Sunday, 27 February 2011

Theme: DC Comics - Wonder Woman


This is the design I have created for Wonder Woman based on her original costume in the comic books and the TV series, not the new covered-up look she’s been sporting recently.
Wonder Woman’s origin has been rewritten many times, one popular origin being that she was made from clay and blessed by the deities to receive beauty, strength, power, hunting instincts, speed and flight.
Her costume is red on the top with a gold design across, a gold belt and blue shorts with white stars on them.
I started with a base colour of Barry M’s Bright Red. I then taped off the upper half of my nail and painted the bottom with Orly’s Royal Navy. In my opinion this colour was a little too dark over the red. It would have looked great if I had laid down some white first.
For the gold, I used a medium length nail painting brush and stroked on China Glaze’s GR8 in stripes until I achieved the thickness I wanted. I made a large bubble of white on the gold belt and used the tip of a pin to flick out five points to create that star.
My nails didn’t provide enough room to draw multiple stars on for the blue shorts, so I used a dotting tool and added white dots instead.
I topped the whole thing off with Seche Vite and the design was complete!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Illusion Aztec by Accessorize

Last year MAC released some nail polishes with the Venomous Villains collection that were insanely popular! I did not manage to get any of them while but I heard that MAC’s Formidable was very similar to Orly’s Galaxy Girl, and MAC’s Mean and Green was similar to Orly’s Space Cadet.
You can see swatches of the MAC polishes and the mentioned Orly dupes here.

Here in the UK, we have our own little gems, some dupes for the MAC and Orly colours hidden away in Accesorize! They are only £4 a bottle but they look so similar that it is almost impossible to tell the difference.
I picked up one recently, Shade 38 Illusion Aztec. The main colour of the polish seems to be a deep moss green with a purplish red duo chrome and rose gold shimmer. It is beautiful!
The polishes are really good quality, the formula is excellent and it goes on smoothly without streaking. You can achieve best results from 3 coats. The brush, while being a little short, is a great size and shape.

The range of nail polishes can be found online at Accesorize's website. From what I’ve seen Illusion Bronze is the dupe for MAC’s Bad Fairy, and Illusion Purple Dream is the Dupe for MAC’s Formidable, so I may be getting those soon!





Thursday, 24 February 2011

Theme: DC Comics - Superman

Finally, a DC Hero rather than a villain, and he isn't even from Gotham!
A background on Superman

Just before the impending destruction of their home planet, Krypton, Jor-El and Lara lovingly place their baby son into a space ship and send him to a far away planet where he will grow up to a great destiny.
Kal-El crash lands in a small town called Smallville and the infant is discovered by a human couple, Jonathon and Martha Kent.  The couple decide to keep the child as if he were their own. Giving him the human name, Clark Kent, they raise him with great love and great kindness, but they soon discover he is not like normal children.  Clark, powered by Earth’s yellow sun, has superhuman speed, strength, hearing, super breath, heat and x-ray vision, the ability to fly and is invulnerable, except to radioactive pieces of his home planet, Kryptonite.
Clark faces his destiny, helped out by the wisdom of his birth father living on through the fortress of solitude,  and puts on a blue suit with a red cape and proudly wears the House of El crest on his chest, the S shape prompts Lois Lane to give him his title “Superman”.
The House of El crest has also been worn by Supergirl, Superboy and Krypto.

Onto the nails!! 
For this nail design, I painted my nails with Orly’s Royal blue.
Using a short nail art brush, I painted the yellow diamond shape with China Glaze’s Solar Power and allowed to dry. Next I painted an outline for the diamond shape and a small S with Barry M’s Bright Red.

Not bad for my first ever free-hand design!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Some simple French tips

I was thinking of calling this blog post "Interview Nails" but I guess they're still a bit too much for a formal interview, despite the fact that I am actually wearing one of these looks to two interviews today.

For the first look, I used Barry M Grey as an all over colour, 2 coats for perfection, and then topped it off with Seche Vite dry fast top coat. I left it until it was completely dry and hardened and added Eyeko's Vintage polish for tips, then used my Konad to add some shooting stars with GOSH's Holographic and topped the whole thing off with more Seche Vite.

