Saturday, 29 September 2012

A-England Holy Grail - Review, Swatch and Nail Art

I can't resist a bargain. It's just one of those things, I can't help myself.  Even if its something I don't really want, if it's super cheap, I'm there.

So, when I found out a-england were selling off their Holy Grail polishes for £5 a bottle with free shipping, I was so excited, I had my laptop open and was on the website faster than Usain Bolt running away from an angry bee!

If I remember rightly it was because this polish is being discontinued, and as of today (29 Sep 2012) it's still there on the website waiting to be snapped up.

It came in a couple of days, considering it was free P&P I was expecting it to be sent on the back of a trained snail, but no, just as fast, if not faster, than any normal shipping.

So without further ado, lets get on to the pictures:
AEngland Holy Grail Swatch
The formula was thin, with a little bit of VNL on the first coat, but it was nice and obedient to work with.  I found the brush ever so slightly on the soft side, but it worked well with the formula. The first coat did emphasise ridges, but the second coat covered that all up nicely.  Here's another picture:
AEngland Holy Grail Swatch
It did threaten to blob once during application, but never actually did, and there were a few quite faint brush strokes left.  I couldn't decide if I had VNL or not after 2 coats, which means I probably didn't, but I ended up doing 3 coats anyway just in case.  Sometimes you don't see any in real life, but then they show up in the photos which is weird, and I didn't want to take the chance. 

Dry time was medium, maybe five minutes between coats, with a final five minutes to set it, and I still ended up with a little dent, but that happens sometimes when you're moving your hands about to take the pics.

Here's a picture under the LED craft light, I think it shows the finish well, the polish formulation is *very* shiny but offset a bit by the shimmer:
AEngland Holy Grail Swatch
And then, me being me, I decided to do some nail art on it.  As it's a very yellowy gold, I wanted to make my fingers into bumblebees, but despite doing some test nails, I just couldn't get them to look as good as I wanted, and couldn't see any tutorials on YouTube that had the finished look I wanted, so ended up doing something else:
AEngland Holy Grail Nailart Swatch
When I started off doing it, my intention was to do a paisley look, well, as you can see that didn't quite work out.  However I like the blobby look of this, so am going to pretend it's what I intended all along haha.  It's actually the first time I've used the pen nib bit of my Rio nail art brushes, as I've only ever used the striper before and it was actually nicer to use than I thought, I'll have to try something else with the other colours I've got.

Heres another pic, this one taken outside:
AEngland Holy Grail NailArt Swatch
And finally, the obligatory brush shot:
Rio Nail Art Pen
And there we have it!  I actually don't think this colour works particularly well with my skintone, but that's obviously not the polishes fault!  I actually already have a gold I'm more than pleased with, but I couldn't resist the temptation to try out the a-england formulation that everyone seems to love at such a bargain price.  I'm glad I did, because I do like it, and if I see one of their polishes in a colour I want (all their recent releases are a bit dark for me), I won't hesitate to buy it.  At full price.  And thats saying something coming from me ;-)

Until next time.....


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Simple Pleasures Scented Halloween Nail Polish Set Review and Swatches

Hi there again everyone,

I hope you are well and have been enjoying your Sunday

So here I am, just back from my weeks holiday in Blackpool, all refreshed and rejuvenated!  Or at least I was until my car started playing up again, gah!  Anyway, while I was away, I happened to stumble into TX Maxx and have a bit of a browse.  It was weird shopping for polish with other half there, I don't know why.  I came away with a few collections, and this is one of them:
Simple Pleasures Halloween scented Nail Polish Collection
I've taken the clear plastic box off because it had the price ticket stuck over the polishes (as usual), also its worth noting this will be a picture heavy post, please let me know if it causes you problems and I'll make the pictures smaller.

I swatched them from lightest to darkest, so the first one I tried was the Pumpkin orange:
Simple Pleasures Orange Scented Polish Swatch
A strange formulation this, a bit watery but fast drying.  First coat was very sheer.  This is three coats and as you can see there is still a bit of VNL there.  It gets darker the dryer it is.  As for the scent, I found it a bit soapy, definitely not a pumpkin scent.  It was also repelled by any oil at all on my nail, it literally ran away from it.  I found it super tough to remove, I had to use the strongest acetone remover I had and even then I had to work at it.

Here it is with the glitter coat that came in the collection:
Simple Pleasures Orange Polish Swatch with glitter
I struggled to get the glitter out of the bottle, this is a thick coat, and it was gloopy to start with.  It definitely didn't smell of vanilla, it just had the same soapy smell as the orange one.

