Sunday, 31 August 2014

Chai & Cardamom


Today I'm showing off swatches of two of the new Barry M gelly shades. Six were released for autumn this week, and I bought my two favourites. The other four were shades of yellow/red/brown - they were gorgeous colours but not ones I thought I'd regularly wear on my nails. Instead I went for the grey (Chai) and the green (Cardamom) as these are colours I can see myself wearing.

Here's Cardamom - in these photos I've used two coats with no topcoat. I've included pics from my phone and my camera as they've captured the colour slightly differently! I love this, it's kind of a muted, forest green, kind of khaki and I'm definitely wanting to use it in some camoflage-print nail art! 

This one is Chai, again I've included pics from both my phone and my camera. This is two coats with no topcoat, and is a lovely mid-grey with great coverage. I can see this being a nice shade to wear to work, or a base for nail art!

I really like these two shades and can see myself using them a lot, especially in autumn/winter. I'd recommend checking out the other shades that have been newly released too - they're gorgeous rich colours, especially Mustard (yellow).

August Haul


I don't usually do these kind of posts but I realised I bought/acquired lots of polish this month, so I thought I would show you what I got! I was debating whether to do the Models Own 6-for-£20 offer, but when I realised I had bought this many already I decided against it!!

From left(ish)...

The Nails Inc and Sinful Colors on the left along with Barry M Rosehip (pale pink) in the middle were prizes from Naily Mail's giveaway! Then the yellow/pink/green speckle ones are my bargains from Spain!

The Barry M selection was a result of 3-for-2 being on in Boots and Superdrug, and because some new ones were released! I picked the matte pink as it matches my work uniform, and the rest just because they're gorgeous <3

Then there's my two naughty buys from Polish Me Silly, via Rainbow Connection. I've wanted the green/white thermal one (Minty Madness) for ages, but when I decided I was going to get it, it was out of stock and only became available this last week! I also picked one of their fab looking multi-chromes after seeing a swatch of it on Instagram. These cost me over £20 just for two which usually I wouldn't stretch to, but these were just too beautiful to resist.

Lastly there's two of the Revlon Parfumerie polishes which have been in PoundWorld recently - an absolute bargain as they retail for £6.49 in Boots! I picked two I'd admired when they were released but didn't want to spend all that money on.

I'm appalled at myself for spending so much, but at the same time, eeeee look at all these pretties! <3 Hopefully I should have enough polishes to keep me going all of September and I won't have to buy any new ones........maybe......

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Second Visit to Pastille!

(above pic from

(Warning - pics of toes/pedicure in this post!) 

As I posted about here, last month I had a gel manicure done at a salon for my holiday. I took a while deciding which salon to go to - I'd never had my nails done professionally before so had no idea where would be good, so I turned to social media for help. Browsing through lots of salons I eventually found Pastille Beauty Salon in Leeds - they had a great online presence, with an up-to-date website and daily updates and photos posted on Instagram and Twitter. I booked my appointment via email after seeing their beautiful nail designs and was very happy with my holiday nails!

Recently they ran a competition on Instagram to win a free manicure, so I just had to enter as I really wanted to go back to Pastille! The competition required followers to find any manicure that they'd love to have on their nails, and submit a picture. Pastille then picked their favourite submitted manicure and offered it for free to that person. And that person was meeee!! This is the design I submitted, done by the fab @iscreamnails who are based in Australia and who I discovered on Instagram.

Once I was told I'd won the mani in gel, I actually realised I wouldn't be able to have a super-bright, long-lasting mani like this as it definitely wouldn't be considered work appropriate! I discussed this via email with one of the lovely owners, Erene, and we decided I'd have the design done on my toes instead - I had wanted to book a gel pedicure anyway!

My appointment was on Thursday afternoon and I'd also booked in for a mani using normal polish too (so I would be able to remove it before work). I didn't get the winning design done with normal polish because it would have taken foreverrrr with all the layers of colour. With gel each layer was dried under the UV light instantly!

Olivia was doing both my mani and pedi, which was great because I already knew how skilled she was after she did my holiday mani! She wasn't phased by the complex design I'd picked, and immediately got started. I got to sit in a really comfy armchair while poor Olivia ended up sitting on the floor, adding one colour at a time, using a teeny brush to create the curves, zigzags and dots. She did this sooo efficiently and with no hesitation and I looooooove the result! I love how each toe is slightly different, adding to an amazing overall effect. I'm wearing sandals from now on, even in the rain!!

