Sunday, 31 March 2013

Cute Easter Nailart

Hi All!

Yes I know I said I wouldn't be putting any more nailart posts up this week, but I quickly did this one last night as a request by a friend, and I couldn't help but share!  First off, this totally isn't my idea.  I used Cutepolishes' nailart tutorials from YouTube, which you can see (here) and (here)

Anyway, it took about 10 minutes, it was really easy, and I think they look pretty cute!  Here they are:
And yes, that is an Easter egg pack, I haven't opened it yet but it's only a matter of time.

Here's another view:
For the chicks, I painted my nails with Hot Looks Lemon Soda, then used a Color Club white striper to draw the egg and fill it in.  I then used Elf Chocolate for the eyes, and Max Factor Bright Orange for the beak, both done with a dotting tool.  So cute!
For the bunnies, I drew a semicircle using OPI Alpine Snow, and then carefully drew in the ears using the thin edge of the polish brush.  I found OPI polish good to use for this because it has a flat brush, which made it a bit easier.  Then I dotted in the eyes with the same elf polish, and a tiny dot of Alpine Snow, and this unnamed Color Club pink for the nose - all done!

Here's one last pic, just because I can:
And there we have it, what do you think?

Happy Easter to you, don't eat too many eggs!

Until next time...


Saturday, 30 March 2013

China Glaze Def Defying vs Sinful Colors Innocent - dupe?

Hi there everyone,
Hope you're well today, and enjoying the holiday break, if you're getting one.  I'm all out of sorts and can't decide what day it is because I got Friday off, so today feels like Sunday.  The clocks go forward tomorrow night, so that's going to be even more confusing!  Typically, because I'm on leave, I woke up this morning at 7am and couldn't go back to sleep.
However, I've had a lovely day, I went shopping with my friend, and we had lunch at a fab pub.  I had a HUMUNGOUS burger, it felt quite wrong eating meat though as I hardly ever do, other half's veggie and we don't have meat at home.  Still, it was tasty.
So there I was, wandering round Boots, and PING!  A Sinful Colors display!!  I've never seen this brand in there (or anywhere) before, there were loads of colours and of course I was excited.  Then when I saw the price, only £1.99 per bottle, and a 3 for 2 offer, I was even more excited!  Needless to say, I picked up 6 haha. 
I'll swatch them all at some point, but will probably wait until this middle finger cuticle has healed, it's such a pain covering it up in the photos, and it makes my editing take twice as long, grrr.  I've got some other reviews and stuff I want to do anyway, so it'll be a good chance to get those done.  It's a heck of a lot better than it was due to a LOT of TLC, and I reckon it'll be better in a week or so, so not long for me to wait.
So anyway, I got all my lovely Sinful Colors haul home, and what do I notice?  That one shade I bought, Innocent, is suspiciously similar to the China Glaze color I bought not so long ago, Def Defying.  I keep calling it Hi Def, I have no idea why.  So I thought I would do a comparison post in case anyone else is wondering about it, and swatch and review both colours at the same time, so covering everything in one post.
So first up, let's go with the China Glaze Def Defying swatches, just because.  Firstly in the sun:
It has to be said, I've had an awful time capturing these polishes.  They are more neon than they're showing here.  I've tried to colour correct them as far as I can, but this is as far as I can go without giving myself alien fingers.  The formula was ok, it didn't flood my cuticles and was thin enough to do thin coats if you like to apply it that way.  I did find it a little bit runny.  First coat was streaky, and this is two, with no topcoat.  A beautiful acid green colour, it reminds me of the 60's, not that I was there, but you know what I mean.
Here it is in the shade:
Dry time was medium to fast and the brush was pretty good.  I like it.
Now we come along to Sinful Colors Innocent.  You can see why I thought of the dupe:
I actually preferred the formula on this one.  It was still runny, and it's one of those where you have to make sure you clean off the stalk or it blobs off onto whatever you're leaning on.  However, it was more opaque than the China Glaze.  First coat patchy rather than streaky, and this is two, with no top coat. I think it might be good for stamping.
Here it is in the shade:
As you can see, it dries a touch brighter than it shows in the bottle.  The only downer on this polish is that compared to the fast dry polishes we're used to these days, this one is only medium speed drying, and I did smudge a couple of nails while I was waiting for them to dry and had to re-apply.  One day I will learn to sit still and wait for my polish to dry.  Today is not that day.  Of course a coat of Seche would rectify it, but I like to show polishes in reviews with no top coat.  Otherwise I don't think it can be a fair showing of the finish that the actual nail polish has.
So without further ado, lets get on with the comparison / dupe check:
Here's a pic in the sun, hopefully I've made it pretty obvious which finger is which:
Can you guess?  That's right!  Def Defying on index and middle finger, and Innocent on ring and little finger.
As you can see, in the sunlight there's not much in it.  Sinful Colors is slightly paler than China Glaze, but I think if you weren't seeing them side by side like this you wouldn't really notice a difference.
Here they are in the shade:
Again, I would say the China Glaze is perhaps one shade richer than the Sinful Colors one.
I would say though, that these pictures don't show the true 'almost neon' brightness of these nail polishes.  The only thing that would capture it is my iphone, and as it's only a 3gs (upgrade due soon woohoo!), the resolution is not good.  However here's a pic taken against my monitor showing one of these pics before I've colour adjusted them to give you an idea of the size of the task:
As you can see, my camera decided it didn't want you to see the true nail polish colours, sigh.  I think I got them as close as I could though.  This iphone picture is pretty much spot on for colour, with no adjusting.  There's no way my OCD-ness would allow me to put up these blurry pics as swatches though haha.
Here's a picture of the bottles and brushes side by side:
As you can see, there's pretty much the same amount of polish in both bottles too.  So, I preferred the formula of Innocent, but I preferred the brush on Def Defying.
Now we come to price.  I bought my Def Defying on Amazon UK (here) for £7.45 including shipping.  I bought my Innocent in this Boots deal for £1.33.  Over three times less.  The usual price without the deal is still only £1.99.  You can order it online from Boots (here) but they do charge shipping.  However, of course if you can't get to a shop, it's still alot cheaper, even taking the shipping into account.

