Sunday, June 30, 2013

China Glaze - OMG a UFO

Hi!

OMG a UFO is one of 12 colours released earlier this year as part of the China Glaze Hologlam collection. I picked this one up for around $6 in my recent nailsupplies order.


I didn't like this at all, lads. Firstly, it showed up every single tiny imperfection on the nails. I filed, buffed, and put on a base coat and it still made my nails look terrible:


It's also incredibly dull. In sunny weather, it might be great, but in natural everyday light, it's not holo at all. To me, it looked like a plain gold polish.


With a flash, it was holo but not overwhelming (and it still made my nails look awful):




I wasn't impressed by it at all. You definitely need a good ridge-filling base coat (which I don't have) to make this sit properly. You also need to followed around by a giant ball of sunshine or a spotlight to make it look interesting. This is the most holo photograph I could get (out of about 30):


Meh. I used some striping tape and a black pumpkin polish to try and make it look more interesting, but I think all I got was a mint humbug tribute:


I'm so glad I didn't pay Irish prices for this when it came out, and I'm so glad I didn't get any more of them!

Do you own any of the Hologlams?




Saturday, June 29, 2013

10 Day You Challenge - Day Two, Nine Loves


Hi!


On to Day 2 of the challenge, you can see my ten secrets here.

Day Two: Nine Loves

I don't think any of these are going to come as a particularly huge shock to anyone who's known me for more than five minutes, but here we go anyway!

1. Books.
Books are my ultimate love. I can't fathom people who say, with pride, that they don't read. I don't get it. Why wouldn't you want to read! I've been devouring books since I was old enough to read, and I have no intentions of stopping. I don't have a kindle or e-Reader, I prefer to pick books up in the library, second hand shops, boot sales, or online - there's nothing like opening a new book, or getting a second hand one with the knowledge that it has already had some kind of impact on another person.

2. Halloween.
I've already mentioned Halloween in this challenge, but it really is one of my favourite things in the whole world. Ever since I was little, I wanted to move to America and go trick-or-treating. I used to dream about living in a town that celebrated with pumpkins, lights, house parties - it's becoming more of a big deal over here, which is brilliant, because it used to be so hard to get nice Halloween decorations! When we were getting married in October last year, there was only one thing I wanted on the tables. Am I a big child? Yes.

Sitting at the top table on my own. Because we had a buffet service, my dress train had fallen down,  and nobody trusted me not to spill my dinner on myself. 

3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Words can not describe how much I love Buffy. There isn't a day that passes but I use a Buffy reference or quote - I don't know what it was about the series that caught my attention and imagination so much but it was a huge part of my life during my early teens. My sister and I spent hours and hours doing Buffy quizzes, listening to the soundtrack, writing out the scripts, taping the episodes off the telly and then using the cassette recorder to make tapes of the episodes to listen to on the walkman so much that we'd have memorized them by the time the next episode came out. I have watched the box sets over and over numerous times, and I've read the majority of the Season 8 comics (in which Joss Whedon just completely lets rip and writes stuff he'd never have gotten away with on the telly), but I've still never sat down and watched the last ever episode. I don't want it to end! Can you imagine my excitement when this happened? I totally understand the people who get all manic when they're tweeted by Bieber or 1D now. I get it. Completely.


4. Cross Stitch
My Mum was big into tapestry and liquid embroidery when I was little. She used to get books regularly from those crafty book clubs, and sometimes they'd send cross stitch ones. She had no interest in it, but when I broke my ankle aged 15, I took it up to keep myself occupied. I can't believe I've been doing it now for 15 years! I love doing big huge pieces, and I've done a lot of traditional type pictures and cards, but with the popularization of Pinterest, I've found some amazing little pop culture patterns that I like to do. I'm currently making some Pacman pendants on plastic canvas, and I've already shown you the Mario & Zelda bookmarks I did a while ago. I made a coin purse with some Buffy quotes on, and I'm working on something to do with DC Comics. I made all our own wedding invitations and I make an awful lot of baby, birthday, and wedding cards. I keep forgetting to take pictures of the things I make, but here's a collage of some of the stuff I've done, and a pic of our wedding invitation.



