Monday, 16 December 2013

Dupe test: Girly Bits 'Shift Happens' vs Max Factor 'Fantasy Fire'

Hello ladies! Today I have a comparison to show you of two fabulous topper polishes: Shift Happens (love the name!) by Girly Bits and the famous Fantasy Fire by Max Factor.  I know that the Max Factor is about as easy to come by as leprechauns outside the UK, whereas Girly Bits is a US brand (and cheaper by the ml to boot!).  So perhaps this comparison will help you get the topper effect you want without breaking the bank or paying to import...

Looking at these in the bottle, its not obvious that there should be any similarity between them
 - Shift Happens has a soft opalescent rainbow effect in the bottle, whereas Fantasy Fire has a strong indigo background with pink and purple shifts.  From the bottle you'd guess that the Girly Bits polish would give you a soft pearly shimmer in a whole rainbow of colour and the max factor would give you purple or pink sparkle only.  If you guess that, surprisingly, you'd be wrong.

Girly Bits Shift Happens vs Max Factor Fantasy Fire
left: Shift Happens right: (l-r) Fantasy Fire and Shift Happens
Without further ado, let's see these on the nail (please excuse the splodgy mess I made of my index finger when I was getting out the camera...) All swatches are in artificial light:

Girly Bits Shift Happens vs Max Factor Fantasy Fire - comparison over black and OPI EMIO
index: black base + SH, middle: black base + FF, ring: EMIO + SH, pinkie: EMIO + FF
I chose two different base colours to compare these on: plain black (No7 "Just Black") and a purple based shade (OPI "Every Month is Oktoberfest").  I used one coat of each undies shade, and one coat of each topper.  I was keen to see whether having a purple base shade would make the indigo based FF appear different to SH.  In fact, from this you can see that they are practically identical.  The main shade that I got from both these toppers was this gorgeous cinnamon shimmer.  By changing the angle of the light source this deep russet shade shifted through gold, amber and right through to green:

Girly Bits Shift Happens vs Max Factor Fantasy Fire - comparison over black and OPI EMIO
index: black base + SH, middle: black base + FF, ring: EMIO + SH, pinkie: EMIO + FF
The green was a big surprise for me, coming from the Fantasy Fire.  I see absolutely NO evidence of green in the bottle, no matter which way I turn it, yet it's clearly right there on the nail!

Girly Bits Shift Happens vs Max Factor Fantasy Fire - comparison over black and OPI EMIO
(l-r) SH over black, FF over black, SH over EMIO
Seen here in closeup of my middle finger, you can see those green and gold shades popping from the FF and it's just stunning.  Both of these polishes were like pure bottled Autumn leaves....gorgeous.

I would say that IMO these two polishes, at least over the two shades I tried here, are close enough to be dupes.  Certainly I wouldn't advise that you shell out for both of them if you have neither (personally I'm always keen to save my polish funds for something new, I'm always sad when I find I've accidentally bought a dupe, as in this case).  

In terms of value for money, Shift Happens is a full size polish and I picked mine up for £10 from Rainbow Connection. The Max Factor (in the UK) can be bought in any Boots/Superdrug etc for £3.99 for the mini size bottle (with its fiddly brush).  So the Girly Bits is cheaper by the ml, but depending where you live you might find one easier to find than the other (and really who of us will manage to use up even a mini size topper polish? Not me!).

Later on I'll post a fabulous mani I did with Shift Happens on top of OPI Germanicure, which was all kinds of warm toasty brown cinnamon loveliness...until next time :)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Posting Polish in the UK

Hello ladies.  I just discovered that the Royal Mail have relaxed their restrictions on posting nail polish in the UK for personal customers.  In case you also missed this news here's the skinny:

Nail polish has been added to the 'Restricted Goods' list, the relevant section is copied below...

" Nail varnish, polish and gel (solvent and water-based) :
Volume per item must not exceed 30ml. No more than four bottles of nail varnish can be sent in any one package. Bottles of nail varnish must be placed in strong outer packaging and be so packed, secured or cushioned in such a way that they cannot break, be punctured or leak their contents into the outer packaging.

An ID8000 label must be applied ( see example ID8000 label). The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter."

