Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Dinky Daisies

The sun is out, yay! We are so inspired but this spell of good weather we've been having in London recently that we've got tons of summery designs for you. If you aren't already bored of florals, we've got some more for you today!

I love florals and all the different ways they can be incorporated into nail art, honestly, the possibilities are endless! I don't usually go for a uniform floral design as I think they look more natural a bit uneven. However, for today's nail art I used a polka dot format as a base, but instead of dots I used daisies! 

To create this design I started with a base of gorgeous blue Baker Street from Nails Inc. This colour is just stunning for summer and I love the formula, it dries so quickly (and bizarrely slightly matte). 

For the daisies I began with a framework of dots, spaced quite far apart to allow for petals. I just used my Barry M nail art pen, but you can use any nail art pen, or a dotting tool. Once I'd lined up where all the daisies would go, I added the petals to each dot. All you have to do for this step is add a circle of 5 dots around your central spot and it will create a flower shape. Finally, I used a yellow Models Own nail art pen to add a yellow dot in the centre of each daisy. I'm really sad as these didn't show up very well on the photo, but in real life they looked super cute!

This design would be perfect for a girly festive look, or any time during summer really! Choose your favourite colour as the base to adapt it easily to your style and wardrobe. Are you a bold and bright person or would you have your daisies over a softer pastel polish?


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Greenberry Pineapples

Greenberry is one of my favourite colours for summer as it's a bit of a brighter twist on a mint shade. I went for a simple pattern over it today to let the colour really stand out. Who can resist a pineapple print? Not me, that's for sure! I used my Barry M white nail art pen to draw on these easy pineapples - just draw some small oval outlines, do a few criss-crosses, and add a sprouty stalk. Simples! 

Have you created any pineapple nail art? Leave your link below, I'd love to see. 


Monday, 28 April 2014

Muji Pen Aztec

So I was doing a little Instagram stalking the other day and finally found out how One Nail To Rule Them All gets such thin neat lines. Alice uses a normal Muji pen to draw on some of her more detailed designs! I knew I had a similar pen somewhere so I dug it out and set to work. I've been itching to do a detailed Aztec design for a while but couldn't work out how to get the level of neatness I wanted. Using a fine tipped pen was absolutely perfect!

I based the design on a ton of different Aztec prints and patterns I found on Google images. I wanted each nail to be different so just took bits and pieces from various designs and put them together. My favourite part it the zig zag with additional parallel lines which I used on my pinky and middle finger (it's way better on my middle finger).

Using a pen was great as I could get much more detail into the design, but there are a few things to watch out for. The pen doesn't really dry properly on top of nail varnish, so if you touch it you will smudge it. I was being extremely careful not to smudge and was very lucky not to as I'm usually so clumsy (there is always nail polish in my hair!). You also have to wait for the polish to dry fully before you can use the pen. I struggled at first and the pen wouldn't draw very well, but once I'd got to my thumb the polish had dried enough and you can see the difference in the line quality and depth of colour.

I thought that a top coat would definitely smudge the design as the pen didn't seem to dry well. I was completely amazed that when I added a top coat (I used HK Girl) it didn't smudge at all! 

I couldn't bear to take this design off but there's no way I could recreate it on the other hand so I've just been walking around with plain polka dots on the other hand - it looks a bit nuts!!

Thank you so much Alice for this brilliant tip, I will definitely be using a pen again to add detailing, outlines, etc. Emma tried out using Sharpies to create nail art recently, see what she thought of the tecnique here.

Have you used gel pens for nail art before?