5. Shadow
The stray dog arrived circa July last year. He was skin and bone, and really afraid. We live in a really rural area beside a lake, so unfortunately it's not uncommon for people to dump dogs nearby. In the last few years I've had the dog warden out at least 5 times to pick up animals. As much as I'd love to keep them all, it's not practical when I already have a young child (and a cat). This guy was different - he looked so lost and lonely that we all took pity on him. We fed him, and agreed that if he hung around the house, we'd get him checked out at the vet and we'd keep him if we couldn't find an owner. A year later, he's a firm fixture in our home, and he's the best guard dog anyone could ever have. As you can see, he's made himself quite comfortable. When he saw me taking pictures of him, he wasn't too impressed. I'd be devastated if anything happened to him, he's an absolute pet.

"Waiter! Bring me the breakfast menu!"

Bloody paparazzi.
6. Nail Polish
I bet you'd never have guessed how much I love nail polish, right? I'm currently at 373 bottles (not including top/basecoats or polish I've ordered that hasn't arrived yet) according to my spreadsheet, and I have no intention of stopping. I'm doing a Nail Technician home study course, which is great for teaching me the basics, and I'm going to do another couple of courses when I've finished this one. We were talking the other day about home improvements we'd love to make - husband wants to build on out the back, son wants a games room, I want a polish room. A room full of floor-to-ceiling racks, full of glorious polish. And no, they don't all automatically go gloopy or dry up after a while. I still have polish I've had for over 10 years and it applies fine. You can see my most recent stash post here - embarrassingly, it needs to be updated.

7. Yankee Candles
I know some people hate them (and call them Manky Candles), but I adore them. I especially love the wax tarts (that I burn in a brilliant Griffin oil burner, seen in this post). My current favourite is a 2013 release called Fireside Treats - I have it burning now, it's an amazing blend of sweet marshmallow and camp fire smoke. I love the tarts because they last so much longer than the little votives. I have a stockpile of yankee tarts in the press - this is one of the things I'm a bit snobby about (along with Dairygold and Barry's Tea), I don't like the cheap versions. I highly recommend yankee.ie too - their customer service is fantastic and they've a great range of gifts.

[Image: carapharmacy.com]

8. eBay Jewellery
I have an awful eBay accessory addiction. I put €20 on my O2 card (thank god they don't take laser), hit the jewellery section, click free shipping, and behold - loads of little brown packages from China. (There are also hundreds of nail art suppliers on there, just type in "nail art", free shipping, buy now, lowest price first, and have a spree) The majority of "retro" or "kitsch" stuff I see around can be found on eBay - I'm not talking about OOAK handmade stuff, or higher quality stuff like Galibardy - I'm talking about basically everything Penneys sells, everything considered hipster, or everything with a moustache or owl on it. If you go to eBay.com, you can get things even cheaper - if, for example, something on the Irish/UK site is £0.99 (€1.16), it's usually always $0.99 (€0.76) on eBay.com. I know some people prefer to buy good quality things, but I love having a huge assortment of accessories that I don't have to worry about losing. Here's an example of some of the stuff I've bought recently, nothing cost over €2.50, click on the sellers to see what else they have.

LINKS: Top Row: Spike Necklace, Green Necklace, Black Necklace
Middle Row: Cross Necklace, Square Earrings, Batman Chain
Bottom Row: Batman Double Ring, Skeleton Pendant, Purple Earrings

9. My Boys
Saving the best for last, the number one thing in my life that I love is this pair of muckers:


If someone had to tell me in 2002 that by the end of the following year I'd be with the person I was going to marry, I'd have laughed at them. I didn't have boyfriends as such growing up - I was very shy, had absolutely no self confidence, and ate to make myself feel better. I didn't know how to put myself out there and I had no intentions of talking to members of the opposite sex, I never thought I would meet anyone who would be interested in seeing me more than once. I did the usual niteclub/short-term boyfriend thing during college, but it never entered my head to settle down. Roll on one night in 2003, I was only out as a chaperone for my younger sister, ended up drunker than her and her friend, singing a Britney song on Karaoke with a tinsel necklace, and as the old cliché goes, our eyes met, he smiled at me, I bought him a drink (vodka and Red Bull, the devil's own nectar) and that was it. Ten years later, we're married with a lovely little boy and another little person on the way. He gives me my space and has never, ever questioned anything I do or want to do, and I'm the same with him. It's funny how life works out, isn't it?

Back tomorrow with a swatch of China Glaze OMG A UFO if I can make it look not disgusting. I'm not loving it so far, but we'll see.




Thursday, June 27, 2013

10 Day You Challenge - Day One, Ten Secrets

Hi!