For the second look, I used China Glaze's Sea Spray from the Anchors Away collection. I got a lovely finish from just 2 coats with this one also. This is a pale baby blue creme polish and it's a new purchase of mine. I absolutely love it! I am really into these more subdued, pale colours at the moment.
I topped Sea Spray off with Seche Vite, waited until it was fully dry and hardened and then added OPI's Austin-tatious Turquoise for the tips. I then added a cute little mermaid stamp in Konad's white special polish, and more Seche Vite to finish the whole look.
This one turned out very nautical themed! I think the colours work well together and that mermaid is just too cute! This is the one that I am wearing to my interview today, I hope they like it!


Oh, and I've been looking at other bloggers nail swatches and I see them holding the most random things! I decided to grab the nearest thing to me rather than a related nail polish, so here you have my pokewalker. Heehee....


Don't you just love how shiny Seche Vite makes the polish look? Since I started this blog I've used about a fifth of my bottle already!

So, off to my interview I go!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Kelier Crack Polish: FAIL

I have read about this polish in other blogs so I thought that I would give it a try. It is available from an online store called Born Pretty and it’s ridiculously cheap! I believe the shipping was free, but don’t quote me on that.
The Kelier Crack Polishes are a little different to the regular shatter polishes that you can get from Barry M, OPI and China Glaze, this one shrinks slowly and leaves you with a veining pattern on each nail, whereas the others look more like shattered pieces.

There is a wide variety of colours available in the Born Pretty online store, I opted for purple and red.
Delivery took a while, but the package was coming from Singapore and I ordered while they were away on holiday. When the package got here, it was quite confusing as the customs label read “electronics” and I was wondering what on earth I’d been sent. Inside was my two Kelier Crack polishes. It’s good news that the polishes did get here, I keep thinking about the possibility of customs looking inside the package and seeing that it doesn’t match the description!
With the shatter/crackle polishes, I find that they are really good if you have had a polish on for a few days and it’s just starting to chip. You just throw on the shatter polish and you have a quick, easy, revamped manicure ready to go for another few days.
That’s exactly what I did with the purple Kelier. I had been wearing my a-england Guinevere polish for 3 days with a top coat, then I applied the Kelier right over the top. Big mistake. The polish cracked alright, but the slightest touch and it flaked right off my nail.  Heck, I even blew on one nail and pieces blew right off. Yuck!
I decided to play around with the polish, to see if there was a trick to getting it right. I wanted to cover all my bases before I simply wrote it off.
I removed my nail polish and tried over bare, clean nails. Same thing, blew away and the rest rubbed right off.
I then grabbed two polishes that I thought would look good with the colours, grey for the purple crack and black for the red crack.
Now, the purple one is a really nice colour, it’s a dark purple, almost a violet and I would love to have a regular polish in this colour. The red however, is horrible. It is the colour of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup. It also does not layer well over darker polishes.
I got a nice pattern of veining from the purple crack over a Barry M grey, I also got a nice pattern from the red crack over a Barry M black, but the colour was terrible.
It seems that this polish is meant to be applied over a fresh colour that is still slightly wet, almost tacky if you like, but not a top coat or polish that has fully dried and hardened.

I repainted my nails with a-england Guinevere and then OPI top coat, let it set for 20 minutes then applied the purple crack over the top. Horrible. Absolutely yucky. It barely cracked and started peeling away, taking Guinevere with it.
I have also tried it over a matte top coat, which also failed miserably. It flaked right off my nails.

I have to say that I am thoroughly disappointed in this polish. I had high expectations and it has let me down.
I will not be buying anymore, and I would not recommend it to anyone. It’s too much of a pain in the backside to get right.

 Over fresh polish, refusing to crack 

Over old, fully dried polish and flaking off the nails at the slightest touch, or even breeze.


The "red". My camera made the colour look a lot better than IRL. 
The darker areas are where it's stuck to my polish, the rest is ready to flake right off the nail.