The next one I swatched was green apple:
Simple Pleasures Green Polish Swatch
And here it is with the glitter topcoat:
Simple Pleasures Green Polish Swatch with glitter
It was the same semi-sheer fast drying soapy smelling hard to remove formula as I'm sure you can tell.  Next up I swatched the red one, for some reason called Cotton Candy:
Simple Pleasures Red Polish Swatch
From the first sweep of the brush with this one I said wow!  It's coming off a little too tomato-y in this pic because it was a truer red than it shows here.  It was opaque in one coat, but I did two and it's pretty much perfect coverage.  Here it is with the glitter coat:
Simple Pleasures Red Polish Swatch with glitter
I put a coat of Barry M Red Glitter on my little finger just to see what it looked like, and I liked it better than this silver stuff.

Next up I tried the Grape, I had trepidation, would I get the lovely red formula or the sheer orange formula?

It was the sheer - boooo
Simple Pleasures purple Polish Swatch
This is 3 coats and I suppose you could almost get away with it, it dried so much darker than the colour in the bottle though:
Simple Pleasures purple Polish Swatch
And here it is with the glitter coat:
Simple Pleasures Purple Polish Swatch with glitter
I put a coat of Max Factor Fantasy Fire on my little finger, just because the purple reminded me so much of the base colour of that polish and it makes the shimmer show well I think.

Well, by this time I only had one left to swatch, and let me tell you I was glad, because that soapy smell was really starting to give me a headache!  Plus I was having to use so much polish remover to get it off so that wasn't helping either.  So here we go with the Licorice black one:
Simple Pleasures Black Polish Swatch
Hooray it's back to the lovely formula the red one had!  This is one coat, and I had no inclination to do another.  It dried with a slight misty haze. Here it is with the glitter:
Simple Pleasures Black Polish Swatch with glitter
This one did actually smell a bit licorice-y!

So there we have it, all in all a bit hit and miss.  I wish as much care and attention had been taken with the formulations as it was the packaging.  The red and black were fine, but the others were a let down, just too sheer for me.  And SO hard to remove!  They'll maybe come in handy for some nail art, but at the grand old price of £4.99 for the whole collection I'm not too gutted.

I hope you've found my review helpful, and until next time...


Monday, 10 September 2012

Blair Witch Nailart for Halloween

Hi everyone, hope you are well

I had a ping of inspiration today!  I've still been enjoying my Collection 2000 All That Jazz nails which I blogged about yesterday, and was looking at them (as you do) and I had a really good idea for my halloween nails this year.  I usually disappoint myself because I can never come up with an idea that either a) hasn't been done already, or b) is creepy enough.  It's an amazing thing because pretty much the only films I watch are horror or sci-fi so you'd think I'd have loads of ideas! 

So anyway, for some reason the silver grey of the polish reminded me of the Blair Witch project, and that's where I started.  I checked about on google to see if it's already been done and I couldn't see it anywhere so hopefully I'm safe on that score.  If not, and someone has already done them who didn't come up on my search, apologies.

Also I apologise in advance if these photos aren't the usual quality, but it's dark outside and I was DYING to show you.  Tomorrow when it's daylight I'll take some more pictures and maybe replace these ones.

*EDIT* I've put the new pictures in as it's daylight now! Hope you like them

This is what I came up with:
Blair Witch Nailart

Blair Witch Nailart
Heres a pic outside in the daylight (yes I got carried away with the pics):
Blair Witch Nail Art
Heres the other hand, the trees didn't fare so well being drawn with my 'not so skilled' hand lol:
Blair Witch Nailart
And heres what I used:
- For the base colour, Collection 2000 Hot Looks in All That Jazz
I sponged (yes sponged!) Maybelline Express finish in White Dream, both to represent moonlight coming through the trees, and to make my trees stand out better, it worked well I think
- White striping polish from Claires Accessories - it was NOT easy to draw a circle with it
- Black striping polish from Color Club that came in a collection
- Top coat of Seche Vite, I've thinned it down with some Seche Restore and it's less dentable now, which I'm glad about.

So there we have it, am really pleased with this, and I think I'll use the stick man as my avatar over halloween, he's super cool.

I hope you like it, let me know what you think! And oh, don't have nightmares :-)

Until next time.....


Collection 2000 All That Jazz Review and Swatches

Hello again!

Today I bring to you a surprise new favourite of mine, Collection 2000's little stunner All That Jazz.  I was in Wilkinsons looking for some reds (if you've seen my cloud mani post you'll know why), and I just picked this up as a side thought, it was only cheap so I thought I would give it a try.

