Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!


Today I'm showing you my only Halloween manicure this year. I just haven't been feeling it really, and all my creativity has been zapped with ideas for the 33 day challenge. I've been battling with illness too and we weren't going to do anything but let the kids dress up to answer the door to trick or treaters. But then Mr NN went and bought them cute costumes (I'm bound to instagram them later) and I picked up a few decorations in Poundland, so we decided to take them trick or treating and I needed nails that fit the bill. I think these are possibly the simplest Halloween nails I've ever done, but they're still cute. Just skittles, all done with Color Club Poptastic neons (Pucci-licious, Twiggy and Wham! Pow!) , topped with China Glaze Whirled Away. I usually can't stand bar glitter, but this is sparse enough that it doesn't make my nails look hairy and I can handle that. I freehanded stripes on my accent nail for a bit more interest. Simples.

Happy Halloween!

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

33 Day Challenge day 17 - artwork featuring your favourite brand!


Today's promt is to use your favourite brand in some artwork, and when I was scribling down ideas I immediately wrote China Glaze. There is rarely a China Glaze collection released where I don't want at least one of them, and they're polishes I reach for time and time again. But when it actually came to doing the mani, I started having second thoughts. What about Barry M? I love a bit of Barry, and they're a British brand. But then, Models Own is a Brit brand too, what about them? And my OPI minis collection is growing, and they are favourites too... Too many polishes, not enough fingers!

In the end I went with a compromise, and pulled a China Glaze and a Barry M out of my untrieds drawer. I went for one of Barry's Gellys, Blue Plum and combined with a polish China Glaze's New Bohemian collection, Unpredictable. Blue Plum is a dark, slightly dusty navy creme and Unpredictable is a duochrome with blue, green, gold and teal in there. I'd seen the boho's stamped nicely over darker colours so I thought I'd try that, using Pueen 44. Really happy with the turnout, it looks elegant and classy, and the colours looked great together.


What's your favourite brand? Or do you find it hard to chose like me!


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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Off-Topic Tuesday - Budget Beauty Buys worth trying!

Although this is prominently a nail blog, I'm a closet beauty junkie too. There's no way in a million years I'll ever get through all of my make-up, but I still buy more and more. And when it comes to spending, I want more for my money! But to get the quantity you don't always have to scrimp on quality, so I thought I'd share a few of the budget friendly products I use every day and love. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a collection of MAC lippies and Urban Decay palettes, but when I can get a whole make-up bag full of goodies for the price of one higher end one, I know which I'd rather have!


I seem to have amassed quite an array of MUA products, both from their main £1 range and the slightly pricier pro range. It started off with a single eye shadow (Shade 1 pearl, not pictured because my three year old smashed it...) which I loved so much as an eye shadow and highlighter, and moved on from there. Several of the products I use everyday and will repurchase over and over - the pressed powder and clear mascara for my brows are used every single day. I love all the palettes as they're great quality and only around £4. A recent favourite is the Intense Kisses lip gloss. At just £2 it's comparable to Rimmel Apocalips, but easier to wear and less messy!

Derma V10 Cocoa Body Butter

I must admit I'm a little bit lazy when it comes to body moisturising. I buy a new product and start out with good intentions, but they soon fade either when the product doesn't live up to expectations or I just get bored of it. But not with this one. I tried it after Miss Budget Beauty's recommendation and have repurchased several times since then. For just 99p (I get mine from Body Care, but apparently you can get it in Poundland and 99p stores too) you get a decent 220ml tub of bright orange body butter. Yup, bright orange! But as soon as you rub it into your skin you get a rich, gorgeous smelling, moisturising lotion that really packs a punch. The scent lingers on your skin, but doesn't smell fake or too sickly and makes my skin really soft and smooth. My only reservation is the colour, but with a product this good I can overlook that. If you're a fan of the much pricier Body Shop body butters, give this a go. I promise you wont regret it!