So what so I think?  Not exact dupes, but very very close.  Quite frankly China Glaze Def Defying isn't better by enough to justify paying for it over Sinful Colors Innocent.

So Sinful Colors wins.  If you don't own either, and you want an acid lime polish, I recommend Innocent.  And of course, because you've saved your money, you can have the other two bottles you get at the same time 'for free'. ;-)
Until next time...


Friday, 29 March 2013

Gradient Dots Nailart

Morning All!

How you doing today?  I've got a hangover haha!  Too much gin last night by far.  Have had some toast and LOTS of tea and am starting to feel vaguely human again.  One of the good things to come out of last night is that I ordered the Models Own Fruit Pastel collection, and then forgot, so when I woke up this morning and checked my emails, it was a nice surprise!  Lucky that's all I bought really.  I once bought all my sisters birthday presents while under the influence and had them shipped directly to her, she got some strange things!  Mind you I bought her a 'grow your own unusual vegetables' kit this year, and wasn't even drunk, I'm definitely a random gift buyer.

Also I was shocked to see that there were some of you lovely people that I'm not following!  Hopefully I've rectified that now.  If I've missed you, just give me a shout!

Another good thing to come out of last night was todays mani.  The checkerboard mani I wanted to do came out all wrong, so after going online and buying some stamping plates so I can do that mani properly, I decided to go with dots instead.  I feel like some of my nailart on here recently has been a bit lacklustre, and so I didn't want to post something that I wasn't totally happy with.

I wanted to make them a little bit different, so instead of redipping my dotter each time to keep my dots uniform, I loaded a decent amount of polish on the dotter and dotted straight down my nail without reloading it.  Here's what I came up with:
Nails Inc Gradient Dots Nailart
The base for this mani is Nails Inc The Southbank, a perfect light grey to use as a base for nailart.  As you can see, I've smudged my little finger at some point during the night, and my middle finger dots went a bit Siamese twinly, but never mind, that's life.  My awful middle finger cuticle is starting to heal now, but am still painting it out so you don't have to witness it's ugliness.  I believe I used two coats of The Southbank, but it could have been one because the formula is brilliant, and (due to gin) I can't remember haha.

This lovely fuschia is Nails Inc Devonshire Row.  It's one of my favourite polishes, and I use it alot.  You can see more nailart using Devonshire Row on my posts (here) and (here) if you like.  It also made my All Time Top Ten Polishes post (link)

The yellow is Color Club Almost Famous from their Poptastic Collection:
Such a punchy bright yellow!  I don't think I've been disappointed with any Color Club polishes I've bought yet.  I think in celebration of Easter I may do a comparison of the yellow polishes I own, will see how the weekend goes. 