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Graffiti Nails Swatches and Review

When we saw the Graffiti Nails range over on One Nail To Rule Them All (one of our all-time faves!) we could not wait to try them. When we got asked to review some shades we nearly wet ourselves with excitement! Luckily we already had a wish list of shades so picking some was pretty easy but in all honesty we would have been happy with any as they are all great. 
First up we have Pistachio*. I feel like I bullied Jo into this - I love mint green and will always pick one given a choice. I was really impressed with the formula of the polish. The consistency and thin brush allow for a smooth  application which always helps. I could have got away with two coats here but went for three. 
As with mint green I have a bit of a thing for yellow polishes. I find that pastel shades suit my skin tone more than brights so was instantly drawn to Mellow*. Again, the formula of this polish was amazing. I usually find pastel yellows need a lot of coats to look decent but Mellow is opaque in two. Again, I used three here. This shade is so perfect for spring/summer, I can tell that I will be wearing it a lot. 
Morning Mist* is a really pretty, holographic glitter. I used two coats on my bare nails. I love this look! It was really hard to choose between this and Butterfly Pink but I am glad I went for this as it's a bit different and works so well on it's own or as a topper. 

Overall we have been really impressed with the Graffiti Nails range. At £3.99 each they are an absolute bargain. They look great, apply well, and are great quality. Top on our 'to buy' list are Butterfly Pink, Ice White, and Festival Glitter. Oh, and Tuscany! Let's just say pretty much all of them. If you buy three though you get free postage so you may as well get another as you're effectively getting it for the cost of postage, no?

Have you tried the Graffiti Nails range yet? What do you think? Buy now here.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Rimmel Stripes

I've got a box full of bright and fun Rimmel polishes which usually end up tipped out on the carpet while I'm working on nail designs. For this mani I spotted three colours which had fallen next to each other by chance and looked wonderful together. 

The blue is one of my all time faves, Mind The Gap, Victoria, the bright pink is Rita Ora Don't Be Shy* and the pale pink is Rita Ora Lose Your Lingerie*. 

I painted a pale pink base for this design and then added random stripes of blue and pink using a striping brush. This was so quick and easy and turned out so well, I'll definitely be trying it again with other colours. Such a lovely mani for all seasons!


Friday, 25 April 2014

Checkerboard Chick

Those of you who know me personally know that I am a massive Formula 1 fan. I was just sitting down to watch the Chinese Grand Prix when I was inspired to create some checkered nail art.  

Also, Emma and I were talking about Hairspray recently which is one of my favourite films. This design reminds me of Tracy's dress in the final scene and Penny's classic line 'I'm a checkerboard chick!'. Have you seen the film? Definitely a guilty pleasure, we know most of the words and even some of the dance moves!

I've seen a few people do similar designs and love how striking they are. I'd been putting off attempting them as they looked impossible to do. Finally I braved it and was pleasantly surprised to find it quite simple. I started with a white base, let it dry completely and then drew the squares on with a Barry M nail art pen. I drew it freehand so they're not exactly uniform, but close enough!

I really love how this design turned out, I think I'll keep it on for as long as it lasts!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Then and Now: Cath Kidston

Recently Emma found an old nail art design and recreated it to see how much difference there was between then and now. I was jealous so wanted to have a go too!! 

One of our earliest blog posts was a Cath Kidston inspired design which I created for a colleague. It's still one of my favourites so I wanted to see if the last six months of nail painting and blogging practice could produce an improvement. 


I used all the same colours for the recreation, but a few different techniques:

  • Polka dots - I used a Barry M plastic nibbed pen instead of a metal nibbed pen. This made it easier to achieve even dots and they are less likely to smudge with top coat.
  • Ring finger - instead of individual roses, I grouped smaller flowers together in bunches and filled the spaces between them with leaves. This looks much more natural and it's easier to get good coverage on the nail.
  • Middle finger - I was disappointed originally with the uniformity of the central white shape on this nail. For the recreation I used a large dotting tool to create a scalloped edged circle and filled in the centre. This is a vast improvement and is a technique I'd use again. The surrounding dots are still not perfect, but they are much more evenly spaced and sized. I actually believe that the rose on the original design is better than on the recreation, but I think that's more down to luck than any skill! 
  • Top coat - after testing many top coats I've found that my favourite so far is HK Girl by Glisten & Glow. This polish doesn't smudge the nail art and gives a perfect smooth surface and high shine finish which really adds that little bit extra to your design.


