Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mind The Gap, Victoria

I found the most gorgeous blue polish from Rimmel called 'Mind The Gap, Victoria', which I assume must be based on the London Underground Victoria Line blue. It is a beautiful pale cornflower colour. I must admit it's quite a summery colour but as I don't wear a lot of dark polishes, I'm sure I'll be using it all year round.

This colour works really well with white so I chose a few patterns to draw on, as typically I couldn't just choose one. I love the close dots and weave effect, and the lines worked out better than I was expecting. I need to practice the zigzags a bit more as they are a bit messy. Also, basketcase (on the thumb) is easier to do with a striper brush than freehand using a nail art pen, but I didn't want to use a different medium for it. 

The first time I wore this polish I planned my outfit badly and ended up teaming it with a burgundy top. The boyf was very happy to point out that I was wearing Aston Villa colours! I'll have to be more careful in the future. 



Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Happy Halloween

I've seen so many fantastic Halloween nail art designs floating about over the last few weeks I decided to give some a go myself. These were great fun to put together, now I need to choose which ones to wear!!

I mainly used Models Own, Barry M and Rimmel for these. Most of the detailing is done with my new Barry M nail art pens. They are great as the write just like normal pens, and you don't have to squeeze so no more sore hands! However, they do crack a bit if you fill large areas, I had to go over the ghost a few times to cover the cracks.

Which one is your favourite?



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Winter Aztec

I haven't done an aztec mani for a while as I've always thought it was quite a summery style. However, as winter draws in and the days get shorter I've seen a lot of pale chunky knit sweaters around. The knit patterns reminded me a little of a simple aztec design and the colour schemes inspired me to try a more wintery approach.

For these nails I used Models Own 'Utopia' as a base, and their nail art pen for the detail. This is the first time I've done an aztec with only two colours and I was impressed with the result. The colours, teamed with the pattern, reminded me of a cozy woolen knitted jumper. In fact, the very next day a colleague was wearing a jumper which matched perfectly! 

This has inspired me to apply a wintery twist to some of my other summer manis.



Monday, 28 October 2013

Little Bo Peep

Rimmel rounds out my top three polish faves, alongside Models Own and Barry M. They always have a good choice of colours and their polishes have the cutest names! With prices ranging from £2.99 to £4.49, they are good value for nice long lasting formulas. However, my very favourite thing about Rimmel is their brush shape. Most of their products come with a flat, rounded 'Xpress' brush which makes painting your nails super quick and easy!

Some examples of the imaginative names...
Little Bo Peep; Mind The Gap, Victoria; Princess Pink; Round And Round The Garden; Caramel Cupcake; Blue My Mind; Portobello Pink
Ultra Violet; Peppermint

These Rimmel Pro polishes are two of my all time faves, you will have seen them both before on this blog. They are pretty old but the formula hasn't degraded at all. I wouldn't say they last up to 10 days, as advertised on the bottle, but they are fairly hard-wearing.

My most recent Rimmel purchase is Little Bo Peep, a soft pale grey, and I couldn't wait to use it for a mani. As I spend my days in an office, I'm always looking for perfect shades to create office-friendly designs. I use dots a lot in my nail art, but usually just to accompany something more complex. When working on my Grazia nail wheel I was inspired to try out more densely placed dots. 
This was so easy to create, just two coats of Little Bo Peep, a quick covering of dots using a Barry M nail art pen, and a splash of Seche Vite over the top. 

Dahlia Nails recently won Rimmel's weekly #NailTheLondonLook Instagram competition with our Mint Monochrome mani, so we're looking forward to finding out what's in our goody bag!



Sunday, 27 October 2013

WAHgon Wheel

I blame two things for getting me obsessed with nail art: Jo and Wah nails. The two are combined as well because Jo had got her nails done at Wah when she showed me them at the V&A. Since then, well, I think this blog is testament to how obsessed we both are. 

For my birthday this year I treated myself to some nail goodies. Among other things was The Wah Nails Book of Downtown Girls. I instantly became inspired by the new designs published. Whilst I still love the Wah crew and all of their designs I preferred the simplicity of the first book. I am all about helping out friends and fellow career guys and gals but I felt there was too much of other people and not enough Wah. 

The wheel above has a combination of old and new Wah designs. My faves are the bananas, half stripe, aztec and leopard (mostly from the old book). 



Saturday, 26 October 2013

Grazia Nail Wheel

This week I have been inspired by Rachel at Monkey Nails. Rachel created a whole wheel of nail art based on cuttings from one Company magazine and posted the gorgeous result on Twitter. We are always looking for things to inspire us and I thought this was such a great idea that as soon as I got home I set to work.

