Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NOTD: Lac Attack - The Horcrux of It


A few weeks ago, I came across swatches of the fantastic Harry Potter themed Magical Musings collection from L.A. indie polish maker Lac Attack. The collection was a collaboration between Anastasia of Lac Attack and Kristen of Glitta Gloves - and it's amazing!

There are ten polishes in the collection, and you can see Kristen's fabulous swatches on the post that caught my eye HERE. The one I decided on was "The Horcrux of It" - I'm a sucker for a dark glitter and this one looked amazing. Shipping to Ireland was inexpensive and fast - polish plus shipping came in under e11, and I ordered on the 1st of December (launch day) and received it yesterday (December 11th).

Here's a close up of the bottle: 

"The Horcrux of It" is a sheer black polish with green & orange/mustard small glitters and larger green hex glitters. When I used this first, I swatched it over a clear basecoat and it built up nicely, but it wasn't as opaque as I wanted it. This time, I used two coats of Barry M black under it, and it turned out exactly how I'd hoped!

Two coats of Barry M Black and Two coats of The Horcrux of It
Excuse my stubby thumbnail, it split yesterday :(

Even though it was absolutely stunning as it was, I have a current obsession with matte nail polish so I added an Essence matte topcoat over the top and it was gorgeous.

I love it matte, and I'll definitely wear this combination again. I'll also definitely return to Lac Attack for another purchase - this was my first indie polish and it definitely won't be my last!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snowflake Spam & Wedding Pictures


I am completely addicted to snowflake manicures at the minute. I don't know what it is, but I just love them. I did a burgundy/gold one yesterday and took pictures, but my memory card wiped itself so I don't have any swatches of it - but I used Wet n Wild Burgundy Frost (which I found in Heatons, of all places) and Barry M gold foil for stamping. I did a blue/white combo on Friday, and a black/silver one today:

Models Own 'Snow White' stamped with Sally Hansen 'It's All I Can
Blue' & Nails Inc 'Motcomb Street', Topper: Essence 'Prince Charming'.

Barry M 'Black' with stamped snowflakes in Barry M silver foil effects
and Chit Chat 'Rio' with Essence Matt Topcoat

The black one was inspired by a fantastic mani I saw on Fox Claws facebook page, it has become one of my favourites.

Now - I've had a few comments & messages about wedding pictures, and after a short chat with the husband, we've picked a few pictures that I can leave up on the blog - neither of us would be over the moon about putting our pictures up online but we're as nosy as the next person so here you go!

Me & My friend Grainne

Check out my biker boots ;-)

The hubby's wedding transport!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NOTD: A-England Tess D'Urbervilles & Barry M Gold Foil


This was originally just going to be a swatch post, but I added an accent nail because frankly,  plain nail polish completely bores me. I kept it festive with gold & green, the green coming courtesy of one of the recent Gothic Beauties from A-England: Tess D'Urbervilles.

I haven't read Tess of the D'Urbervilles but I have just ordered it online and will read it as part of my classic novels challenge in the 30 Before 30. By the way, if you're ever looking for a book online and you're not sure which sites have the best value, is a fantastic site that trawls through all the usual book sites to find you the best deal. I use it all the time!

Back to the polish, Tess is a gorgeous black-based polish with an amazing green shimmer, just check it out in the bottle:

I used two coats of Tess over a basecoat, and then due to aformentioned boredom I taped off my ring nail and gave it a coat of Barry M Gold Foil, Essence Space Queen and a trio of green rhinestones.

It looked black in almost every photograph I took (and there were a LOT), but once I got into direct sunlight, Tess came to life.

There aren't many polishes I'd tramp around a frozen garden chasing the sun for, but Tess is definitely one of them. It's a stunning polish and I've a feeling it won't be my last A-England (sorry bank). - Actually that reminds me of something my husband said the other day, I bought a few polishes in Dealz (awful selection, but managed to unknowingly find some of the Prabal Gurung Sally Hansens) and he said "You bought polish? You must have enough now?" Man, please.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

30 Before 30 - #1 Introduction & Franken.


This isn't a standard nail polish, craft, music or book post so you're welcome to skip it if you want, but I just really wanted to do this!

Next June, I turn 30. I look at all the things I have achieved in my life so far and I'm happy - but there are so much more things I want to do. I don't know how 30 got so close without me realising, I suppose I still think I'm a teenager - I certainly don't feel like an adult yet, despite being the mother of an 8 year old and being married!

