Saturday, 31 May 2014

Fantastic Flavour Fancies

I don't know about where you are but it is nice and sunny in East London today. As a treat I popped out and got myself a Twister. Lordy I love a Twister! This seems to be something of a tradition for me - as soon as the sun comes out I nip to the shop and get myself an ice cream. Last time I got one I was inspired to create this mani. 

I chose lollies that I enjoyed as a child: Magnum (a real treat as it was £1!!), Zoom, Fab, Twister, Strawberry Split. There was no better sound as a kid than the ice cream van on your street. The panic as you struggled to find 50p and run to the van in time. Ah the memories! 

What was your favourite ice lolly when you were young?


Friday, 30 May 2014

Barry M Limited Edition

Earlier this week we got some VERY exciting nail mail - a Barry M haul of polishes, lipstick and lip balm. First up we've swatched the four Limited Edition polishes, which are due for release in June. Two will be available exclusively at Boots, and the other two exclusively at Superdrug.

The collection is bright and summery, with two metallics, one shimmer and one creme. The bottles are super cute, and the names are all based on the seaside. They're making us dream of sun, sand and ice creams!

L-R: Superdrug: Promenade*, Seaside*. Boots: Carousel*, Bikini*
This is Promenade*, the first of the exclusive Superdrug duo. It's a bright metallic Barbie pink. As usual, Barry M have nailed the formula, this polish had the potential to be thin and lack in colour density, but it was bright and opaque in two coats! Definitely an eye catcher, especially as the metallic effect catches the light beautifully.
The second Superdrug polish is Seaside*, another bright metallic but this time blue. In the bottle it looks similar to Pacific from the Aquarium collection, but this polish is a much brighter blue, and doesn't have the same greeny/gold tones. The metallic effect of this polish really makes it look like sea water, glimmering in the sun! I used three coats to make this totally opaque.

Moving on to the Boots polishes, this is Carousel*. You can't see it too well in these photos but this is a lovely coral colour with a gold shimmer - you can see it a little bit in the bottle. This colour is really me and one I will be wearing a lot over summer. I used two coats here. 

Finally, my favourite of the four, Bikini* which will be available at Boots. This is the only creme polish with no shimmer, and it's a beautiful purpley blue colour. It's a great fun shade for a plain mani or nail art - I've already done some nail art on it which you'll see soon. This swatch is two coats. 
The two Superdrug polishes will be available in store from 4th June. The two Boots polishes will be available in store from 11th June. Get them while you can as these gorgeous colours won't be hanging around for long!
Thanks for the sneak peek Barry M! 



Thursday, 29 May 2014

Peppermint Stained Glass

After a spate of floral designs, I'm back on a geometric kick again! When working on my Geometric Tips mani recently I wondered why not use that same design over the whole nail, to create a stained glass effect. 

To create this design I used three polishes; Rimmel - Nymph* and Peppermint*, Nicole by O.P.I - Yoga-Then-Yogurt* and a Barry M nail art pen. Peppermint is one of my all time fave minty shades, and the new Nymph is a slightly darker turquoise, I'm pretty sure Rimmel made them to be used in nail art together!!

This is pretty high up in my favourite nail art creations. Part of the reason I love it so much is how simple it was to create, there are really only three steps to it!

1. Apply two coats of white polish - let it dry.
2. Draw a series of triangles onto your nail in a random pattern using a nail art pen. Make sure you draw around the outer edge too.
3. Fill in a few triangles with mint and turquoise polish using a small brush.

You might want to neaten up the black lines if you've run over on any bits, and don't forget to seal it all in with top coat! I know we say things are simple all the time, but it always amazes me when I see how easy complicated designs seem when you break them down into stages. We are completely self taught, and if we can do it, so can you!!

We absolutely love seeing your nail art, especially if we've inspired you. Leave us some links or tweet us a pic @dahlia_nails


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

I'm A Pool For Galaxy

Jo and I will be writing a lot about the Coty event that we went to last week as we received so much polish - did you see the Insta photo?? - that we will be kept busy for a month or two. We still can't quite believe that we were lucky enough to get invited. As well as the goody bag that we were kindly given we were allowed to pick three colours from a whole range of Coty brands which was sooooo difficult! I decided to go for a shade that I wouldn't normally go for: I'm A Pool For Love* Nicole by OPI. It's a gorgeous purply, navy shimmer which is super shiny and sparkly - LOVE!

The first thing that sprung to my mind with this shade was that it would be a great base for a galaxy mani. I used some of the Nicole by OPI polishes that Jo reviewed here: At Least I Pink So*, I Shop Mintage*, Yoga-Then-Yogurt*, Always A Flirt*, and Fabulous Is My Middle Name*. I dabbed all of the colours on in random splodges using a make-up sponge and then dabbed some little white dots on using a thin brush. 

