Thursday, 27 February 2014

Creatively uncreative - can I do it?!

I think I'm obsessed with nail art blogs. They're so amazingly clever. I was never creative at school - my art work comprised mainly of stick men and crumpled up pieces of paper. I had to endure art exams for several years before gsce's finally allowed me to drop it. I have terrible memories of drawing a piece of fruit in 5 minutes then sitting bored out of my mind for the next 1 hour 55 minutes of the exam. 

And yet I love art. Probably because I can't do it, so its a sort of magical mystery cloud that is always just out of my reach. 

I wasn't going to admit this when I first started my blog for fear that no one would care to read about a substandard wannabe nail artist. But then I thought, hang on there must be others like me right? Those who love nail polish, have literally hundreds of bottles, who play around anyway despite a notable lack of talent?! 

So then I decided to start a piece on how easy various nail art designs are. Inspired by Grav3yard Girl's "does this thing really work" (which btw is totally addictive YouTube viewing) I thought I'd do something similar with nails. Can I do more than just a plain base, colour, top coat combo?! 

I don't know. I have some nail wraps in my drawer sitting untouched, which I got in a Glossybox, that I'm too scared to use in case I ruin them and therefore waste them. So that will be my first challenge. I think I'll do that on the weekend as I feel it may take me a while! Watch this space for the results..

Xx Alice xX

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Nails Inc Lowndes Square

So it's back to my old fave today - Nails Inc. 

Having said in a post couple day's ago that I don't really do purple, I found Lowndes Square in my drawer which is a dark purple with sort of grey tones. I had forgotten about this one and it had separated a bit from lack of love. So I had to show it some love today. 

I generally only do 2 coats but I found on my right hand (painted with my left) that its a bit transparent still. Not sure why I don't paint thick layers with my left hand - must be the concentration of not getting it all over my skin! But it could've done with a 3rd layer.

I topped it off, as usual, with Nails Inc Kensington Caviar and I'm still going strong with my Sally Hansen nail strengthener as a base coat (pun intended). 

I'm looking to try a new top coat, so I'm gonna hunt around for suggestions on other blogs..

My Selfridges trip yesterday was lovely btw. I always walk in the handbag entrance and browse a bit. I'm currently obsessed with Kate Spade, which is relatively affordable compared to some of the other brands! I just love the stripey interior. If I get one i'll be sure to show you! 

Xx Alice xX

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Take me to Selfridge's!

I'm very excited today because I've just received an email saying my purchase is now ready to be collected from Selfridge's.

Now yes, part of my excitement is to do with the purchase itself (to be revealed soon!). But actually most of my excitement is having an excuse to go to my favourite shop in London. I don't often buy anything there but the place is magical to walk around.

I've been avidly watching the Mr Selfridge TV series on my Sunday nights. What beautiful clothes! Rose's dress at the concert was so fabulous, and I love the jewels and fancy hair pieces. And the manners! As I stand on a train in my work heels with 10 men in suits sitting around me not giving a damn, I do often wonder what it was like when chivalry was a real thing. But we asked to be treated equally didn't we girls, so I suppose I shouldn't complain. Courtship was a funny thing in those days too, without mobile phones they actually had to go out and find the person to ask on a date! I'm thinking of Kitty and Mr Edwards here, where that kiss meant so much more than a kiss nowadays. 

Anyway I guess it's easy to look back and see the past through rose tinted glasses. In real life, the people were very much like us - people. Some nice, some not. There's no doubt the possibilities are much more exciting right now - they couldn't blog about nails back then could they?! 

But it would be nice to travel back just once and see Selfridge's as it was then....

Xx Alice xX

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Barry M Silk nail paint - Heather

It's that time of the week again - Sunday night, work in the morning, just enough time to sort out those last little bits and bobs.

Yes, time also to take off my "weekend" nails and get serious again. 

I was in Boots today (that place makes a killing out of me!) and having read a fair bit about Barry M's new silk polishes, I decided to pick one up - Heather. It's a violet colour with a shimmery finish, that makes it feel sort of princess-y (or is that just me?!)

Now the first thing that struck me about this when I applied it was how quickly it dried. A very useful last-minute-on-Sunday attribute! Then I noticed that it also dried matt. The shimmer gives it a nice reflection off light, but it's not got that gel like shine. I personally prefer shine, but the matt is quite refreshing. Overall I really like this varnish. 

In case you were wondering, I also used Sally Hansen miracle cure strengthener as a base coat to get my nails growing a bit more.

The green No7 Spring Meadow that I used and reviewed last time was fab by the way, lasted even though I cleaned and washed up a dozen times this weekend. It did slightly stain my nails though, but not badly. 

Have a lovely Monday! 

Xx Alice xX

Saturday, 22 February 2014

No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour - Spring Meadow

As usual when I buy something in Boots, I'm rewarded with a £3 off No7 makeup voucher. So naturally my gaze wandered off to the No7 counter to see what newbies I could find..

Lo and behold, there in front of me stood 3 new nail polish colours, in pale green, pink and orange (I didn't take note of the names, but they're pretty obvious if you go into any Boots store!) With the voucher they were only £3. Bargainous compared to my usual love of Nails Inc and OPI. 

