Saturday, 31 August 2013

Born Pretty Store review

It's always exciting when a brand contacts you to review their products. In this case, the people at Born Pretty Store asked me to test some of their goods.

My picks were one of their holographic polishes, a turquoise blue one, and a Hello Kitty stamping plate. After a hiccup with the first delivery, which was solved very quickly by emailing their excellent customer service team, the products arrived safely last Thursday.

I was very impressed with their holo polish. Linear polishes can be tricky to work with but I had no problems at all with this formula. The holo effect is pretty strong, I'd go as far as saying it's comparable to the Laylas I own. 

The brush was good even though it picked up a little less product than I would have liked for my big nails, but it went on easily. I used three thin coats over a normal base coat for the photos, as it's a little on the sheer side. It's very forgiving and doesn't show minor ridges and imperfections.

The photos are all in direct sunlight and without top coat; I tried it with top coat and the holo effect was only ever so slightly dulled. It's probably not even noticeable to most people! 

The only criticism I have is that the bottle is small (6 ml). I don't think it's a massive problem since most collectors hardly ever finish a bottle (please correct me if I'm wrong!), and you can save some product by applying it over a creme of a similar colour, reducing the number of holo coats to just two. I prefer it on its own, and would be happy to buy a replacement.

Now let's move onto the other item. I'd been after a Hello Kitty stamping plate for some time, and while there are some official Sanrio ones, the designs did not exactly fit my needs. I am young at heart, and realise this would not be my everyday plate so I wanted something that my daughters could enjoy too.

The Born Pretty Store QA12 plate has three Hello Kitty faces, a couple of teddy bears, three full nail designs, two bows and a tiny heart and bow. It packs quite a lot and everything is usable, even the tiny strawberry between the K and the T!

I tried stamping on paper first to see how sharp the designs were and I was happy with the results. I have said before I am far from an expert at stamping so maybe my standards are not as high as some other bloggers', but I was more than satisfied. I got all the images onto my stamper in one attempt, except for the all black teddy which took me a couple.

I decided to test them on a super kawaii mani. I like to think I am a "less is more" type of person but this time I went a little over the top, with a couple of gradients and even double stamping on top! I used Essie Blanc, Sinful Colors Sweet Tooth and OPI Dim Sum Plum, plus special Konad polishes in black and white.

The Born Pretty Store sells all sorts of things, not just nail art supplies, and is based in Hong Kong, so deliveries will take a while. They do, however, offer free international shipping on all orders and you can save 10% by using the code from my blog NLPW10 at checkout.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Deborah Lippmann - Fashion

I have to confess I wasn't too happy with Deborah Lippmann and her US-only giveaways and overpriced products, but when a good sale comes around I can be easily persuaded... how terrible is that?

So here it is, the first Lippmann I am showing you from my birthday mini haul. (I am late by over two months, but nevermind...)

Something has changed in recent months and I am into lighter, neutral shades. I now own quite a few greys, taupes and nudes and have, maybe in a bid to stop buying almost dupes, moved away from the reds, burgundies and purples that used to make a big part of my collection. Fashion is a pretty sheer nude that matches my Mediterranean complexion almost perfectly. It's like foundation for my nails and it looks super delicate and classy.

The formula was great, I used three coats for the photos. Appplication was effortless and the finish is smooth and shiny. This would probably be my first choice if I was going for a job interview, as it's chic without creating a distraction.

Would I pay £15 for it? Most certainly not, but it is nice to have got it for a fraction of that. After all, birthdays are the perfect time to be spoiled!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

MoYou London 2013 Image Plate Collection

Today I am thrilled to show you my picks from the new 2013 Image Plate Collection by MoYou London. These beauties arrived this morning so they're straight out of the nail art oven!

A bit of background first. As you probably know, or will realise pretty soon, stamping is not one of my strengths: as someone who enjoys freehand nail art, I consider it to be cheating, in a way, although I am aware you can achieve even results on both hands (when done properly), which is impossible when doing freehand designs. I only own three Konad plates and have always been put off by bad reviews of fauxnads.

So how come I am so excited about these plates? I first saw them on fellow UK blogger Sarah Louise's Spellbinding Nails Facebook page. She is a stamping expert and posted a picture of the Suki 1 plate which was an instant hit for me. I ordered it straight away and almost three weeks later, I have it!

