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This Week’s Nails – Purple Dotticure

Ahhhh the sun has been shining all week and it has put me in such a good mood! I spent the afternoon outside with my class today and it was lovely to get some good old Vitamin D. I even managed a run after work today as the sun was setting…beautiful.

Today I wanted to share my latest piece of nail art – the dotticure. A fun look that can be achieved with some polishes and a dotting tool.

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I decided to go for a neutral base using one of my favourite nude nail varnishes – Lychee from the Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine range. I love this polish and would quite happily wear it alone.

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I decided to go with a purple theme going in a gradient from dark to light. I used Ultra Violet from Primark, Prickly Pear another Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine polish and Go Ginza by Essie.

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You can dip you dotting tool straight into the bottle but I prefer to dab some onto a piece of paper first.

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I started off with my darkest colour and did two rows loosely following the curve of my cuticles.

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I used Prickly Pear next to do one to two rows depending on how long my nails were.

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Finally, I finished off with my lightest shade and a layer of my Calvin Klein  Splendid Glaze topcoat.

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I really like this look and am keen to try a mint green version soon.

This Week’s Nails – Purple Candy Cane Ombre

Aaaaand I’ve finished work for the year! Such a good feeling to drive home knowing I can switch off and relax for a few weeks. I started today with a little lie-in then drove over to Salisbury for lunch and present-swapping with one of my besties Cat. I plan to spend much of my holidays this way: catching up on sleep, eating and seeing friends and family!

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When pondering my manicure this week, I was slightly overwhelmed and spoiled for choice with all the gorgeous shades I am getting on a daily basis from my Ciate advent calendar. I cannot wait to get swatching them but I found these lovely little purple and white candy canes in my nail art box (yes, I have a box!)  and decided to go for a purple gradient to compliment these nail decals.

Going from dark to light I used: MUA’s Frozen Yoghurt, ELF’s Lilac, Barry M’s Prickly Pear, Hello Kitty’s Darling Pink and Essie’s Go Ginza.

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I love all these shades individually and like the look of them altogether too.

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I placed the candy cane decals onto wet nails then sealed them with a couple of generous layers of Seche Vite. They are quite raised on the nail so I wasn’t expecting them to last for longer than a few days but we are on Day 5 now with no signs of them budging…God Bless that Seche Vite!

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Time for Christmas Day nails next…pass the glitter! x

This Week’s Nails – Pink Glitter

Another fun weekend has come and gone here and we are now winding down and with a roast dinner in the oven and a Sky Box full of programmes to catch up on…I love a lazy Sunday afternoon!

My brother and his girlfriend arrived on Friday night so we headed up to the pub before I cooked us some Mexican food and we played a few hilarious rounds of Cards Against Humanity. Yesterday we headed into Bath for burgers and a wander before Ian and I headed out to a party. It was such a lovely and mild evening we were sat out in the garden until about midnight!

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Today’s manicure is really all about my new Barry M glitter topcoat in Pink Sapphire. This is a lovely formula, packed with silver strands and pink and silver hexes.

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I wanted a pale colour underneath so chose this lovely pastel pink by Nails Inc in Bloomsbury Way which I think was the perfect background.

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Some of the glitter pieces were slightly raised so I finished this look with a generous topcoat using Nails Inc’s Kensington Caviar Gel Effect Plumping Topcoat. I was really impressed at the longevity of this manicure – it lasted for 8 days with no chipping at all and despite not really being a huge fan of all things pink, I really loved this look!

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Latest Purchases #57 – Back to School Buys (An ASOS and Primark Haul)

Today’s haul is a nice mixture of fashion and beauty buys. I have called it my ‘Back to School Buys’ but really it was more a case of me getting myself organised before work kicks in again and I find myself with much less free time than I have been used to this holiday!

First up, my ASOS goodies. My ‘uniform’ so to speak for work tends to be a dress with tights, boots and a cardigan in the winter and leggings and sandals in the summer. Therefore, when I buy a dress, I usually try to make sure it will look good the year round with either of these combinations.

I LOVE this floral skater dress from Oasis. I like that it has three-quarter length sleeves and the darker colours with a pop of neon mean I can wear it to work or dress it up with heels for a night out.

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I also bought this floral and striped dress with a Peter Pan collar from River Island. I think it is the perfect colour for Autumn although unfortunately the sizing is huge so I am returning this for a smaller size…never a bad thing!