Superdrug Vitamin E Range

I first tried the vitamin e range from Superdrug after the huge hype the Hot Cloth Cleanser caused in the blogosphere when it launched. I fell in love with it and have been using it ever since. I'm happy to report the rest of the range is just as good! Most recently I've been using the Facial Scrub and Oil and they're both products I love. The scrub is oat based, and while I usually find these aren't 'scrubby' enough for me, the exfoliating particles in this have just the right texture. Since I purchased the oil a few weeks ago I have used it every single night before bed and the difference it has made to my dry skin is incredible. My skin feels so much brighter and smoother, my make-up goes on so much easier and even the dark shadows under my eyes are less noticable. And for under £3!


Not a budget beauty buy as such, but definitely worth noting if you're after a bargain! I like going in store and having a browse, but online shopping can be just as satisfying, especially if you know what you're looking for. I recently got a brand new Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadow on ebay for around £3.80 + free delivery, when the exact same product in Boots or Superdrug would have set me back £4.99. Ok, so there are often 3 for 2 offers or discounts, and points to collect in store, but if you're just looking for one thing and don't want to be tempted then see if you can find it on Ebay first! Other things I have picked up are a Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Berry Queen for under £2 and a couple of Sleek eye palettes for much lower than the RRP. 

I hope this has been helpful! If you're tight careful like me or often find you have too much month at the end of your money, share your budget tips!

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Monday, 28 October 2013

33 Day Challenge day 16 - South America!


I think the country/place inspired themes in this challenge are the hardest, and this was no exception. I spent a while googling South America and came up with lots of ideas - rainforests, carnival, tango and salsa, but in the end I settled for a scarlet macaw and love it! I used Barry M Blueberry Gelly as my base and painted feathers using Nails Inc Notting Hill Carnival and Barry M Blood Orange Gelly on my fingers. Then I Used Blood Orange and painted a parrot head in a sort of half-heart shape, and added a white patch, black beak and black and white eye (which I managed not to smudge with the top coat for once!). How cute is he?! And the good thing is you don't have to be too neat, because it makes it look more feathery ;) Please excuse the slightly awkward hand poses...

Nice and bright to cheer up a dreary day :)


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Saturday, 26 October 2013

SensatioNail Gel Polish Starter Kit - How to use with regular nail polish!


I'm following up on my review of the SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish Starter Kit today with a solution to the one of the things that puts many people (myself included) off trying a system like this. I have been 'collecting' (I like to call it that, it makes it sound more acceptable...) nail polish now for almost four years, and in that time have amassed over 800 polishes (851 to be exact. Yes, I have a spreadsheet...) I have cremes, shimmers, glitters, holos, magnetics, foils, textures...there's no way I could replace them all with gel polish. Don't get me wrong, SensatioNail does do a fab range of gel polishes, easy to find at Boots, Tesco and Asda (and I plan on building a stash of those too, shhh don't tell Mr NN) but even if they did duplicate every polish in my collection it wouldn't be financially viable for me to replace it all. So I wondered if I could use my regular nail polish with the SensatioNail Gel base and top coat for a longer lasting manicure, and it turns out you can!

I started off by prepping my nails as you would for a gel manicure. I took off my previous manicure, cleaned and shaped my nails and pushed back my cuticles. It is important to do this as any gel polish you might get on the cuticle will cause the gel to lift and not last as long. Once that was done I lightly buffed my nails with the pink side of the file in the SensatioNail kit, wiped them with the cleanser and a lint free wipe and then applied the primer in a circle around the edge of my nails, all following the instructions in the kit. Next, I applied a thin even coat of the gel base and top coat, making sure to cap the tips of my nails (very important!) and cured for 30 seconds under the lamp. SensatioNail recommends in the instructions that you cure the fingers on each hand separately and the thumbs together for ease. You need to make sure no gel gets on your skin or cuticles too, otherwise it will set rock hard! If you do get any where it shouldn't be, you can just wipe it away before curing.

Now this is where you'd normally apply two coats of your gel colour and cure each coat, but using regular nail polish is different. Usually you'd leave the sticky layer left on your nails after curing until the last coat, but I wiped it off now using a lint free wipe and cleanser. You're left with a smooth surface to apply your polish onto, and I used two coats of Zoya Storm. Make sure the tips are capped again and leave to dry. Unfortunately, you can't cure regular nail polish so you have to wait for it to completely dry before moving on. You can use a quick drying topcoat to speed this process up if you need to (and protect your manicure if you're leaving a longer gap between adding the gel top coat), but I didn't. I would also recommend using gel colour "undies" if the polish you've chosen is sheer or needs more than two coats - chose a gel colour that is close to your regular polish colour, or even a neutral nude and cure it before adding the regular polish. That way you don't need as many coats of polish and you're cutting the dry time a little. I'm going to treat myself to SensatioNail La Creme for this purpose! I left Storm to dry for 45 minutes before moving onto the top coat.

