Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dior Waterlily scented polish - swatches and review

Hi there again everyone,

Here I am, back from my weekend away in Blackpool.  I had a fabulous time, and have come back feeling all refreshed by the sea breeze. 

I won't bore on about it, but the weather was kind, and I managed to squeeze in some shopping, as ya do.  I got a pair of shoes for FIVE POUNDS!! Bargain-acious!

This is a review I've been meaning to do for a little while.  I've had the pictures done, and just haven't got round to writing the review.  Therefore, I apologise for the state my cuticles were in.  They're alot better now (but not completely healed) due to some intensive Flexitol/Phenomenoil treatments, and my persistence is paying off.  I have no idea why they suddenly went off the rails after being no problem for quite a while.  Perhaps just the change in the weather.

I've also realised that my 100th post, and first Blogiversary are coming up soon, so will have to rack my brains on what to do for both of those things.  I had a giveaway for my 100 follower celebration, so will have to get a bit more creative!

Back to the polish.  I bought this polish as a backup for my beloved Collection 2000 Mint Mojo, but as it happens it has a shimmer in it, which I didn't see in the shop.  It's typically weird of me to buy an £18 polish as a backup for a £1.99 one lol.

So, without further ado, lets get on with the swatches:
Application wasn't bad, the first coat was streaky, but this is two coats, and coverage was good enough.  It's a bit more gloopy than regular polish, it almost seemed to have a 'whipped' texture, but it didn't give me a problem in application. 

It dries to a nice sheen/shine, but that silver microshimmer is only really apparent when you're looking really close up.  Dry time was medium, about 5 mins or so to get to a safe touch-dry state.

Here's another pic, this one shows the shimmer better, and my cuticles don't look so ghastly in it, so I like it more:
The polish is scented by the addition to the formula of rose essential oil, and it does smell strongly of that.  The scent also lasted a couple of days, so I was pretty impressed.  During application there was also a normal polish smell, but once it had dried the polish smell was gone.

Here's a pic of the bottle, I was trying to be 'arty', but my fingers just look deformed in the reflection haha.  Worth a try:
And last but not least, we get to the brush.  I wasn't super impressed by that.  It's the wide type, and it seemed to be a bit un-generous when it came to releasing the nail polish onto my nail.  If you can get the technique right, and you don't have narrow nail beds, you might really like it though:
As you can see in this pic, the silver lid lifts off to reveal a smaller lid underneath.  I found it a little bit fiddly to use but not too bad.

I did some nail art over this for my Artsy Wednesday post, which was 'recreate your first blogged nail art'.  Here's the (link) if you want to check it out, but here's how it ended up:
It's not going to rock anyones world, but it does show the polish with a coat of Seche over it, which gives it a nice shine.

So, to summarise, I don't hate it, but I don't adore it.  And for the price it should be my favourite really, which it isn't.  When I put it on though, I was like "oh, I'd forgotten how nice this is", so I've got mixed feelings.

It was a limited edition colour, although I've seen it in my local House of Fraser still for sale.  It's not on their website though.  There are loads for sale on Ebay (link) so you may be able to pick up a bargain if you're really loving it.

So, what do you think?  Do you have a polish that you spent more than you should have on, which you ended up not adoring?

Until next time...


Friday, 19 April 2013

Spring Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

Hi everyone,

The sun is feeling warm, and it looks like spring is finally here, thank goodness.  It's made me feel all happy and full of the joys of spring, and I really wanted my nails to match my mood.

So off I went to YouTube, looking for inspiration.  Sure enough, I found a fab tutorial by simplyrins (link) which showed me how to do sunflowers, just what I was looking for!  It's been a while since I used my acrylic paints, and I've missed them.

I changed the colour scheme and layout to hers, but I used exactly the same method.  Here's what I ended up with, in a spring-y pose:
Buds on the bushes!  Hooray!

So here's how I did it.  I'd already done my left hand, so this tutorial is 'wrong handed'.  Therefore it's safe to say that a beginner could definitely give it a go, as even my weaker hand came out looking pretty good.