And finally, here's the two polishes together, the sun's out at last, hooray!
So jolly!  Just looking at this combination makes me smile, and now thanks to the wonder of nail art, if I feel a bit down, all I have to do is look down at my nails and cheer myself up again.

How about you, what's your favourite colour combo?

Until next time...


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Nail Stamping - Poundland vs Konad inc Tutorial

Hi everyone,

Hows your Sunday going?  Happily for me the roads here are back open, so I'm not trapped indoors anymore.  So OBVIOUSLY I've been shopping.

I was asked recently by the beautiful Catrine at Unnaked Nails about nail stamping.  I said I would do a post about it, and I'm a woman of my word, so here it is.  By the way, if you like nails and beauty, and you don't follow her, you're missing out, her blog is fab.

While I was out shopping, I was in Poundland looking to see if they had any Sally Hansen polishes lurking around as they sometimes do (none this time), and I saw their nail stamping kit.  I've been intrigued to know if this was any good, and so far I haven't seen any comparison posts from the blogs I follow.  So thought I would kill two birds with one stone, and do the comparison along with a quick 'how to' about nail stamping.

So here's a pic of the Poundland kit still in its package, alongside the Konad equivalents:
Poundland Nail Stamping Kit vs Konad
I knew as soon as I saw this kit, that I already owned the Konad plate that they've produced a dupe for, so it would be a good chance for me to show them side by side.  And here they are:
Poundland Nail Stamping Kit vs Konad
As you can see, the Konad plate M20 on the left, and the Poundland plate B17 on the right, both have identical images on them, and the plates are exactly the same size.  The Poundland plate didn't have any backing on like Konad plates do, but actually the edges weren't too sharp so it wasn't so bad.  I got some quite bad cuts from the original Bundle Monster plates so I know how dangerous they can be!  I've discovered that it's quite difficult to take photos of highly reflective things without appearing in shot haha.  As you can see the Poundland scraper has a plastic blade, which is quite handy because both my Konad scrapers have metal blades, which work brilliantly, but can scratch your plates.  I wonder how they can get away with directly copying things like this without infringing copyright?

So anyway, let's see if the results are as similar as the plates.  Firstly I painted my nails using Marks & Spencers Limited collection polish in Pale Lavender.  Then I used a coat of Seche Vite, and I was ready to stamp.  I'm using Barry M Gelly in Blackberry to stamp with.

Here's the outcome:
Pretty impressive!  Konad is on pointer and middle finger, and Poundland is on ring and little finger.  I chose these two images because they both have fiddly lines in them, which can easily go wrong in cheaper plates.  I actually think the floral design on the Poundland plate came out better, but certainly Konads butterfly image is crisper.  This could of course been because of the plastic scraper.

The both stampers seemed to work as well as each other, the Poundland one didn't feel as firm or tacky, but worked just as well.

In summary, if you don't own any Konad, but want to try stamping on a budget, this Poundland kit is definitely worth a go.  I couldn't tell the difference between my nails in real life, and it's no harder to use than Konad.  It's a go-er!

So then, this is all very well, but how do you use it?  I've put together a mini photo tutorial below, but there are tons of videos on YouTube.  Soguesswhat11 is one of my favourites.

After applying your base coat, paint your nails with the colour of your choice.  I then apply a coat of Seche Vite.  Then WAIT.  Your polish has to be hard dry before you can stamp on it.  I usually do this and wait at least a quarter of an hour, even with Seche, because if you dent your colour coat with your stamping, there's usually no rescue and you'll have to start again.

Also the Seche acts as a barrier between your colour coat and your stamping.  This is expecially handy if you mess up a stamp, because if you're careful, you can sweep off the dud stamp and apply another coat of Seche to have another try without having to do your colour coat again.

If your plate is new, there could be a plastic film cover stuck on the front of it, which you'll need to peel off.

1) Load some polish on your image.  You don't need to totally cover it, but you can if you want:
Some polishes work better for stamping than others.  All the Barry M Gelly ones I've tried so far have worked well.  As a general rule, the more opaque the polish is, the better.  If it's a one coater, it will probably be good for stamping.  Any polish that's gone gloopy is usually good too.  I do own some Konad special stamping polishes as they came with the kit I bought, and if I want to stamp in white, I'll use the Konad one as it's the most opaque I've found so far.  The only real difference between the Konad polish and regular polish (that I can see) is that the Konad polish is thicker, and it dries slightly matte.