I was pretty happy with this design the first time around, and wasn't expecting the recreation to be vastly different. There are, however, a lot of small differences which come together to create a much more professional mani all round. It's also clear to see that, even if nothing else, my photography skills have improved greatly! 

Don't worry, we haven't run out of ideas and just started to re-use old ones, there are plenty of new designs coming up for you! 

My index finger nail would like to apologise for its current appearance, it's been in the wars this week. 


P.S. We were kindly asked to write a guest post for The Sequined Nail and it's live today!! Go check out what we got up to with leopard prints...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Artist Inspo: Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein - 'Brushstroke' 1965
Emma and I are both big fans of Roy Lichtenstein and went to the Tate Modern exhibition last year. It was a wonderful exhibit of his work and Emma blogged about it here.

I've been thinking of doing a pop art nail design for a while, but have been waiting for the right inspiration. This finally came along in Lichtenstein's 'Brushstroke', right. I've always loved the simplicity of this painting and recreated once before for a school art project.

To make this work as nail art I had to alter the design and decided to mix up the colours a little too while I was at it. I elongated the brush stroke to spread it out across four nails. 

To create this design I started with a base of white polish. Onto this I added the smallest dots I could, as close together as possible, using a black Barry M nail pen. Once the dots were dry I drew on the brushstroke outline using the same pen. I then filled the colour in with another Barry M pen, this time pink. Finally, I added the detailing with the black pen and topped it with HK Girl. 

I really wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, and was completely prepared to scrap it if the finished mani didn't do old Roy justice. However, I'm pretty pleased with the result and hope that you all feel the same. My brushstroke looks a little more like a ribbon as I spread it out, that's something I would try to improve if I did this design again.

Who's your favourite artist? Have you ever created nails inspired by their work?


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

What The Angels Eat

I'm not sure if Mark Twain was right when he said “when one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat” as I have never been a huge fan of the taste but they sure do look cute. Like my palm tree mani I found inspiration for these watermelon slices on Pinterest. I knew as soon as I saw the print that I had to try it on my nails.

Watermelon.I used Barry M's Rosehip* as the base for this look as it is a really soft pink that wouldn't intrude on the pattern too much. For the melon slices I drew some white triangles using my Barry M white nail pen and then used a small brush to add Barry M's Grapefruit and Mint Green. To finish I used my black nail pen to add the pips. Experience has taught me to take a pic of my mani before adding something that I am unsure of hence why I have one with pips and one without. I'm not sure which is my fave - I quite like both

Which version do you prefer? Pips or no pips?


P.S. Did you see that we're running a giveaway on our Instagram account? We've got some great goodies up for grabs. The giveaway is open until Saturday so make sure you enter!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Dotty Daisies

It's amazing what you can create with a dotting tool! These pretty pink daisies started off life as a circle of five dots. Once I added a few more dots the flowers emerged! Perfect for a sunny bank holiday Monday!

The polishes I used are all Barry M. The base is Rose Hip*, a beautiful pale pink. The pink petals are Grapefruit and the yellow centre is Lemon Ice Cream.

To create the daisies I started by adding circles of five medium sized dots using Grapefruit. Inside these dots I added smaller ones in Rose Hip. I then finished off the daisies with a yellow dot in the centre and sealed it all with HK Girl top coat. 

These aren't my usual type of florals but it's nice to have a change. These daisies are super cute and work in all kinds of colours. 

What are you getting up to today?


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

After all of the designs I gave you on my Easter wheel I am afraid that I went for a bit of a generic one for my own nails. I have seen variations of this design all over Pinterest and Instagram but I just couldn't help myself. Who can resist a cute Easter bunny? Certainly not me. 
Did anyone give up chocolate for Lent? I did not. However, I still feel as though it's only right that I eat my body weight in Mini Eggs today. It's what Jesus would've wanted right? Maybe not. 