This is the second time I have tried galaxy nails and I am afraid that I'm a bit addicted. Expect to see more variations in the near future. 


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Snazzy Sweetheart

O.P.I -Sweetheart* is the perfect everyday shade of pink. It's just pink enough to not be a nude, but stops short of any correlation with Barbie-esque tones. It's the exact right shade to wear to work, elegant and feminine, but in no way 'baby pink'. The most similar polish I have is Barry M's Rosehip* which has a lot more white in. I've been looking for this shade of pink for a while so I was beyond pleased to find it on the shelf at the Coty event we attended recently. 

I was so pleased with the formula of this polish, opaque in two coats (although I added a third for good luck) and silky smooth. Topped with Seche I've managed to make it last much longer than my usual average without chipping!

Of course I couldn't resist adding some nail art to this polish, it was just screaming out for a design!

I added this design on with a nail art pen, which is why it's a little more wobbly than I would prefer. It's something I've had in the back of my mind a while as it crops up on Instagram from time to time, usually in mix and match designs. I thought it would be really fiddly and slow to do, but once I got started it was pretty simple. Just draw on a grid (if you use a striping pen you'll get neater lines than me), and then fill half of each square in using a nail pen. Easy peasy! 

This is a really fun, striking design and when I move my nails around it's almost an optical illusion. From afar these look like a nail wrap - which isn't something I usually think with my nail art. I'm so pleased with how well this design works as a full mani, not just an accent nail. Very snazzy!!


Monday, 26 May 2014

Nicole by O.P.I Spring Summer Collection

Emma and I were lucky enough to attend our first press event this week, where we got to view a ton of new collections from Coty brands, including Rimmel, OPI and Sally Hansen.

Our day started when we met for lunch - a comedy of errors at The Diner where they got every single stage of the process wrong in some way! We were already in fits of giggles by this point so it was going to be a good afternoon. We headed to the event a bit later on, trying to avoid the sudden downpours which graced London that afternoon (luckily I had Emma on hand to observe the time and weather every few minutes, keeping me fully up to date!). Once there we got treated to a quick manicure, met the lovely Laura from Rimmel London, viewed all the new nail collections, and tried (but failed) not to destroy the interior decor! We were over the moon when we left, laden down with a ton of press samples. The icing on the cake was getting to meet a few of our favourite nail bloggers, the inspirational Alice, Sammy and Allie

We're getting to work swatching all our new polishes for you. Today we have the pretty Spring/Summer collection by Nicole for O.P.I. All swatches were taken in natural daylight, using Seche Vite as a top coat.

L-R: I Shop Mintage*, Fabulous Is My Middle Name*, Yoga-Then-Yogurt*, At Least I Pink So*, Always A Flirt*, Be Awesome*

This is At Least I Pink So*, a pretty, pastel baby pink. Although this is undeniably pink and girly, it stops just short of Barbie pink, making it a very wearable shade. The formula is gorgeous, thin and easy to apply whilst becoming opaque in two coats.  

Next we have the only green of the bunch, I Shop Mintage*. Compared to some other mint shades this is at the green end of the scale. I usually prefer something with a little bit more of a blue tinge, but this polish is gorgeous. Again the formula is lovely, but this colour wasn't quite so dense, so I had to use three coats.

Yoga-Then-Yogurt* is the off-white that I have been looking for. It's awesome! We use white a lot as a base for nail art, but I've also been after one for every day use. Pure white can look a little like tippex so I wanted an off-white shade and I'm so happy to find it. This polish is perfectly named as the colour is just like natural yoghurt. This is two coats and you can see it's opaque with no streaks or pale patches. 

This is the brightest shade in the collection. Always A Flirt!* verges on neon, but instead gets it's glow from a dense pink shimmer. You can't see the shimmer properly until it's on your nails, then it catches the light and reflects gold, pink and reddish tones. It's a beautiful colour, although probably not something Emma or I would wear on a daily basis. The shimmer doesn't lower the standards of the formula we've been so pleased with so far, again this was two easy coats. 

Be Awesome* is a clear glitter suspension which reminds me of the carnival! The diamond shaped glitter pieces are purple, pink, blue, gold, green and silver, and make me think of a harlequin. This polish is undoubtedly gorgeous, but it was a total pain in the bum to get onto my nails. There doesn't seem to be enough glitter pieces in the polish, so using the brush was a dead end. After a few attempts I resorted to placing the glitter pieces onto my nails with a toothpick. The result was beautiful, but be aware you need a fair amount of patience to get there! 

