Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Olympia Beauty 2013

This was my first ever visit to a trade show and although I'd researched as much as I could, I was still not really sure what to expect on arrival.

I took my big sister (aka Fleab) along; It had been years since I'd been to London and I was unnerved at the prospect of negotiating the trains and tubes solo, and we'd also planned to take in an immersive theatre performance later in the day (but that's a whole different story in itself!).

Having a wing woman was a fantastic advantage for me, my sister isn't a nail polish fanatic but she's partial to a spot of Gelish here and there.  Not only did she study the show plan and usher me towards the 'must see' stands that I'd identified on my list (as I wandered aimlessly and agog amid the bright lights and beautiful people) but she carried my shopping for me (!) and ensured I didn't get too engrossed in polish heaven and forget to eat.

It was also helpful to have a second opinion on shade selection - I'd have come home with all green, blue and purple polishes and made a beeline for these on each stand, yet whilst I was perusing she was looking at colours that I would normally have ignored and picked some pretties that I would have usually overlooked.

Now, if she just could have grabbed me before I tripped over the step up onto the OPI Outlet stand and landed face first in a bowlful of bargain OPI.....(but what a way to land!)

Thanks for coming with me Fleab x

Right, onto the goodies. As the exhibitors were showing their latest collections which are already available rather than up and coming ranges, I tried to limit myself to taking the opportunity to try either new brands or ones which aren't easy to obtain.

I got off to a cracking start with All That Jazz.  This brand is the new 'sister' line of regular polish from Nail Harmony UK's Gelish and launched at the show.  You can read more about it here:

I'll have a full blog post on these polishes to follow so for now I'll just show you the shopping.....

Left to right:
Fleur's - Sea of Love, Jennifer's - The Beauty Bleu - Print, Paige's - Ready, Set, Jet; Georgie's - Amazon Queen and Jessica's - Suit 'N Tie.

I'd also been wanting to try Morgan Taylor after seeing their polishes in 'Nail It' magazine...

Left to right:
Who's That Girl?, Under the Stars and Make a Statement.

I'm a big Inglot fan but the postage charge tends to put me off buying so I picked up this one as the opportunity presented itself.....

Inglot XL7

Inglot had run out of stock of this polish so they gave me the display polish to take home.  Thank you Inglot!

I also picked up a couple of Color Club polish is 'Polish for All' an uber bright neon orange that my camera refused point blank to photograph and a Ruby Wing Colour changer in Doux.  The latter went home with my sister for her to try.

I bought a couple of bargain OPIs, but nothing ground breaking or new, just a Nail Envy maintenance and a rather shimmery purple/gold mini.

Overall Olympia Beauty was a worthwhile experience.

I appreciated the way that the stand staff chatted away to me happily even though I was clearly labelled by my entry badge as a blogger (and not the head of a large salon chain or similar), and the other attendees were friendly (as they cast a sideways glance at my badge, as I did to theirs!).

I'm hoping to go again next year - maybe see you there?!

Monday, 23 September 2013

ILNP Birefringence

I Love Nail Polish describe their product as boutique nail lacquer.  This bottle was priced at $12.50 (approximately £7.80) and although they do ship internationally the shipping cost unfortunately outweighs the cost of the polish. It's not an excessive shipping cost imposed by ILNP, just the persistent USPS price increases.
To be fair, for the speed at which these bottles made it to the UK I still consider the price to be reasonable.  Shipping for one bottle is currently $13.75 (£8.75), but doesn't increase until the quantity reaches three. 

Best buy a couple then - they're worth it!

Birefringence:  /bi·re·frin·gence/ (bi″-re-frin´jens) the quality of transmitting light unequally in different directions.

No underwater shots or camera trickery, just straightforward  photos taken either in the light box or sunny garden.
It was easy to apply, I used three coats for the photos. 
 The majority of the time I saw a deep rich regal blue with a very strong purpley magenta shift.  
Oddly, to see the other colours in the bottle I found that if I raised my hands above my head and lowered my hands slowly down, the colours cycled through a stunning spectrum of olive, gold, bronze, copper, rose gold, sunset, magenta and then back to the purple and regal blue as my hands returned to a sensible position.
Put your hands up.....
And lower......

Now relax.  Pick that jaw up from the floor and breathe.....

Good exercise for the bingo wings, but fortunately not the only way to see all of the colours; this one did take a bit of hangling, but they're all there.

Although I was hoping to see all of the colours more often, this polish caught me out when I wasn't expecting it.  Unpredictable intense flashes of sunset, magenta and bronze make for hazardous driving conditions but many compliments, "oohs" and "aaahs" even from friends who aren't polish addicted.
(I did say best buy two, here's a cheeky shot of Birefringence with Mutagen!)
I Love Nail Polish Boutique Lacquers are available here:


Liebster Award

Emmy from Neonsparklynails has been kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster Award. I'll confess that although I've seen the Liebster logo on many a blog I've never really known what it was, so I fired up the Googlemeister and discovered that it's an inter-blog introduction tag to promote new blogs. 