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Obviously now is a great time to pick up summery items for next year as the shops begin to promote their Autumn/ Winter range and this little black strapless sundress will be great for holidays worn over a bikini. At £7 it was a bargain too!

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As well as the dresses, I also picked up a few beauty items.

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Top of my list was a bottle of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap, another product that beauty bloggers seem to rave about! These 18-in-1 formulas claim to wash everything from your hair to your sink but I wanted it as a make-up brush cleaner and when I saw there was a rose version I had to have it.

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I also decided to try a shade from the Rimmel Apocalips in Aurora. There was so much hype when these were released that I wasn’t sure it would live up to it. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Aurora is a reddish-coral shade which I wore out to dinner earlier this week. The colour pay-off is great and it applies with a great glossy finish before it dries to a creamy matte. I found it lasted well too so would be great for those times when you don’t want to be constantly reapplying your lippy. I think I will be picking up a few more shades in this range!

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I spotted two Barry M nail varnished in the sale too. Surprisingly, I don’t really have that many glitters or nail toppers and these two looked like they were packed full of glitter.

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I bought Yellow Topaz Glitter from their Jewel range, a formula packed with gold hexes and tiny holographic pieces. I also got Pink Sapphire Glitter, with pinky-purple hexes and silver bars.

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After a dentist appointment earlier in the week, I decided to pop in to Primark for a few bits to cheer myself up. I went at about 9am and it was lovely and quiet – much nicer than the usual crowds!

My main aim was to buy a few more sporty/ work-out items for Pilates and PE lessons. I tend to associate work-out gear with comfort and can sometimes end up wearing slouchy jogging bottoms and loose-fitting t-shirts which can look a little scruffy. While comfort and practicality are still my top considerations, I thought I could do with smartening up my sporting attire!

First up are these jogging bottoms. Slightly fitted so not too baggy, these have a cool leopard print design but aren’t too loud either – exactly what I had in mind!

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To pair with these, I bought a loose-fitting t-shirt. I will probably wear this with jeans too as I love the details such as the folded sleeves, slightly sheer material and distressed effect on the fabric.

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I also picked up a gorgeous white, glittery jumper to wear before it’s time to pull on the thick woolly tops. This looks great over jeans and will be ideal to layer up as it gets colder.

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Finally, a pair of cute slippers to replace my flip flops around the house.

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I was surprised at how much the Primark beauty stands have grown in recent years. They now have a whole make-up line as well as stocking various bath and beauty products from other brands. I also love looking at their false nail designs although I’m not really a fan of wearing them so it’s purely for some nail art inspiration!

I picked up a few things from this section:

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Some cute nail files with a floral and owl print

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Hair ties

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And Primark’s version of the Beauty Blender. I usually apply or blend my foundation with a brush but I have heard so many bloggers rave about these egg-shaped applicators that I thought I would give it a trial.

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Finally, I picked up some jewellery. I love the look of layering up several more delicate bracelets and these black and gold ones will look great together. There are some really pretty pieces in this set and for £2 you just can’t go wrong!

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Looking back on this post, I ended up buying more than I thought…isn’t that always the way?!

The sun is shining today so I am going to pull on my running shoes and head out before undoing my hard work with some cupcakes I plan on baking later on! x

This Week’s Nails – Matte Pastels

Hello and long-time no see! Quite literally for me actually as I have been in bed for the past week suffering with a hideous eye infection (hence my absence on here.) My body seems to have punished me for working and playing too hard over the last few weeks so I have spent days in bed catching up on sleep and working my way through several books and a good quantity of eye drops!

Today was the first day I felt like myself again and I have so many cool things to blog about in the next few weeks so I thought I would start my recovery with a little nails post.

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This manicure is so summery and the matte topcoat gives it a bit of a twist.

First of all, I narrowed down five of my favourite pastel-coloured nail varnishes:

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(From left to right: Eternal Optimist by Essie, Jacuzzi by Sephora, Bloomsbury Way by Nails Inc, Pistachio Ice Cream by MUA and Prickly Pear by Barry M.

Then gave my nails 2-3 coats, depending on the formula.

There are lots of good matte top coats available now – I used ELF’s Matte Finisher which only needed one coat and lasted for about 5 days until some slight wear appeared at the tips.

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Wearing different shades on nail varnish on each finger has been a bit of a trend recently and I think this is a really easy way to wear it…my only problem was narrowing it down to 5 shades!