This is a relaxation of the previous rules which had said that personal customers could not post nail polish at all.  This change sees personal customers given the same posting rights as business customers.

Posting nail polish from the UK to international destinations is still banned for personal customers.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Polish magazine giveaways - December 2013

UK girlies there are some polish giveaways this month! The latest issues of Glamour and Cosmo both have multiple polishes to choose from.  The Glamour giveaway is for full size Nails Inc polishes supposedly designed with 'Kate Spade of New York'.  I have no idea who Kate Spade is but I'm not inspired by her polish choices, they look like the same stock freebie polishes Nails Inc roll out every time.  The red reminds me particularly of the free one that InStyle magazine gave away this summer, which was pretty shoddy.  So I won't be rushing out to grab these.


Nails Inc with Kate Spade - free with Glamour UK December 2013 issue
 Cosmo is giving away Orly minis that are really teeny, so although the colour choice is a lot more festive it doesn't seem a big enough bargain to me to suffer through the magazine.
Orly Minis - free with Cosmopolitan UK December 2013 issue
 So there you have it ladies.  If you fancy a freebie this is your month!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Indian Summer

Today's NOTD is from my latest Indie haul - be prepared for a lot of picture spam because this one's a doozy!  This is "Indian Summer" by Crowstoes from the new 'Better Late than Never' collection (I also have Hellhound to show you later, which if it lives up to the promise in the bottle it's going to rock!).

Crowstoes 'Indian Summer' - Artificial Light
Crowstoes 'Indian Summer' - Artificial Light
Indian Summer is a metallic multi-chrome from Indie brand Crowstoes.  Shown here I'm wearing two coats, over NE base and black undies (single coat of No7 'Just Black') with SV to top it all off.  No issues at all with formula or application, both were fab.  I love the bottle design too, the logo is really cool and Halloween-y (I know that's not a real word, but it is in my house). 

Crowstoes 'Indian Summer' - Natural Light
Crowstoes 'Indian Summer' - Natural Light
The eagle-eyed among you may notice that this daylight shot was taken in a car - I was parked I promise! Living in Scotland I have very little access to sunlight during winter.  I'm at work for the 5 minutes of sunshine we might get in a day, so I've done my best for you with my crappy camera phone.  The multi-chrome effect comes across best in natural sunlight, as this shot shows.  I'm now going to moan a bit about the multichrome effect so bear in mind that I almost never got to see this baby in sunlight....

I didn't find the multi-chrome effect to be particularly strong with this polish.  It's not like a Hits polish (you NEED to get as many of those in your life as you can by the way - go to Sally Magpies for those).  It is totally gorgeous though.  I would say that 90% of the time this polish appears to be a lovely shade of metallic blurple (and you know how I feel about metallic purples).  At more extreme angles it shifts to magenta.  In the bottle, at the extreme of the inner curved surface, there's gold too but I didn't see that on the nail at all (see pic at the bottom of this post).  I've noticed that all the online swatches suggest that this has a mega-chrome effect (including mine, yeah I know...hypocrite).  What's undeniable though is that multi-chrome or not, this is a beautiful polish.

Crowstoes 'Indian Summer' - Macro bottleshots - Artificial Light
Crowstoes 'Indian Summer' - Macro bottleshots - Artificial Light
Above: the two main colours are seen here by repositioning my desklamp relative to the bottle.  On the right, the blurple shade, is the dominant colour that you see at direct angles.  The magenta on the left is the secondary colour, which pops out at wider angles.

Crowstoes 'Indian Summer' -  Artificial Light
Looky looky! It's a bottled sunset!

Above, again with my trusty desklamp, with a fair bit of fiddling you can get to a red gold tone that's awesome.  Not sure what angle you'd have to peer at your nails at in real life to see this one but you'd probably do yourself a neck injury trying.  And finally, taking advantage of the curviest part of the bottle you can see the whole range of colours - its a sunset in a bottle!

This polish is absolutely lovely, I highly recommend it.  I picked mine up for £10.25 from Rainbow Connection. In fact they're having an offer right now that orders placed before 2nd December will get you a £3 off voucher for your next purchase.  But sorry, Indian Summer is currently sold out....

