Monday, 27 April 2015

French Mani with Gradient Stamping

Hello luverleys, today I am going to show you a mani I did back in March for Mother's Day.

Since moving back to the UK end of last year I have set up shop doing nail art in my local town, and as most of my advertising is based on local FB groups, I have been trying to think of designs that will appeal to everyone, with different design images that will keep people engaged when seeing my ad over and over again.

I did a special offer pamper package for Mother's Day, and for the ad I wanted to create something that was pretty and a bit artistic, but would also appeal to women who maybe don't get their nails done very often and wanted to treat themselves for Mother's Day without feeling like they had to go over the top.

So I decided to go for a classic french mani which I think appeals to everyone, but adding a dash of colour and glamour with gradient stamped flowers so the mani still had a little dash of wow factor. The result is subtle and delicate but very pretty, and I really like it!

As you know I don't usually use props in my mani photos, I prefer not to distract away from the artwork, but as this was for a themed advertisment I thought it fitting to use something on this occasion, and raided my mums place to find this pretty flower.

As I have tiny little nail beds and really wonky smile lines from years of childhood nail biting and abuse, I can't get away with just white tips over my natural nails, they look ridiculous, and so I am always forced to paint a base when I do a french and it ends up looking quite fake, I still haven't found the perfect nude to match my natural nail colour. (Has anyone?!) So because I have to paint a pink base for a french, and I hate the fake look, for this french I tried something new in an attempt to make it look more natural, and instead of painting the base pink on with a brush, I decided to sponge it on, working from the nail tip downwards and fading out the colour as it got close to my cuticles. Kind of like a sponge gradient but using only one colour and blending it into my natural colour. I have to say as I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, this french mani looks a lot more natural now it doesn't have the obvious polish edge around the cuticle.

To do the white tips I used a large rubber band wrapped around the centre of my nail to seperate the free edge from the rest of the nail before sponging white polish on the tips, I just used a Rimmel white polish from the Rita Ora collection for this. Then I took the rubber band off, used a nail art detail brush to paint the corners of the white tip into a more natural curve, then added top coat.

For the stamping I used plate BP-34 and the same Caiuro polishes from Italy that I mentioned 2 posts ago in the advanced stamping mani, unfortunately every bottle has the same colour name label despite being different colours! I used 3 of them anyway, a purple, a dark fuchsia and a more orangey neon pink.

To mix it up a little, I added a Butterfly to the thumb instead of flowers and added some tiny pearls for a bit of bling after matte topcoating everything for a softer look.

I am glad to report that the mani did very well with local mummy's, and succeeded in bringing in ladies that don't normally get their nails done, so I was pretty pleased all around!

My mani was created with a specific marketing purpose, so I would love to see other Mother's Day inspired mani's that didn't have to adhere to any generalised marketing requirements! Feel free to post links and share your Mother's Day manis in the comments below ladies, (It's about mother's Day in Australia right now I think, so not totally out of place and time!) and I would love to know if anyone else suffers the same french mani problems that I do, and if they too have any success using the sponged base

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Spring Fling With My Pastel Mani

Hello peoples, welcome to my continued effort to get my blog back on track, with my second post in almost a year!

As regular followers will know from my previous posts I am currently back in the UK and I have been here since November, and this was the first winter I have spent at home in almost 10 years! British winters are notorious for being cold, wet, windy and generally bloody miserable, but let me tell you people, there is nothing like coming back to a country after living away for 10 years to make you realise that climate change is REAL.

This was the nicest, mildest winter I have ever known in my country! Sure it got cold, but there was no rain, no 100 mph winds that blow said rain into your face like a million tiny frozen needles, no constant dampness frizzing my hair, no seasonal depression due to the sun not showing itself for 6 months solid. I actually saw the sun plenty, it barely rained, the wind was occasional at best, I had many a hairstyle survive the season, and even wore a dress quite comfortably for a christmas do! Due to our movements between the northern and southern hemispheres, my husband and I had just enjoyed 4 summers almost in a row, (but as good as in a row as they were divided by only one very mild tropical northern Australian winter) after that kind of sunny luxury I was quite concerned about our move back into an extreme cold climate, and I spent a month trying to mentally prepare my Brazilian husband for the sensorial torture that is the British winter, but now he's just wondering what all my fuss was about!

Even now that spring has sprung, we should be barracaded in our homes so as not to shrivel up in the rain that normally occurs without respite from March to May, instead I have been laying in the garden enjoying an early summer. I don't know how to feel about it though, it's the weather we have always dreamed of having here and I'm chuffed to bits to be enjoying it, but at the same time, you know the weather is great because we fucked around with mother nature, and however glorious it may be now, it probably won't be that way forever, especially when that lovely sun has melted the north pole that the tiny island that is the UK just happens to be situated next to...