Last but not least is Fabulous Is My Middle Name*, a purple glitter polish. This glitter formula is much denser than the last, and paints on with the brush just fine. The glitter pieces are all small but range in shape and colour, resulting in a purple and silver shade mani which catches the light in different ways. I didn't use a base colour for this swatch and it's three coats. In hindsight you could use a base colour and get away with two coats of glitter. I think this would look awesome over a black base. 

These were my first Nicole by O.P.I polishes and I was very impressed. The formulas of the coloured polishes were wonderful, and the glitters are beautiful. I'll definitely be making the most of these shades over the summer months. 

All of these polishes are available in Superdrug stores now, priced at £7.99 each. We were lucky enough to be given them as a press sample, thank you Coty!


Sunday, 25 May 2014

A Perfect Pear

I found inspiration for this print from one of my fave places - Pinterest. I adapted the print a little it as I wanted the base colour to show through a bit more. I used Barry M's Blackberry as the base colour for this mani and drew on the little pears with my white nail pen. I find that the nail pens are good for drawing larger areas that need filling but are not so good for detail as they are a tad too thick. 

I used two other Barry Ms for the pear colours: Strawberry Ice Cream and Key Lime. I was going to leave the pears without an outline but they looked a bit strange so I went around with the black nail pen to finish the look. I used the white nail pen again to add a little highlight. 

Are any of you on Pinterest? We would love to check out your accounts so leave links below please:)


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Geometric Tips

It's been a little while since I've graced the pages of this blog with geometric nail art, so I thought I should change that asap. This design came together from a mixture of geometric prints I've seen over the past six months or so, including an obscure picture on the wall of a tiny cafe in the alps. Geometric mountain prints always strike a chord with me as they mix two of my favourite things! I didn't aim for this design to resemble mountains, the shapes were just drawn on randomly, but in the end they do remind me a little of ice, or rocky formations.

The base colour here is the absolutely gorgeous O.P.I - Down To The Core-al*. I used it with O.P.I's white base coat Put A Coat On* which really helps to bring out the neon brightness! We nearly always use a white base for bright colours as it makes them pop - remember this when you dig out your summer shades!

Once the two coats of coral were dry I drew on the geometric outlines (just a series of triangles) using a Barry M nail pen, then filled in the shapes with a white pen, and neatened it up with the black again. Although this requires a little bit of patience as each layer dries, it was really easy to create, if you can draw triangles, you can create this nail art! 

These are real Saturday night nails - perfect for a party! What are you wearing on your nails tonight?


Friday, 23 May 2014

Tell Me About It, Stud

I bought some square studs recently on Amazon and have been going a bit crazy with them. I got these gun metal ones and some gold ones for about £3 which isn't too bad. I have seen manis like this one around but the studs always seem to fit other people's nails perfectly. I found these a bit big so had to space them out to look decent which was a bit annoying. Overall though I liked the outcome of this mani as it was quick and easy - great for when you want a striking look but don't have long to spend on your nails. 

The two colours I used are from the new Barry M Gelly collection: Almond* and Coconut*. 

Have you guys got any recommendations for nail decorations?


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Models Own: Nudes

As you all know, I'm a big fan of Models Own polishes, so you may not be surprised to hear that I have four different nude shades from them! I did a review on Nude Beige in our very early days, but since then I've acquired three more similar shades. Upon realising I had this little collection I thought it would be interesting to compare them.

L-R: Cloud 9, Naked Glow, Utopia, Nude Beige
Cloud 9 - This is the palest of the bunch, a sheer, cream colour leaning a little towards a yellowy shade. Cloud 9 is the only polish to contain a slight shimmer. As you can see from the swatch below it's a thin formula (this is two coats), which is unusual for Models Own. I like this polish but was hoping it would come out a little more off white and less yellowy. 

Naked Glow - This is the only HyperGel in my nudes collection. I've spoken about having issues with the HyperGel formula in the past, but I think that might have been isolated to my lilac polish, as this one is much better behaved. It's still a thick formula so you have to use extra care when applying, but I found it fairly easy to use and was pleased with the finish. Colour-wise I think this is my new favourite, it's a lovely middling nude shade and goes with almost any outfit! 

Utopia - This is an old favourite and has been featured by both Emma and myself many times on this blog. We love Utopia as a base for nail art, and it continues to impress. This polish is at the dusty pink end of the nude scale, absolutely perfect for this time of year. My bottle is getting old (and well used) so the formula isn't as forgiving at it used to be, might be time for a replacement!