Disclaimer: I am in no way connected with any of the shops or brands that I blog about. I'm just a happy customer and nail nerd. All the shades I blog about have been bought with my own hard-earned moolah.

New York State of Mind

Today's NOTD is a new brand to me, and a fairly new brand to the UK - Morgan Taylor.  Morgan Taylor polishes are owned by the same company that make Gelish polishes, and as far as I know the brand was released in the US earlier this year.  It was only available in the UK to trade customers until really recently, but I'm now happy to report that Sally Salon supplies is now stocking a wide range (63!) of these polishes on the high street!

New York State of Mind by Morgan Taylor - Artificial Light
New York State of Mind by Morgan Taylor - Artificial Light
New York State of Mind is a black jelly polish packed with micro glitters in a range of colours - predominantly pink and blue hexes and squares.  I'm wearing two coats here, with NE base and SV top coat.  I couldn't photograph this until a day later, so there's some tip wear on show too (sorry).  Coverage was good, no VNL, and the finish was fairly smooth for a glitter of this density.

New York State of Mind by Morgan Taylor - Artificial Light
New York State of Mind by Morgan Taylor - Artificial Light
Formula was not brilliant to be honest, I had some issues with drag, but in this case I think its the result of being such a dense glitter.  What bothered me about this one was that overall I found the effect of this polish on the nail rather underwhelming.  I really wanted to be whelmed by it, but it just doesn't quite live up to the promise in the bottle.  Is there anything more disappointing than a polish that looks better in the bottle than on the nail?

New York State of Mind by Morgan Taylor - Artificial Light
Ooooh sparkly!
I mean look at it! Isn't that soooo pretty! It's a sparkle bomb but on the nail it doesn't have the same POP! factor.  In the spirit of fairness, perhaps this polish suffered a bit by being the mani I replaced the stonking Klaatu Barada Nikto with, frankly any polish isn't going to compete with that one for sparkle-factor.  All in all though, this polish left me feeling 'meh', which isn't a good thing.  My collection is large enough that even my favourites only get used a handful of times so I suspect it'll be a long while before this one gets another go around.

That being said, there is a really wide range of colours out there, so perhaps I'd be more excited by one of those.  I'll certainly give MT another go.  I particularly want to try Under the Stars but sadly it doesn't look like this is currently one of the shades Sallys stocks.

New York State of Mind by Morgan Taylor - Artificial Light  - Macro
New York State of Mind - Macro
The price point for these is £10.99, so around OPI/Nails Inc prices, and that seems fair.  The quality was good, wear time was similar (if a little less than OPI, but with a glitter polish that's not a fair comparison), and I really like the bottle design.  The brush was good too, not as great as the OPI pro-wide (but then what is?).  I really want to like this brand, it's got a good look and a good range of shades.  Have you tried any Morgan Taylor polishes? Do you have a shade you'd recommend? I'm always on the hunt for good tips :)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Klaatu Barada Nikto - by Smitten Polish

Today's NOTD is the utterly jaw-dropping 'Klaatu Barada Nikto' by Smitten Polish.  This satisfies two of my passions - nail polish and geekery as it refers to a line in a classic sci-fi movie that's been used in a ton of pop-culture references included one of my favourite films of all time Army of Darkness.  The fact that this is one of the most astonishing polishes I've ever clapped eyes on is just the icing on the dead-ite cake.

So without further ado....let me introduce you

Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Artificial Light
Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Artificial Light
KBN is a royal blue/blurple jelly so densly packed with holographic glitter particles that this is possibly the sparkliest polish I own.  It's truly astonishing.  My pictures only capture a fraction of its lustre, it has to be seen to be believed.  Shown here I'm wearing two coats for full opacity, with NE base and two coats of Seche.

Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Artificial Light - Macro
Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Artificial Light - Macro
Formula on this was very tricky.  It is so packed with particles, that it applied with a really gritty texture that I struggled a bit with clumping/dragging.  It also dries looking downright nasty - matt, and gritty looking - so you need a nice shiny topcoat to finish it off.  As soon as I laid down the Seche this polish came alive and is just such a pretty finish.  One coat of Seche would have been enough for a perfectly smooth finish, but I used two for extra lustre.  I don't own a liquid sand type polish, but the kind of 'texture' to the un-topcoated polish isn't anything like as textured as one of those polishes so this didn't 'drink' top coat like I've heard those can.

Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Artificial Light
Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Artificial Light
This polish is just astonishingly beautiful, I'm completely in love.  This is a new brand for me and I'm definitely impressed.  Smitten Polish is a hand-mixed indie polish brand from Missouri, and available through her Etsy store or here in the UK from Rainbow Connection. I got this on sale, and it's now down to £7.50 a bottle so expect it to run out soon.  This polish is definitely going to make my top 10 favourites, I'd highly recommend it....

Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Natural Light
Smitten Polish - Klaatu Barada Nikto - Natural Light

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Don't Make Me Wine - China Glaze Autumn Nights

Today I have another totally lush polish from the recent China Glaze Autumn Nights (Fall) collection - "Don't Make Me Wine" (DMMW).  Shown here is two coats of colour with the usual NE undies and Seche topcoat.
China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine - Natural Light
China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine - Natural Light
DMMW is an intense magenta glass flecked shimmer, with a blackened edge to it that's utterly gorgeous.  There's really nothing more to say than that - it's like raspberry velvet for your fingers. You definitely need this.
China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine - Artificial Light
China Glaze Don't Make Me Wine - Artificial Light
 My camera handled this a lot better than its collection-mate Red-Y and Willing, which was likewise a total win.  A little later I'll have my final buy from this collection - Tongue and Chic.  Not to give any spoilers away but it's also fab.  CG have made an awesome fall collection this year, definitely my favourite of all the brands.  I also picked up a couple of the Halloween collection that will follow soon, and are also totally rocking. I've not looked closely at their Christmas collection yet, but I'd expect it to be pretty sweet given what they've been pulling out the bag this year.

I picked this polish up at a Sally Salon for £6.95, and I reckon it will become a firm favourite in my collection (by which I mean I might possibly wear it as often as three times a many polishes, so little time!)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Halloween-y Heli-Yummy

Today's NOTD is Heli-Yum by China Glaze from their 'Up and Away' Spring 2010 collection.  I was in the mood for something summery now that the nights are dark and the temperature has dropped.  This is a lovely bright pink crème with an almost neon jelly quality to it that made it very hard to photograph!
China Glaze Heli-Yum - Artificial Light
China Glaze Heli-Yum - Artificial Light
Shown here I'm wearing two coats, with a coat of Seche on top.  I'm also trying out a new nail shape on my nubbins and I'm still a bit mystified how to make a round thing square armed only with a nail file.  We'll see how this goes.

Tomorrow is Halloween and, even though this isn't a really Halloween-y shade I decided to have a go with some Born Pretty store water decals to make this mani a bit more festive.  I was really impressed with the decals, they're super easy to use and awesome fun.  I'll definitely be buying a bunch more of these.  The pack contains dozens of decals and at just $4 with free postage, that's a lot of bang for your buck...

Halloween water decals
Halloween water decals
The only negative I have on these is that the instructions on the packet are pretty hard to understand, but a quick google search revealed several YouTube videos that told me all I need to know.  They take seconds to apply, and are sealed in place with another layer of Seche.
Halloween water decals
Spooky fun
I bought the CG polish from Radiant-Babe Beauty on Amazon UK  for £4.95 with free postage (because I bought 3 polishes in total) and the decals from Born Pretty Store.  Born Pretty is awesome - they sell nail art supplies at bargain basement prices and with free P&P.  The only downside is that they are based in Asia and it takes  3-4 weeks to arrive.  But as long as you're not in a hurry its ideal.

Happy Halloween mani-maniacs :)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

China Glaze Autumn Nights - Red-Y and Willing

Today I have an incredible polish to share with you, which my terrible pictures do absolutely no justice.  For some reason my camera really failed to take a true colour picture of this shade.  This is from the China Glaze Autumn Nights collection 2013 - Red-Y and Willing.