I'm giving my nails a break today, so I've something different - I saw this brilliant challenge over on Nikki's blog and I really wanted to do it, being the list fiend that I am. I'm going to do it in between nail and book posts.


Day One: Ten Secrets

Ahh, secrets. Who doesn't have a few? Here are ten of mine:

1. I don't like going out drinking. I just have no interest. Nine times out of ten when someone asks me if I'm going somewhere for an occasion, and I say 'yes, I'll probably be there', I've already made up my mind that I'm not going. I get no enjoyment from standing in a pub or club, feeling uncomfortable, wishing I was at home. I did the whole late-night-boozing thing a lot when I was younger, and I just got incredibly sick of it. I enjoy my own company far more.

2. I don't drive. I have no desire to learn. I don't get it. Even if I could drive this very second, I have absolutely nowhere I want to go. The only reason I'm learning is because I don't want my son to feel like he can't depend on me if he needs to go somewhere.

3. I'm not good at being the typical 'shoulder to cry on' girl friend. I lose patience with people. I've never been in worse humour than when I became friendly with a girl a few years ago and she used to come over for big Sex and the City style counselling sessions. It completely drained me and I got so sick of hearing other people's problems. I feel like such a bitch for saying that, but it's the truth.

4. I buy the most ridiculous things. I once bought a photo-style picture of Mel Gibson during his Lethal Weapon era, signed it myself, and framed it. I told everyone the signature was real.

5. I miss the 90s so much. I think I have a warped view of how great they were, because they really weren't all that great, but if I see something I had in the 90s, I have to have it. I've bought movies and books I had, I've bought old-fashioned clothes and accessories, I buy toys I used to play with, sweets I used to eat, and I listen to the same music I did then. I think I'm going to be one of those people in their 60s who still wears all my goth gear and goes on about how great My So-Called Life was.

6. I detest the smell, sight and taste of vodka and will not allow it in my home. I am partial to a bottle of Jameson come Wintertime.

7. I'm currently 6 months pregnant and the thought of having to give birth scares me to the point where I don't even want to think about it. I had a placental abruption with my first son that resulted in an emergency c-section. If we'd been at my husband's parents house out in the country that weekend as we'd originally planned, both my son and I would have died. I'm eternally grateful to the nurses and doctors who saved us both that night, but I panic when I think of having this one.

8. I used to really care what people thought of me. I was that annoying "me too" person for a long time. It took me until my mid-20s to realise that I can stand up for myself, I can argue my point, and I don't have to agree with people or put up with rubbish anymore. I really could not care less if people think I'm the biggest weirdo going, once I'm happy and my family are happy.

9. I make so many lists that I have to make lists of lists. I have lists for everything. To-do chores, blog posts, nail designs, things to buy, things to pay, birthdays, names, events - when I was little I had a list folder and I used to watch those "Top 100" countdowns on Channel 4 all the time and write them down in my folder.

10. I would celebrate Halloween every single day if I could. I even have smells that I associate with Halloween, or particular types of weather. Today is a Halloween day. I want to carve a jack-o-lantern, watch Hocus Pocus, and paint bats on my nails. And do the same tomorrow. I had jack-o-lanterns as the centrepieces at our wedding, and I wanted trick-or-treat bowls on the tables too but I completely forgot to do it.

While we're on the subject of secrets:


If you haven't heard of  postsecret.com, you're in for a real treat.  It's a blog that posts anonymous postcards or letters sent in by readers from all over the world. There's a new post every Sunday, and the archives aren't available on that particular website. The first night I discovered the archives on tumblr (here), I spent hours and hours glued to it. It makes me cry, it makes me smile, sometimes it makes me feel better about myself, and sometimes it makes me feel terrible for complaining about small stupid things. It's such a simple idea, but the execution is visually amazing.




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DIY: Nail Art with Studs and Striping Tape

Hi!

Studs are probably one of my favourite things to use in nail art, followed closely by striping tape. Striping tape makes your lines so even and neat, and it's readily available in little bundles on eBay for next to nothing. The studs I'm using today are on eBay here and cost $1.19 (€0.99/£0.77) with free shipping for 300 gold/silver studs. You can get 10 rolls of striping tape on eBay here for $0.99 (€0.76/£0.64) with free shipping.


For this, I used Orly La Vida Loca, Color Club Bright Night, some studs and some tape. I had planned on going over the lines with Barry M Gold Foil but I completely forgot. Here's what I used:

Base coat, Top Coat, Acetone, Polish, Striping tape, studs, tweezers, dotting tool, blu-tac.
I thought I'd take a few pictures when I was doing them to show you that it's not as hard as it looks to do nail art at all.