Here's a pic of the pedicure in progress:

And the finished result - I love the first pic - me taking a pic of Olivia taking a pic of them!!

The big toes are my absolute favourite. We decided to make the design semi-symmetrical, with elements the same but also slight differences on each foot. I can't believe the detail on my smaller toe-nails! I also think it's even better than the initial design I asked for - nicer colours and sharper/neater lines and shapes.<3

We then sat down to do my fingers, and after standing mesmerised in front of the big wall of polish, I eventually settled on a bright pink OPI - sorry, I've forgotten the name of it! As Olivia was painting my nails we decided to add a glitter gradient as well. The glitter was Essie but although I looked at what it was called, I've also forgotten that, doh! 

Again, I was so impressed at Olivia's precision and attention to detail. There was no cleaning of cuticles or anything like I always have to do with my own manicures, the polish was applied perfectly. I love this manicure and the pink is stunning. I think they look like falsies and even my boyfriend who knows how long my nails are asked if they were real when I met up him afterwards!

Thanks so much for my prize and my beautiful fingers and toes. I recommend you follow @pastillebeauty on Instagram to see their fab work, and to book in for a visit if you live nearby :-) xx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Orly Nail Rescue


Last week I had a really bad nail break- it didn't break right off but cracked really low down. I posted a pic on Instagram asking for help- I have used the 'teabag repair' method before but found that this never really held more than a day, especially if I was at work!

A fab person suggested I try ORLY Nail Rescue so I had a quick look online to see what it was and how much it cost. It was quite pricey at £10.95 but I felt it was my only option so ordered it from Amazon. After an agonising wait for it to come (I was sure it'd arrive Tuesday after the bank holiday weekend, but it came today!) I was eager to try it out.

This is what comes in the kit - nail glue, magic(!) powder and a buffer. The instructions were nice and consise:

Here's my nail before I started. Gross right?! It fully bent back when I was opening a fridge, I'm surprised it didn't snap right off, but instead I got this kind of bend/break in the top layer right across, and a small crack on the left side...

After I removed my polish and teabag I followed the above instructions. It was dead easy....Here's what it looked like before buffing away the excess:

And after: (sorry about the state of them in general!)

It was still quite rough even after buffing, it kind of felt like textured polish! I went around the cuticle with acetone on a small brush to try and create a neater edge. To counteract the roughness I had to apply quite a few coats of basecoat, polish and topcoat to get my nail looking as smooth as the others, but I think it worked! 

My nail definitely feels a lot stronger. I will let you know how long it lasts for, but hopefully I can just re-apply or top up the powder every couple of days or before each mani, as needed, until my nail is long again! Annoying but I'm willing to do it to keep this nail as this is my swatching/photographing hand!

Also, the little pot of powder and the bottle of glue are quite big, this kit should last me for ages, to keep this break mended and for any future ones, so I reckon it was worth the money. 

One last photo of my nails all painted - you can't even tell the nail rescue stuff is on!! :-) This is Porchester Square by Nails Inc and it's a lovely nude, very subtle and perfect for work (and a base for nail art!) 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Revlon Parfumerie: Wintermint


As lots of you may know by now, Poundworld have recently stocked the new(ish) Revlon Parfumerie polishes, a range of scented varnish released just earlier this year. They usually retail for £6.49 and I treated myself to one earlier in the year to see what it was like, and also because the bottles are gorgeous! 
When I heard that they were in Poundworld I went as soon as I could to see what they had. In my local one (York) they didn't have every single shade in the collection, but there was about 8 different ones, including two I'd previously lusted after. I didn't hesitate in treating myself and I came away with Wintermint and Autumn Spice for the grand total of £2.

I decided to apply Wintermint, which is a sparkly, shimmery green peppermint shade with a scattering of pale turquoise glitter. In these pictures I used three coats with no base or topcoat. I looooove it, it's subtle enough for work but it's got a gorgeous shimmer to it.

The scent is not what I expected - I loved the colour of this which is why I picked it but I wasn't keen on the thought of nails that smelt like toothpaste. However, that's not what kind of 'minty' scent this is - it's sweeter - it reminds me of Kendal Mint Cake or any kind of minty sweet, and it's quite nice. 