China Glaze Red-Y and Willing - Artificial Light
China Glaze Red-Y and Willing - Artificial Light
Red-Y and Willing is an absolutely gorgeous deep blackened red metallic shimmer, with such a lush depth of colour that I was constantly distracted by my fingers the whole time I wore it.  For some reason in my pictures it has come out much pinker than it looked to me IRL.  The picture at the top of this post is the truest to colour, although there is much more 'inner fire' to the polish than this picture would suggest.  This is exactly my kind of colour, which means that I have a whole host of similar shades so this will definitely feature in a comparison post at some point!

China Glaze Red-Y and Willing - Artificial Light
China Glaze Red-Y and Willing - Artificial Light
The formula on this was fantastic - super opaque and not at all streaky as something this metallic can tend to be.  Pictured here are two coats plus Seche.  Apologies for the poor swatches, this was on about day 4 of the mani so you can at least see that wearability is excellent on this one.  It's also winter in Scotland so sadly most of my swatches from now on are going to be by artificial light only!

I can't recommend this highly enough.  If you want a gorgeous metallic red shimmer that's perfect for the Christmas season then look no further.  I picked mine up for £6.95 at a Sally Salon Supplies store, but I can also recommend Radiant-Babe Beauty as a good online UK supplier of discounted CG polishes (typically £5.95).  I would recommend though that you use her Amazon UK store, for some reason she sells the same polishes on Amazon for £1 less than her online shop,  and if you buy 3 polishes you get free postage.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of the online retailers or shops that I mention in my posts.  My comments are based purely on my own shopping experiences.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

CrowsToes Shoot the Butterfly

Dipping my toes (and fingers) into the pool of great Indie polishes out there with Crowstoes "Shoot the Butterfly" - this is just the second Indie I've tried and I'm impressed! I was unsure what to expect really, in comparison to the big brands, but so far I'm very pleased!

First a quick apology on the swatches - I had significant tip shrinkage here and it's due to my elderly bottle of Seche top coat and nothing to do with the Crowstoes.

Crows Toes Shoot the Butterfly - Sunlight
Crows Toes Shoot the Butterfly - Sunlight
Shoot the Butterfly is a charcoal black jelly base with shiny orange hex glitters, teeny tiny matt white hex particles and microscopic round holo glitters.  Shown here are two coats atop black undies (No7 "Just Black") with NE base and Seche topcoat.  From swatches I've seen online (and even these pics actually) I was expecting that in real life it would have more of a jelly look than it seemed to have.  I think that next time I'll use a paler undie - perhaps a charcoal grey for a smoky look...
Crows Toes Shoot the Butterfly - Artificial Light
Crows Toes Shoot the Butterfly - Artificial Light
This polish is just so so pretty, and perfect for Autumn.  I know that it's meant to be inspired by monarch butterflies, but for me the orange and black reminds me of Halloween, of pumpkins and bonfires and fancy dress.  It's enchanting, and this is officially the polish that I have received the most compliments on.  I have fancy nails all the time, but this polish really caught everyone's attention and even garnered compliments from MEN! Can you imagine? Boys that notice nail polish? Miraculous!

Crows Toes Shoot the Butterfly - Artificial Light - Macro
Crows Toes Shoot the Butterfly - Artificial Light - Macro
I bought this lovely from Rainbow Connection for £10.25.   It won't be my last Crowstoes polish that's for sure (now I want Boat Drinks, My Favourite Amazon.....sigh, how long till payday?)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Flakie Comparisons: New Barry M 'Crystal Glaze' and others

Today I have a picture heavy flakie comparison post for you.  In recent weeks I've picked up three new flakies and was keen to see how these compare to polishes I already have.  My new polishes include brand new shades from Barry M ("Crystal Glaze"),  Color Club ("The Uptown") and No.7 ("In the Stars").  The No.7 is a polish I've seen described as a 'microflakie', sporting ultra fine iridescent particles that I think you could also consider to be a soft duochrome glitter.  I have divided this comparison into traditional sized flakies (the 'macroflakies') and the fine glitter sized particle polishes (the 'microflakies').