So when concerned with issues of climate change, and worries of being swallowed up by the cold northern sea, what better way to distract oneself than with a pretty seasonal mani! hahahahaha
My island might appear to be sinking, but I'll have the prettiest nails when it takes me down!
(And as it is almost Earth Day, you can then overcome the guilt of prioritisng your mani over climate change, by using said mani to raise awareness of climate change in a relevant blog post, wink wink!)

So in an unjustfied celebration of the effects of climate change, I present to you all a pastel spring themed mani, that for the first time in history represents a sunny, colourful, glorious spring time that Britain is actually having for once!

 I did this mani about 6 weeks ago as soon as the sun started showing itself regularly, so I am struggling to remember all the polishes I used at the time. I know the thumb is Nfu-oh 354, I couldn't guess the index finger as peach is one of my favourite colours and I have this colour in a million brands ( I really should start writing this shit down if I'm not going to post while my memory is fresh!), the middle finger is maybe a Rimmel or Sinful Colours, the ring finger is a cheap Italian brand called Riveel, and the pinky is a cheap British brand called La Femme whos bottles never have names or numbers on them! The glitter polish on the middle finger, was actually just a bag of glitter mix that I won from a facebook seller and that I then put into a bottle of suspension base. If anyone is that bothered to know what the polishes are just drop me a comment and I will go through my stuff and see if I can figure out which I used.

To create the design on the tips I used the same polish colours, and painted a rectangular strip of each colour onto grease proof baking paper, when it was dry I then used a tool that I borrowed from my mums craft room, its just like the shaped hole punchers, except that it is long and regtangular, and used for creating a pretty lace edge on paper or card. (My mum makes celebration cards so she has a few interesting tools that can be used in nail art too!) Once I had punched out the nice shapes from my baking paper, I cut a piece out to nail size and just stuck it on over a layer of tacky clear coat, finishing with a generous layer of top coat to smooth it out and then matte topcoat for that velvety look.

I really loved the paper edge punching tool, and my mum has a couple of different designs so I will probably play with them again in the future!

I really loved this mani and thought it was so pretty and fun to do, have you guys ever used a paper edge cutter before? If not I suggest you go find some, they will not disappoint! x

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Come Back Mani - Advanced Stamping

No, you are not imagining things... this is a real, live post, with actual words, and pictures and everything. I know it's hard to get your head around, I know that it doesn't feel real, but yes, I have actually done a blog post for the first time in almost a year!

For those of you who don't know my blog all that well, or haven't chatted to me in various FB polish groups, I'll break it down... I used to live in Australia, I married a Brazilian man there, a new government in Australia then changed all the immigration rules and kicked us out, and then I discovered that my home country the UK had also changed their immigration rules, and I wasn't allowed to bring my husband home with me because he was a hard working student aiming towards a very specific goal of one day being a rich man, but not actually a rich man *yet*. Yes you heard that right, my right to a family life in my own country hangs entirely on how filthy rich my chosen foreign partner is because they don't want to risk letting in welfare spongers instead of hard workers. Shame on me for marrying a non EU, highly qualified, higher education student who was still a step away from achieving his career goals. How bloody well rude of me!

Our only way home was to take advantage of his Italian ancestors and claim Italian/European citizenship for him so we went to Brazil for 6 months, he got all his paper work, and I got a massive stash of awesome nail polish. (Scroll through my older posts to see them, you won't have to scroll that far, that was basically the last time I was able to post semi- regularly.) After that we went to Italy, where the long, time consuming, arduous and expensive process of claiming his citizenship ensued, and that was the death of my blog because I had no spare time anymore. :(

The good news is, we got it sorted, we are finally in the UK, my husband has every right to be here regardless of the lack of flthy richness, we won. It's just that now we are poorer than we have ever been, actually quite a bit in debt with family members, and sponging off my parents as we cram ourselves and our belongings into their tiny spare room. So thank you UK immigration, we weren't as filthy rich as you had insisted we should be, but we had savings and were comfortable until you stuck your nose in, now we are broke and in debt, and starting our adult married lives in the same financial position that we were in when we were 18 years old. AWESOME

The real joke is that the new law was put in place to prevent British citizens from illegitamately marrying poor foreigners who would then come to the UK and claim benefits, well we didn't need to do that. Our marriage is legitimate, we weren't poor and had substantial savings, just not quite the absurd amount that they insisted on, but thanks to them now we are poor and did need to claim benefits, but we never claimed them because the joke just get's funnier, and it turns out we would never have been entitled to them anyway!
So yaaahhh, great system ya got there, really, top job.