Nude Beige - As one of my first ever Models Own polishes NB holds a special place in my heart. It's very dark for a nude, but I have dark cuticles so find it works pretty well. It's a lovely warm rich colour which is unusual in nude shades, and makes it stand out from the crowd. I love a good brown shade, so this one gets a thumbs up from me. It's an oldie but a goodie! You can see my earlier review of this polish here.

And now, because we'd feel naked without it, here's what they all look like with some simple nail art! I added quick hearts, of varying sizes, with a nail art pen. These were super easy and turned out pretty cute!

Apologies that my nails are not very even at the moment, I've had a series of breakages and splits, which is getting very boring now! Any advice how to taken weak nails?

Which is your go-to nude shade?


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Whilst rifling through my wardrobe for inspiration - on the same day as coming across my cat shirt - I came across this pair of jeans. Yes they are lilac, floral, jeans! I love a floral mani and haven't done one in a while so thought that I would give this print a go. I used Rimmel's 'Mary Mary Quite Contrary' for the base. Jo and I both love this colour for nail art. It's a pale lilac with a hint of grey which makes it nicely neutral with a girly hint. To create the flowers I used an array of Barry M shades: Bright Pink, Shocking Pink, Lychee, and Greenberry. I topped it all off with a little white highlight from my nail pen and a slick of Seche Vite. 
I spent some time in the garden last weekend to take advantage of the sunshine and plant some little flowers. Hopefully I will get some pretty petals like these growing! 


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

It's Alright, 'Cause I'm Saved By The Bell

We are totally going through a bit of a 90's phase at the moment, it's amazing! To keep up with this nostalgic theme I've created a Saved By The Bell themed design for you today. 

I was in the mood for a bright mani and about thinking of what sort of pattern to create when it suddenly hit me where I've seen some brilliant patterns. The Saved By The Bell opening credits of course, so much clashing! There are an insane amount of patterns involved in the opening sequence (as with most 90's TV - remember Clarissa?!) so I had to pick just a few.

I thought I'd stick with one base colour, and mix and match the patterns on top, otherwise it was going to start turning into a bit of a mess! I mixed two purples together to get this shade as I discovered I only have lilac or very dark purple, but nothing in between (this needs to be addressed sharpish!). As well as patterns from the credits, I added in a letter B for the Bayside Tigers, in pink to suit the colour scheme. Bayside colours are actually red and white but I thought that might look a little odd. 

I was so pleased with this mani until I smudged the thumb during clean up, grrr! It was super fun to do though and would be perfect for a 90's themed party. I think next time I'll go all out with the colours and get some neon yellow in there (also on the polish wish list). 

I used to love SBTB so much, can't believe it's taken me so long to put it on my nails! I've got the theme tune well and truly stuck in my head now though. What was your favourite 90's TV show? 


Monday, 19 May 2014

Tutorial: Easy CocoCat

As I was looking through my wardrobe for some nailspo I came across this pretty blouse from River Island. I was in love with this when I bought it as it reminded me of the Miu Miu SS10 collection which was soooo cute. Even though I can't draw cats very well I knew that I wanted to give this print a try on my nails.  Here's how I did it...

The colours I used for this all came from my Barry M stash. From left to right they are: Coconut*, Lychee and Pink Flamingo. The tools I used came from two different sets: the pink are from Topshop and the white are from Ebay. They both work just as well but the white were a fraction of the cost. 

How to:
1. Paint two coats of your pale base colour
2. Use your dotting tool to create random dots in your darker beige colour
3. Using your black and white nail pen, draw some cats with neck/tail bows. For the sitting cat I started with the head, then drew the bow, and then the body. For the standing cat I drew the head and body, then the bow, and then the tail. 
4. Colour the bow with your pink polish
5. Finish with a quick-drying top coat.

Et voila! 

I am still so in love with this new Gelly shade, it is the perfect base for nail art. I wish I was a bit better at drawing cats but it's probably a good thing I'm not otherwise I would be doing cat nails every day and Jo might get a bit annoyed! 


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Vintage Florals

It's been a little while since I did a floral mani, at least a week or two! For someone who loves florals as much as me, that's a long time. To compensate I decided to use two colours for today's design. The colour scheme was inspired by a dress I wore to Ascot recently, a floral blue, grey and pink number. I'm not sure I've ever used a mix of colours in a floral design before, so it made a nice change.

I started with a white base and picked out three shades of blue, and three of pink for the flowers. The flowers are fairly abstract and I didn't add any petal details. Instead I started with various sized dots of the different colour shades, and layered them, mixing the colours together a little. Using a mix of base shades for the flowers makes them all look different, rather than too uniform. I filled in the gaps with green leaves to bring everything together.

I love how the mix of two different flower colours turned out, the blue and pink really complement each other. The colour scheme reminds me a lot of vintage styles. 

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