Apply a thin layer of gel top coat on top of your regular nail polish, again making sure the tips are wrapped and no gel gets on your skin. You need to also make sure the polish underneath is covered completely otherwise your gel could lift and not last as long. Cure for 30 seconds, wipe off the sticky layer and you're done!

It's really as easy as a normal manicure, and for very little extra effort you should (hopefully) have a manicure that lasts so much longer. I did this for a weekend away, on the Friday evening before I went and it meant I didn't have to worry about taking any polish/remover etc with me or it chipping before my night out on the Saturday.

*UPDATE* It lasted about a week before it started showing signs of wear. It probably would have lasted a few days longer if I hadn't got bored of it! I'd say if you're careful you could get 8-10 days from it.

Now, the only other thing that put me off switching to gel polish full time is how much I like to change my polish. I've not attempted removing a gel mani yet (the pedi you saw in my first impressions post is still going strong after almost 3 weeks!) but I know its not going to be a case of wiping it with polish remover! Also, I usually change my nails 3-4 times a week for various reasons - chipping being the major one but I also love doing my nails and creating nail art. Also I need stuff to post for you guys on the blog! So, in my next SensatioNail post I'll tackle that issue - removal, nail art and changing it up a bit! I'm looking forward to it already ;)

And great news if you're in the UK - until 5pm on Monday you can get £20 off the SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish starter kit at, making it just £49.99. It would make a fab Christmas present (if you're feeling organised!) or just treat yourself :)


The product featured was a PR sample provided to me for free for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own and 100% honest. Please see my disclaimer in the tab above for further details.
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Friday, 25 October 2013

33 Day Challenge day 15 - Animal!

Polishes used: 
Animal- OPI Wocka Wocka
             OPI Alpine Snow
             Models Own Black nail Art Pen
             Jacava Passion
             China Glaze Roguish Red
Rest of nails - OPI Meep Meep Meep


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Thursday, 24 October 2013

My wonder product - Duri Rejuvacote saves the nail!


Time for a long overdue post today. Hopefully you've noticed that my nails are in much much better condition lately, and are growing stronger and longer. (If you hadn't noticed, have a look here and here and compare!) I've always struggled with peeling nails, especially on my index fingers and thumbs, and to some extent my middle fingers too and over the years had tried lots of things to get them stronger, just so I could get the indexes in particular past the end of my fingertips. I'd tried so many treatment basecoats from the likes of Sally Hansen, Nails Inc, Orly and various OPI Nail Envy formulations, which worked for a while and then stopped. I'd tried Biotin supplements - great for my skin and hair but made little difference to my nails. Moisturisers and cuticle creams/oils, all of which made me feel good but again did nothing. The peel on my left index finger was so bad that I couldn't cut the nail any shorter and still had about 2mm of split at the tip. I'd all but given up hope of ever having anything other than naughty nubs. Until lovely Nicole from my birthday group suggested I try Duri Rejuvacote. I'd heard it was good, so I read some more reviews online and struggled to find any bad ones. I found a US ebay seller who'd ship it to the UK for around £6-7 (much cheaper than UK sellers at about £12, and cheaper than Nail Envy) and ordered a bottle.

Well, hallelujah! It only bloody worked, didn't it! Now I really hope I'm not jinxing myself here but I've been using it exclusively since the end of June and, I hope you'll agree, my nails are so much better. The peels have all but grown out (I still get a teeny bit on my left index but it's literally a tiny edge), my nails are so strong and grow like weeds! The instructions say to use one coat as a base coat, apply nail colour if you want and then apply as top coat every day. After seven days remove the whole lot and start again. I just use it as a base coat every time I do my nails (normally every other day at least) and sometimes double up on my naughtiest nails and apply two coats to those, making sure I wrap the tips properly. I started seeing results after just 4 days, and now I wouldn't be without it. The best bit? After using it like this for 4 months, I'm still only on my first bottle, and still have a good few weeks left. The polish left in the bottle has gone a little cloudy, but it hasn't thickened or gone gloopy so well worth the very affordable price tag. I have a second bottle waiting in the wings already ;)

Now, a before and after - speaks for itself really!