1) Base colour.  Maybelline Express Finish in Turquoise Lagoon, 2 coats,  It did dry super fast too:
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

2) Use yellow acrylic paint (or nail polish) and a small brush to mark out your first row of petals, using a single stroke per petal.  It doesn't matter if they're not perfect, nature's not:
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

3) Carry on making petals in the same way until you're happy with the look:
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

4) Do the same on all your fingers, in the layout of your choice.  If you're using acrylic paint you can erase any mistakes with a cotton bud/q-tip soaked with water:
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

5) Use brown acrylic paint (or nail varnish) to fill in the flower centre:
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

6) Continue with all your nails:
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

7) Now you could stop there if you like and it would still look good, but for that extra special finishing touch you can make tiny yellow dots, using a small dotter, over the brown to give some dimension and detail to the  flower centres:
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

8) Just add your topcoat, and you're done!
Sunflower Nailart Tutorial

So there we have it, jolly spring nails to be proud of. 
I like this design so much I've done both hands, and am going to keep it on, which is a big thumbs up from me.  Just right for this time of year. 
In case you're wondering, I got my acrylic paints nice and cheap from Amazon (link) 12 colours for £6.81, bargain, and they seem like pretty good quality.
So what do you think, could you give this a go?  Make sure you show me if you do!
Until next time...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Artsy Wednesday - Inspired By My First Blog Post

Hi there everyone,

Here we have my first ever Artsy Wednesday post!  I was amazed and delighted when Catrine at Unnaked Nails invited me to join the Artsy Wednesday gang.  I've always enjoyed her posts but never dreamed that I might be joining in!

Funnily enough, the first challenge takes  me right back to the beginning of my blog.  It's quite appropriate really, as I'm nearly at my blogs first anniversary.  My first nail art post, which was my second ever overall post, was Nails Inspired By My Garden (link)

There were three nail art looks there.  One was just a skittle, one was a gradient, and the third was actual nail art.  Here's the picture from the original post:
Well, I remember quite enjoying wearing this one, so this was the one I picked to recreate.
In the picture above I used Collection 2000 Mint Mojo as the green, but elsewhere in the post I had also used Dior's Waterlily which is a very similar colour.  Well, I've been wanting to do a review on the Dior polish for a while, so I thought I would paint my nails in that, review it in a blog post, and then use it for the base for the manicure for this post.  Multitasking!
So here's how it came out:

As you can see, the main difference is that I've got a better camera now.  I only bought a better camera because I was frustrated at how my blog pics were coming out.  It's still just a point and shoot, but a bit better quality than the previous one.  I actually don't think the manicure looks any different one year on!  At least I'm consistent.

Here's another pic:
This white/yellow colour combination always reminds me of fried eggs, ha!  I'd forgotten how much I like this green, I hardly ever wear it, what a waste.  The white is OPI Alpine Snow, and the yellow is Rimmel Sunshine.  The dotting tool was a Cheeky one, you can get the whole set super-cheap from Amazon UK (here)

And just to show I did both hands for a change, here's my 'Cinderella' hand.  It's not used to modelling:
And there we have it!  My first Artsy Wednesday post, I hope I can live up to the high standards of everyone else!  I kind of wish my first blog post had been a bit more demanding haha. 

It also means I have to be disciplined and make sure that my posts are ready to be scheduled on time, which is a challenge all of its own.  I'm excited and a bit daunted to have joined such a talented group of girls, but who knows, it might make me raise my game!  Have already got some excellent ideas for the next Artsy Wednesday posts, so watch this space.  And I am going to try scheduling this post to publish automatically, which I've never done before, so it will be interesting to see if it works.

I hope you've enjoyed this, I certainly have enjoyed recreating and reminiscing!

Check out all of the other super-talented girls recreations:

Michelle - Lab Muffin

Alanna - Pretty Purple Polish

Maria - Maria's Nail Polish Blog

Melanie - Nail & Polish

Jessica - Beauty Gnome

Emily - An Accent Nail

Ameerah - Valiantly Varnished

Until next time...