One of my favourite blogs is Breige's over at Rare Opal, and I was so inspired by her "25 before 25" series that I knew I wanted to do something like that before I turned 30. I'm desperate for lapsing into daydreams and wishing half the day away, and this time I want to actually make things happen for myself instead of sitting here thinking "maybe one day..." so, I've decided to do a "30 Things Before 30" list. I'm going to make a separate page on the blog for it, and I'll do a little post every time I tick something off. I'm really looking forward to it, and if you can think of any way to cross something off the list, please let me know!

Since I started writing this list last week, I was hoping to tick one thing off:

7: Franken my own nail polish.

We all know about my obsession with nail polish names, and in the absence of a proper Buffy the Vampire Slayer collection, I decided to franken my own. I got an old Essence Colour & Go clear nail polish, an old Essence purple eyeshadow, and a crapload of Hong Kong's finest glitter courtesy of eBay. A paper funnel, a good ol' shake, a bit of acetone to take the labels off (and the entire silver colour off the cap) and what do you get?

The name is from one of my favourite episodes, Tabula Rasa. It looks pretty nice in the bottle, doesn't it? Sigh. Can you guess what's coming? I almost wasn't going to bother watermarking the next one, because nobody in their right mind would want to pass this off as their own, but in the interest of honesty.....

All kinds of yuck.

I'm not giving up that easily, though - a visit to the bargain Essence colour & go basket is in order and I will make an acceptable franken if it kills me!

I'll post regular updates on my "30 Before 30", feel free to ignore as many of them as you want to!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crafty Christmas: DIY Pyramid Gift Boxes


In preparation for our wedding in October of this year, I went looking for favours. I couldn't find any I liked - they were either too generic or too expensive. I came across a blog called Simply Creative (with Pink Petticoat) and in particular this post about pyramid boxes - I fell in love with their simplicity straight away and knew I wanted to make them as favours. I printed them onto cream A4 card, and made 200 of them. I added personalised labels from eBay, some ribbon, popped a couple of mints into each one, and voila - inexpensive favours that went down a bomb!

For Christmas, I love giving nail polish as a present. BUT. And it's a big but (and I cannot lie) - even though some nail polish is expensive, I think it looks really mean as a present on its own. Something that costs e10 or under shouldn't look mean - right, it's not a huge amount of money, but to those of us watching the pennies it's important that we feel good about what we give to people.

So, on the hunt for something to make the small little presents look a bit more presentable, I remembered these boxes. They're perfect for nail polish (or loads of other things - an EOS lip sphere, some eyeshadow, earrings or some other small little present would work really well too. If you make homemade truffles you could also use them).

I'll take you through it step-by-step!

First, download the template found here. The template belongs to Pink Petticoat, so all credit should be given to Liz Armstrong.

You will need:

A4 card of your choice, contrasting card (if desired), Ruler,
Scissors, Ribbon, Paper Punch.
Print the template onto the sheet of A4 card. For my wedding favour boxes I printed 2 to a page to get smaller boxes, but for these, print one per page. Cut along the main outside lines, NOT the inside dotted ones. You should end up with something like this:

Next, use your punch to make one hole in each of the 4 main corners. I found it easiest to get the holes centered if I fed the pointy end into the punch, then make the hole.

Next, use a ruler to fold along the little dotted lines on the card. There are two versions of the template in the downloadable file - one with guide lines and one without. I use the one with the lines because I'm hopeless at cutting/folding in a straight line. Use your ruler to fold all 4 main parts and both sides of each part in towards the centre. Fold all corners in to make sure the top pieces match up.

Click to enlarge.
Next, take your ribbon and feed it through the holes. There's a specific way to do this so that you can open & close it properly - start by feeding one end of the ribbon through one hole towards the centre, and out through the hole in front of it. Then feed the other end through the hole next to it, and out through the hole in front. The ribbon should be visible on the outside, like so:

Now, the fun part! Get the little item you want to pop inside, and wrap in a little tissue paper. This isn't necessary but it adds a little extra protection. If you're picking nail polish, very few brands will have room to stand up, but you can put them lying down in them. You could also add in a few chocolate coins.

Full-sized Essie polishes cost e9.99 from new display stands in chemists
all over Ireland, and are the perfect size for the box.

Once you put your gift inside, close the box securely by gently pulling the ribbon taut and tying a knot, then a bow. If your ribbon has a tendency to fray, you can stop that by using a candle or lighter. Just hold the ribbon near to the flame (not ON the flame, bubbly blackness is not what we are aiming for here) to gently seal the ends. Any ribbon will work well for the boxes - I think this green one came from the packaging of a pair of pyjamas! 

To finish it off, I cut a little circle of green card, used a gold pen to write on it, and added a little bow. 

I'm definitely going to make some more of these for the little presents, they deserve to get some proper wrapping too!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas NOTD: Snowflakes!