The only thing I would say is that it's not a scent I want to constantly smell - I think I had this issue with the last one I tried (Ginger Melon). I've just eaten a slice of toast and it was strange to suddenly get a waft of mint while eating!!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Dotted Flowers


Another new manicure today. I wanted to create some nail art, but I can't have them too crazy for work as I've mentioned loads of times! I decided a possible way round this would be to use really pale pastels - from a distance you can hardly tell there's a design at all (which made these SO hard to photograph!!)

I started with a base of Huckleberry (Barry M) and then used my Models Own dotting tool to create the flowers, one layer at a time, using Rosehip (Barry M), Sugar Apple (Barry M) and Miss Sunshine (Accessorize). I am still totally in love with the pastel Gellys that Barry M do, and I just wish they did a pastel yellow - they don't currently which means I always use this Accessorize pastel yellow, which is running out :-(

I finished off with white dots using Barry M's white nail art pen, and a topcoat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri!

As I said, these were so hard to photograph! Half the pictures I took completely washed out the design and you couldn't see it at all, the other half the design looked okay but my fingers looked all red/orange/gross! I've had to include the latter pics so apologies for how my fingers look....

Thursday, 21 August 2014

New Almond nail shape!


Posting to show you my newly shaped nails that I'm really pleased with! I decided to re-shape them after seeing a lot of people with gently pointed nail tips, including AJ from Nail Lacquer UK and my friend Jenny at work. I've also cracked my index finger really low down :-( so thought filing them slightly shorter would make the break less tragic when it finally surrenders!

Here they are with a simple diagonal gradient using Barry M's Rosehip and Sugar Apple that I wore for work:

The last pic above showing where the break is! So bad! :-(
I also experimented with adding a pastel-ish galaxy design over the top of them, but I think I prefered the gradient on it's own!

I was recommended to get Orly's Nail Rescue to mend my break - I'm desperate so I've ordered it to give it a try, I'll let you all know if it works! 

I also recieved my prize from The Naily Mail giveaway today, which was some beautiful polishes, including a new bottle of Rosehip which I need as mine is running out and it's definitely my favourite polish EVER at the moment! Also included was a Nailtiques treatment to make nails stronger, which I'm really up for trying as mine are so bad at the moment. I will keep you updated on my progress there too!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Mix-and-Match Pink & Blue

This was my first go at nail art since before my hols, so I decided to re-create a design I'd recently seen and loved! 

I picked a design by @iscreamnails that I saw on Instagram. They remind me of WAH nails with really funky and bold designs, and most of their manis being skittle - with a different design on each finger. They're in Australia though so I can't visit!! :-(

I used Pink Veneer by Models Own and Regents Place by Nails Inc. I also made use of my Barry M nail art pens and my She Sells Seashells nail vinyls for the zig zags. I love the outcome, and although the design is not originally mine I loved being able to recreate it! It did take ages though! Here's the outcome:

And here's the original manicure from Instagram:

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Gel nails for Salou


If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you'd know I've just been away on my holidays - 10 days in Salou! I'm back home now, and it went so fast!

Before I went, I decided to get my nails done with gel so I didn't have to worry about chips or have to take any polish with me. After a lot of research into salons I eventually picked Pastille in Leeds as they've got active social media accounts meaning I could look at all the pretty nails they'd done! When I booked, I found out I was getting my nails done by Olivia, who I already knew of via her personal Instagram account which was even cooler!

I picked the two brightest colours available, and went for a triangle design, which Olivia did soooo neatly! She didn't even use a template/vinyls for the white V, it's all freehand! I loved getting my nails done, it was such a treat, and Pastille and Olivia were so nice and friendly. My nails looked amazing for the whole of my hols and I couldn't stop taking pics of them - here's some:

And a pic of me and my boyfriend enjoying Cava Sangria....

And some cheap polishes I picked up in a gift shop - love these!

I'm back at work in a few days so I spent the last hour soaking off the gel nails, following the instructions Pastille posted on their Instagram. I wish I'd got it done in the salon cos it's taken me ages and is so fiddly! Here's two more photos - first is my nails as soon as I got them done then after 2 weeks (they're not faded, just different lighting!) to show the growth. Second pic is me taking them off!

As I said, I'm now back home in England so will be back posting regular nail art from now on! x