July 29, 2011

a england - Lady of the Lake

I love the colour purple and I love prismatic nail polishes, so how could I not love this beauty? Another stunner from the brand a england! This is Lady of the Lake, a dark purple polish with a scattered prismatic effect. The purple version of the beautiful Tristam. I'm head over heels with these prismatic polishes from a england. I really hope Adina will create a dark green version for us!
The formula of Lady of the Lake was excellent, it's pigmented and dries fast. I applied two smooth coats, no top coat. The wear is great too, after three days no tip wear, no chips, yay! I think this polish is definitely worth the money (£9,00 a bottle).

Thanks for watching!

*The product(s) in this post was/were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
For more information, check out my Disclosure Policy.

July 26, 2011

Catrice - Enter The Undergrowth + Konad M66

After swatching and wearing a lot of neons last week I wanted something totally different on my nails. So I applied one of the nail polishes from the Catrice Papagena collection, a muted green creme called Enter The Undergrowth. Beautiful colour. Reminds me very much of Sew Psyched from Essie, but without the silver shimmer. I can't have enough of these dusty greens! The formula of Enter The Undergrowth was great, two coats will give you an even and opaque result. After two days (hence the tip wear) I decided to add some extra growth (lol) with the bamboo design from Konad plate m66. I used China Glaze - 2030 as the stamping polish. I can't believe I haven't used this bamboo design for so long, I love it! And I also love this subtle konadicure, what about you? :)

Thanks for watching!

July 23, 2011

Color Club: Wicked Sweet (Part III: green) + Kleancolor - Chunky Holo Teal

I have one polish from Color Club's Wicked Sweet collection left to show you, a green neon called The Lime Starts Here. The finish of this one is something between a jelly and a creme. I can certainly appreciate a good green neon on my nails and this one is hot (and looks much brighter in real life)! After trying the lemon scented highlighter yellow from the same collection I was afraid I wouldn't like the scent, but it's not bad at all. *phew* :)
The formula was great, I had no trouble with applying this one. The only downside is the sheerness, this is how it looks after applying three coats. 

Overall, I think this is a fun collection from Color Club: summery colours, different finishes and for me the scents really add something (the sour ones weren't my favourite, but that's taste related). Some of the polishes aren't the easiest to apply and you have to keep in mind most are sheer and require at least three coats.
I wanted to use one of the Chunky Holo's from Kleancolor, so I applied one coat of Chunky Holo Teal over the vibrant green. It would probably look better layered over a darker colour, but I really like the little pops of colour on top of The Lime Starts Here. Don't get me started on the scent though, the fruity scent of the Color Club polish mixed with the beloved Kleancolor smell: not good! ;)

Thanks for watching!

*The product(s) in this post was/were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
For more information, check out my Disclosure Policy.

July 22, 2011

Color Club: Wicked Sweet (Part II: the shimmers)

Today I'm showing you swatches of the three shimmery polishes from Color Club's Wicked Sweet collection (you can find Part I here).

The highlighter yellow coloured polish with green shimmer is called Get Your Lem-On. This is my least favourite. I dislike highlighter yellows, it was extremely sheer (this is four coats) and the sour lemon scent was a bit nauseating. For the highlighter yellow fans out there: try layering it over a white polish.

On the pinkie nail I'm wearing I Always Get My Man-Darin: a light, bright orange with green shimmer. What an interesting contrast! If you like orange nail polishes you should definitely take a look at this one. Sadly it doesn't go well with my skin tone and I didn't like the scent at all. I wouldn't call the scents of the Wicked Sweet nail polishes overpowering, but the sour scented ones give me a headache. :| I Always Get My Man-Darin was also sheer, I applied four coats.

On my ring finger nail you see Wicked Sweet, a turquoise coloured polish with green shimmer. Aah, this one is a stunner, look how it glows! It's Zoya - Phoebe's shiny sister, with a sweet and fruity scent. This is summer in a bottle and summer on the nail. I decided to wear it as a full mani and I love it! Thankfully Wicked Sweet was more pigmented than the yellow and the orange one, three coats were enough for an opaque result.
The formula of these three wasn't the best. They were quite streaky, I needed at least three coats to even out the worst streaks. I recommend waiting a couple of minutes between each coat to keep the streaks to the minimum and avoid cuticle drag. The drying time was longer than average, but a fast drying topcoat could solve that problem.

Thanks for watching!

*The product(s) in this post was/were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
For more information, check out my Disclosure Policy.

July 21, 2011

Color Club: Wicked Sweet (Part I: pinks & purple)

This summer Color Club released two nail polish collections called Wicked Sweet and Starry Temptress. Today I'm showing you the pink and purple nail polishes from the Wicked Sweet collection. The nail polishes from this collection are all very bright or neons with a nice extra: they're scented. The scents remind me of scented markers I had as a kid, aah, I loved those! :)

↑ Raspberry Rush is a bright magenta with a jelly like finish. What an awesome, vibrant colour. So mouthwatering and juicy, I'm a fan! I'm not sure if it's really raspberry scented, but it does have a sweet and fruity scent. The formula of Raspberry Rush was ok, the first two coats were a bit streaky though so I applied three. You can see my nail line in the picture, but in real life it was barely noticeable.