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Justin Bieber vs Anne Frank House : My Thoughts

Hi everyone,

Ordinarily I wouldn't let people know my opinion on something like this, much less put it on my blog, but it's been gnawing away at me for a few days. 

On Saturday the Anne Frank House put up the following status on their Facebook page:

"Yesterday night Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank House, together with his friends and guards.  Fans were waiting outside to see a glimpse of him.  He stayed more than an hour in the museum.  In our guestbook he wrote: 'Truly inspiring to be able to come here.  Anne was a great girl.  Hopefully she would have been a belieber.'  Tonight Bieber will give a concert in Arnhem in the Netherlands."

This seems to have prompted an avalanche of critisicm aimed at Justin Bieber, which all seems to be pretty much along the lines of "Who the hell does he think he is", followed by a similarly large counter-avalanche of "Leave him alone" responses from the beliebers.

Now, I'm not a belieber.  Also I'm not an anti-belieber (if that's the term).  If anything, I'm a meh-ber.

But of course it's pretty much guaranteed that I would be.  I'm 41 years old, so his music and image aren't aimed at me, in any way.  My teenage self is still wandering around in 1987.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know the impact that Anne Franks Diary had on me.  I wrote a post about it (here) and since I read it, I've read many more books about Anne Frank, her family, and the people who helped her while she was in hiding. 

I actually have even more books on order, it sparked a seemingly insatiable interest.  If you haven't read the book, please please do.  It's not just for girls, it's an incredibly interesting historical commentary.

So, you'd think I'd be on the side of the people who are criticising Justin Bieber for his comment in the guestbook.  Well, not so.  I think it's more complicated than that.

Firstly there are some factors that are relevant, that are not stated in the original Facebook post.

We don't know if Justin Bieber requested to go to the Anne Frank House, or if he was told to go by his management company.  Similarly we don't know if he was told what to write or not.  He could have been told what to write and forgotten, or chosen to write something else.  Maybe he wrote exactly what he was supposed to.  He could have just written what came into his head in that exact moment.  Alot of don't knows.

Does it make a difference why he was there?  Yes I think it does.  If he has a genuine interest, and really wanted to go, then one level of cynicism can be kind of counteracted.  Although it is probably more likely that it was arranged by his management company as a profile enhancer, it's still another 'don't know'.

Also you have to bear in mind who he is.  There is a staggering amount of money to be made from him, and everyone around him is up for a slice of Beiber pie.  With his protectors, his pet monkey, and isolation, does he remind you of anyone?  It makes me slightly sad that history could quite easily repeat itself, and once again everyone's too busy getting rich quick.

The line from the Anne Frank House regarding him turning up with guards feels like it's been written with a slightly negative twist, but later on in the status it's mentioned that there were indeed fans there, and teenage fans don't stand on circumstance.  I should know, I've been one.  They'd rip his clothes off in a heartbeat if they thought they could.  Just for the clothes, not anything weird.  But that wouldn't be much consolation to him while he's trying to keep hold of his undies.

I actually don't have a problem with what he wrote.  He's written about Anne in a way that is fitting for who she was.  A teenage girl.  Yes, she was brave, and she stands as a beacon of remembrance for all the people who were brutally and senselessly murdered in the Holocaust, but she was also a fan of movie stars, and she had their pictures up on her bedroom wall. 

The pictures are still there, and he would have seen them probably less than half an hour before.  It makes his comment slightly more understandable.

I think the Anne Frank House Facebook status, in the light of all this, seems a bit harsh.  I'm pretty sure they realised that later, as they put up another status on their Facebook page:

"The Anne Frank House was pleased to welcome Justin Bieber to the Anne Frank House last Friday.  We think it is very positive that he took the time and effort to visit our museum.  He was very interested in the story of Anne Frank and stayed for over an hour.  We hope that his visit will inspire he fans to learn more about her life and hopefully read the diary."

As far as I'm concerned, this is the press release that should have been made in the first place.  It's less petulant, and more about persuading his fans to read the diary. 

I guess another relevant 'don't know', is who wrote the original Anne Frank House status.  It may have been someone quite young, or someone who was offended by him during the visit for some reason.  Or maybe it was just very badly worded.