Anyhow, I only painted it on my little finger while I was watching TV, and I really loved it!  The formula is somehow runny but compliant, was opaque in one coat and pretty much self levelling, but as my nails are pretty ridgey, I've done 2 coats for these pictures.  These are all with no top coat, I got pretty carried away with the pictures, once again we go around the house and out into the garden haha:
Collection 2000 All That Jazz Swatch
Collection 2000 All That Jazz Swatch
As you'll be able to see on the close ups I did slightly mess up the cuticle area on my thumb, but I didn't have to do any clean up at all, the brush was a wide one but it didn't give me any problems whatsoever.  Here's some more pics:

Collection 2000 All That Jazz Swatch
It was pretty fast drying too, I only had it on for five minutes when I remembered that we were going out for lunch and I had to wash my hair!  I did get a couple of small dents but it held up pretty well, much better than alot of other polishes I've got.  And when we went out I realised that my nails were the same colour as other halfs' car! Ford Magnum Grey:
Collection 2000 All That Jazz Swatch
And of course I must show you a picture of the very obliging brush, even though the lid is rounded it still stood up which surprised me:

Collection 2000 All That Jazz Swatch
All in all, I'm very pleased with this, as I'm sure you can tell.  I don't own OPI's My Private Jet, but the swatches I've seen suggest that it might be similar, and for £1.50 who can complain!  If you see it in the shops I'd say snap it up!
Until next time.....

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Cloud Nail Art Inspired by the film Sin City

Its the weekend again yay!  It's been crazy busy the last couple of days so I haven't had a chance to post, but it's Sunday morning now, and all is peaceful at the moment, so here I am!  Finally I have a week off work now, first (and probably last) one this year, so we will probably take ourselves away for a few days, not sure where to yet though!

So, on Friday night there wasn't much on TV, and I was flicking around Netflix to see what I could watch.  Other half was upstairs on his PC doing who knows what, so I had the TV all to myself.  Anyway, I came across Sin City and thought to myself, oh, I haven't seen that in a while, so I switched it on, and within about 5 minutes I realised that I'd forgotten what a super cool film it was!  The way it's shot, and how colour is used all the way through is just so epic, I must have dreamt about it when I went to bed, because I woke up in the morning with a brilliant manicure idea!  I love it when that happens.  Pretty much anything interesting that happens to me ends up on my nails in one form or another.

I've been wanting to do a cloud manicure ever since I came across it on Purple Wolf's blog, HERE is the link to her post and she in turn credits Nailside, so we're all spreading the love, which is one of the reasons I love beauty blogging so much.  The idea I woke up with was to combine my want to do the cloud mani with the inspiration of colours from Sin City, and this is what I came up with:
It doesn't look too bad in that picture, but it wasn't by any means perfect (I'm a bit pedantic).  However I still liked it, partly because it reminded me of the film, and also because it was a nice bold design.  It is definitely one of those where it looks harder to do than it was.  Heres the steps I did, but Purple Wolf links Nailsides tutorial which explains it all step by step if you want to see that.  Firstly two coats of L'Oreals Black Swan:
I chose this one for one reason.... its my only black haha.  It goes on OK, and even though it's a pro-wide brush its not too tricky to use.  I didn't have to do any clean up that I remember.  You'll notice this is my left hand.  I'd already done my right hand before I remembered to take 'along the way' pictures.  My index and middle fingernails are both broken off grrr...  Anyhow, onto stage two:
For this stage I used OPI's Alpine Snow.  I do own a few whites but I picked this one because, a) it has the right shaped brush that I wanted, and b) I was pretty sure it would cover the black in one coat.

Then onto the red coat:
The red I used on my first finger (which was incidentally my left thumb lol) was Manchester by Nails Inc.  However this wasn't bright enough to give me the Sin City look I was looking for.  And to my surprise I discovered that I don't actually own alot of bright reds!  So I plumped for a red polish by a Boots brand called Fearne, which came in a gift set from my mum last Christmas, so I have no idea what it's called or how much it cost, so sorry.  I alleviated this situation by going out yesterday and buying two bright reds, which I will swatch and review later to make up for it :)

By this time I was getting the hang of it a little bit more, and I found it a bit easier if I lay the brush down quite flat to my nail, the way you would do with a striping brish, this seemed to cause less dragging and give a better finish.  I popped a layer of Seche Vite on the top and was done!

As is often the way with Seche Vite, it all then seemed to dry really fast, but was still wet underneath....   I went to the gym and when I came out my manicure was a wrinkly crinkly mess, sigh...  So off it came, but I will definitely try it again, perhaps I'll try it with different colour 'clouds' on each finger, ooh perhaps ombre clouds?  So many ideas!

Does anyone have any recommendations for a top coat that dries fast, doesn't smudge nail art, but doesn't dent like Seche?

I better go, I hear other half stirring from slumber :-)

Until next time.....