What are you feasting on today? 


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Scalloped Edges

I love the scalloped edging trend and have been meaning to try it out on my nails for a while. A scalloped nail edge reminds me of a French tip, but with a bit of a twist.

To create this look I started with a white base coat. I then added a piece of striping tape across the top of each nail, and painted the nails orange up to the tape. After removing the tape I used a dotting tool to add the scalloping. It was a bit of a pain using the tape as I had to wait for the polish to dry fully first. I'm still trying to work out a way quicker way to create this lovely look.

I used two of Rimmel's Rita Ora polish range - Hot White Love* and Oragasm* (Emma's favourite polish name ever!). I've been dying to try out Oragasm as I've been after an orange polish for a while but wasn't brave enough to wear it. Over the white base this colour is incredible, it's so bright and rich and I love it!

Now I must remember to go back on a diet so I can fit into my favourite scalloped edged skirt and wear this nail design to match!


Friday, 18 April 2014

Sharpie Stripes

I stumbled across this post on The Beauty Department a little while ago and it really stuck in my head. So much so that when I saw these pastel Sharpies on offer the first thing that popped into my head was how I could used them for some nail designs. This was actually my second attempt at using them on my nails as I totally effed up my first mani by using a top coat. The top coat seemed to break down the ink which was very weird so I didn't use one in this pic which is why my nails don't look quite as smooth as they could. 

Overall I enjoyed using these. They are thinner than nail art pens which makes it easier to get nice fine lines. However, they weren't quite the little miracle workers I had hoped. I will probably try them again though as the first mani I created was an intricate aztec one and it looked pretty good before I ruined it.

Have any of you tried Sharpies on your nails? 


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Spring Greens

Vintage flowers & dotticureI seriously can't get enough of Models Own - Green Gladiola. It was the only new polish colour in their Sticky Fingers range and came out just in time for spring. 

When I saw this floral design on Instagram by Mllrdesign I knew I had to try it with Green Gladiola! I love the vintage look of the florals framed in ribbon-like stripes. As always, I changed the design around a bit, dropping the dots and doubling the accent nails from the original. I used striping tape to create white squares on my two middle fingers. I also chose to use just one main colour, but that's because I couldn't decide what to team it with!

I absolutely love this design and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was. I'm pretty lazy when it comes to faffing around with striping tape, but my little nails only needed a four strips each! I'm going a bit mad for florals at the moment, think I've caught a case of spring fever... 

What's your favourite spring design?


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Petite Palms

I have been in a bit of a tropical mood recently. I blame it on two things: the increasingly warm weather and the amazing summery prints doing the round on Pinterest. I found this print recently and knew that I would have to recreate it on my nails. What's cuter than little palm trees on a pink base?

I used Barry M's Strawberry Ice Cream for the base colour. Surprisingly this is my most used nail polish; it's nearly all gone! To create the palm trees I drew the shape with my white nail pen and then used a thin brush to colour them in. I used Barry M's Mushroom for the trunk and their special edition green from last year for the leaves. 



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Florals with Attitude!

There are a fair few Instagram accounts we frequently lust over and one of these is @attitude_nails. A few weeks back Nikki posted a photo with tons of different lettering using studs, leopard print, florals and other patterns. I really loved the floral lettering so decided to give it ago. 

Nikki used red and green flowers outlined in black, so to mix it up a bit I chose a more leafy and girly version. I used a combination of pastel tones from Rimmel to create this mani. Three from the Rita Ora collection - Pillow Talk* (base), Lose Your Lingerie* and Don't Be Shy* (flowers), plus Round and Round the Garden (leaves).  

To create the lettering I applied blobs of the darker pink, using a dotting tool in the vague shapes of the letters. I then filled the gaps in with leaves using a small brush and green polish. Finally, I added some rough detailing to the flowers with the lighter pink. I tried not to make the flowers or leaves too uniform as I think it looks more natural if they're a bit messier. I topped this mani with Matte About You from Essie, purely because I hadn't done a matte mani forever! 