I've seen some incredibly vitriolic comments on my Twitter feed against Justin Bieber regarding this, and it actually makes me kind of sad. 

If there's only one lesson we take away from Anne Franks story, it should be that there's nowhere near enough tolerance in the world.

And we start that by practising it ourselves. 

Until next time...


Saturday, 13 April 2013

Nail Art Gradient Inspired By Actual Art

Hey there again!

I'm back again, with a post I'm really excited about.  Now it's no secret that I despise sponging, it's just so messy.  But every now and then a flash of inspiration hits me and I can't resist. 

I have a friend on Twitter, Adam McLevey, who's an artist.  He's currently mid-way through a series called The Persona Project (link here) where he paints his character Steve in a variety of disguises. 

I love seeing the different canvasses come along each day, and of course, me being me, sometimes I think, ooh I could do that on my nails!  He recently painted a Persona canvas based on the film Hellboy, and the background of it 'pinged' at me. 

So here's what I came up with, and I kinda love it:
Now, it has to be said, this is loads zingier colour-wise in real life.  I've tried to correct it, but I just couldn't get it to look exact with my camera.

I've taken a picture on my phone, which is a bit closer to the real colours (but blurrier):
My cuticle clean up isn't brilliant, but I'm not too bothered about that, it will wash off eventually.

And here's a slice of the picture that started it.  I wasn't too sure about how much I could show, either for copyright, or without offending the artist, so I played it safe (hopefully) and just used a bit which shows the gradient I'm going on about, from a screenshot of his webpage:
As you see, the 'warm' side is much more orangey than my nailart - if I did this again I would use a different colour, but I'm pleased with how the green and the yellow came out.

Here's the polishes I used:
Collection 2000 Hot Looks in 64 Hidden
Collection 2000 Hot Looks in 45 Lemon Soda
Boots Natural Collection in Antique Coral
OPI Red Lights Ahead... Where?
Elf mini polish in Black (not pictured)

Oh, OK, one last pic of my masterpiece haha:
I think this came out really well, and I'm dying to publish this so you can all see it!

Incidentally, the Persona canvases would make a brilliant gift for the guy (or girl) who's got everything, and most of the Persona's include worldwide shipping, so bear it in mind next time you've got a present to buy for that difficult one.  Alot of these canvasses are only £20 - bargain!

He also paints commissions if you've got any art you'd like to have done.  Incidentally, I'm not being paid in any way, money or goods for this post, I just think his art is fab.  You can visit his Persona shop (here)

So what do you think?  Are you a fan of gradients, or do you usually avoid them like me?

Until next time...


Barry M 317 Blue Moon Swatch and review

Hi All!
I feel like I haven't blogged for aaages!  It's only been a week though, and I do have some photos ready to go, so it's about time I got my blog on.

Been a busy week this week, work has been super-busy, and pretty stressful, so I'm happy that it's finally the weekend.  Amazingly the sun is out, and things are starting to warm up at last.  Spring might be finally here, after a couple of false starts. 

We watched the movie 'In Time' last night.  I enjoyed it, if you get a chance to watch it I'd say go for it.  I also realised how much I like the actor Cillian Murphy  ;-)

Anyway, back to the nail polish...

I've been wanting to do a review on this polish for a while, but something else always comes up.  I bought it a while back as part of a haul when I was looking for a(nother) light blue for a particular look I wanted, but this one didn't make the grade.  "Why not?"  I hear you ask.  Yes, in my head.  I worry about that, but not often.  Just joking.....
So anyway, enough of this revelrie, let's get on with the review.  Here's Barry M Blue Moon at one coat:
Barry M 317 Blue Moon review
Noooo!  Look at the sheerness! *sad face*

Actually though, application wasn't bad, and dry time was med/fast.  So I perservered.

Here's Blue Moon at 2 coats:
Barry M 317 Blue Moon Swatch
Starting to get some coverage.  This is usually my limit for a polish.  If it's not opaque in 2 coats I'm not interested.  But I was intrigued to see how many coats it took to become opaque.  There is a blue shimmer in this polish that looks pretty in the bottle but it doesn't really show when it's painted on my nail.

