Monthly Challenge Roundup - March 2014

Monday, 31 March 2014

March's Challenges - A compilation of my manis from March 2014

One of the fun things of being on Instagram is taking part in a couple of the nail art challenges. I do @califonails and @bm_beauties challenges as both offer me something different.

@californails #nailartmar is the biggest of the two challenges and there are no rules, just do something based on the theme for that day.

Here is a round up of my #nailartmar entries, as I am still reasonably new to nail art I am loving having a focus to work to. It's really stretching my skills and I like that I attempt themes I would never normally go for.

@bm_beauties challenge is a Barry M based nail art challenge. Again you have a theme to work to but you can only use Barry M polishes to create your mani. As I have a lot of Barry M polishes it is not an issue for me.

Now both these challenges had the same theme on Day 22 - Spring so I used the same mani for both. It's the first time I've done that but it did allow me to spend a lot of time on the design.

Its always difficult to pick a favourite, especially as each offers something different! I am looking forward to the challenges for April and all the pretty mani's I will end up creating.

Thank you all for taking time to read this blog, it means the world to me. Which was your favourite mani?

Max Factor Fantasy Fire - The Hunt For The Perfect Undie

Sunday, 30 March 2014

This challenge was given to me by one of my lovely followers on IG (@betholter93).
Here is a quick extract of her email

''I recently bought MaxFactor Fantasy Fire nail polish and I noticed on your blog you had it under your polish list. Its a really pretty nail polish but I wondered if you could give me any tips on a base colour that will bring out the colours in it?''

I have spent a nice couple of hours swatching Fantasy Fire over lots of different colours to find the perfect base colour for this amazing polish.

Now I've had this polish in my collection for a couple of years now and I have to admit I've never used it ... shocking I know. However after tonight I am already looking forward to wearing it over some of the colours I tried.

So the first colours I thought to use as undies were black, blurple tones and a bright blue. I hunted through my collection and came up with the following to try. I picked easily available polishes here in the UK.

Maybelline Blackout, Barry M Plus, P.S. Royal Purple & Barry M Blue Grape

Maybelline Blackout really brought out the red and green in FF. The shift in colour was beautiful and looked so pretty on the nail, however it doesn't really look like the polish in the bottle so I moved on to the next.

Barry M Plum worked really well and brought out some more of the purple tones in FF but again, it was missing the beautiful blue tones that are visible around the edge of the FF bottle.

Primark P.S. Love Royal Purple looks perfect with FF. The shift in colours is stunning and it looks very close to the polish you see in the FF bottle.

Barry M Blue Grape is lovely as an undie for FF. The colours really shine through and if you look at the macro you see them clearly. However I feel it is just a little too blue for FF.

Overall it's a difficult decision to pick the best one. As you can see from the photos below, Barry M Plum seems to be the best undie to match the bottle, however I think that it is the Primark P.S. Royal Purple which looks the best with FF.

What undie from these 4 would you pick?

So after the purple and blue undie swatching I thought about the other tones in FF and decided to try it quickly over a few more unusual colours.

Barry M Watermelon, Seventeen Emerald Tropics, Barry M Blood Orange & P.S. Berry Fuchsia
Looking at the skittle mani below you can see that FF is gorgeous over all colours swatched. The macros show the shift in colours for each better. How amazing is this polish that it can suit all sorts of undies. Seventeen Emerald Tropics and Barry M Blood Orange were stunning with FF over it and the P.S. Love Berry Fuchsia has to be seen in real life to appreciate just how beautiful it looks.

I was tempted to swatch FF over yellow, orange and some more red toned polishes just to see how stunning it looked but I got sleepy.

I hope I have helped Beth and others decide which undie to wear under this amazing polish. It really is a personal choice depending on what tones of FF you want to see. There are no limits as far as this polish goes ... it really is a polish chameleon!

Primark P.S. Love Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Saturday, 29 March 2014

So who's been into Primark recently? I always pop in to have a browse and usually come out with some bargains. My most recent trip was brilliant with a capital B! I love a polish bargain and Primark had loads of them.

The first thing that caught my eye were the individual P.S. Love polishes. There were 10 of them and they were only £1 each. I went crazy and grabbed them all and then took a step back. 4 out of the 10 were not exactly colours I love so although the polish collector in me cried a little as I put them back, my bank account gave a little sigh!

Unfortunately the polishes have no name (I've given them names based on their colour), but look how cute they are. They're very similar to Butter London's bottles don't you think?

Here is a photo of the 4 I didn't pick up. The colours are pretty but nothing special so I was happy to leave them ... for now.

Royal Purple is gorgeous. Its a deep, rich creme and only takes 2 coats for full coverage. I didn't add a topcoat to any of these polishes. In real life this has a more purple tone to it but my camera failed to capture it.

Mint is a stunning bright pastel creme polish. It took 2 coats for full coverage. Look how pretty that colour looks.

Neon Pink is amazing. My camera flipped out trying to capture this awesome colour. Its neon, its a creme and it's good to go in 2 coats. It dried to a semi matte finish like most neons do.

Berry Fuchsia is my fave, oh how I want this polish on my nails all the time. I can't describe how beautiful this is in real life. It took only 2 coats for full coverage but looked good enough with 1.