With snow a very real prospect for Ireland this year (which I'm not entirely delighted about), I decided to kick off my Christmas nail ideas with some snowflakes. I was going to do the traditional white/blue colours but where's the fun in that, eh? Instead, let's go all Sam Sparro on it.

I used two polishes for this  - Barry M Black and Barry M Gold Foil Effects.

First, give your nails a couple of coats of the black. Any black, but I like this one. Then to do the snowflakes, get a cocktail stick or skewer, and draw one line down. Next, add diagonal lines. Then, add little arrows to the top of each line. If you have space, add more arrows. There is no right or wrong to drawing a snowflake - it's said that every single snowflake is unique, so let that be the same for you - here's a quick diagram to show you where to start. Where would I be without MS Paint, eh?

I added a little red rhinestone in the centre, but a blob of glittery red polish would be ideal too (think China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Barry M Red Glitter or Kleancolor Bite Me). 

Whack on a topcoat and you're done. I really like this colour combination - I think I'm definitely going to try and steer clear of very bright reds/greens for my Christmas nails this year. This would also work really well on an accent nail if you want a bit of Christmas on your digits without going overboard. 

I'm putting my decorations up tomorrow just in time for the Late Late Toy Show, so I'll be wearing this mani until then (the rhinestones probably won't make it, picker's paradise).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Catrice Doris' Darling & NYX Girls Enchanted Forest


Doris' Darling is one of five limited edition shades in the "Hollywood's Fabulous 40ties" collection from Catrice. The others are equally well named - Red Butler (deep raspberry), Marlene's Favourite (coral/pink), The Nude Scene (peachy nude) and Holly Rose Wood (rose pink).

Right, firstly, I have to get this off my chest - we all know how much of a big freak I am when it comes to polish names, and while the polishes are well named, the name of this collection wrecks my head.

Anyway, leaving that aside, this is Doris' Darling.

It looks quite cool toned there, but depending on your skin tone it can look like a really nice warm plum - similar to Sally Hansen "Plum Luck" from the Complete Salon Manicure line, or the discontinued "Plum Play With Me" from Catrice.

As usual with Catrice, the formula & application were excellent. I used two coats and both dried quickly. Here's a look at it outside:

It's a lovely glossy plum, but it was crying out for a bit o' bling (or a Najazzle as I like to call it) - I got the cutest polish in my swap with Jenna a while back, and I'd been dying to use it. This is NYX Girls - Enchanted Forest.

I used 2-3 coats of Enchanted Forest and transformed Doris' Darling into a blingy, ballsy, weirdly space-like mani that Calamity Jane TOTALLY could have rocked. Y'know, if she were into nail polish.

I am in the love. I want to wear it forever.

Look how she sparkles in the (bizarre) cold November sun!

I'm going to stare at it now while I go and watch all Doris' Calamity Jane songs on Youtube, it's been WAY too long since I warbled along to this one in particular:

Have a good one,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Comparison: Goldfinger!


I recently picked up the new O.P.I Skyfall mini collection, and I have been raving about Goldeneye ever since. Hand on heart, it's the first gold polish I've ever really, really loved. So, with Christmas just around the corner (yay!) and after a conversation about gold polish with Cuti-Clue-Les on twitter, I thought I'd compare some of the best gold nail polishes around at the minute.

I picked 5 gold polishes from various brands, so everyone should be able to get at least one of them fairly easily. Here are the 5:

L-R: O.P.I "Goldeneye"; Catrice "Oh My Goldness"; Essence "Gold Fever"; Catrice "Goldfinger"; Revlon "Golden Charm".

Catrice "Goldfinger" looks like a bang-on dupe for GOSH "Gold", which I  no longer own, but if you fancy a lighter-toned gold polish this one will set you back a mere 2.79 as opposed to a ludicrous 8.50 for GOSH. Here's a closer look at all the polishes, swatched. First, inside wth no flash:

Thumb: Revlon; Index: Catrice Goldfinger; Middle: Essence;
Ring: Catrice Oh My Goldness!; Pinky: OPI.

Then, inside with flash:

Outside, natural light, no flash:

Catrice "Oh My Goldness!" is almost exactly the same as one of their limited edition polishes from 2010/2011 called "Spiced Bronze" - it's only a shade lighter. It's definitely on the bronze side more than gold, so maybe the name is a little off in this case. O.P.I "Goldeneye" is still my favourite, but I have found a new appreciation for Essence "Gold Finger" - it's really pretty and I love the red glitters in it, very Christmassy!

I'd be interested to know if there are any bang-on dupes for Goldeneye, because I can't think of any off the top of my head.

I'll leave you with a close-up of each shade (click to enlarge):

And a shot of my very own mini James Bond:

Totally getting his moneys worth out of that wedding suit.