2) Scrape away the excess polish:
As you can see, I'm holding my scraper at a 45 degree angle, which seems to work the best.  You do want to have your plate resting on something absorbent (kitchen roll is best but we didn't have any), because when you scrape to the edge, the polish will go off the edge and onto whatever you're resting on.  You don't want to press down too hard or you'll scrape too much polish off your plate and you'll be missing bits of your design when you come to stamp it. 

3) Pick the image up onto your stamper:
Hold your stamper above the image and then press straight down onto your image, and then straight up again to pick your image off the plate.  Don't use a rolling motion at the point or you'll have a bigger chance of getting a smudgy image.  Actually this is the point where alot of people get their stamping technique wrong, before they've even got close to their nail.

4) Have a quick check of your image:
All too many times I've missed this step out, and regretted it.  As you can see, I've missed the bottom of this image, so I would clean my stamper and have another go.  To do that you just rub it on a cotton pad with polish remover on it.  I usually rub it on the palm of my hand afterward to make sure it's dry.  If you rub it on a cotton pad at this point, it would probably pick up lint, but a paper towel would be ok.  If it's not dry and you try to stamp with it, the polish remover would spoil your stamping.

5) Stamp your image:
Here's where you want to use a rolling motion.  Starting at one edge of your nail, press the stamper onto your nail and roll across to the other side.  You don't need to press too hard, that's another common mistake people make when they first start stamping.  If you press too hard there's more chance that your image can be distorted, whereas if you just gently place it on the nail, it settles more evenly.  You also don't want to wait too long between picking up your image and stamping it on your nail, because if it dries it will stay on the stamper and not transfer onto your nail.

And so onto the next nail.  Depending on how gloopy your polish is, and how quick/perfect you want to be, you might need to clean your plate between every nail.  It's not messy to clean the plate anyway with a cotton pad and polish remover, and remember to give it a quick dry too.  I usually just have one wet and one dry cotton pad on my workstation, and rub with wet then dry.

So when you've done all your nails you can topcoat if you wish.  Topcoat does give it a nicer finish.  It's another common preconception that you have to topcoat.  You don't.  It's still polish that's on your nails, so it's not going to wash off in the bath or anything.  If you topcoat too soon, you'll drag your image and ruin your design.  If you wait an hour or so you'll probably be ok.

And there, you'll be done!  Here's a manicure a I did using stamping and dotting.  You can see the post I wrote on it (here)
I painted a third down my nails, stamped the flowery line, and then dotted below that.  It didn't take very long, and I think it looks pretty good, even though I do say so myself.

So what do you think, have you tried stamping, or is it something you'd like to have a go at? 

Until next time...


Saturday, 16 March 2013

a-ha : the soundtrack of my life

Hi there all,

After holding my 100 follower giveaway for you guys, this is my present to myself.  I've said from day one of my blog that if I got to 100 followers, I would write a post about a-ha.  I never thought I would get to 100 followers of course, but amazingly I have, so I get to talk to you about my number one love.  Yes, loved even more than polish!

So, where did this obsession start then?  Well, at the beginning I guess.  When the single Take on Me was released in 1985, I was 13.  I was the perfect target for a new pop band just starting up.  Music videos weren't massive back then (believe it or not), and alot of songs didn't even have videos.  So the arty, brilliantly made video to Take on Me caused a big stir, and made me sit up and pay attention.  But I wasn't really that keen on the song.  It was catchy, yes, but it was just another bubblegum pop song, and as you know now from my music post, I'm a little bit more eclectic than that.

The Sun Always Shines on TV was released, and that was a bit more like my cup of tea, with violins and drama.  But it wasn't until the next two, Train of Thought, and Hunting High and Low, that I became hooked.  And little did I know back then that I was irretrievably and permanently hooked.

I bought the I bought the records, I bought the magazines, I bought the posters.  Every time they were on the TV I recorded it.  Anything a-ha related was a pocket money stealer.  I didn't have enough pocket money to get all the magazines I wanted (I've always been a collector of things), so I came to an arrangement with my mum where I did extra chores for extra pocket money, which worked out well for both of us.  Now I could get the a-ha things I wanted.  Alot of them I never got rid of.  Here's a few:
As you can see, even as late as Stay On These Roads in 1988, I was still buying my albums on cassette.  The Cry Wolf 12" got mauled by my hamster, there were some singles that never made it though that.  I wasn't happy!  That videotape is my prized possession, there are all kinds of a-ha interviews and TV appearances on it.  I should really find a way to digitise it before it becomes unwatchable.  As with quite a few of a-ha's albums, you can see I also own Hunting High and Low on CD as well as cassette, because as times moved on, so did my collection.