I chose October's Grazia and was not disappointed. My nail wheels have 18 nails on them so I knew I had to get a fair number of clippings to fill a whole wheel. I needn't have worried, by the end of the magazine there were at least 25 ideas on the table and I had the task of choosing the best.

The cuttings came from all parts of the magazine, style, beauty, accessories and even adverts! Some of my favourites include the LuLu Guinness lips satchel, Toni & Guy pink dip dye and the Prada rings.

I tried to take elements from each cutting and translate them across to nail art, in some cases this was creating the same patterns, in others it was combining the same colour combos. Some worked better than others but I had such a great time doing it. Quite sadly I found it really exciting challenging myself and filling the whole wheel with new ideas.  

One of my favourites is the blue eye nail. This was inspired by the cutest little handbag and was accompanied by another, winking, eye. My brand new Rimmel 'Mind The Gap, Victoria' blue polish was the perfect base colour and I did the detailing with Barry M nail art pens. I couldn't find who designed it though so if you've seen the bag please let me know! 

Another fave is the pink on pink lips nail, inspired by a Vivetta lips-motif cardie. It's so quick and easy to do, I used a Barry M pink as base, and nail art pens for the lips. 

The red and black check was one of many checked cuttings, I had to narrow it down to just one. As it was my first proper attempt at checked I decided to stick to a simple colour scheme and my new Barry M nail art pen made it super easy to do. I'm definitely going to try this on a full mani!

I found it such good fun trying out new patterns and designs, and beauty magazines are just packed full of them. I could fill a whole new nail wheel from the same magazine! This is something I will be doing on a regular basis from now on and I urge you to give it a go.

Which one is your favourite?



Friday, 25 October 2013


I told you there would be another Halloween installment from me! This time I was inspired by Company magazine's nail page. Their little emoji ghosts were so cute that I couldn't resit giving them a go. I mixed up the friendly ghouls with some pop art-esque onomatopoeia (get me with my fancy words!). 

The base colour is Barry M's Blue Moon which is a lovely pale, shimmery blue. I used white nail polish with a brush for the ghosts and my trusty Barry M nail pen to outline. 

What do you think of the outcome? I think they're pretty cute but I am a bit biased. 



Thursday, 24 October 2013

Nail Mail

When I arrived home to a pink leopard print envelope sitting on the mat I immediately knew the contents would be exciting. I mean pink leopard print must mean good things right!

Thankfully I was not let down and the package contained some goodies from Nail Art (part of Skin Art UK). They sent us some nail tattoos and a couple of polishes to try out. The first thing I must admit is that I had never heard of this company before but I'm always happy to try new products. Secondly, I still hadn't got round to trying any nail stickers or transfers, so these were a first for me! 

Our goodies!
I tried the nail stickers first and was pleasantly surprised at how easy to use they were, literally just peel and stick and you're done! I used two coats of Barry M - Matt White as a base as I like the monochrome look with nail decals, and sealed them in with a splash of Seche top coat. As I couldn't choose a favourite I used a different sticker for each nail. The only one I didn't try was the leopard print as that's so easy to do with a nail pen it just felt like cheating a little too much! One thing Nail Art say is that these stick straight away and that is very true, once they're placed you'd better hope they're in the right spot as there's no moving them! 

You can buy these nail tattoos here and they cost £5.99. Not super cheap but good fun for a special occasion and you get over 60 of them in each pack.

The finished mani

I have also swatched the two polishes Nail Art included in our goodie bag for you... 

She's Got The Midas Touch is a fantastic metallic champagne coloured polish. The glitter is so dense you have complete coverage in two thin coats. I did find it a bit strange that this polish dries matte, but the shine soon came back when I applied a gloss top coat. 

Powder Puff Pink is a soft pastel pink. Although still pretty girly, it doesn't have quite the Barbie pink tone to it which makes it nice and wearable. This doesn't dry as matte as She's Got The Midas Touch, but it did benefit from a splash of top coat. 

The formulas of both polishes are really good and I was quite surprised to find out that the RRP is only £3! Bargain! 

When I attempted to remove the nail stickers I found that they suffer the same issues as glitter polish! A little bit of soaking though and they didn't take too long to pick off. I took a photie for you as it made me chuckle. 