So, onto the comparison, here is the line-up:

Macroflakie comparison: Barry M, Essie, Color Club and Layla flakies
The 'Macroflakies'
(L-R) Barry M "Crystal Glaze, Essie "Shine of the Times", Color Club "The Uptown", Layla "The Butterfly Effect (52)"
Microflakie Comparison: No.7 and Color Club
The 'Microflakies'
(L-R) No. 7 "In the Stars", Color Club "Pearl-spective"

The first observation to make with all of these, is that the colour in the bottle is completely different to the colour on the nail! For these swatches I've layered each macroflakie atop No.7 "Just Black".  With the exception of the Barry M polish (two coats) these are a single coat of the flakie to give you an idea of the density of flakie bits...

Macroflakie comparison: Barry M, Essie, Color Club and Layla flakies
L-R: Crystal Glaze, SOTT, The Uptown, Butterfly Effect - Natural light
Barry M Crystal Glaze - macro
(L) Barry M Crystal Glaze (R) Essie SOTT - macro shot
Immediately we can see that the tone of the colour shift on the Barry M offering is completely different to the other three, which are all similar to each other.  Despite looking positively pink in the bottle, the Barry M flakie comes through in shades of blue, aqua and almost clear pieces.  One thing I wasn't keen on was the clear/pale flakie particles on first appearance look like missed patches on the nail so at first I thought I'd smudged the polish.  The density of particles in the Barry M polish is also much less than the others - roughly half. 

Comparing the 'red toned' macroflakies - of these it seems that on a black base, Essie SOTT and Color Club The Uptown are close enough to be dupes.  The Layla "Butterfly Effect" is very similar, just a little more red toned.  This can be seen more clearly in the photo below, which was taken in direct sunlight...

Macroflakie comparison: Barry M, Essie, Color Club and Layla flakies
L-R: Crystal Glaze, SOTT, The Uptown, Butterfly Effect - Sun light

In bottle, the Color Club and Layla polishes look like dupes.  So I also compared these on their own, with no base colour.  Shown here are three coats of each:

Color Club "The Uptown" and Layla "Butterfly Effect"
L-R: Color Club "The Uptown" and Layla "Butterfly Effect" - Sun light
Despite the intense in-bottle indigo colour, both of these are really watery and thin on their own.  There is still considerable VNL with three coats, so it would take a hell of a lot to become fully opaque.  It's less obvious in this picture, but the Layla polish is slightly darker toned, and slightly more opaque than the Color Club.

Now onto the microflakies! For comparison I have the new No.7 shade "In the Stars" and Color Club's "Pearl-spective" from their recent Kaleidoscope collection.

Microflakie comparison - Color Club and No7
L-R: Color Club "Pearl-spective" and No. 7 "In the Stars"
Both microflakie shades are gorgeous layered on black. Shown here is one coat of each.  Again the in-bottle colour is nothing like the on-nail colour and these two shades are far from dupes - in fact they are sort of mirror-images of each other.  The No.7 appears predominantly blue and has a subtle shift through aqua to pink.  The Color Club looks predominantly pink, with a subtle shift through purple to blue.  Both very pretty and worth owning both I think.  I found some excellent pics of the No.7 layered over blue and on its own here.  There is also an excellent review of Pearl-spective here, which again shows swatches over different base colours.  It looks as though the shift is highly dependent on base colour, so this is something I'll play with at some point. These microflakies remind me of the Ozotic 'Sugar' polishes from the 900 series (great review here), although I don't have any of those for comparison.

Phew! So the final comparison is price...Macroflakies: I bought the Barry M with my Boots points (hurrah!) and the RRP is £3.99.  The Essie and Layla polishes I bought from Amazon sellers for £8.04 and £5.94 respectively with free P&P.  The Colour Club was part of a duo-set in TK Maxx for £3.99, so effectively £2.  The Microflakies: I bought the No.7 with one of those handy £3 off vouchers Boots sometimes hand out, RRP is £6 so I got it for £3.  The Colour Club was part of a 4-polish mini-set in TK Maxx for £3.99 so effectively cost £1.  Full size Color Club polishes are available for about £8 if you can find them, and occasionally TK Maxx has 8 polish sets for £8-£10 which is a frickin steal.