Here's how I looked right back at the beginning:
Yep, I was a shutterbug even back then! That camera was 'borrowed' off my mum and dad, and it went to alot of places with me.  It was a Kodak I think.  You had to buy flash bulbs for it, they were four-sided, and once you'd used it once, you had to turn the bulb, so you got four uses out of each one.  They weren't cheap, and needless to say, most of my photos were taken during the day haha.

I had some posters on my bedroom door, and the door opened against the bottom of my bed, so when the door was open and I was lying in bed, I could lie and stare at the posters.  I had a idea that I could take a picture of the poster, and it would look as if I was there actually taking a photo of them.  When I got the photo back from the developers, it wasn't quite how I planned.  It was taken with that same camera:
I missed!  I remember taking this picture, even though it was getting on for 30 years ago (how scary is that), and the poster was DEFINITELY slap bang in the middle of the viewfinder, with no gap on any side.  It could have worked too.  A good plan, let down by 80's tools.

So, while I was taking random photos, and getting my hair cut to look the same as Lady Dianas, a-ha were busy knocking out the hits.  And true to form, they kept up the quality videos, although as I only really got my music fix on the radio, or on Top of the Pops, where back in those days the bands would actually be performing, I didn't get to see many of the videos until years and years later.  However, there's no such restrictions now, so lets have a bit of Hunting High and Low. DON'T SHOOT THE LION:
The climbing chords in the 'tearing myself to pieces' part of that song continues to be one of my favourite moments in music, and it still gets me emotional even now. 

My friend and I used to listen to that album, with our eyes shut, and let ourselves get completely lost in the music.  At least until her dad shouted up the stairs at us to turn down the "row". 

It's also excellent for singing at the top of your voice in the car while driving to work.

I was lucky enough to be able to get The Swing of Things by Jan Odahl from Ebay, a goldmine of information.

In the book, Magne talks about the Hunting High and Low album:

"I think the record's production was a bit schizoid. It's a record by a band who wants everything - all at once. Otherwise it includes some on Pauls purest gems, like "Hunting High and Low" and "Living a Boys Adventure Tale". That, by the way, is Coldplay vocalist Chris Martins favourite a-ha song, and to my ears, it could have been classic. "Train of Thought" is a bit too 'in your face'. "The Sun Always Shines on TV" has the best production on the album - Paul's drum programming here has never been surpassed.
The mouse voice in the middle of "Living a Boys Adventure Tale" seemed like a good idea at the time. "Love is Reason" will be played again in a heavy-as-lead Nick Drake version for my solo tour. Or maybe not. We wrote part of "Dream Myself Alive" much earlier - back in the Bridges/Poem days. I think it still has an edgy weirdness that most pop songs lack. In fact, it was one of my contributions that I had the greatest hopes for. Shows how wrong you can be..."

Magne has always been my favourite of the three.  Of course, Morten has the film star looks and the soaring voice, and Paul takes alot of the credit for the songwriting, but Magne with his beach boy curls and killer synth has always been the one for me.  If you notice, he was the only one of the three never to wear the trademark leather laces.  Me and my friend used to buy them from the local shoe mending shop.  I bet they sold SO many leather laces back then!

However, things haven't really been how I imagined for my three favourite pop stars.  In the book Paul says:

"We were really tight in the beginning.  We were always in the same car, always at the same restaurant, always at the same hotel, as tight as you could get.  And it was great.  But after a while, we found out that the pressure of work led to side effects.  We were like lonely islands in a storm tossed sea.  We began to pick on each other as much as the people around us were doing.  We weren't the ones who created the problems, but we weren't smart enough to deal with them.  It began to affect the health of the other two.  Magne had panic attacks, and Morten began to bark a bit at people, which they interpreted as a star trip.  And maybe we were a bit hard on him, maybe we didn't understand the pressure he was under.  But even when we felt we were starting to pull in different directions, people would have been surprised to see how focused we were and how hard we worked to make the best out of every situation.  Looking back at it, maybe we should have done things differently, but it wasn't so gloomy then.  Not until the early nineties, when we stopped living at the same place, did things begin to come apart.  When Magne moved to Norway, with Morten living in England, and me moving to the States, we communicated more through middlemen and word of mouth."