So, I went for it again with another coat as I'm in a more patient than usual mood today:
Barry M Blue Moon Review
STILL some VNL!! Although, to be fair, most people would consider this enough coverage.  If you look on my middle finger, you can still make out my nail line.  That would drive me insane, I would feel like I had to apologise for it every time someone commented on my nails.

So, in a bold move I went for another coat, here we are at the heady heights of four coats:
Barry M Blue Moon Swatch
This is finally enough coverage for me, and it also meant I couldn't see my nail ridges.  However it does dry slightly brighter than the bottle colour, which was a little disappointing, as I like that slightly dirty blue look it has in the bottle.  I guess that's the shimmer, and that's why it's different when worn.

So, if you have the patience, at four coats Barry M Blue Moon is a pretty light blue polish with a completely hidden shimmer.

Here's a picture of the brush, as it's the thing that's missing in most polish reviews:
Yes, we do have chipboard wallpaper.  The brush was fine to work with, not too soft and not too stiff.  It also delivered the polish at a consistent speed, with no blobbing or bubbling.

And, me being me, I couldn't resist putting a bit of simple nail art on the top:
All I did was use a blue striper which I bought from the makeup stall at Carlisle indoor market, and a silver striper that I bought from Claires Accessories, and drew on the stripes.  I was going to do some dotting either side, but I think you have to know when to stop sometimes, not one of my strong points, but on this occasion I managed.

Here's another pic of it, along with one of the stripers:
I bought a couple of these stripers, but if I remember rightly this was the only one I really liked.  Am quite liking this look, but am not sure if I can be bothered to do the four coats it took of Blue Moon on my other hand!

I've just been to the Superdrug Website (here) and they're calling this pale blue.  But 317 is Blue Moon, according to the sticker on the bottom of my polish anyway, so I don't know if that's a mistake by Superdrug.  It's available at £2.99, and at the moment they're on 3 for 2.  I've also seen it on Amazon (here) for around the same price once you factor the shipping cost in.

Barry M nail polish is cruelty free, vegan and vegetarian, so at least when you're applying all those coats of polish, you won't be feeling guilty!

In brief, unless you have the patience for the amount of coats it took in order to be opaque, or you don't mind VNL, I wouldn't give this one a thumbs up.  5/10 from me.  Sorry Barry M, because I love alot of your other polishes! 

Until next time...


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Models Own Fruit Pastel Collection Review and Swatches

Hi there everyone
Hope your weekend's going well.  The sun has finally come out to play here, and it's brought back my mojo with it!  Lots of exercise yesterday, and a bit of shopping, all in all a good day :-)

A few weekends ago, I was having a drink (surprise) and a chat on Twitter with my lovely friend Swishie Nails about the Models Own Fruit Pastel scented polishes.  She told me that they were available as a set on the Models Own website for £20 with with free shipping.  How could I not know this?  So in my inebriated state I got online (dangerous I know) and ordered myself a set.  I then promptly forgot until the morning, and when I checked my emails it was a nice surprise!

It took about a week to come, which isn't bad, but as soon as I got the package I knew I had a problem as I could smell polish.  When I opened it up, somehow the top had broken off on the blue.  I tweeted Models Own, and they sent me an email address to send my picture to.  Once they got that, and my order number, they arranged to send out another, which came even quicker.  Top marks for customer service. So then I had the full set:
Models Own Fruit Pastel Collection Review
Pretty, right?  As a sucker for pastels I couldn't resist.  It also came with a file/buffer which I wasn't expecting.  I haven't tried it yet, but it felt like OK quality.

So, as I have learned by now, the hard way, I swatched them from light to dark.  I started off with the yellow, Banana Split.  Here it is in sunshine:
Models Own Banana Split Swatch
The formula was quite good, and it flowed nicely off the brush.  The first coat was patchy, but alot of pastels are like that.  This is two coats, and as you can see, I dented it because I can't sit and be patient haha.