Recommendations: If you own none of these, and want to, then I would recommend the No.7 micro-flakie "In the Stars" since this is easy to find, super pretty, and potentially the cheapest if you get one of those voucher offers.  For the macroflakies I'd recommend the Layla polish "The Butterfly Effect" (Ceramic Effects No. 52).  It's the cheapest, and so similar to the other shades that it makes no difference really which you pick. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Polka Dot Heaven

Today's NOTD is the utterly fabulous Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer.  This is my first experience of circle glitter and it's love at first sight.  This polish is like having a birthday party on my nails.
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Artificial Light
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Artificial Light
Even for me this is a lot of layers - I'm wearing Nail Envy base, two coats of black ("Just Black" by No.7) , two coats of PDH, and two coats of Seche Vite to seal in all that goodness.  It's impossible to tell if its the layers, the No7, the PDH, or my awesome technique but this mani is Rock. Solid. I've been wearing it for a week and there is only the teensiest bit of tip wear.
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Natural Light
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Natural Light
PDH is chock full of circle glitters, in every colour, and a range of sizes from teensy (about 1mm diameter) to large (approx. 5mm).   What I wasn't expecting was the mirror like finish on these glitters, they are MASSIVELY shiny (and the bigger ones have a holo finish too). In the sunlight pic below you can see a green spot projected onto my ring finger by a sparkly glitter on my middle finger - in bright light this polish makes your nails into a multi-coloured disco ball.  What's not to love?
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Sun Light
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Sun Light
I need to work on my fishing and placement technique.  As the macro shot shows this is so dense with glitter that it's really easy to get a large amount of glitter on the nail and I think it would have looked better if I'd managed to make it a little sparser.  I did find it trickier to fish out the largest of the glitters, since these seem to enjoy sticking to the sides of the bottle, but with some shoogling and scraping they can be grabbed well enough.  The suspension base is a thick clear polish that spreads easily and dries nice and glossy, but I'd still use top coat to seal the glitters in securely.
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Macro
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquer - Macro
I picked up this beauty from new UK Indie polish supplier Rainbow Connection for £8.80, and it came wrapped in the cutest little ribbon-tied voil bag.  It's all kinds of awesome, and it definitely won't be my last circle glitter or last Liquid Sky Lacquer. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Nail Mail!

Is there anything more exciting than nail mail?  Yes as it turns out! Nail Mail from a new shop packed with brands I'd previously only dreamed of adding to my collection.   Rainbow Connection UK started trading this week, and for those of you that don't know is a new UK based store stocking a great range of indie polishes from around the world.  Last week, on shop opening night, I was eagerly refreshing my browser and keeping my (beautifully painted) fingers crossed that I'd manage to snap up two polishes I've had a major lemming for....Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly....
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
 Since they're in the photos, I'm guessing you've already figured out that my shopping was a success....
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
 I couldn't resist taking some macro shots of these beauties too...aren't they fabulous?  Now the hard part will be deciding which one to wear as my holiday mani...tomorrow I'm heading up to Loch Ness for the Baxters Running festival to take part in the 10k along with thousands of others.  Can't wait :)
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers - Macro

CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly - Macro

There is still a store opening offer (use code OPEN at the checkout) until 6th October for 10% off your order, and more brands have been added through the week.  I'm going to have to wait to payday now!  Swatches to come when I'm back from my hols....

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Bitches Brew

Today's NOTD is "Bitches Brew" by Deborah Lippmann, an awesome dupe of the now HTF Chanel Malice.  I love the name of this, it might not be Ocalways in a Halloween kind of mood (just ask the zombie in my garden....he's plastic but that's not the point).  I already own Malice, but for £5 this seemed like a great backup (as part of a 3 for £15 TK Maxx win)

Deborah Lippmann "Bitches Brew" - Sunlight
Shown here I'm wearing Nail Envy base, two coats of colour, and topped of with a single coat of Seche.   This was my first experience of Deborah Lippmann polish, and bearing in mind the RRP of £15 I'm not hugely impressed.  The shade is awesome, but I found the formula a bit on the streaky side.  I'm also not a fan of the brush, the shape of the bottle (which I think is pretty cool actually) means that the brush is really short.  It's also very narrow, with tight bristles, so although it applies the polish smoothly I find it really hard to cover the whole nail in just 3 swipes (which might have added to the streaky impression).  Wear time hasn't been the best either, I had visible tip wear after just a day.  No chips as yet (day 4) but definitely not anywhere near as hardwearing as the Chanel, or even a number of brands with cheaper price points like OPI or Leighton Denny.