Start off with two coats of your chosen base colour, then add a topcoat. Wait until this is completely dry, otherwise the tape will pull off lumps of your polish. The topcoat stops the colours running into each other. This nail art would also be really good on the third or fourth day of a mani, if you want to cover tipwear or a chip.


Pretty self-explanatory! Lining up the tape is the most fiddly bit, but you can play around with it until you're happy with it. Remember the polish will be going up to the outside of the tape, so that's where you need to get your clean line. I removed the tape with tweezers right after applying the polish in picture 2, this is crucial to get a clean line. Just grab the tip with tweezers and gently peel it off. As you can see by the third picture, I'm in no way neat, so don't worry if you do that, you can clean it when it dries. In picture 4, I've used a blob of blu-tac on the end of a dotting tool to pick up the studs a little easier. Place that on the nail while the polish is still wet. Leave the polish to dry, clean up, and add a topcoat. I used a small bit of acetone on a brush to gently remove anything that shouldn't be there.


You can use striping tape in loads of different ways:


This is handy if you want to do neon tips, alternative french tips, or just play around with designs. If you want to do stripes on your nails, just use two or more pieces of tape:


Don't worry about being messy, it can all be cleaned up afterwards. When you're happy with your designs, just add a topcoat, clean up, use some cuticle oil or hand cream (I prefer hand cream), and you're done!


You can use any or all of those methods to do a huge variety of nail art looks, you really don't need much skill at all to get really eye-catching nails. If you don't have a steady hand - that's what acetone is for!




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Born Pretty Store Holo Polish

Hi!

A few weeks ago, Born Pretty Store gave away 200 bottles of holo polish to blog fans who posted links on their blogs, or shared posts on facebook or twitter. I was lucky enough to receive a bottle in my chosen colour, shade 12. I thought it was black at first, but it seems to be a really dark green.


Two coats of the holo polish gives a really good finish, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the formula wasn't streaky or overly drying (unlike the GOSH or Kiko holos).


The holo effect is pretty strong, it's a really decent polish and much better than I thought it would be. As part of a contest entry, I've done some holo nail art using this and Color Club's Harp on It.






I used a dotting tool to make the flowers and added a little nail jewel in the centre. The bottom close-up picture isn't in direct sunlight, so you can see how nice the holos are in everyday light.

You can get the born pretty store holo polish here - there are 12 shades available, and a 6ml bottle costs $6.44 (€4.90/£4.17) with free shipping.





Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: Jojo Moyes - The Last Letter From Your Lover

Hi!

I have only recently started reading Jojo Moyes' books - I've no idea why I was so late to that particular party, but I got there eventually with the purchase of Me Before You a few months ago. I devoured it, I adored it, I cried at the end, then I cried again because I had finished it. You know something is good when you actually miss it, and that's how I felt after reading Me Before You. I picked another of her novels up a few weeks ago, the 2010 release The Last Letter From Your Lover.

Image Source: booktopia
As always, I'll start off with the back cover:

"Know this at least: somewhere in this world is a man who loves you... 
A man who has always loved you and, to his detriment,
suspects he always will."

1960. Jennifer Stirling lives a life of luxury with her wealthy husband. On paper, she has it all. In reality, she's dangerously devoted to another man who is asking her to risk everything...

2003. Ellie Haworth works as a journalist for a national newspaper and is in love with a charming writer. On paper, she should be happy. In reality, her career is foundering and the man who holds her heart belongs to someone else...

When Ellie stumbles upon a set of passionate love letters from the 1960s, both women's lives entwine. And as she pieces together the fragments of the past romance, what she unearths dramatically transforms her life, and Jennifer's in the process.

The book starts off in the present day, from Ellie's point of view. She's involved with a married man, running away from all the problems in her life, and refuses to believe that she is anything other than blissfully happy. When she discovers a love letter from the 1960s, it has such a profound effect on her that she resolves to get to the bottom of it.

From about page 20 on, we are taken back in time to the 1960s to the life of Jennifer Stirling and her husband Laurence - a wealthy, successful, glamourous couple. Jennifer has just woken up from a car accident that left her with a damaged arm and a head injury that rendered her unable to remember great chunks of her life. To the outside world, Jennifer and Laurence are the perfect couple. But all is not well - along with Jennifer's partial memory loss, there are a circle of people who seemingly don't want her to remember every detail of her life before the accident, a husband who is losing his patience at her inability to just accept the here and now and stop asking questions, a housekeeper who knows more than she's letting on - and Jennifer is left feeling like a huge part of her life is missing.