That is not at all what I was imagining when I was picturing myself hanging out with the guys!  I thought it would be party, party, party.  Just goes to show that even the best jobs in the world, can sometimes still just be a job. 

This is a brilliant book, but I couldn't pay those high prices though.  I was lucky (and determined) enough to keep watching and waiting, and eventually a reasonably priced copy came up on Ebay which was being sold by another a-ha fan, who turned out to be a lovely lady.  The same with the CD that goes with the book, I kept waiting until I found one I could afford. 

So anyway, lets move on to the following year.  1986:
Here I am on my holidays.  My brother took this photo, and it's one of my favourites.  Apart from the fact that I'm bigger and more wrinkly now, I haven't changed much really.

A-ha released their album Scoundrel Days, and in there was my favourite ever song.  The Swing of Things.  As it was never released as a single (why not?!) it doesn't have an official video, so here's the music:
I've listened to this song thousands of times, probably most days, and I never tire of it.  "Sleep, you wrote sleep my dear.  In a letter somewhere."  Genius.

Paul says:
"On Scoundrel Days, we had learned a little.  It was also a much cooler album.  There's a spirit there, a sound.  It's very much typical of its period, but at the same time not.  Since Alan Tarney had done such a good job on 'Take On Me' and 'The Sun Always Shines on TV', we hired him.  But we were on tour and we were so busy that we finished half the album in Australia.  We started from scratch writing new songs.  It's good, but a little stressful.  It's very much on the edge, a very pure, youthful, go-get-'em piece of work.
The A-side (Paul is thinking here in vinyl terms), with 'Scoundrel Days', 'The Swing of Things', 'I've Been Losing You','October', and 'Manhattan Skyline', is pretty good.  The B-side was a little more uneven.
'The Swing of Things' was Mortens absolute favourite.  Morten is often thought of as being very commercial, but he can get totally hooked on the quirkiest songs.  And 'The Swing of Things' was one of those songs he just had to talk about all the time."  

Then after another couple of years Stay On These Roads was released.  I was most surprised to find that there was a couple of songs on there I didn't like.  Touchy particularly I didn't like, and I was only lukewarm with You Are The One and The Living Daylights.  The rest of course, were the usual a-ha excellence.  Out Of Blue Comes Green stood out for me, along with The Blood That Moves The Body.

And then life kind of got in the way, and I lost touch with a-ha.  Although I was still wearing my laces:
This was me at the Rovers Return at Granada Studios.  I had a great day there, happy memories!

They didn't know I'd drifted away though, so carried on making music without me:
Of course I always tried to keep up to date with what the boys were up to, but I didn't really buy any of the newer albums, although I was still regularly listening to the albums I already had. I'm not really sure why that is, just one of those things.  I got comfortable with my a-ha relationship, and just thought it would carry on like that. 

Then one day, I found something out.  A-ha were splitting up?!!  A farewell tour, an album, and that would be it.  Gutted.  But why split up?  I'll let the guys tell you:
Now I'd never seen a-ha live.  It just wasn't one of those things I thought I'd ever be able to do.  But now I was a bit (alot) older and it could actually be a possibility.  So I got in touch with my friend, yes the same childhood friend, and we arranged to get some tickets.

Our tickets were right at the back - Row W.  I didn't care. 
We were so excited.  We were sitting in our there a long time before anyone else, when all the other seats were empty haha.  Eventually, the arena was packed, and the 'special guests' had been on.... and then...


A wave of emotion washed over me, and I started crying like a big baby.  The three people that had made all the music that was so important to me.  In the same room as me.  But my friend gave me a big hug, and got me back together (she's ace), and before I knew it, I was bopping along and singing at the top of my voice.  I'm a pretty loud singer too, so I feel a bit sorry for those people around me.  I didn't think of that at the time though, sorry everyone!  And I'm convinced Morten waved at me.

We weren't allowed to take pictures, and there were stewards everywhere telling us to put our cameras and phones away, so I don't have any mementos, boo hiss at the Buzz Killingtons.

And before I knew it, it was all over.  That was it.  Finished.  So what now?