I first developed an interest in Japan almost 20 years ago, when I sent a letter to a Japanese magazine in order to meet pen friends. Back then, email existed but wasn't readily available and writing to someone on the other side of the world (I was born and raised in Argentina) was an interesting pastime. I got to learn about a very different culture first hand from teenage girls like me and it ignited a desire to one day visit the land of the rising sun. I fulfilled that dream with my now husband six years ago and we had the most amazing time ever!

Enough about me! Suki 1 is the sleeve tattoo of stamping plates. I have never seen anything like it! I fell in love with it immediately for two reasons: it's huge, which means I could cover my entire nails (my nails, even when short, are far too big for Konad plates) and it's Japanese. A match made in nail art heaven!

One thing that is interesting about this plate is that it's all inspired by flora and fauna, except for a fan on the top left corner. The possibilities are not exactly endless, but there are so many combinations of flowers, animals and patterns that it can be very versatile indeed.


Suki 2 was the plate I was least excited about at first, but when I was inspecting it closely this morning I noticed it's quite special. It has some Japanese words (love, happiness and courage), a Buddha, lanterns, a pagoda, a bonsai tree, dragons, and a Geisha, among other things. It reminded me of Kyoto and it appeared to be full of cultural references, which I adored.

Suki 3 is the kawaii plate! It's fun and cutesy; I imagined my daughter would love it too. It's mostly food and animals, with a few other things such as hearts and a couple of girls. My favourite image on this plate is probably the edamame beans, which you find pretty much in every bar and restaurant in Japan. Super adorable!

Suki 4 is all full nail patterns found in Japanese art and a face which reminds me of Kabuki theatre. (Plates 5 and 6 were added to the collection later, larger versions of plate 4 can be found in these.)

When I thought I was done with my mini haul, The Tourist plates were released and The Tourist 1 (London) plate called my name loud and clear! I lived in London for over five years, met my husband there, and it still is one of my most beloved cities in the world, so I felt I had little choice but to get it.

To conclude this lengthy review full of personal references, I have to say that I was impressed with the quality of these plates. If I can get the images onto my nails with relative ease, I believe they are fool proof! A few designs took a couple of attempts (The Tourist 1 was possibly the one I struggled with the most), but I am positive it was due to my inexperience. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Ciaté - Jewellery Box

Today I am showing you another untried. I bought this polish blind as there are hardly any swatches or reviews on the net. In fact, I've only found one review, which escaped me when I ordered this nail varnish about four weeks ago during a one-off sale.

Jewellery Box is from Ciaté's Treasured Possessions collection. I went for this shade as I have a mini collection of black polishes and thought it wasn't like anything I already owned.

How can I describe it? The review I read calls it a black glitter, but I think it's more like a Liquid Sand/PixieDust. It's a clear base, packed with tiny, coarse, matte black particles and quite a lot of hexagonal gold holographic glitter, which can be pretty blinding in direct sunlight. It's far too dense to be used as a glitter top coat; I used three coats to achieve full opacity (as is the case with most, if not all, of my Ciaté polishes).

I am not a huge fan of textured polishes. I had to buy some as a collector, but the grittiness isn't really my cup of tea. I tried to smooth Jewellery Box with a couple of coats of top coat and I noticed an improvement, but it's still not the finish I am happiest with.

A couple of things I love about Ciaté are the super cute bottle (of course!) and the brush. I noticed that this polish was not made in France like they used to, but in the US. Not that it makes any difference to me, but it might be good news for my American readers.

I am on the fence about this one. It is original, without a doubt! If the textured trend is for you, then I would recommend it.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Striping Tape Nail Art (inspired by Phsiiit)

After nine months at home with my girls, my maternity leave came to an end and last week I was back in work. I wanted to do something nice and classy for my first day and remembered this lovely mani which I first saw on Pshiiit.

I'm not going to bore you with the details because it's super easy and Camille has done a video tutorial on her post.

I used OPI Black Onyx as a base and one of my untrieds from Llarowe: the gorgeous multichromatic beauty that is Ludurana Aurora Boreal Show. The name couldn't be any more apt!

Aurora Boreal Show flashes mostly red/copper in artificial light but in natural light it shifts from teal to purple (two of my favourite colours). I love it so much! Multichromes and holos are the stuff dreams are made of! Well, mine at least.

Then I finished the look off with silver striping tape and two coats of top coat. Unfortunately, some of the top coat got under the striping tape and the finish wasn't as smooth as I had hoped.

It was my first time using striping tape in this fashion and I noticed that it peeled off within 24 hours, which was a little disappointing. Still, it was so pretty and I got so many compliments I'd definitely do it again!