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Carex Protect Plus Hand Gel Review

Hi again everyone!

Bit of a strange post from me today, it's not nails, it's not beauty.... BUT it is something I use alot so I thought I'd share.  As you've probably read the post description you already know - it's Carex's Protect Plus Hand Gel:
Carex Protect Plus Hand Gel Review
It's a holo label! Gotta love that!  I actually bought it because I needed a pound coin for the car park so went into Sainsburys to buy something cheap to get some change, and this had been reduced to a pound - perfect.  The bling caught my eye, and off we went to the till.  Not the self service till, I get too paranoid a shop assistant is going to accuse me of stealing something, so I go to a proper till.

From the first time I applied it I was hooked!  I'm a sucker for anything that smells nice as you know, and this has a fresh, soapy, kind of deodoranty smell to it that I love.  What it says on the bottle that it does:

"Cleanse your hands when you are on the go with our protecting hand gel that keeps on working for up to 2 hours.
-Before and after eating - After travelling or using public transport - After changing your baby's nappy - After using public toilets"

You can almost tell in the pic above that theres not much left in this bottle, there's 50ml in these small travel ones and thats lasted me the best part of a month.  I think they do a larger size too, but I like to keep it in my bag.  So I bought another one and I notice a change:
Carex Protect Plus Hand Gel tops
They've changed the top from a pump dispenser to a squirty lid.  I don't like this as much because, a) theres a chance it could get pressed in my bag and leak everywhere, and, b) because its not measured out anymore and it's quite watery, I find I use more.  But I'm sure it's cheaper for them to make.  When my pump one completely runs out I will try and see if it's possible to fill it back up, but I suspect not, as with most things these days.
It's just a clear gel, but I took a picture of it for you anyway, just because I'm like that.  I wonder if there's an award for the year's most uninspiring blog picture?  If so I might just win it with this one haha:

Anyway, it smells nice, it's not very drying on my hands, it kills germs, therefore stops me catching people's illnesses....... and did I mention it's got a holo label?  One of my favourite little purchases of 2012 so far, and will definitely be a repurchase as long as they don't change the scent!

Have you tried it?  If so, what do you think?

Until next time......


Saturday, 1 September 2012

In The Mood Colour Change Polish With Nails Inc Nail Jewellery

Hi there again, happy Saturday!

1st of September already, where is this year going?  In my mind weather wise, one of the best things about living in Britain is that we hardly have time to get used to one type of weather, when another type comes along! 

Not that Summer was anything to shout about this year, showing it's face briefly in February, then just peeping out from behind the curtains every now and then, but hopefully it will get made up for with a big display of Autumn colour on the trees.  Last year it was so windy that all the leaves blew off before I got a chance to enjoy them, I hope that doesn't happen again this year!

Anyway I digress as usual..... 

Its not often that a 'can't take my eyes off you' manicure comes along by accident, but thats what happened to me yesterday.  I was playing about with my polishes, and nothing was working out for me.  If you follow me on Twitter (@maspooase) you probably saw me moaning a couple of times that it wasn't going well.  Anyway, I just randomly picked one of my colour change polishes because I was after a particular shade of purple, and put it on.  Now, I don't think I've ever reviewed these, I got them from QVC and I wasn't at all impressed, the formula is runny, and some of the colours hardly colour change at all.  But now I'm a bit further along with my blog, I'll probably get them out again and review them properly.  I hope I've still got a photo of the box somewhere because that's long gone!

Anyway, thats probably a semi-digress also haha...  So when I came to put the purple on one nail this time, I liked it a bit more than last time, but it was missing something, so I plonked a layer of Nails Inc's Nail Jewellery in Princes Arcade on the top, and I've been really pleased with the result:
The 'In The Mood' polish shade is Devious 679, and the Nails Inc Nail Jewellery shade is Princes Arcade.  I think they go together quite well.  I added a top coat of Sally Hansens Bamboo strengthening polish, which I'll also review later, et voila!  This picture was taken under my craft light.  It's showing as a little less purple here than it actually is in real life, and it was suprisingly hard to capture the gradient effect which is much more pronounced to the naked eye. Never mind, here's some more pics and a little round the house 'lets find the best lighting' tour:

Under the kitchen led lights:
In shaded natural daylight in the lounge:
Outside (overcast day):
And finally, at the upstairs window (semi-shade):

As you probably know, I detest sponging because it's so messy, this is the same reason that I've never tried water marbling, so to get this gradient effect with no mess is a bonus for me!  I'm tempted to try a matte top coat over it tomorrow to see if I can get away with it for work, as it seems to be wearing quite well and I'm not bored of it yet!

Hope you like it!

Until next time....