Lilac is a beautiful pastel creme that has a slight grey tone to it. Again it took 2 coats for full coverage.

Neon Coral is a stunning bright creme polish and another one my camera struggled massively to capture correctly. This again took 2 coats and dried to a semi matte finish.

Considering the price of these polishes they're amazing, apart from the smell. Yes they STINK! However I can overlook this one tiny downside, esp as all other polishes I've got from Primark also smell bad so this is not a new thing.
I can not rate these polishes highly enough, I will definitely be keeping an eye on the P.S. Love polish range and grabbing any new ones that pop up. I urge you to run to your nearest Primark and grab yourself a beautiful bargain.

There were some other polish bargains in Primark which I didn't get, but have taken some snaps for your viewing pleasure.

Look at all the polish pretties! The Matte & Gel topcoats were only £1 each.

Let me know what you think about this post, whether you're off out shopping now and which polishes you plan to buy / do buy. Also do you have any better ideas on naming these polishes?

#tbt Rimmel Cocktail Colour - Swatches & Review

Thursday, 27 March 2014

#tbt or throwback Thursday - is a massive hashtag craze on instagram so I thought I would make it into a blog feature. Every Thursday I aim to bring you swatches and a review of an old collection.

Rimmel Cocktail Colour In A Flash was released last summer and is a beautiful mix of 5 glass fleck beauties.

Baby Bellini is a grape purple polish with a violet glass fleck. I used 3 thin coats for the photo below, no topcoat. This polish built up beautifully after 2 coats, but I really wanted it to be as deep and rich as in the bottle so I added the extra one. It shimmers from light to dark and looks even more stunning in real life than these photos show.

Shirley Temple is a super gorgeous satsuma orange polish that has a golden yellow glass fleck. I used 3 thin coats again for this photo, no topcoat. I think this polish is perfect for the summer and I know it'll be one I'll reach for time again on sunny days.

Apple Berry Smoothie is the most gorgeous blueberry blue with a silvery blue glass fleck. In the bottle it looks like it has a slight magenta duochrome but this never appears on the nail. However it is still the most beautiful polish. I used 3 coats for the photo below, no topcoat.

Cutie Colada is a lime green polish with lime glass fleck. This looks really lovely in the bottle but is so thin and pale that it took 5 coats to build up to a colour even similar to the colour seen in the bottle. You can see that it still looks more yellow-green than the lime green in the bottle. Boo!

Hawaiian Punch is a strawberry polish with raspberry glass fleck. This is so beautiful and I used 3 coats for the photos below, no topcoat. This was really pigmented and again like Baby Bellini could have been fine after 2 coats.

Overall this collection is amazing, even the runt of the pack 'Cutie Colada' which will have to be worn over a similar base colour is beautiful. Some of these polishes are still available in some high street stores, however they are on there way to be discontinued so if you like them, grab them now. I had to buy a couple online to complete my collection and managed to find a seller on eBay which sells these for £1.98 with free delivery.

Collage Time:

How To: Polka Dot Tutorial

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

66 weeks ago I posted these pictures on instagram. Its so funny because I remember the day I did these like it was yesterday. I was so proud of myself and loved these nails, I showed them off to everyone. I thought it was only appropriate that seeing as my first nail art was polka dots that my first blog 'How To' tutorial would be polka dots too.


1. An old plastic card to put your polish onto. You can see from this picture that this card has been wiped with polish remover. Its the reason I love using these plastic cards when doing nail art designs as you can wipe and re-use again and again.
2. Dotting Tools. I bought a set of dotting tools off eBay which I use for polka dots, roses & small detail work, they're so handy. The yellow one on top is the finest and it's the one I use the most.
3. Polish for the dots.

Dotting Tools:

You can pick a set of dotting tools up from most nail art supply shops and on a ton of websites online. They are incredible for nail art. I have included a small size guide on the size of the dots you can make with these dotters. However the more polish that is on the dotter, the larger the dot becomes so it's advisable to clean your tool after every few dots you place to keep the size the same.

These dotting tools do have tips at both ends, however they all seem to be the same size on the other end so for this tutorial I will ignore them.

How To: Polka Dots

To make things easy I have colour coded my nails to match the dotter used. You can see that I have not included the yellow dotter in this tutorial (for me it is just too tiny).

Once you've painted your base colour on your nails you will need to select the dotter you wish to use and the polish for the dots.

Then carefully apply a tiny blob of polish onto the old plastic card. You don't want to apply too much because it does dry out quickly and becomes sticky and hard to work with. If this happens you need to use some fresh polish.

Now you're ready to Polka!

Follow the picture guide to place your dots.

Start at the top of the nail, in the middle and work down in a line (try keeping spaces between the dots a similar size).
Then move to one side and place dots between the centre line dots (try keeping the spaces similar and the dots the same size - remember that regular cleaning of the dotter will help this).
Then move to the other side of the nail, place dots between the centre line dots again and you're done.

Repeat on the rest of your nails = beautiful dotticure.

You can see the different size polka dots that the dotters create in the photo below.

Wait to dry completely before applying top coat because if you don't you will smudge your dots - believe me, I've done it SO many times.

Collage Time:

Please let me know your thoughts on this tutorial, I know polkas are simple but they're beautiful too.
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