First and middle finger is over bare nails. Look how disgusting that red is.
Ring and pinky are over Barry M polishes. The purple kinda worked here, but again, red = disgusting.

I just don't understand why other blogs have been giving this polish high reviews. Maybe because they were sent for free?

Friday, 18 February 2011

a-england: The Love of My Life


I ordered two a-england nail polishes on Sunday 13th Feb and received them on Tuesday 15th Feb, brilliant turn-around time. I had a little card in my package thanking me for my purchase and was signed by Adina, I love those little cards, I keep them in my purse!
As I’ve mentioned before, I have spoken to Adina via email and she is lovely, customer service is the best!

I was already wearing polish on the Tuesday when I received my a-england order, I had only just applied it the day before but I was so excited by the new polishes that I took it off instantly and applied Guinevere. Guinevere is described as a sophisticated pale mauve grey.
I didn’t actually use my Chip Skip and Nail Envy this time, I used Seche ridge filling base as I hadn’t sorted out my cuticles or buffed out my ridges in a while and I was too impatient to try my new polish!
The bottles and brushes of a-england polishes are very sturdy and good quality. I found that the brush was a good size to get easy application. There’s no strong, horrible nail polish smell either.
I did find that the formula of the polish was a little thick, so slightly harder to work with than other polishes. This can easily be remedied with a couple of drops of nail polish thinner and a good shake. This isn’t too much of a problem as a nail-polish-nut like me should have thinner to revive my old polishes anyway!
I found that the polish dried quickly and it looked very professional and shiny before I had even applied a top coat. I did apply a top coat anyway, out of habit and because it is recommended on the a-england website.

This polish is the reason you haven’t seen many manicures on my website lately. I’ve been test driving Guinevere! I have to say that I am impressed. I have done all of my chores as usual, had countless showers, been to work and used my hands a lot and the polish has lasted very well. Only on Thursday, 3 days after application, did I notice a tiny little chip on the corner of one nail.
I did take off the polish on Friday as I had some new crackle polishes that I tried over the top and they failed miserably (blog post coming soon). However, I have put Guinevere back on again.

On one hand I have added the second polish that I bought, Morgan Le Fay which is described as a luminescent white silver, and also touted as the most versatile and easiest shade to apply.
I agree whole-heartedly. Application was insanely quick and easy and from what I see of the finished product, this shade has some serious potential to be paired up with a great many different polishes. It would look great under a shatter polish, it would jazz up a simple black polish, it would make interesting French tips… Those are just a few I can come up with and this is while the polish is still drying!

Above: 3 coats of Guinevere, 1 coat of Morgan Le Fay

 Above: 3 coats of Guinevere + OPI top coat

Here’s my overall thoughts of a-england polishes in general:
+ Beautiful colours
+The theme! The names!
+Elegant bottle design
+Good sized brush, no defects
+Very shiny finish
+hard wearing and long lasting
+Beautiful Website and the best customer service

-A bit pricey
-Formula was a little thick for me

Overall, I am very impressed. I think they are worth the money because you’re getting a product of great quality. I will definitely be getting some more of these polishes and I will definitely be keeping my eye on the website to see what collection comes out next!


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Theme: DC Comics - Two-Face

Here's my next instalment in the DC comic book characters theme: Two-Face.
Two-Face, real name Harvey Dent, is another Gotham villain. In the comics he gets acid thrown in his face by a criminal and then goes insane, in the movie The Dark Knight, he gets badly burned and loses his girlfriend under very horrible circumstances. He then goes mad. You can read all about Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face in the Batman graphic novel, The Long Halloween.

For Two-Face, I needed two contrasting colours on each nail. However, we all know that humans aren't exactly straight laced, so the colour I chose for Harvey Dent is a duochrome, China Glaze's Reggae to Riches. It's mainly a fuschia pink with a blue duochrome. The second colour I chose is quite halloween-y, so perfect for a Gotham villain. It's China Glaze's Ick-A-Body from last years halloween collection.
I painted my whole nail with 3 coats of Reggae to Riches and then topped it off with Seche Vite Dry Fast. Once it was fully dry, I used sticky tape to tape off half of my nails diagonally and then painted 2 coats of Ick-A-Body on the lower half.