 It's a bitter sweet victory really, made tastier only by the fact that within 3 months of being here, my darling hubby had walked right into an amazing job for one of the biggest companies in the country, in a position for which they had been desperately searching for the right person for over a year. So suck on that immigration, welfare sponger indeed, I sincerely hope you don't choke on the 40% taxes you'll be taking fom his wages within the next 5 five years.

Needless to say, after all that my head has not really been in a blogging frame of mind, hell, my head hasn't even been in a paint my nails frame of mind, and it has taken me a while to get myself out of this funk and back into my passions. Christmas helped when a bunch of family members got me lots of new nail goodies for gifts, including a few stamping goodies from MoYou and Born Pretty that I requested, because my entire plate collection had gone missing somewhere between Australia and Brazil and I haven't been able to stamp since. (Would I be justified in blaming the A-holes in immigration for that too???) So since christmas I have been getting back into my nails, slowly slowly, and have recently come up with something that is actually blogworthy.

I am not going to make the mistake of committing to X number of posts a week, I want to be realistic about what I am actually able to achieve with all my other normal life commitments and so I will just post as and when I can manage, but the fact of the matter is that I need my blog as my outlet, it's my safe space and helps me pull my head out of the darkness, so I do need to make an effort, if only for the sake of my mental health. (If I start to disappear again, maybe come and remind me of that...? lol)

Let's just say that my come back mani has certainly helped to do that. This is my first attempt at advanced stamping, and for a first attempt it was pretty damn ambitious, but I personally feel that I have pulled it off quite spectacularly and this has definitely made the top 3 of my favourite designs ever done! Here is a quick pic before I go on to explain how I did it, then I will show more pics as I couldn't decide if I prefered this design in gloss or matte, so I did both!


 Ahhhh, I look at this picture and think maybe it was worth waiting a year to post again if this is what I got out of it! I think this design has got quite an oriental feel to it, which I wasn't expecting but absolutely adore!

So, down to the ins and outs of this mani. The base is a cheapo UK brand called La femme, but annoyingly the polish doesn't have a name or number. I got it from a local sales group on FB from a nail tech who was closing shop, and bagged myself 16 bottles for £5. Winner. For a cheapo it has a pretty nice formula too, and cherry reds/pinks are some of my favourites.

For the stamping I used Born Pretty Plate BP-L002, the gold stamped outline is WJCon from Italy, I think its number 428 but the middle number has rubbed off a bit, so the 2 could be a 3? I have a whole bunch of awesome polishes that I got whilst in Italy, hopefully I will get around to swatching them all for you soon, and I also bought a bunch of Kiko's for a giveaway which I really need to get on with organising! Anyways, I digress. The Polishes I used to colour in the stamp were: Nfu-Oh 354, OPI You only Live Twice, and 3 bottles that I got in Italy - Shaka Holographic Violet and 2 colours of a brand called Caiuro, which I bought in a chinese store in Italy and then discovered is also available here in the UK, I couldn't tell you the names of these Caiuro colours though, as the labels are pretty messed up, I have 3 botlles all totally different colours, and they all have the same label that says 'Bluberry', go figure. If you haven't seen this brand yet go find it, the formula is a PITA for painting your nails with, but they are awesome for stamping and small bold details.

I used the standard technique of painting in the spaces while the stamped design was still on the stamper, (for the partial designs on my thumb, index and little fingers I used a clean up brush with acetone to cancel out the parts of the design I didn't want) and then painted a layer of topcoat over it once I was done. At first I peeled it off the stamper then attached it to my nail like a decal, but for some reason I kept having issues with huge air bubbles getting trapped under the decal and ruining the design, so I changed up my application method, and after topcoating the final design instead of peeling it off the stamper I left it on there, I painted a coat of clear top coat (non fast dry) on my nails and let that dry for a minute to get tacky, and then I just stamped the design straight from the stamper onto the tacky nail and it went on as smooth as a babies bum!
With this method the whole image comes off the stamper in one piece, so I still had to trim off the excess from around the edges of my nails just as I would have done with the peel off decal.

I loved the glossy look of it but have recently been a bit obsessed with my matte topcoat and so had to try both, let the enslaught of pretty pictures begin...

Gloss Finish:

Matte Finish:

I really cannot decide which finish I prefer more, I just love this mani and that's it! What do you ladies reckon?

If you like what you see please my help my blog to grow by becoming a follower! Knowing that you all appreciate what I do helps keep me going on those days where I feel like everything I do is poo! :)
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