Wednesday, 23 October 2013

I Am Not A Robot

I am a major sticker obsessive. Does this make me sad? I don't know but I just can't get enough of them. I spend hours in Paperchase and Selfridges looking for fun and unusual little stickies. I picked these robots up in Selfridges and never thought about using them as nailspo because I couldn't do intricate drawings on my nails. That was until I got my black Barry M nail pen. It has truly revolutionised my life. 

The pic above gives a little insight into my thought process when I get inspired by something. I look at it, I draw it on nail shapes in my Moleskine, and then I just go for it!

I think these turned out quite cute. You have to love a little robot! 



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Blue Mondays

Mondays... I've never met anyone who loves a Monday. Yesterday I decided that I needed to overhaul the day with a new kind of 'Monday Blues', with a little help from Model's Own of course!

Valerian and Blueberry Muffin
Emma recently bought Blueberry Muffin from the Model's Own scented range and I was tres jealous so copied her and bought one for myself. It's a beautiful super pale blue, verging on grey, and I can't wait to wear it! Emma has kindly swatched it for you here

Valerian is my first purchase from the new Velvet Goth collection. I went for the navy blue shade as it brings a little extra something to a work friendly mani. I like navy nails for work as they are dark and look smart, but are not as harsh as a full black nail. The formula is really thick so two coats was plenty. I was pleased with how well it applied and how quickly it dried despite the consistency.

I tried the glitter filled polish without top coat first as it has a textured effect. This leaves the nails with a matte finish and the glitter quite subtle. Without top coat I can see where the collection gets its velvet name from.

Valerian without top coat
I was curious to see how a top coat would change the polish and was quite surprised. The top coat really brought out the glitter and seemed to give the polish a lot more depth. The different sizes of glitter pieces stand out a lot more and they seem to sparkle that little bit more. As with most textured polishes you really need two coats of top coat to smooth out the nail completely. 

Valerian with top coat
After much deliberation I have settled on Valerian with top coat as my fave, but I will definitely be wearing it both ways!

Which one of the Velvet Goth range is your favourite?



Monday, 21 October 2013

Nail Inspo: Topshop Halloween Socks

How fun are these?
I saw this pic on Topshops's Instagram and knew that I had to do some Halloween nails based on their colourful socks. I don't know about you but I blinkin' well love Halloween. It's just so fun. I wish I lived in the US as they seem to go OTT for a bit of spooky dressing up and trick or treating. Alas! I do not live in the US and so will probably spend my night dressed as a cat drinking a little too much wine and showing everyone my fun nail art. Actually sounds quite good! 

I think these work well as a group or as accents. I don't think I would wear any on every nail apart from the drippy one. Maybe. I wish I could do the blue one effectively as I think the blue adds something but I wasn't all that keen on the houndstooth-esque pattern. Next time I would substitute the spider web for a blue design. Maybe just a black spider web on a blue background? Hmmm.  

I created these lovelies using my trusty Barry Ms. I do have other polishes I swear! It's just that I have soooo many Barrys that all of the colours I need for a lot of nail art projects are covered. Following my love of the polish, I ordered a new Barry M nail pen a couple of weeks ago and am so pleased with it. I have a silver version which I wasn't as impressed with but the black one is amazing! It draws like a marker pen; there is no need to press down on the nail so no accidental dents or unsightly splodges. Love it! 

Watch this space for more Halloween nail art - I've gone crazy for it! Show me your designs pleeeease!


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Red, White and Blue

I was recently asked to paint some holiday nails for the wonderful Jessica Sharman. As she was headed to the depths of mid-USA we decided that stars and stripes were a must. Jess also wanted to show some patriotism of her own so we balanced it out with a Union Jack on the other hand.

Red, white and blue can look quite stark against each other. To tone this down to a nail-suitable style we swapped the royal blue for a navy (Model's Own - Betty Blue) and used a darker Raspberry colour for the red (Barry M).

I wouldn't wear these nails on a day to day basis, but they are great for a fun holiday manicure!



Saturday, 19 October 2013

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

I have tried diamonds a few times since I had one in my first WAH Nails mani. However, I've never been very successful. The shape is so simple, so I couldn't understand why I was struggling so much.

My first WAH mani

I decided to give it a go with a silver filling, hoping this would make the diamond stand out a little more. I painted on the silver in a rough diamond shape using a small brush. Once this was dry I drew the detailing on with a black nail art pen. As I did this freehand the lines are a bit wobbly. You could get neater lines with a striper brush, but I was keen to keep them as thin as possible as this diamond is quite small due to my short little nails. 

To keep with the glitzy theme I added a second accent nail with a hint of Barry M - Amethyst, which is a gorgeous purply-silver glitter. I framed this in black vertical lines, and added horizontal lines in a fish bone effect. 