Bloggers nominate 11 fledgling bloggers (they must have less than 200 followers) and ask them a set of questions to answer/introduce themselves to the blogosphere.
In turn, you then nominate your chosen 11 bloggers and pose them 11 questions.....

Here are the questions that Emmy has asked, with my answers underneath:

1. What is your favourite brand of polish?
Hmm..... a toughie to kick off with Emmy! I'd say NFU-Oh for the bottle design, size of the bottles, quality of polish and range of colour and finishes.

2. What is your favourite polish colour?
Easy! Turquoise.

3. Do you have a favourite singer/band?
Not really but I do like a hearty loud swear-along with Ms Minaj.

4. Do you have any hobbies other than nails?
I don't know how blogging polish fanatics possibly have time to eat let alone pursue other hobbies! There's nails to be painted and cuticles to be maintained, the blog to update (including countless photos to take), other blogs to read and follow, Facebook groups and pages to follow/post on, press releases and new products to read about; and then there's the best bit - the polish shopping!

5. Do you have any pets?
Gimme a break, I've got 6 children!

6. What is your hand care routine?
Wash, soak, moisturise; usually with Occitane Shea Butter. File and buff to smooth out any problem splits, rub in a generous amount of Moyra nail oil, buff again. I use Sally Hansen Cuticle refining cream once a week, and tidy my troublesome cuticles with an orange stick. If they're looking really tatty I use Scholl cracked heel cream a couple of times a day to give them an intensive boost too.

7. What is your favourite type of nail art?
I'm partial to a colourful water marble or two. I prefer to use glass flecked or sparkly finish polishes as they're a little more forgiving than crèmes.

8. What inspired you to start blogging?
The lovely ladies on the Nail Polish Addicts Anonymous Forum. I've been an active member for over a year and it's such a genuinely friendly forum. I'd been reading other members' blogs, posting pictures of my latest mani attempts and started toying with the idea of starting a blog. Fellow member Jude from Ninja Blossom Nails offered me the opportunity to write a guest post to 'dip my toe in the water' (thanks Jude!). I enjoyed the experience and with support from other forum members decided to take the plunge.
Come and join join us!

9. Favourite food?
I'd probably have to say good old straightforward uncomplicated buttered toast. Can't beat it, especially washed down with a mug of tea. Simple pleasures......!

10. What is your most wanted polish?
At the moment, either Rescue Beauty Lounge Aqua Lily or OPI Sparkle Teal Sunrise.

11. What nail art trend do you hate?
There's nothing in particular that I could identify - even the dodgiest of trends can look stunning with the right imagination, vision and execution.

Thanks Emmy,, the friendliness of the nail community is another motivator to keep on bloggin'! x

Monday, 9 September 2013

Color Club The Uptown

This polish is from the Fall 2013 Girl about Town collection. 

It's a blurple jelly base with flakies that reflect bronze, red and green; maybe not unique (Layla Butterfly Effect and NFU Oh 51 spring to mind for starters) but jaw dropping all the same.
I used four coats (I do with most polishes as my nail line seems to be particularly prominent) and one of Seche. These photos were taken outdoors in the shade.
I was still gawping at it when I came inside so took another photo in the kitchen which shows the sparkle in the flakies well:
It was thick and fairly challenging to apply but dried quickly with the Seche.  Without it though, I think I could have been in trouble.
I compared it to NFU Oh 51:
They look very similar in their bottles, here are the swatches over a coat of black on the nail wheel:
NFU Oh on the left, and Color Club on the right.
The flakes in the NFU Oh are more refined, sit flatter on the nail and are smoother and slightly less dense.  The base of NFU Oh 51 leans red purple and the Color Club is a bluey purple, and is far gloopier and trickier to apply than the NFU Oh.  
Bearing in mind the price and availability of NFU Oh 51 I'd say The Uptown is a better buy, back up worthy if you're a flakies fanatic!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Sation Most Likely Not to Chip

(And a sorry tale of poor customer service...)

I guess the name is a play on mint choc chip, but it took a bit of lateral thinking for that to fit into place, to me it seems like a fairly stupid name (says the lady who owns a bottle of Gelish Oocha Coocha Bing Bam Alakazy Alakazam!).

The shade number is 9025, it's a pearly bright mint.

A shimmery pearly finish, no surprises on the nail, its true to the shade in the bottle.
For these photos I used three coats with one of Seche:

I'm struggling to say nice things about this polish, not because I don't like it, but probably because I had a bad experience with Sation (aka Miss Professional Nail), and it left a nasty taste in my mouth.

A few months back I purchased a bottle of Sation Oh My Oceania from US supplier Pretty Little and on delivery it had separated and settled.  Despite shaking it profusely, turning and swirling it and letting it rest (for over a week) to allow the colours to disperse, it remained in the state as shown:


The colour at the front of the bottle is a yellowy green mottled crème, whilst at the back it's a mid blue pearl. When swatched it has a totally flat matte finish and looks nothing like other swatches that I looked at before I ordered.

The colour of the polish at the front of the bottle.....

and at the back....