So I went for the green as it was a colour my collection was sadly lacking in. The name is Spring Meadow, and yes Spring is exactly what it reminds me of. Well done No7 marketing team.

Now I've never used No7 nail polishes so excuse my excitement which I'm sure you all experienced like 10 years ago. But OMG the brush is amazing! It's such a good shape - like a normal brush that's been squashed under a car tyre. Flat and wide enough to cover my whole nail in one swipe (I have pathetically small fingers) 

So much better than the Nails Inc brush. 

The formula is a bit weak - it took 3 coats to get a good solid colour, and even then it's not that opaque - but it dried quick enough and has so far not chipped (we'll see what happens after cleaning the house today!) 

So overall very impressed. Definitely going to try out some more. The new blusher sticks and powder palette also looked tempting...

Xx Alice xX

Thursday, 20 February 2014

OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go

All this cold weather is really playing havoc with my nails. They have become fragile and flakey, and my cuticles are dry and rough. 

For years I have used Nails Inc's cuticle oil which comes in a cute silver pen. It smells good, is easy to apply and seems to work pretty well. But I've just become bored with it, so while in Boots yesterday sorting out my tights issue (I got dressed in the dark that morning and put on blue tights with a brown skirt.. Looked just a bit odd in broad daylight!) I had a look at some cuticle oils.

OPI caught my eye right away. I have loved their nail polishes ever since I had a manicure that lasted for well over a week without chipping (that never happens to me, ever). So I decided to get their Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go. 

It has a gel like texture, much more solid than the Nails Inc one, which comes out onto a small brush.
The smell is divine - like watermelon - but it's not so strong that its all you can smell. It rubs in ok and sinks in quickly. The short term effects are good, my cuticles are looking instantly better. The longer term effects are yet to be seen - i'll keep you updated! 

Xx Alice xX

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A splash of colour

After the plainness of today's work nails I decided to add a splash of colour, inspired by the beautiful colours seen on the catwalk this week (and because I love pink!)
I will admit I messed up the middle nail - the coloured diamonds are more like coloured smudges. Sigh.

Anyway I achieved this look by starting with a thin layer of Barry M in bright pink (13) and waiting for it to dry completely.
I then made a diamond with cello tape and stuck it firmly onto my nail. Then I chose a colour and painted over the hole. 
I left this for a couple of minutes before peeling it off and starting again. I had 3 sizes of diamond shapes which I reused on all my nails (which is why the last few got a bit smudgy as the polish started to bleed under the cello tape).
My polishes of choice were:
Barry M in Lemon (16), Pure Turquoise (17) and Bright Pink (13), Leighton Denny in Lilac Lust and Nails Inc Albert bridge topcoat. 

I would def do this again and be more patient with waiting for the diamonds to dry because I think the effect looks awesome! It's also a great way of using those slightly odd colours you don't necessarily want on your whole nail too.

Cya soon! Xx Alice xX

Monday, 17 February 2014

Simple nails for work

My first nail design is very simple - I have a big meeting tomorrow so can't really go mad with colour/sparkles! I love this pale look because it's quick and hides smudges/chips well.
I used a new base coat: a Boots own brand one that I found in my drawer. I think I borrowed it from my mum! Usually I use Nails Inc Kensington Caviar, but I fancied a change. It was ok, dried fairly quickly but we'll see how long it lasts! 
The colour is Rimmel 60 seconds in Pearly Pink. It took longer than 60 seconds to dry but that's probably because the base coat wasn't completely dry when I put it on. It has a lovely pearlescent pinky-blue sheen. In some lights it looks like I'm not wearing nail polish but in others the colour is quite strong. 
I topped it off with a Nails Inc matt top coat. Generally I prefer shiny top coats but I think matt suits this understated look. 
So that's it! Hope you like it, and see you again soon
Xx Alice xX

Hello, let me introduce myself...

Hi! I'm Alice... 

Wow this is like one of those awkward moments in an interview when they say "so tell me about yourself" and there's just so much to say you don't quite know where to start. A sort of rabbit-in-the-headlights moment. 

Well, I guess I'll start with what I'm doing here. I love beauty products and makeup and perfume, but my favourite beauty "thing" is nails. There's something so wonderfully feminine about having painted nails, but its also amazing how much your nails can say about you and your mood. At school, painting a French manicure was one of the first things I mastered and now I'm all grown up I love nothing more then having a professional manicure and a gossip to cheer me up. 

I have become obsessed with blogs and vlogs over the past year - I'm not sure why it took me so long to get involved actually, but now I'm here and I'm ready to add my penny's worth over the latest beauty trends. 

I must add a side note here: whilst I love fashion, I'm not one of those effortlessly cool people whose fashion sense is just so... enviable... So I probably won't talk much about fashion on this blog. But I do love handbags and shoes, so they will definitely feature somewhere! 

Anyway I hope there are some people out there who feel the same way as I do and would like a friendly chat with me about beauty things. 

I'm off to paint my nails now. Until next time! 
Xx Alice xX