↑ Gimme A Grape Big Kiss is a vibrant purple polish with a great... uhm, grape scent. Another beautiful colour, perfect for summer! It has the same formula as Raspberry Crush, I applied three coats.

↑ Yum Gum is a light, bright pink. This one has a creme finish instead of a jelly finish like the above two. It's no surprise Yum Gum's bubble gum scented, definitely my favourite scent out of these three! It made me crave for some real bubble gum. The formula is more pigmented than the other two, but I had some application issues with Yum Gum, I needed three coats to even out the worst streaks.

I always struggle with photographing neons (who doesn't? ;)), especially getting a colour accurate picture of Yum Gum was a challenge. Keep in mind these polishes look brighter and more saturated in real life. All swatches are without a topcoat. Normally bright colours dry with a matte or satin finish, so the glossy finish was a pleasant surprise.

Thanks for watching!

*The product(s) in this post was/were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
For more information, check out my Disclosure Policy.

July 20, 2011

How-To: Pretty Pictures of Polished Paws

One of the subjects I get a lot of questions about is how I photograph my nails and of course I want to share with you how I do this. Be aware that I'm not a photography expert, but I do like to try out different camera settings to get great pictures. Who doesn't love a beautiful and sharp photograph?

The things you need: 

The obvious: a camera
If you want to spend a lot of money on a big fancy camera I won't stop you, but I have good news for those of you who rather spend their money on some pretty nail polishes: a standard compact camera can do the job! I use the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS6, a standard, not too expensive, compact camera. What's really great about this camera is the Leica lens. Leica lenses are known for their excellent quality, which was one of the reasons I bought this camera a couple of years ago. You can try using the camera of your mobile phone, but I can assure you that you'll get the best pictures by using a real photo camera, 'cause well.. after all it's made for only one purpose: making photographs. :)

Another very, and I mean very, important thing is light. Without light no photograph. The only way to get nice and sharp pictures is with decent lighting. You can use the light from a lamp, but I prefer daylight. On very cloudy, rainy days it can be really hard to take good pictures, so I rather take pictures of my nails in sunlight. Especially prismatic polishes photograph well in sunlight (hello rainbow!), but sometimes colours can wash out in full sunlight, so it's not always the best option. Take pictures at different spots (by the window, in the garden, on your balcony..) to find out what works best for you. When you found the perfect spot, remember Tyra Banks' words: 'find the light'! Try to find an angle where you think the light hits your nails the best. Does a nail polish contain a beautiful shimmer? Just move your nails around to find the right angle to capture that shimmer on a photograph. Shadows and reflections are inevitable, but try to keep those to the minimum in your pictures because they can be very distracting.

A calm background
If you want all the attention on the nail polish and your nails try to use a calm background. Clutter in the background will distract the viewer from looking at your beautiful polished paws and we don't want that, do we? I often use a wall or a (clean) table as a backdrop, but you can also use a large piece of (coloured) paper, a beautiful piece of fabric, grass... whatever you want! Just remember to keep it calm.

Explore your camera settings
Most cameras have an auto function, if you want to use that, fine! But believe me, it's so much fun to find out what others things you can do with your camera. As I said before I'm not a photography expert, but I recommend taking a closer look at some camera settings. I focus on the following things:
 ■   macro setting (often displayed with a flower icon on cameras):  this setting is great for taking pictures from up close and ending up with a lot of detail in a picture. Needless to say this setting is awesome for photographing nails;
 ■   white balance: this setting can help you get colour accurate pictures. Different light sources have different colour temperatures, making the colour of your hands/nails look totally different if you change from light source. Play with the different white balance options on your camera to get the most colour accurate pictures;
 ■   ISO values: these values tell you more about the camera's light sensitivity. I won't go into much detail on this one (Google is your friend!), but if you have enough light you can use a low ISO value. The lower the ISO value the finer the grain in your picture - a finer grain means a sharper picture. Most of the time I use the value 100 or 200. But make sure you have steady hands when you're photographing with a low ISO value to avoid blurry pics. This brings me to the next point...

Steady hands or a tripod
To get sharp photographs you need steady hands. So either stop drinking coffee or use a tripod. :O

I hope this post was helpful. If you have an unanswered question let me know in a comment!

July 18, 2011

a england - King Arthur

Today I'm showing you a royal polish from the brand a england: King Arthur, a steel grey shade with a metallic finish. King Arthur is not just a grey polish, it has a very pretty fine shimmer in it, which sparkles pink and green in sunlight! The shimmer was hard to capture on camera, but if you enlarge the picture on the right you can see some coloured sparkles on the nail. I'm a big fan of grey nail polish and this one is definitely a new gem in my collection. King Arthur reminded me of Awaken from China Glaze, but side to side the latter one turned out to be more cool toned and it doesn't contain coloured shimmer.

The formula of King Arthur was good. I applied two thin coats, no topcoat. 

Thanks for watching! :)

*The product(s) in this post was/were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
For more information, check out my Disclosure Policy.

