Sunday, 17 June 2012

Leighton Denny - Coral Reef

Ladies in the UK have been spoilt this Summer, we have a choice of nine top quality nail polishes free with fashion magazines!

Today I am showing you my latest acquisition: Coral Reef by Leighton Denny, which came free with July's issue of Harper's Bazaar. This is my first nail varnish by this beauty expert and, unlike the free polishes by Ciaté and Nails Inc I got this month, Coral Reef is actually part of the S/S 2012 collection and retails at £11. So you really are getting a bargain!

I have to say I am not a huge fan of the bottle. I think it looks a little dated and, although this has no reflection on the quality of the product inside, it would not grab my attention on a shelf. Having said that, the nail varnish itself is very good, goes on smoothly and evenly and offers optimum coverage in two coats.

This colour is a coral red shade with a pink shimmer which makes it very glossy indeed. I am not sure this is very me, but I have a feeling it might grow on me after a while. My husband reckons it would appeal to an older audience, but it's a matter of taste I suppose. I feel that is it so summery it makes my hands look tanned. See for yourselves:

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Brand: Leighton Denny
Collection: Castaway
Name: Coral Reef
Type: Creme/Shimmer
Colour: Coral red
Pantone equivalent: N/A
Make Up Alley rating: N/A
Potential dupes: Zoya Nicole, Nicole by OPI The Right Thing and OPI Bright Lights Big Color definitely look more orange.
Free with the July 2012 edition of Harper's Bazaar (£4.20)

I used:
1 x Save the Nail Eau So Hydrated Base Coat
2 x Leighton Denny Coral Reef
1 x Save The Nail 45 Second Top Coat

Canon EOS 450D - 50 mm - f/1.8 - ISO 200 - indoors- no flash - daylight

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Nail Art: Irregular Dots

Continuing with the freebies, a few days ago I decided to try Ciaté Bon Bon, a near nude with a hint of mauve that I got with July's Marie Claire magazine.

I found it was good formula and application wise, but the colour looked a bit washed out against my skin tone. So I decided it was the perfect background for a nail art design I'd seen some time ago on Pinterest:

I really liked the middle finger on Jennifer Love Hewitt's right hand so I copied that design on my left ring finger. Every other nail was inspired by her mani.

I used OPI Black Onyx and two dotting tools. I found that this was one of the easiest nail art designs ever because you don't have to match every nail, so I even managed to do my right hand with some success. A steady(ish) pulse and a table to rest my hands on was all I needed!

I've had this on for four days now and I love it. The photos I took when it was fresh came out terrible so I had to re-take them today before removing it; you'll have to excuse my cuticles on the pictures below:

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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Ciaté - Jelly Bean

When I read that Marie Claire came with a free Ciaté nail varnish, worth £9, I asked my husband to go and get me all three colours. I know that sometimes finding these gems can be tricky, so when he came back empty handed I was a little deflated but understood that could be the case.

But then, on Tuesday morning, he gave me a birthday card and a magazine with all three bottles of Ciaté nail varnish (as well as other things, may I add!). My daughter knew straight away that she wanted me to paint her nails with the pink one, and despite not normally being my first choice, it was the one I was drawn to too.

Jelly Bean is bright and happy. It's a summery colour, young and vibrant. It's fuchsia and has a very subtle lavender shimmer which I can see in the gorgeous bottle but not so much on the nail itself.

I would say Jelly Bean probably sits somewhere between a jelly and a creme. Application with the Ciaté brush is easy and flawless and it goes on smoothly. I have three coats of it on and there is still a bit of VNL as you will notice in the photos below, I imagine you can reach full opacity with a fourth coat. It's very shiny indeed! All my photos are without topcoat.

Finally, Jelly Bean has been on my nails since Tuesday night and there are no signs of chipping or tip wear. Am I turning into a pink lover? I doubt it, but this shade is certainly a nice exception to make!

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I decided to decorate Jelly Bean with a few black flowers, using OPI Black Onyx and a dotting tool. What do you think?

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Brand: Ciaté
Name: Jelly Bean
Type: Jelly/Creme
Colour: Fuchsia
Pantone equivalent: Rhodamine Red
Make Up Alley rating: N/A
Potential dupes: Couldn't find any yet!
Free with the July 2012 edition of Marie Claire magazine (£3.70)

I used:
1 x Save the Nail Eau So Hydrated Base Coat
3 x Ciaté Jelly Bean

Canon EOS 450D - 50 mm - f/1.8 - ISO 200 - indoors- no flash - daylight

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Nail Art Special: It's My Birthday!

I am 17 again today, but unlike the film, I am not going back in time to get the life I've always wanted... I decided to show you some nail art instead!

A friend of mine was hosting a Jubilee party and mentioned she couldn't get any Union Jack nail wraps, so I offered to do her mani. I used Cult Nails Time Traveler as a base colour and then drew stripes in OPI Alpine Snow and Bullish on OPI. See the results below:

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My daughter has chickenpox, so we've spent the long weekend at home. I fancied doing something different and came up with a mosaic pattern using a few different sized dotting tools. Unfortunately, my choice of colours (OPI Alpine Snow as a base, OPI Black Onyx, Nicole by OPI I'm a Belieber, a-england Guinevere and Elaine) was so similar that the pattern is lost and it just looks like a bunch of spots, much like my little girl's back:

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Since my little angel is bored of being stuck in the house, she asked me to do her nails. I used a dotting tool to draw flowers using OPI Flit A Bit and Ciaté Jelly Bean.

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And finally, one of my friends suggested this morning that I should do some birthday-themed nail art for the occasion, so I decided to focus on the things that make birthdays special:

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  • Cake on my thumb
  • Party hats on my index finger, although these are not compulsory
  • Presents on my middle finger
  • Love and laughter (or smiles) on my ring finger
  • Balloons on my pinkie, another item which can be omitted when you reach my age
I used: Nubar Classic Camel, Nicole by OPI I'm a Belieber, China Glaze For Audrey, Kiko 279 and 316, MakeMyDay Inés, a-england Guinevere and Galahad, Opi Did It On'Em, Flit A Bit, Suzi Says Da, Manicurist of Seville, Black Onyx, Dim Sum Plum, Your Royal Shine-Ness, Alpine Snow and Bullish on OPI.

As with most themed nail art, this is probably not the most tasteful of designs but it delivers the message. Happy Birthday to me!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Nail Art: Diamond Jubilee

If you live in the UK I don't need to remind you what is happening this weekend, but if you are abroad then you might not be aware that tomorrow, 2nd June, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation. This event is known as the Diamond Jubilee, a term which  normally marks a 75th anniversary but is used differently when it comes to monarchs.

As you can imagine, 60 years on the throne is no small feat, and the only other monarch to have celebrated such a date was Queen Victoria in 1897. Ten years ago, when I was living in London, I went to the Golden Jubilee celebrations near St Paul's Cathedral but this year I will be staying at home. There are many events planned for the long weekend, and for the first time ever, I will be having my birthday on a Bank Holiday!

There are hundreds of manis out there to portrait the Diamond Jubilee. In a sea of Union Jacks and red, blue and white themes, I decided to take a different approach: 

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As you can see, I went for a subtle look. Using Nubar Classic Camel as a base colour, I got my inspiration for the accent nail from a 1st Class stamp. The rest of the nails are covered in diamonds, in the form of OPI Servin' Up Sparkle.

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Would you say this mani is fit for a Queen? I'd love to hear your thoughts!