For £5, and as a really credible Chanel dupe, this polish is a big win.  But if your only option was to pay the RRP, then it's not such a good deal.

Update: I just removed this and it stains like crazy! It looks like I've done a murder! Sheesh.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Bargains and Nail News

Hello again mani-maniacs.  Exciting news for UK based NP addicts like me - TK Maxx has stepped up in the awesomeness stakes - they now stock Deborah Lippmann polishes! I picked up a pack of 3 for £15. FIFTEEN QUID!  That's literally 3 for the price of 1.  In my pack I got "Bitches Brew" (a Chanel "Malice" dupe, comparison here), "Don't Tell Mama" (a sumptuous emerald/jade shimmer, apparently similar to Illamasqua "Veridian" which I've been lemming for ages), and "Wicked Game" (a silver/green/pink duochrome similar but not a dupe for this season's hot shade - Essie "The Twill of It" and OPI "Peace Love and OPI", comparison here).  Swatches to follow in due course.  This is the first time I've seen Lippmann polishes for sale anywhere else except House of Fraser/Jenners so fingers crossed we'll be seeing more of these in TK Maxx.

Deborah Lippmann polishes
Deborah Lippmann polishes are now at TK Maxx
Also spotted at TK Maxx were pack of 5 Essie polishes for £10.  That's just redonkulous compared to the £8 pricetag for a single polish in Boots.  Sadly the sets they had all contained polishes I already own, and I'm crazy but I'm not that crazy.

There was also a lot of Color Club and Barielle shades.  The Color Club offering included the current season (Fall) Girl About Town polishes, £4.  I picked up the duo below of "The Uptown" and "Williamsburg".

Color Club Fall 2013 - Williamsburg (left) and The Uptown (right)
"The Uptown" is a gorgeous indigo-based flakie polish that certainly looks similar in bottle to Layla Ceramic effect 52 (which is a dupe for Nfu Oh 51), so expect comparison swatches of these at some point.

On the topic of flakies, the Barry M flakie "Crystal Ball" will be released this week (review here). It will be released in Superdrug on the 25th of September, and in Boots from October 2nd and is set to retail for a bargain-a-licious £3.99.

Finally, I'm super excited about the upcoming launch of Rainbow Connection UK. This is a new UK-based online nail shop that starts trading at 8pm tonight (22/09/13) and will be selling indie polishes that were previously unavailable in the UK without paying mental P&P charges.  On launch there will be polishes from Liquid Sky Lacquers, Cadillacquer, Crows Toes and pre-orders for KPT polish. As if that all wasn't exciting enough there's a 10% off opening offer on all orders, just use the code OPEN until 6th October.  I can't wait! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I can snap up a couple of Crows Toes polishes that I've been lusting after from afar....

So that's it ladies.  This week's top tip is to shimmy on down to TK Maxx if you have one - certainly the Edinburgh stores have just had big stock-drops of bargain polish and these things never last!

 Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated to any of the stores or blogs that I post links to or mention.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Plum Gelly

"Plum" is my first experience of the Gelly Hi Shine line by Barry M and I absolutely love it.  It's a beautiful and sophisticated shade of dusky aubergine/eggplant (depending on which side of the pond you're from) that's perfect for autumn. 

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
I never thought I'd go without my beloved Seche, but the pics here are both with NO TOPCOAT.  So this definitely lives up to its 'Hi-Shine' billing!  I guess the 'Gelly' element is a reference to its shiny gel nails type finish, because I'd definitely class this as a crème polish.  Opacity is very good, I'm wearing two coats in these pictures but you could get away with a single coat.  Formula is excellent, smooth and self-levels well, what's more to say? Love, love, love!

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
Well there is one more thing to say - this is ridiculously good value at £3.99.  I even picked mine up in Boots in a 'Buy 1 get 1 1/2 price' offer (which incidentally is on again right now!).  I have polishes 3 times this price that aren't even half this good.  I'd highly recommend this.