Here it is in the shade:
Models Own Banana Split Review
Dry time was medium to fast, and it dried just a slight shade darker than it shows in the bottle.  It's a creamy yellow rather than a straight white based pastel, and I actually preferred it that way. My favourite of the bunch.  Bunch, bananas, geddit? 

Here's another pic:
Models Own Fruit Pastel Banana Split swatch
Next up we have Strawberry Tart:
Models Own Strawberry Tart Review
Funny enough, as soon as the sun came out yesterday, I was in the mood for a pale pink polish, and this fitted the bill perfectly!  Strawberry Tart had the same nice formula as Banana Split, again the first coat being patchy.  This is two coats.  Here it is in the shade:
Models Own Strawberry Tart Swatch
Again it dried just slightly more intense than the bottle.  Not much in it though.  One last pic of this one:
Models Own Fruit Pastel Strawberry Tart Review
I also liked this one alot.
Next one on my fingers was Apple Pie:
Models Own Apple Pie Swatch
A nice, true pastel green.  Again first coat patchy, not much different to say from the rest.  The brush is good, not too hard or bendy.  Here it is in the shade:
Models Own Apple Pie Review
And here's the bottle-less shot, just because all the rest got one:
Models Own Fruit Pastel Apple Pie Review
Next one I tried was Blueberry Muffin, the one that was originally broken.  For some reason the brush was slightly different on this one.  I don't know if they're all like that on this colour or just because this was from a different set, but this one was slightly flared, and it had a few stragglies.  It didn't seem to affect application too badly though:
Models Own Blueberry Muffin Review
As you can seem it's still pretty neat around my cuticles, I didn't need to do any proper clean up on any of these.  Occasionally I ran my opposing thumb nail around my cuticle just to tidy the odd overshoot.  Here it is in the shade:
Models Own Blueberry Muffin swatch
And, true to form, here it is with no bottle:
Models Own Fruit Pastel Blueberry Muffin swatch
And last, but not least, we have Grape Juice:
Models Own Grape juice swatch
The formula on this one let the team down a bit, I found it gloopy, and as a result, slower to dry.  I smudged my ring finger, and had to take it off and re-do it.  It is a pretty colour though, and I reckon I'll thin it and give it another go.  Here it is in the shade:
Models Own Grape juice review
And bottle-less:
Models Own Fruit Pastel Grape juice review
Quite delicate, and pretty.
So being me, I thought I would do a little bit of nail art.  The first attempt was a bit of a fail:
Models Own Fruit Pastel nail art
I decided to still share it though, because it shows how nicely the colours go together.  The Fruit Pastel Collection is truly mix'n'match.
My next attempt I was a bit more pleased with:
Models Own Fruit Pastel dotty nailart
I have Grape Juice as a base, and then the larger dots are Sinful Colours Verbena, and the brighter smaller dots are Nails Inc's Devonshire Row.  I used these colour solely because I had them in my swatching basket and I didn't want to wake other half up by going upstairs for more colours.  As it happens, I like this so much, I might even do my other hand.  Always the sign of a good nail art attempt.
So, as you can see from the bottles, alot is made about these polishes being scented.  There's a scratch n sniff label on the lid, which is a nice touch.  Whilst there is a scent to them once they dry (the wet scent is a polish-y smell), it is very subtle, and I wouldn't recommend buying these JUST because they're scented.  And certainly don't expect your fingers to smell as fruity as the scratch labels, because they won't.  But I didn't buy them for the scent so I don't mind that.
Here's a picture of the brushes, all the brushes were nice & neat, and quite slim, apart from the blue one:
Models Own Fruit Pastel Brushes
And there we have it.  So what do I think?  I like it!  The formulas on all except Grape Juice were pretty good, not one coaters, but not many pastels are.  They dried medium-fast and were good and opaque in two coats.

For £20 for the set, I think this is worth the money and I'm glad I bought it.  You can buy them on the Models Own website (here) and they also sell the individual polishes for £5 each, if there's just one you fancy. 

Models Own polishes are cruelty free and vegan friendly, so it's all good :-)

What do you think, are you into pastels like me?  Do you have a favourite?

Until next time...