July 15, 2011

Layering: Holo Chrome over Grape Pop

After two awful rainy days the sun is back, yay! I wanted something on my nails that would look stunning in sunlight, so I spiced up the colour I was wearing, China Glaze - Grape Pop, with Holo Chrome from Kleancolor. Purple and multicoloured sparkles, awesome combination! The drying time of Holo Chrome was longer than average, but the biggest downside of this beautiful polish is definitely the smell. Boy oh boy, this ain't good. I can't say I wasn't warned by other nail bloggers, though. ;)

Thanks for watching! 

July 12, 2011

Striped Chuck

Last week I showed you guys a way to get crisp lines on the nail: with striping tape! Yesterday I wanted to try out another design, because it's fun ánd easy to do. I applied one layer of Millennium from China Glaze on my ring finger nails, placed a couple of pieces of striping tape on top and applied one coat of Essence - Chuck (have I mentioned how amazing that polish is? ♥) on all nails. Then I removed the striping tape from the ring finger nails and applied a topcoat. I really like how it came out, but hey.. in my book you can't go wrong with a blue/silver combination. :)

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July 9, 2011

Catrice - Run Forest Run! (version I & II)

Catrice did it again. I found another new nail polish colour with an old name/number. *sigh* The name of both polishes I'm showing you today is Run Forest Run! I posted the first version, a forest green, a while ago. The old and the new version are both greens with a creme finish, but the new one is a lighter, medium green. A gorgeous colour, I really like it!
As you can see I also applied I Sea You! (what's up with all the exclamation marks?) from Catrice on one nail; in the bottle it looked pretty close to the second version of RFR, but on the nail they're obviously totally different.

The formula of Run Forest Run! II is good, it was perfectly opaque in two coats.

Well, what can I say...? Catrice, I think your nail polish colours are awesome and I like the names you come up with, but please, give each polish their own name. They deserve it.

Thanks for watching and have a great weekend!

July 6, 2011

Bright Stripes

A couple of days ago I received a package from Born Pretty Store. One of the products in this package was metallic black striping tape ($1,73). You can use the striping tape for a metallic accent on the nail, but in this post you'll not see the actual striping tape on my nails. 
I started with three coats of China Glaze - Pool Party, a super bright pink neon. Neons are impossible to photograph, so imagine Pool Party being much brighter and pinker in real life. Then I placed some pieces of the striping tape on my ring finger nail, applied one layer of Romeo from Essence and removed the tape. It's as easy as that, the striping tape is perfect for this. I finished the mani by applying a layer of matte topcoat from Essence. Doesn't it look cool? I think it does! :)

Thanks for watching!

*The product(s) in this post was/were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
For more information, check out my Disclosure Policy.

July 4, 2011

a england - Iseult

My first experience with the brand a england was a great one! While I was staring at my nails, amazed by the stunning Tristam, I received an email from the inspiring owner and creator of a england, Adina. She is such a sweet lady and asked me if I wanted to try some other nail polishes from The Mythicals line. Well, how could I resist an offer like that? Today I'm showing you Iseult - according to legend the mythical figures Tristam and Iseult shared a forbidden and undying love caused by (accidentally) drinking from a love potion.
Iseult is a light pink nail polish with silver shimmer. What a soft and delicate shade, it makes my nails look like pearls: love! The shimmer in Isuelt is amazing and I like the fact that it's also clearly visible in low light. My experience with light pink nail polishes is that they can be quite streaky, Isuelt is no exception. But after applying three coats (no top coat) all streaks were covered and I must say that I'm surprised by how opaque it looks! The drying time was longer than average, so when I'm wearing this gorgeous, soft pink again I'll definitely apply a layer of quick drying top coat.
You can get a england nail polishes for £9.00 each. A little on the expensive side for me, but wow, these polishes are beauties! And you know what's great? The company offers free shipping until July 15th. :)

Thanks for watching!

*The product(s) in this post was/were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
For more information, check out my Disclosure Policy.

July 1, 2011

Rubik's Cube Cake + Nail Art

I want to show you guys another cake I made, an edible Rubik's Cube this time. I made this cake for my brother's birthday (in case you're wondering, I have three brothers, I'm the only girl :) ). This was the hardest cake I've made so far, it costed me blood, sweat and tears, but the end result made me forget all of that. I filled the cake with lemon curd and lemon cheesecake bavarois, it was scrumptiously delicious!

Needless to say, this cake inspired me to do some nail art: fun times! (If you want to see more cake inspired nail art posts you can click here). I used tape and free handed a bit. I started with the different coloured blocks (colour blocking to the max I say!), I waited for them to dry a little and added a layer of topcoat. Then I applied the black lines. After doing some touch-ups with acetone and a small nail art brush to create crisper lines I added another layer of topcoat. Doing one nail took me quite some time, luckily I'm a big fan of accent nails. ;) On the rest of my nails I applied Jade Is The New Black from OPI.
Thanks for watching!

The nail polishes I used:
jade green: OPI - Jade Is The New Black, blue: Barry M - Cobalt Blue, red: Zoya - Kristi, orange: Essence - Andy, You're A Star, yellow: Catrice - Don't Feed The Birds, white: La Femme Beauty - White, black: Essence - Fatal.