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.