I love that I got to take this photo while the sun was setting on a beautiful day in London, perfect lighting for this design!

If you are still wondering what the letters stand for, it's Dahlia Nails of course!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter Nail Art Ideas

I have experienced a bit of a nightmare with nail wheels over the past few months. When I order, I order in bulk and last time I did this I ended up with odd, almond shaped ones which I did not enjoy. Sending them back was too much hassle so I just reordered. Then they didn't show up. Argh! Luckily I bought from a decent place and they resent them to me. Now I have them I have gone crazy with designs and first up on my list was Easter.

Easter is one of the cutest holidays to design for as it's all about pastels, bunnies, dots and general girlyness so I went a bit OTT for this wheel. I'll go through the wheel in three sections but will try to keep my descriptions of the designs short and sweet. 
From L-R: simple black and white triangle on a textured pastel yellow base; mixed circles; white chevrons (I need to work on these a lot! Or buy some vinyls) on a mint green base; pink on pink roses; candy-coloured confetti over white; mixed black and white stripes over a pastel orange.

My surprise favourite of this batch was the confetti top coat. It's a really simple look that is good for when you're in a rush and can't be bothered to do anything more strenuous. 
From L-R: black and white tribal; textured polka dots; Easter bunny!; simple white flowers on a yellow base; mini crosses on a pale blue; a carrot for the bunny!

I like a few of these designs: the bunny and the crosses but particularly the polka dots on the textured base. 
From L-R: pink confetti over pink base; Easter egg; mini black polka dots; hatching chick; simple white tribal; cross on textured pink.

I think my favourite of this lot is the tribal. I was disappointed with the Easter egg. I could probably do this a lot better but I had already done the other designs and really did not have the patience to start all over again. 

I created all of these looks using Barry M nail paints and pens. 

Hopefully this has given you some ideas for next weekend. 


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Easter Dotticure

A 'skittle' mani is when each finger is a different colour. I don't often go for a full skittle mani but do like to incorporate the idea into nail art. As we're well into spring now I am loving light colours and pastel shades. For today's post I chose five different pastel shades to make a very simple design more interesting and striking.

I use uniform polka dots a lot, but usually small ones using a nail art pen. For a change I wanted to give big dots a go so dug out my dotting tools and set to work. I started with a base of Barry M - White. Once this was dry I added the dots using four more Barry M colours - Mint Green, Lemon Ice Cream, Strawberry Ice Cream, Blueberry Ice Cream, and Rimmel - Ultra Violet. 

To get smooth even dots always dab the polish onto a piece of foil (or similar) and dip the tool into that, rather than dipping directly into the bottle which I used to do!

This design reminds me of little Easter eggs so is perfect for this time of year!


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Aztec Splash

This design was inspired by a mani I saw on Instagram by Hey, Nice Nails! Their Instagram is full of stunning designs, definitely one to follow if you don't already. 

I used all Models Own polishes for this, starting with a base of Betty Blue. On top of this I added splashes of Cornflower Gleam, Pink Veneer and Green Gladiola using the corner of an old sponge. I was tempted to leave the mani as it was at that stage as the pastels over the blue looked awesome. However, I couldn't resist adding a hint of Aztec over the top, which I did using my Barry M white nail pen. The white Aztec is fun but it fades into the pastels a bit which is annoying. 

I'm really disappointed with how the photo of this came out. In hindsight I should have used brighter colours as the pastel shades blended with the white design and also don't stand out in the photograph. Unfortunately, I had run out of daylight so had to take this photo using a lamp and it just wouldn't catch the light right. More practice and a better light set up is definitely required! 

We're house hunting at the moment and a second bedroom is our number one priority, although I haven't let on that this will be turned into a polish room! 

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