Magne put out a statement on the a-ha website :

"A message from a-ha:
where to begin…
i suppose ‘thank you, all’ for once sums it up perfectly.

thank you is really the only thing that makes any sense at this point. thank you fans and friends – for giving us your time, your minds, your passion, in some cases a good chunk of your respective lives, and no doubt considerable amounts of your money.
you have made it possible for us to do what we loved in the way we had hoped to do it.
this is the end for us, and we will not know what a future together could have brought.
but we do know what the past has held; it was pretty amazing to be a part of it.
from the start as childhood friends, to the peak of our career, and all the points inbetween,
a-ha has coloured our lives in ways we don’t even seem to comprehend ourselves.

this is as far as the road took us – but hey, we came a fair distance by any standard!
one thing is certain: we did it together. now a-ha will be a memory of a life we once shared.
so thank you all ;)
we will not forget you and we hope that you do not forget us.

snipp snapp snute…
magne f (on behalf of a-ha)"

Snipp Snapp Snute.  I love that.  I have it taped to my monitor at work to remind me that magic should always be around us, and not to get bogged down with soul crushing daily business. 

But that doesn't mean they guys are gone - oh no, far from it.  Now I have three careers to follow! 

Morten is making music, without the other two, I find his albums a bit too sad for my taste, still beautiful of course.  I'm sure that in time there will be an album that strikes a chord with me.  I still watch him with interest.  This is one of his recent releases:
Magne has continued to grow as a celebrated artist, as well as still producing music.  He even wrote the soundtrack for a Norwegian horror film, and released it as an album titled Hermetic although I didn't buy it, because quite frankly, it's a bit barmy haha.  Perhaps you have to have seen the film to properly appreciate it.

I want his new book In Transit so so badly, but I'm not sure I can make my budget stretch to £54.  C'est la vie, again I return to waiting for a bargain.  Unless my mum needs some more chores doing...

I did however, buy Past Perfect Future Tense and A Dot of Black In The Blue Of Your Bliss both of which I enjoy very much, and listen to alot.  You can feel a-ha still in his work, and in his earlier album, a heck of a lot of Coldplay influence.  Magne continues to work with Guy Berryman from Coldplay in their collaboration Apparatjik and you can visit their website here. 

He is also heavily involved at the moment with the winner of The Voice – Norges beste stemme Martin Halla, having written and performed on a large number of the tracks.  There's more information, and a video, on a-ha's website here

On Magnes 'Dot of Black' album there's a song called The Longest Night, which was the precursor to a-ha's Foot of The Mountain single, and I think that the two side by side show a very interesting example of how a song can change from its original birth to its big budget all-singing, all-dancing fruition.  I personally prefer Mags' version in this instance, it seems to touch my heart in a way that the a-ha version can't:
And here's the a-ha version:
Which version do you prefer?  To me, they're like chalk and cheese, but they still both have their place in my life. 

And now we move on to what Pauls been up to.  I always knew him in my youth as Pal, but I think he uses Paul more now.  Well, he too has been making music.  To be honest, I never really took much notice of him in his a-ha days, and I'm pretty sure that's the way he wanted it. 

But since the split, my interest has started to grow.  He formed a band called Savoy with his wife Lauren, and Frode Unneland, and it turns out he's a really good singer!  See what you think:
Whalebone.  This song & video has everything I love.  It's stunningly beautiful to look at.  Fantastical, haunting, and a tiny bit spooky.  Awesome.  You can really see and feel the powerhouse of creativity that kept a-ha going too.  The Savoy Songbook is well worth your money.

And in fact, it's only since seeing the guys go their separate ways, and watching their creations, that I'm starting to really understand all the layers that a-ha have.  They somehow seem to rue the fact that they're so different, and that they pull in different directions, but without that they wouldn't have become not only the band they became, but also, the men they became.  What we have is far more important than what we could have had.

And there we have it.  All the way from the beginning.  Not to the end, but to the present. 

Morten, Mags and Paul have been a constant inspiration to me, from my young shutterbug days, to the grown woman I am now, and no doubt they will continue to be even when I'm an old old woman. 

So I say thank you to them.  Thank you for those moments in my life that have been enriched by having them there.  For lifting me up when I'm down, and inspiring me when I feel lost.

And I still listen to Hunting High and Low occasionally with my eyes shut. I get just as immersed in the music as I ever did.  I don't know if that's a reflection of the music, or a reflection of me.  Maybe both.

And also thank you to you - for taking the time to listen to me go on (and on).  This post has been ALOT larger, and taken alot longer to write, than I anticipated.  I considered cutting some of it out, but hey, in the end I decided that those people that don't want to read it can close it, and those that do - that's you - shouldn't have to miss any.  So I kept writing.

