nail.  I genuinely struggled as to what to use for size comparison lol...I was going to use a penny but figured that wouldn't have been much use to all my international readers!  And I couldn't be bothered to dig out my ruler...

But anyway, as you can see, there's plenty to do a full manicure of one design, even if you've got really long nails.

These are simple to use - just cut out a piece about the size of your nail, soak it in water for 15 seconds, then slide it off and place it on your nail.  Don't worry about cutting it the the exact shape of your nail; I just used a rectangle slightly larger than my nail and used acetone to tidy it up, just like you would with nail polish.

These are great for creating an accent nail if you're in a hurry, so that's what I went for first!


This is with OPI Flick Chick Cherry.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the designs with white parts are actually clear!  How good is that?  Gives you so many more options of how to wear them.  And meant I could do this...


Here I've used a decal on top of OPI Who The Shrek Are You? and Essie Very Structured.


I didn't even realise I'd chosen three animal print designs - whoops!  For this I used Essie Case Study, with a few gold studs that I got for Christmas, for the accent nails.

I honestly can't criticise these.  They're so easy to use, and the patterns are fun :)  And if you're using them on only a few nails, like I have, then you'll get loads of manicures out of this sheet.  A word to the wise...remember to take the plastic sheet off the top before you slide the decal off the backing paper (I am an idiot...).

You can take a look at this product here.  It costs $4.73 (about £2.50) and shipping is free worldwide.

Don't forget, if you do decide to buy these or any other products, you can get 10% off with the code LKL91.

Have you ever tried water decals?  Would you use something like this for manicures-in-a-hurry?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Polished Art in 2013

I'm a little late with this, but I wanted to make some blogging resolutions for the new year!  I've been neglecting my poor little blog recently, with all the excitement of Christmas, and travelling here, there and everywhere around the country lol.  So here are my resolutions for 2013.  Although I've never been much good with resolutions, so these are subject to change...

  • Post at least 2 new manicures a week
  • Try one stamping manicure a month
  • Post one reader suggested manicure a month
  • Post one new tutorial a month
I know they're not much, but I don't want to try to commit to too much (still recovering from that 31 Day Challenge lol), and hopefully it'll at least make things a little more consistent!  And don't forget, if there's anything you'd like to see on this blog, then just leave a comment or post on my Facebook wall with your suggestions :)

In the mean time, here's some nail art I attempted just before Christmas.  This is something I wanted to do for a while, but kept putting it off because I didn't think I'd be able to do it very well.  And I was right.  It's (an attempt at) the beach near where my parents live, Three Cliffs Bay.


I think the top half turned out quite well, but then it all went wrong with the sea and sand.  Oopsy.

So you know what it actually looks like, here are some photos!

Three Cliffs /

Thursday, 10 January 2013

DIY Gold Leaf Topcoat

So we've all seen these gold leaf top coats that are around at the moment, and cost a small fortune.  I was particularly taken with the OPI one, due entirely to the shiny bottle of course.  Sadly, I didn't actually like the look of the polish at all...and I couldn't even justify to myself getting someone else to spend the money on it for me.

However, when I got these gold and silver foils to review from Born Pretty Store, I thought I'd have a go at making my own top coat.

The set contains six each of gold and silver foils, each sheet in a separate little pot.  All the pots come together in a little plastic box.

To make my top coat I used two sheets.  I just scrunched them up and rubbed them on a nail file, then I put all the little pieces into an almost empty bottle of some old gloopy Seche Vite (I thought the gloopiness might make it more like a suspension base?  No idea if this is true...).  I was worried I wouldn't have enough to do a full manicure, although I don't know why since each sheet is about 5x7 cm, so just one would be enough to entirely cover all of my nails.  Must have been all the Christmas drinking affecting my brain.  Needless to say, there's plenty left.

Anyway, I used two coats of my DIY gold leaf topcoat over Jessica Ruffled Bottoms.


I looooove it.  So so so so much.  I am a total gold leaf top coat convert.  I love the big bits so much, and I like how some of it's so small it almost looks like glitter.  So so pretty.  AND I wore this for over a week and it didn't even chip until the day I took it off.  I think it was all the layers of Seche Vite lol.  Nothing was getting through that.

I did also attempt a manicure with the silver foil, but I made such a bad polish colour choice to go with it that I had to take it off immediately (even my boyfriend said it was diabolical...).  The foil's quite tricky to handle since it's so so thin and delicate.  It's fine for tearing off random bits to put on your nails or stuff like that, but I don't think it'd be suitable for cutting shapes out of (unless you're a lot more patient than me perhaps).  It's great stuff though - I just need another empty bottle now to make a silver foil topcoat!

You can see the gold and silver foils here.  The set of 12 costs $5.53 (about £2.75) and shipping is free, wherever you may be in the world.

Don't forget, if you want to buy these or any of the other products on Born Pretty Store, you can use the discount code LKL91 for 10% off.

What do you think of gold leaf top coats?  Have you bought one, or would you attempt to make your own like I have?