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Finally, I had to mention the immense delight I took in hearing that Michael Gove has been reshuffled out of Education today…I think a glass of champers is definitely in order! x

This Week’s Nails – Nude, Black and Bling

Whilst sanding down a wall recently, I had the most girly disaster happen…I broke a nail! Not hugely dramatic in the grand scheme of things but pretty painful and it has put me off painting my nails or doing any new nail art until the offending nail has grown back and looks a bit better.

So today’s post is one from the archives, which really means I did this manicure a while ago and never got around to posting it!

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I began with two layers of Lychee from the Gelly Hi-Shine range. I really rate these polishes and I can’t help but notice they have three beautiful new pastel shades for Spring recently released too!

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I’m not sure that this is the perfect nude colour for my skin tone but I can’t fault the formula, finish or last of this nail varnish.

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For the black tips I used Noir Ceramic by Chanel. This is one of my most expensive bottles of nail varnish but I feel you really pay for the name with Chanel as the formulas aren’t actually that great.

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I added a little diamond on each cuticle and a thick layer of top coat and surprisingly these lasted for about 4 days until one fell off.

I really like the combination of nude and black, although I was careful to only add a very thin line of black.

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I am willing my stubby little nail to grow back soon as I have some lovely new polishes and nail art plans to try out soon. I’m off to finish off dinner now – lamb chops, pesto broad beans and garlic new potatoes…can’t wait! x

This Week’s Nails – She Sells Seashells

Just before Christmas, I was looking for some cool festive nail art ideas and I came across this lovely website, selling a variety of nail stickers and decals for next to nothing. I placed an order and my items arrived within a few days, well-packaged and in a pretty drawstring bag.

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Here is a quick peek at what I bought…

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Some festive stickers, candy cane nail decals, some bright yellow lemon filmo slices, some tiny gold and silver nail studs and these gorgeous gold shells, which I used in my manicure this week.

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I could have bought more but decided to show some restraint with my first order!

For this look I used:

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Barry M’s Gelly Nail Paint in Prickly Pear (I cannot rate this range highly enough!), my shell nail studs, a pair of tweezers and my Nails Inc Caviar Gel Top Coat.

After applying a couple of coats of this pretty lilac, while the varnish was still wet, I used my tweezers to position the shell and press it firmly onto my nail – it was too fiddly for me to do it with just my fingers!

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I finished with a very thick layer of top coat to really seal the shells to my nails and so far they have been on my nails for three days without budging!

The shells are quite raised off the nail so I only expected them to last a day or so but I think the generous layer of top coat has helped.

I can’t wait to experiment with the rest of my purchases! x

This Week’s Nails – A New Red

As we all sigh in relief that we made it to the end of another week, I have a double manicure to share tonight…one rather bad and another I am quite keen on!

I am very aware of bloggers who only choose to show the lovely parts of their lives on their blog, which is entirely their prerogative, but I like to think of mine as being a bit more akin to real life and just like cakes that don’t rise, recipes that taste horrible and projects that look rubbish, sometimes a manicure just doesn’t work! Case in point, this horrible pink, glittery look I attempted before Ian and I went out last weekend. nails9 I decided to use two new nail polishes that I hadn’t had a chance to try out yet; a pretty pink shade by Révérence de Bastien, which I received in this month’s Birchbox, and Barry M’s Sequin Effect polish in the shade ‘White’. nails20 I thought that together they would give a pretty and understated glitter effect but I was disappointed in both products for different reasons.

The pink base coat was actually very pretty after just one coat, giving a nice, translucent pink sheen to my nails which I would use again. nails12 However, with a second coat it became streaky and the formula was generally a little bit too watery to achieve a good, strong colour. nails13 I didn’t worry too much about the finish of the base coat as I knew I would be using the Sequin Effect nail varnish over the top. I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting from this polish but it is basically multi-coloured glitter circles suspended in a gritty, white varnish which makes it look like you have a layer of PVA glue on your nails and it finishes very unevenly and rough to the touch. nails8 nails6 I wasn’t happy with it from the start really but didn’t have any time to redo it as we had tickets to the theatre and were already running slightly late. Even a top coat of my trusty Seche Vite couldn’t improve this and I’m sad to say that I took this manicure off before I went to bed meaning it lasted a grand total of about 4 hours!