When she stumbles upon letters written with more passion and love for her than she could ever imagine her husband showing, she is determined to find out more about who wrote them, what happened to him, and why they aren't together.

I LOVED the way this book was written. I loved that the majority of the book was entirely devoted to Jennifer's story, and the romance was so beautiful and passionate. I loved that we weren't jumping from the 60s to the 00s every second chapter - because Ellie's story, while the catalyst for later events, is not the main point of this book, and to be honest, I didn't find her very likeable. I adored Jennifer and her lover. The longing they had for each other in their encounters had me in tears more than once.

I don't want to say too much in case I spoil it, which I would hate to do, because it's truly such a beautiful story to watch unfold - but I can say that I picked this up at 12 pm today and couldn't put it down until I had every last page read. Not too many books do that for me anymore - I've some on my reading list that I'm dreading trying to get through.

An utterly timeless love story - make sure you have tissues for the end.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sally Hansen - Crinoline & China Glaze - Razzle Me, Dazzle Me

Hi!

A huge polish lemming of mine at the moment is My Vampire is Buff by O.P.I but I have talked myself out of buying it so many times - I have a couple of similar nudes, and I don't wear them often enough to warrant another one. Sob.When I was looking for a polish to use as underwear for China Glaze's Razzle Me, Dazzle Me from their Glitz Bitz 'n' Pieces collection, I came across this little bargain that I picked up in Dealz (Poundland) a while back.


Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Crinoline was released as part of their Fall 2011 collection, which was a collaboration with several designers. This was one of the shades from Prabal Gurung, and it's a gorgeous pale nude/cream polish. It was opaque in 3-4 coats, which is a lot, but it's so worth it:


It's warmer than Essie's Fiji, but it still doesn't look like it's a dupe for my beloved My Vampire is Buff. Let's all pretend that it is. Humour me. You can see the warmer tone of it in the next picture:


Absolutely gorgeous. Will we have another picture? Ah go on.


It's bloody gorgeous. Anyway - on to the topper. One coat of Razzle Me, Dazzle Me - a gorgeous clear-based glitterbomb with rose gold and black glitters -  is enough to make a plain mani into a showstopper, but we all know how much self-control I have when it comes to nails. Frankly, I kept dabbing coats on until I had no room left. Application wasn't a problem and they weren't hard to fish out.


I think I used about 3 coats of glitter, then topped it with one coat of Poshé.




Two gorgeous polishes, and I look forward to trying the glitter over other colours. This lasted for 3 days without chipping, until I removed it to change my polish.





Friday, June 21, 2013

Simple Summer Nail Art with MUA

Hi!

I've really been enjoying playing with the new MUA polishes I mentioned in this post. I've already shown you the blue, which I was really impressed with. Next up I have the purple (Frozen Yoghurt) and mint green (pistachio). I wanted to try these two colours together so I did some really simple nail art using a french manicure sticker, some striping tape, and a dotting tool.


I used a base coat, then painted each nail with an alternating colour. Then I added a topcoat to seal the base colour before doing any nail art.


For my index finger, I used two coats of the purple, a topcoat,  then dotted on 6 dots in a flower shape. I went over the middle dots with the purple. For my middle finger, I used two coats of the mint, a topcoat, then when it was completely dry, I put three pieces of striping tape down the length of my nail, painted purple over the whole lot, then immediately removed the tape. For my ring finger, I used a purple base and dotted on the mint. For my little finger, I used two coats of mint, then used a french manicure tip sticker across the bottom part, painted over with purple, then added purple dots. My thumb is just a copy of my little finger.


I'm really impressed with these polishes - with a topcoat, the whole mani lasted perfectly for 3 days until I wanted to change my polish. I have no doubt it would last longer if I hadn't wanted to swatch something else. The MUA polishes were opaque in two coats, and they didn't chip or wear. The picture below was taken on Day 3:


There's a minor bit of tipwear on the striped nail but nothing huge and nothing noticeable. For £1 each, I'll definitely pick up some more of this range at some point, and I'm looking forward to seeing new shades being added. You can find MUA at muastore.co.uk or in branches of Superdrug.




I bought these polishes with my own money, and did this post because I wanted to - I wasn't asked by MUA or anyone else to do it.