Thursday, 23 January 2014

Review: Mavala STOP

There is no easy way of saying this: nail biting is a nasty habit. I spent many, many years with my fingers in my mouth and know it's unhygienic and generally bad for your nails (and teeth). In my early teens I was simply embarrassed to show my hands! So when I realised my daughter (four) started biting her nails, I wanted to help her break it while it's still early days.

I read some decent reviews and decided to give Mavala STOP a go. It's formulated to work on children as young as three and it helps prevent thumb sucking too.

The idea is simple: a clear, fast drying nail varnish which looks harmless but tastes bitter when in contact with saliva. It's not advised for children under three as their taste buds are not fully developed and it might not have the desired effect, and you have to be very careful not to use your hands to eat soon after applying it. 

You use it every two nights and it doesn't take too long for you to notice an improvement. It says it might weaken your nails, you can see below my little girl's longer but slightly peeled nails after a few days' use.

My daughter needed a week or so. It was a painful period but it worked: she hated it so much she cried when I painted her nails (naughty mummy!) but it was one of those moments when you think you are doing the best for your children. It also helped break her very unattractive nose-picking habit, which is a bonus.

I was impressed, now I want everyone to try it. I want my colleagues and relatives to see whether it works for them too, but I am keeping this tiny bottle handy just in case my daughter needs it again!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Nail Art: Stamping and Framing

I just wanted to share this mani with you because I am really happy with it.

I have been experimenting quite a bit with my MoYou London stamping plates and am gaining experience in the matter, and despite being far from an expert, I like trying new ideas.

I fancied stamping directly over the base coat for a see-through effect, but since my nails are fairly big and I haven't got the XL version of this plate (Suki Collection 04), I decided to add a little frame around the design.

I went for a very graphic pattern, which looks as a flower but also tiles. The overall look is a lot like fishnet tights or lace: some described it as sexy and I can see why.

Being so simple and monochrome, I used Deborah Lippmann On A Clear Day topcoat (and drying drops to speed up the process) to ensure it was super glossy.

I like this so much I am already thinking of different patterns and colour variations. What do you think?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Original Nail Art: Princess Celestia - My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic

I am a little late with this post! I intended to share this mani with you yesterday but being a mum of two is a full-time job.

My 4-year-old daughter is a massive My Little Pony fan, so I thought it would be fun to do some freehand nail art inspired by one of the characters.

My inspiration: Princess Celestia

Princess Celestia is one of the co-rulers of Equestria, the land where the ponies live. She uses her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn, while her younger sister Princess Luna is responsible for bringing out the moon to begin the night.

I used a white base for all nails and saved a couple of images to my phone to use as reference.

Seven out of 10 nails are simple gradients, using brighter versions of the colours in her mane, and topped with a little holographic glitter. Then I focused on her horn and crown; eye (you normally see one eye while the other one is covered by her long mane); and cutie mark (the sun).

I added a bit of holographic glitter in the white areas as you can see on the photos above.

I really enjoyed doing this mani, it had been a while since I'd taken the time to do something as elaborate and it was super sweet. My daughter loved it!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Softouch Red/Black Gradient

I am a big fan of Layla's Softouch Effect polishes. I think the formula is very forgiving and you can get away with one heavy coat if you are in a hurry. I always get nice comments and the red one is one of few bottles in my stash that will need a replacement soon.

About a week ago I saw that Madeline Poole posted a red/black (glossy) gradient on her Instagram account (@mpnails) and I've been itching to have a go myself, so tonight I did it in a lovely velvet/matte/satin finish.

I am super happy with the results. It's exactly what I had in mind and I can see myself repeating this regularly.

Not only are they two colours that go with many of my clothes, but I love the simplicty, the darkness and the edge the finish provides.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Nailipedia on Manicure Monday

Illamasqua is one of my favourite polish brands: This blog debuted with Milf and have acquired a number of their polishes since then.

Last night I uploaded a photo on Instagram in which I used Faithful prominently and got a lovely compliment from them.

This evening, as I was painting my nails with Raindrops, I received the following comment:

In case you are not familiar with their site, there is a section on it which is called Socialise and under the heading Manicure Monday they mention some of their favourite nails from the web.

I've seen those fingers before!

I was over the moon! I know it's a drop in the ocean compared to the exposure some bloggers get, but it's always a nice feeling when people like what you do. Not bad for the first Monday of 2014!

Friday, 3 January 2014

My First Giveaway

Today's post is very special to me. I have been meaning to do a giveaway for some time, but I wanted it to be a little different.

So, with the help from my good friend and fellow polish collector Carolina, I can offer something which will make a super kawaii addition to your stashes: The Thelma & Louise - Club de Fans collection. These polishes were imported from Argentina by me and are not available here in the UK.

If you are familiar with Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers' line, you will find these dolls VERY familiar. I am not entirely sure how Thelma & Louise can get away with ripping off the design, nor do I particularly care! I love Harajuku Lovers (and most Japanese-inspired things) and needed to have these cuties in my collection.

So, what can you win? All four dolls, see below:

Lily (green/blue/silver/holo hexagonal glitter)

Katie (pink creme)

Penny (turquoise hexagonal glitter)

Lucy (ultramarine blue shimmer)

The dolls can be removed/interchanged and there are normal caps underneath. Brushes are on the small side but pick up enough product. The creme and shimmer will be opaque in two coats, glitters are likely to require more (I would use them for layering).

If you are a polish snob (and I am by no means judging!), then you might be disappointed: although the formula is decent, these beauties are not B3F.

Sadly, this giveaway is UK only because of the postage restrictions on dangerous goods imposed by Royal Mail last year. It will start on Saturday, 4th January at 12 am (GMT), and will run for four weeks, until Saturday, 1st February at 12 am (GMT). Please note that the prize was bought by me and there is no alternative cash value. To enter and for full T&Cs, please see the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of the post.

Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Mini Mani: Sofia the First Nail Art

This could also be called "Mummy must be insane", because complicated nail art on a four-year-old is always a challenge! 

My daughter asked me to paint Disney's latest princess, Sofia the First, on her tiny nails, so I had a go. 

I used Amelie, Jazmin, Karen and Bartola by Make MyDay; Black Onyx, Glitzerland and Do You Think I'm Tex-y by OPI; Fall Brown by Models Own Pro and Avalon by a-england.

See the results for yourselves!

Getting decent photos was almost impossible, but I tried to capture the main components: Sofia's face, her crown and the Amulet of Avalor. Sadly, my topcoat dragged a little of the black detail on Sofia's face, but I am pleased with the overall design.

I used this photo for inspiration: / Disney Junior

2013 in Nail Art

Happy New Year everyone!

As you are aware, I am mostly active on Instagram. I wanted to share this video I made of my Nail Art during the past year. I hope you like it!