I couldn't be happier! Now I just have to perfect filing them all the same and I'll have my dream nails :)

Have you found your holy grail? what would you recommend for peeling nails? Not that I'm switching any time soon! While this is working I'm sticking to it!

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

33DC Day 14 - Abstract!


We're well into the 33 day challenge now, and I feel like I'm having more wins than losses...hopefully that will continue! I was pretty pleased with today's offering. Let's face it, "Abstract" gives you a pretty broad spectrum to work with, so I googled around a bit and came up with this.

Kind of based on this abstract pattern...

 I wanted more of an ombre effect so I used shades of the same colour on each nail, starting with the darkest. It perhaps would have worked better if I'd started with the lightest, but I wanted the triangle at the bottom to be dark like in the picture.

I used 15 different polishes for this design - a sure sign I have way too much! Mr NN saw the box full I was using and joked that I'd never be able to hold them all for the photos. Smartass.

Listed from dark to light:
Purple (Pinkie) - No7 Violetta, Sinful Colors Amethyst, OPI Parlez Vous OPI
Red (Ring) - Nails Inc Victoria, Tate, King Edward Street
Blue (Middle) - 2True Shade 10, Nails Inc Baker Street, Models Own Feeling Blue
Green (Index) - China Glaze Holly Day, Nails Inc Eden Grove, OPI Stranger Tides
Monochrome (Thumb) - Sinful Colors Black on Black, Beauty UK Slate, Beauty UK Soft Grey

A fairly easy design, although it took me a long time it was satisfying and simple to do (I just freehanded in layers, no tape here!)

Abstract enough?


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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Off Topic Tuesday - Lush Blackberry Bath Bomb

For today's Off Topic Tuesday I thought I'd review a classic from Lush. I don't think I know a single person who could claim not to like Lush- to me popping into Lush for a bath bomb is a perfect, affordable treat and even my little ones love it, asking for an Ickle Baby Bot everytime we walk past! My usual favourite is Butterball, but today I went for something different and chose Blackberry.

Despite its name, Blackberry doesn't have a fruity scent but instead has a light musky fragrance. The scent is very relaxing but the bath bomb doesn't claim to have any other qualities such as skin moisturising or the glitter other bombs contain. That doesn't mean it doesn't have it's own hint of fun though, as when the bomb has dissolved completely (leaving your bathwater a funky purple, we all know I like a bit of purple! Even better, it didn't stain the bath or my skin) you're left with a 'snap' reminiscent of an old fashioned toy gun!

All in all I enjoyed my Blackberry Bath Bomb bath, but I don't think it's one I'd reach for regularly. It was great for the relaxing scent, but it didn't pack a real punch in terms of anything else special and I like my bath products to wow me. It's not often I get a bath without a little person joining in so when I do I want it to be special! This just wasn't it. The next time pigs fly and I get some me time, I'm going to try the Happy Blooming Bath Melt, after Enigmatic Rambles enticing review...

Blackberry Bath Bomb is available in Lush stores and online for £2.95.


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Monday, 21 October 2013

33 Day Challenge day 13 - Chinese

Monday, bloody Monday...

Today's theme is Chinese and I have to admit today I took the easy way out, albeit unintentionally. I had planned a red and gold Chinese skittlette, with a bit of stamping, a bit of freehand, some glequins and some glitter but I got a bit carried away with the stamping! I sat down to stamp the first nail, and liked the look of it. So I stamped the next nail, and the next. Before I knew it I had a full stamped mani and my glequins were left in the pot. At least I like it! The base is the perfect A-England Percival and it's stamped with Barry M Gold foil and an unnamed Essence plate.

I really love the combination, and will have to remember Percival looks this good with gold for some Christmas manis ;)


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