I emailed Pretty Little Nails, attaching the above photos and asked them if they would be so kind as to look into this for me, as the polish is clearly defective and unusable.

After much following up due to non response, I was eventually told that they had contacted Miss Professional Nail/Sation who apparently wouldn't accept responsibility, so to compensate Pretty Little Nails offered me a whopping 10% off a future purchase. Yeah, right - because that really makes up for a total waste of money on a polish I can't use........  
Caveat emptor.

H&M Wintersky

With silvery multichromes being hot stuff this Autumn (I'm thinking Essie's For the Twill of it and OPI's Peace Love and OPI in particular), I had to give this one a try, it was just £2.99 from H&M.

It has a pale silver base with lime and pink soft duochrome flashes. This is three coats with a coat of Seche.
 There are silver sparkles in there too.

Maybe notsohotso against my pasty white skin, but I wore it again recently with a bit of a summer glow going on and it looked a whole lot more flattering.

I think H&M polishes are overlooked on the whole, they have some amazing glass flecked and shimmer polishes, and the odd pretty glitter here and there too.  Naturally I didn't leave the shop with just the one (addicts, do we ever ?) when I bought Wintersky so I have a few more to share another time.

Anybody have For the Twill of it or Peace Love & OPI to let me know how this one compares?

Monday, 2 September 2013

OPI More Than A Glimmer

This is half of OPIs Pink of Hearts Breast Cancer Awareness Duo for 2013,  I chose to buy just the glitter, the other shade is a pretty pink crème called Pink-ing of you. If you buy the duo set it comes with little crystals and the Breast Cancer Ribbon symbol decals too.

This is layered this over Anny Never Can Say Goodbye, a silvery foil. I chose this rather that a pink crème for two reasons, I'm not really a pink person; and I was already wearing the Anny when this one arrived and I couldn't wait to get it on my nails!

I can't fathom why this polish excited me - I don't like pink much, I like my glitter to be uber sparkly and I'm not a massive OPI fan. But I saw this online and was desperate to get my mitts on it (as the poor chap at Nail Polish Direct can testify. I think they call it harassment these days.......).

It's a grown up glitter. A greyed, muted milkshake pink sheer base, with dense matte glitters in pink, gold, green and silver varying in size from small to tiny. 

It doesn't have the usual slightly rough finish of a matte polish - it's gentle and almost silky, I'd call it eggshell. Both of the above pictures are just one coat without topcoat as I liked the feel of it just as it was.

Here it is with a thin layer of Seche, although I think a matte top coat would have worked better:
My youngest son wanted a closer look, so I showed him the pretty colours.  He clearly agrees that it's one tasty polish. Ouchy.

Love & Beauty Purple Multi

Not the most imaginative name for a polish but a real stunneroo:

When my sister last visited the States a few weeks back, she gave me the address of her hotel and happily agreed to accept parcel deliveries to bring back to the UK. (She was however, a tad surprised at the size of some of the aforementioned parcels ).  I ordered 'quite a few' of these Love & Beauty polishes from Forever21.  They work out at about £1.50 each for a generous 14ml bottle, hence the large order.......

Apparently there are Forever21 shops in the UK and a UK website, but for some reason they don't sell polish at all. That's really disappointing as some of the Love & Beauty polishes offer something a bit different and rather indie-esque.

It has a plummy purple jelly base with silver, gold, pale pink, green and blue medium sized hex glitters.  The edges of the hexes aren't well defined and as I look down at my nails it resembles dot glitter. 

The consistency was gluey, sticky and thick, but it applied surprisingly well, these photos show just two coats. 
I normally really struggle with jellies and crellies; the base is either so sheer that I need a multitude of coats to cover the nail line and the layers of glitter disappear into a porridge of thick polish, or the base is too thick and although gives good coverage the glitter is obscured by the base and any depth is lost.

This one was perfect, the depth is visible and the jelly encases the glitter and gives a glossy glassy finish. A thick coat of Seche was necessary to smooth, but enhanced the glassy look.

If you're lucky enough to be visiting the States any time soon, I'd seriously recommend checking this range out.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Anny Never Can Say Goodbye (Shade 465)

This really isn't a colour I'd normally pick, but the tiny pink and silver sparkles in this warm buff toned foil like polish shone out in mesmerizing fashion.  The deal was sealed - it plopped into the basket, despite the Communards' high pitched sing - a - linging in my head, accompanied by visions of Somerville shaking his pert little arse in high belted pale denim jeans.  This should have been my signal to say goodbye to the Anny, but I failed to take heed..............

So I tried three coats, no joy,  I knew I'd need four - I have other Anny polishes and they're all fairly sheer and don't build up well.  But buying an Anny on holiday is like buying a souvenir, I know they're tricky to use but I also know that I'll come back with one. 

There are the sparkles, trapped inside the bottle.  I see silver sparkles on my nails, but no pink.

It warms up a bit in the sunshine, and there's the merest suggestion of pink but ultimately it looks pretty much like a standard pale silver foil.
I doubt it'll grace my nails again, but as souvenirs go I guess it beats a donkey with a straw hat!