 
I'm thinking it turned out quite well, but it would have been much better if I'd have chosen a nude colour instead of Reggae To Riches, maybe that would have represented a normal, human District Attorney much better than some bright pink!

On a different note, can I just say that China Glaze's Ick-A-Body is a B*TCH to remove? I went through so much polish remover trying to get that sucker off!!

While talking about problems with China Glaze, you will have seen my The Frog Prince/Princess and the Frog themed look recently where I used China Glaze's Entourage, well, I am so mad because Entourage has stained my nails yellow!!
It's not such a big deal because I never have naked nails due to a problem with my nail line, but I'm still pee'd off because my nails are freaking yellow!

New OPI shatter polishes

The very instant I red this blog post, I had to share it with you!
OPI are bringing out some new coloured shatter polishes!
Check out the information and photos at Addicted To All Things Pretty

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

OPI current and future collections

This blog post is all about the current and future OPI collections. I know I said that I wasn't the type of person to keep up to date with new releases, but if I have the information I definately want to share with my readers! So, you've recently seen my post about the Pirates collection and the new Serena Williams Glam Slam duo, here's some further info about Pirates and some new information about a couple of other collections.

OPI Katy Perry collection
Firstly, there is the Katy Perry collection. The Katy Perry collection is already available to purchase and I would highly recommend buying at least one of each!
The collection comprises of four coloured polishes that are all named after Katy Perry songs and a black shatter topcoat.
  • Last Friday Night - A metallic blue glitter
  • Teenage Dream - A metallic baby pink glitter
  • The One That Got Away - a beautiful bright pinky red nail polish
  • Not Like The Movies - a shimmering silver colour which shows a green and purple duochrome
Each polish has an RRP of £10.50 and there is a set of 4 mini versions of the 4 colours with an RRP of £12.75
Click to see it larger!

OPI Texas Collection
The OPI Texas collection is currently available and already proving to be another popular collection
  • Don’t Mess With OPI - A lean, mean, kick-grass forest green.
  • Austin-Tatious TurquoiseCowgirls love this bodacious blue-green.
  • It’s Totally Fort-Worth ItA shimmery lavender grey that’s so worthy of you.
  • Do You Think I’m Tex-y? A “berry” sexy bloom of Dallas Dahlia.
  • I Vant To Be A-Lone StarYou won’t want to share this starry Texas-sky blue.
  • Houston We Have A PurpleA galactic red-violet that’s ready to “rocket-roll”!
  • Suzi Loves CowboysBut she loves this campfire chocolate shade s’more!
  • San Tan-tonioA “honey” of a ten-gallon tan!
  • Too Hot Pink To Hold ‘EmA red-hot pink-red that deals a winning hand.
  • Guy Meets Gal-vestonAn “engaging” coastal coral.
  • Y’all Come Back Ya Hear?This Texas tangerine will be waitin’ for ya!
  • Big Hair Big Nails - A rosy pageant peach.
Each polish is £10.50 for 15ml and there will also be a set of 4 mini polishes featuring Austin-Tatious Turquoise, I Vant To Be A-Lone Star, Do You Think I'm Tex-y and a mini bottle of OPI's Top Coat. This set of mini's will cost £12.75.
What do you think of these? I like the look of Austin-Tatious Turquoise, Houston We Have A Purple, Y'all Come Back Ya Hear?.


OPI Femme du Cirque
Femme du Cirque is a small collection coming out soon and it consists of 4 soft shades. Each polish has an RRP of £10.50 and there is a set comprising 4 mini polishes of all the colours with an RRP of £12.75
Currently I have no further information about the colours, so on with the picture:




OPI Pirates
You've already seen my blog post on the Pirates collection where I went into detail about the colous and shared my initial thoughts so I shan't bore you again, on with the pretty picture!
Each 15ml polish has an RRP of £10.50 and there is a mini set comprising 4 mini bottles of On Stranger Tides, Skull & Glossbones, Sparrow Me The Drama and Planks A Lot with an RRP of £12.75.