Due to the rather sparkly accent nails I stuck to a soft base colour for this mani, Barry M - Cappuccino which we have swatched here

Now I've conquered my diamond demons expect to see a few more popping up on here! How do you incorporate diamonds into your designs?



Friday, 18 October 2013

Purple Haze

I roped my Cath Kidston hand model in again for a very different mani. This time we went for a glittery geometric purple design.

Strangely the dark purple used on three nails is a Rimmel polish called 'Blue My Mind'. We decided this must be some kind of irony, as it is definitely purple! I picked out this colour as as a base for the mani as it goes perfectly with one of my new glitters, Barry M - Amethyst. For the second accent nail we chose a lilac shade, again from Rimmel. I drew on the triangles freehand using a white nail art pen.

This design was quick and easy to do as only one nail required detailing. The little triangles could have been neater, but we were pleased with the final design. 

These nails are perfect for a party! 



Thursday, 17 October 2013

Barry M Berry Cosmo

Berry Cosmo, Barry M, £2.99
During a recent trip to Boots I picked up the newest member of Barry M's permanent collection, Berry Cosmo. This is a gorgeous, deep purple shade which is perfect for this time of year. As with all Barry Ms it applies nicely and dries in relatively good time. This was opaque in one coat but I always apply two for good measure. 

As we get deeper into the season I like to wear darker, richer colours so will be turning to Berry Cosmo a lot. I love Barry M's seasonal and textured ranges but I wish they'd add more permanent colours like this as I like knowing that I can go and re-buy when I run out! 

Have you got any new fave autumn shades?


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Mint Monochrome

Last week I had a girly evening of nail painting and cake baking with my sister. I did most of the nail painting and baking, but she was happy to provide her hands, and bowl licking skills!

Laura chose Rimmel - Peppermint as the main colour for her mani. Her next choice was the gorgeous L'Oreal top coat - Confetti, we love how well this goes with the mint. It looks like a tiny little duck egg! Finally, I added a second accent nail with a black and white pattern. 

I painted this pattern on with a small striper brush, starting from the middle and working outwards. I've tried this pattern with a few colours now and I really like it. It's simple and quick to do but a bit more exciting that standard stripes. You can mix and match the colours however you like. 

Here's the cake we (well, I) made, a classic Lemon Drizzle made from our mum's recipe, yum! It's a bit smaller than usual as we took out a couple of fairy cake sized portions out of the mix to reward ourselves for all the hard nail painting work. Let me know if you want the recipe. 


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Models Own Sardonyx

Sardonyx, Models Own, £5
I was given this lovely polish by a friend for my birthday and was so excited to try it out. I know I'm a bit late to trying the Velvet Goth collection but I thought I'd give my two cents anyway! I'm not sure what I expected from the polish but it is quite weird. The texture is like nothing I have ever tried before. I thought that the polish was just a bit gloopy but it's just incredibly thick. The colour is beautiful and the little flecks of red glitter make me think of Dorothy's ruby slippers but when it dries it goes matte which looks a bit odd. I assume that it's supposed to look like velvet but I don't think it really achieves this. Saying that I adore the deep red with the glitter and I absolutely LOVE it with a top coat. 


Monday, 14 October 2013

Roses Are Red

For the past few weeks I have been challenging myself to try designs that I haven't done before. Partly to improve my skills and also to give you lot something interesting to look at!

With the help of a hand model, Marielle, last week I tried out big roses. We chose to stick to the traditional red, but jazzed it up a bit with a sparkly accent nail. I was intending to add a leaf here and there, but forgot my green varnish, oops! I'm actually quite glad though as I think it looks nice and neat without. 

These were surprisingly easy to do and we were very happy with the results. I started with a nude base on all the nails and then added a couple of coats of red onto half of each nail. Both the reds are from our (vast!) Barry M collection. Once dry I used a small brush to draw on the rose outline, starting in the centre and working my way outwards. The good thing about flowers is that they are all different, and each nail does not have to be a perfect replica of the others.

I liked this design so much I tried it again this weekend on my boyfriend's mum! However, this time we chose to incorporate it into a mixed design. The rose was an accent nail surrounded by a dotty design. Instead of the traditional red we used Barry M (again!) 'Cappuccino' which Emma earlier reviewed here.

The rose looks completely different outlined in white, but we were just as pleased with it. I'd also like to try the roses in pastels, and not forget the leaves!

What's your favourite rose-based nail art design?

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