I think I will give the pink nail varnish another try but I am seriously unimpressed with the Barry M bottle, especially as I usually love their stuff! If anyone wants this Sequin Effects polish then just let me know and I will post the bottle to you! After this little disaster, I decided that a classic red nail varnish was called for – you can’t go wrong with red, right?! nails18 I had a new bottle of Nails Inc nail varnish to try out in the shade ‘Luminous Red Gloss’ which I got free last week with a tube of Colgate toothpaste. Nails Inc polishes usually retail for about £12 and are excellent quality so I thought that this deal was an absolute bargain and you always need toothpaste! nails16 I applied two coats of this gorgeous, bright red shade and would have been very happy to leave them like that but I couldn’t resist a few feature nails and, in order to redeem the good name of Barry M, I decided to use a white Shatter Effect nail varnish which did not disappoint! nails1 nails2 I really like this simple manicure – I love the shade of red, the Nails Inc polish was great quality and the white nail varnish complemented the whole look. nails10nails5

This Week’s Nails – Confetti

It has been a few weeks since I have posted some nail art but I have two lovely new products to share with you today.

First up is my base colour, a gorgeous grey shade by Sally Hansen with the incredibly unglamorous name of Wet Cement! I love grey nail varnish – I think it looks very sleek and stylish and I actually left my nails with this shade alone on for a few days and got several compliments on the colour.

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I’m a big fan of Sally Hansen nail products and the formula of this nail varnish is amazing. I had full coverage in one coat but used two just to make it last a few days longer. The polish dried to a shiny gel-like finish very quickly and it lasts for a good week without chipping.

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As much as I love this shade, I couldn’t resist livening it up a bit. I also had another new bottle of nail varnish I was dying to try out and I knew this colour combination would work well.

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I bought a couple of new Barry M polishes recently on a 3 for 2 deal and one of the bottles was this pretty pink and white ‘nail confetti’ in the shade Marshmallow.

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This textured nail varnish has been around for a little while and I didn’t buy a bottle straight away as I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the colours but there is something about pink and grey that I love so I knew they would work well together.

I only needed one coat of confetti on each nail as there is such a good amount of product on every brush stroke. The finish was actually quite smooth but I still finished the look with a layer of Seche Vite clear topcoat to prolong the manicure.

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I think it would be easy for this pastel pink confetti to look too girly which is why I like it matched with the more industrial grey tone. A simple yet effective look and two lovely new nail varnishes to add to my collection.

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This Week’s Nails – Purple Roses

This week I was testing out a new Essie nail varnish that I bought in San Francisco. I couldn’t believe what a bargain Essie polishes were over there so I of course stocked up!

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I bought the shade Go Ginza which is a beautiful pale lilac colour. I think it is a very clean and fresh colour and looks great with a tan (which I unfortunately don’t have!)

I was a bit worried about the formula of this after the first coat which dried very patchy and streaky.

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But after a third coat, it looked perfect and dried to a very even finish. I have nail varnishes from a variety of brands but Essie remains one of my favourites.

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In fact, I have another new shade from them on my toes at the moment too – a bright coral colour called Braziliant.

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I wasn’t planning on doing any nail art this week and was quite happy to just wear this lovely new shade alone but I couldn’t sleep yesterday and found myself wide awake at 5am so I thought a cup of tea and a bit of nail painting would go down a treat!

I have done roses on my nails before but I decided to stick to a purple theme this time. For this look I used three shades: Frozen Yogurt by MUA, Lilac by ELF and Prickly Pear from the Barry M Gelly range.

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First of all, I used the middle shade of Lilac and a dotting tool to draw some large circles on my nails.

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Once these had dried, I used the darker shade of Frozen Yogurt and a very fine nail brush to draw some abstract letter Cs.

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Finally, I used the lightest shade of Prickly Pear to add some highlights.

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I finished the look by painting on some small leaves using Rimmel’s Green Grass.

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I sealed my nails with a layer of Seche Vite and this ensured my nails had a smooth and even finish. I cannot recommend a clear top coat enough when you do any sort of nail art. Not only will it make it last longer but it also smooths any lumps and bumps that can happen when you are using different brands of nail varnish which will inevitably all have different formulas and finishes.

I only did my left hand because it was so fiddly and I just don’t have a steady enough hand to attempt this nail art on my opposite hand! However, I am very pleased with the finished result and think the colour combinations work well with my new Essie shade.