I do have to repeat myself here though: Silver Shatter! Yumm!

OPI Original Axxium Collection
Now this one looks really interesting! If you're going away on holiday or if you work a lot and don't have time to keep on painting your nails, you can have your nails painted with OPI's Axxium. This is a gel system where you will have your nails painted with the colour of your choice and then it is UV cured. The finish is a chip-resistant, incredibly shiny, strong colour. 
This is a perfect treatment for those of you with weak nails, or anyone who is trying to grow out their nails as it provides a strong layer of protection over your natural nails without damaging them.
This treatment must be done in a professional salon and the results can last up to 3 weeks. The removal procedure takes 15 - 30 minutes and I assume you would have to go back to the salon for that.
 I did a quick google search and found that this collection is available to buy online, however it should not be available to non-professionals, as said google search also turned up a lot of people who have tried to use it themselves and have encountered numerous problems.


  If I were the type of person who could pick one colour and stick to it for 3 weeks, I would consider visiting a salon and having this done, however I change my mind far too much!
The colours available are really nice, there's something for almost everyone there!
What do you guys think? Has anyone had this done already? 

-A  

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A new polish brand: a-england

Today I would like to share a new brand of nail polish: a-england.

The brand a-england belongs to Adina Bodana, who has spent an intense year working on the brand. It was launched in January just this year, and Adina describes it as a small project with big potentials.
The brand is heavily inspired by English mythology and if you check the glossary page on the website, you can read about where each polish name has come from.
There are currently 15 polishes, a top coat and a base coat grouped together under the collection name “The Mythicals”.   
The polishes are all manufactured in the UK, are 3 free (that is no DBP, Formaldehyde or Toluene), not tested on animals and of a salon quality. Each bottle is £9.50, the website does not currently state how much polish you will get in each bottle, but Adina has told me that it’s 13ml. As a comparison, both the price and the size is just a little less than OPI, so I’m hoping that they will be of similar quality. For the record, I like OPI and I feel that they are worth the price, so if a-england live up to those standards then we are on to a winner!



Currently, I do not have any of the polishes to try out and share with you, but I have just put in an order, and I will share my thoughts and pictures when they arrive.
As I was ordering, I felt that the sophisticated and elegant design of the website made me feel that I was ordering a top quality brand. Personally, I love the names and the theme of the polishes.
Using the website was very easy, everything was easy to find, simple to use and quick to load. There is a shopping cart on the right of the website and as you’re ordering you can see everything being added and it also gives you the shipping price as you go.
Before ordering I had contacted Adina to ask for general information about the brand with the intention of writing this blog post. Adina is lovely, very thorough with her information and her replies are very quick!
With everything I have seen so far, I am very impressed and I am really looking forward to receiving my order!

a-england is found here and can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter.



Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Princess and The Frog


We are having a Princess and the Frog themed day at work, so I have painted my nails accordingly!


I started with my Chip Skip and Nail Envy for a base coat (both OPI) and then China Glaze’s Entourage.
Entourage is from the Kicks collection of Summer ’09. It’s a bold lime green colour with shimmer. The consistency of this one is quite thin and runny and it took 3 coats to get a nice coverage.

On my ring fingers, I added No. 7’s matte top coat, Entourage looks amazing matte! After that, I got my Konad out and used the red Special Polish and stamped a little frog (plate m30) and some hearts (plate m3) above his head.
On the rest of my fingers, I added OPI’s What’s Dune. This polish is AMAZING as a top coat as it’s incredibly sheer and it’s holographic, albeit a more subtle holographic than the later DS collection, but it really adds sparkle and depth to your polish. This polish is from the ’03 (gasp!) It’s Summer For Shore collection. I’m certainly impressed with this polish if it’s still alive after nearly 8 years!

I love this manicure, it's so cute and goes perfectly with the theme of the day!