Who knows, one day, one of the guys might actually read it!  Aim high, right?  Dreams do come true sometimes?  I remain an eternal optimist. 

Reunion? ;)

Until next time...



*CLOSED* 100 Follower International Giveaway


We have a winner! 

Congratulations to Stefany, the random number generator picked you, I've emailed you for your address, you've got some nail mail on the way!

Thank you to everyone who entered, I wish I could afford to send you all something, but all I can give you is my heartfelt thank yous

Thank you, thank you, thank you

x x x


Here is the post that I thought would never come, break out the Champers!

I was blown away to get one follower, never mind 100!  To celebrate I've decided to hold a giveaway. 

In order to make sure that everyone around the world can join in, unfortunately I can't include nail polish due to shipping restrictions.  However, I've put together a bundle of everything else I can think of:
There's -

A set of 5 dotting tools

A set of nail art brushes

A glass nail file

The non-bleedy Rayher hearts that I used for my Valentines nail art

A nail wheel or two to practice on

Some glequins from Born Pretty Store

A sticky picker-upper to pick them up with

A Konad stamper and scraper

And a Konad plate of your choice

All these things are new and unused

The Konad plate you choose needs to be currently available to buy from Amazon UK as that's where I'll be getting it from.

If I can think of anything else in the meantime I'll add it, but these things will all definitely be in your package if you're lucky enough to win.  I've also got some striping tapes to put in the parcel.

All followers can enter.  All you need to do is either leave a comment telling me which plate you'd like and your email address so I can let you know when you've won, or drop me an email to (maspooase at hotmail dot-co-dot-uk) letting me know which plate you'd like and what your follower name is.

I'll give every entry a number, and then use a random number generator to pick the winner.

I'll keep the competition open until Thursday 11th April 2013 to give everyone a chance to see it.

If you're the lucky WINNER I'll then send you an email to ask for your postal address.  If I don't get a reply within seven days, I'll re-draw a different winner.

Finally, THANK YOU SO MUCH for joining me along this crazy journey, I hope you haven't been disappointed!

Good luck one and all


Friday, 15 March 2013

Pretty Jelly Fairy Ring Review and St Patricks Day Nailart

Hi there everyone,
It's the weekend at last.  Here I am again with a polish review and some nail art for you.  Today I'm going to show you Pretty Jelly's Fairy Ring.
I've already reviewed some of the other Pretty Jelly holo polishes in the past, Diamond S-teal-er , Grape Escape and Bullet Rouge and I've enjoyed them.  When I saw this mossy green, I couldn't resist!
Pictured below is two coats, using Sally Hansen Miracle Cure as basecoat, and no topcoat.  Application was well behaved and lovely, and as a result I didn't require any clean up before taking these pictures.
In the shade, it's a pretty and soft mossy green:
There are some greens that don't do my skintone any favours, even though I still wear them of course!  This is not one of those, I found it very flattering.
BUT... it's only in the light that this polish comes into it's own, check out this baby:
And because I can, here's another picture:
Pretty Jelly Fairy Ring Review
Check out that holo!  Awesome!  You can see the holo quite nicely in lower light in real life, I just couldn't get my camera to pick it up.
As you probably know, it's St Patricks day this weekend, and as I'm already wearing green on my nails I thought I'd spice things up with a bit of Ireland-inspired nail art:
Saint Patricks Day Nail Art
That fab green glitter I used to do the dots with is China Glaze Running in Circles. It's pretty much Ruby Pumps, only green.
I used Barry M Spring green to draw a line down the left hand side of my nail, I didn't bother with striping tape.  Then I used this Color Club gold glitter striper to draw a line next to that.
St Patricks Day Nail Art
Then I added the dots with a dotting tool and my fingers were done

I wanted to do an accent nail on my thumb, so I decided to paint the Irish flag.  Again I didn't use striping tape, but for this one I kind of wish I had as my lines weren't perfect:
The green is Barry M's Spring Green again, and the orange is Max Factor's Bright Orange.  Despite saying I don't like this orange, I do find I go back to it alot for nail art, so it can't be all bad.

Everything got a coat of Seche Vite at the end.  As a little extra positive, the holo wasn't completely killed by top coat, which made me happy.

You can buy these polishes by going to the Liquid Jelly Etsy shop HERE the full size bottles like the one I got are $10.

The polishes are 3-free and cruelty free, so you can shop with a clear conscience.
So what do you think?  Do you own any of these polishes?  Would be interested to hear what you think!
Until next time...