Tuesday, 25 December 2012

[nails] Festive Mani #6 - MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Merry Christmas to one and all - I guess not many of you will be checking your blog feeds today but I shall send you my best wishes nonetheless. Today is my final festive mani of 2012 (sadface) and unfortunately it's quite badly photographed (double sadface), but on the bright side I was very pleased with how it came out and will probably be doing variations of it in the future. 

I wanted to do a holly leaf manicure after I surprised myself by doing the leaves on my Christmas puddings nails so neatly. I decided to do a full-nail print design instead of just one or two big leaves on each nail, and this was the result: 

I used China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint as the base, and then Barry M Spring Green, Red, and Red Glitter for the holly leaves, which were painted with a very small nail art brush. As I said, the pictures are rubbishy because I had to take them in the evening (well, not really, but since it gets dark at about 3pm there's pretty much no afternoon any more), but I think you can still get an idea of the mani and the colours are pretty accurate. I really love wearing this design and I'm definitely going to do more full-nail small prints like this in the future, even if they do take a while to paint!

So that's all from me on the festive side of things - back to normal nails (and maybe even the rest of the Challenge) after this. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday and I send you all Christmas hugs <3

I shall leave you with Festive Nail Platypus and his sparkly shiny tinsel:

Katy xo

Monday, 24 December 2012

[nails] Festive Mani #5 - Reindeer

Hey guys! Just a quick post today to show you the fifth Christmas mani I've done so far, although this one is for my sister so perhaps shouldn't count... Anyway, after I did the Christmas pudding nails I had an idea for something similar so I decided to give it a go on Holly's nails because I had other, more different ideas for my own. That idea was: reindeer!

I did these on a neutral background because I didn't want to overshadow the nose glitter which I had planned in advance. The base is Essie's Sand Tropez, and then I used all Barry M polishes for the reindeer - Dusky Mauve, Chocolate Brown, Black, Red, and Red Glitter. Unfortunately my shaky hands meant that a couple of the reindeer looked somewhat squinty and lop-sided but overall I think it's a pretty good effect. Holly was happy with them anyways =)

Hope you lot are having a lovely Christmas Eve, and see you tomorrow with my final (sob) Christmas mani! 


Katy xo

Saturday, 22 December 2012

[nails] Festive Mani #4 - Christmas Tips

Hey everyone! I just have a quick festive post for you today - it's my dad's birthday today so I don't have much time to write! We're just about to sit down to a yummy roast dinner. This is my fourth festive mani of the month, and for this one I decided to follow this amazing tutorial by Kayla Shevonne for a festive french tip design. 

I used Barry M - Emerald as the base, topped with an unnamed Claire's green glitter. Then I used Barry M Red and Laval White to do the tips. Unfortunately I didn't have time to topcoat these and they got chipped before I had the chance to take a picture, although I tried to hide it as much as possible in this picture ;)

I highly recommend this tutorial if you're looking for something simple but festive that doesn't take a long time, Kayla is a bit of a genius. Hope you guys are all having a good festive period, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, and look out for a couple more festive manis on the way in the next week or so!


Katy xo

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

[nails] Festive Mani #3 - Splat.

Good tidings I bring, to you and your king, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Guess who's in the festive spirit again? Although to be honest you lot should be glad you're only getting my festive spirit through blog posts, in real life my hyperactivity tends to get more than a little tiring (or so I'm told!). Today I've got another of my festive manis for you, and this one is a new technique for me, the splatter mani!

I'm sure you've all seen tutorials for this so I shan't bother with my own, but the basic idea is that you dip a straw into your polish and blow through it to splatter the polish onto your nail. I can tell you right now that this is the funnest type of nail design I have ever done (and probably will ever do, nothing beats this). Obviously it gets messy and needs a fair bit of clean-up but IMO it's worth it for both the hilarity of the process and the final effect. 

My base was two coats of the white jelly, China Glaze Oxygen. Then I splattered on Barry M Spring Green, Red, and Gold, before finishing with a top coat of China Glaze Fairy Dust for some added sparkle. I probably should have taken some pictures before I added the glitter so you could see the full effect of the splatter, but I still liked it with the glitter, and this is definitely a technique I will be using again!

Hope you guys liked them, and endless hugs from me and the Nail Platypus (he's been helping me wrap presents today),

Katy xo

Monday, 17 December 2012

[nails] Festive Mani #2 - PUDDINS!

Helloooo folks! Apologies for the delay in posting, I had an open exam last week for one of my uni modules which took up a lot of time, but now I'm back at home for Christmas so hopefully posts will be a bit more regular from now on - in fact I have three manis already waiting for me to show you. 

Today is the second of my festive, Christmassy designs, and I decided to go for Christmas puddings. I have been crocheting little Christmas pudding tree decorations for the past couple of week - partly to sell for charity as part of my university's Knitting Society's stall at the Christmas fair, and also for friends as little gifts. So I figured I may as well take the whole thing one step further and get them on my nails as well! 

I used a base of Barry M - Gold Foil, then layered Laval's Gold over the top for a slightly sparklier finish. The puddings were done using Barry M Chocolate Brown, Red, and Spring Green, and the white is China Glaze Oxygen. I freehanded the design using both the polish brushes and a small striper. 

I wore these the other week when I went ice skating with a few friends - one of the funniest nights in a while! I'd been once when I was about 9, and had been roller-blading when I was younger too, but it took us all a long while to get confident enough to let go of the barriers! Eventually we all got the hang of it (more or less), although I was the only one who fell over - although it definitely wouldn't have happened if the guy in front of me hadn't fallen over and gotten in my way ;) The bruises on my knee have only just disappeared! 

The Nail Platypus is getting into the Christmas spirit too, by helping me write my cards ^_^

Wishing you all festive funtimes, 

Katy xo

(P.S. I should probably explain that the 'PUDDINS!' in the title is the result of my housemate and I being obsessed with Great British Menu earlier this year - a British tv cooking competition - and one evening where we had had rather too much sugar and got over-excited about some very fancy and delicious-looking desserts =P)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

[nails] Polish Days - Bling

Greetings, lovely people! Today, as probably quite a few of you know, is another Polish Days event, organised by the wonderful Hannah of Polly Polish. This month's theme is a festive one, and that is 'Bling'! This is inspired by holiday-season parties and all things sparkly, so naturally it's pretty much perfect for me! 

The design I have done is one I had in mind as soon as I heard the theme, and it was probably the most time-consuming mani I have ever done. I love it though! I'm sure most of you are aware of the recent craze for glequins - glitter sequins - so I thought it was time to give mine an airing. I went for a simple honeycomb look because the hexagons tessellate nicely. Warning: if you have some sunglasses to hand, you might want to put them on now... SPARKLES AHEAD. 

I used a base coat of Rimmel London 60 Seconds - Black Out for all of my nails, and then on my left hand I applied silver glequins using a toothpick and some cheap clear polish. On my right hand I used gold glequins (apologies for the quality of these pictures, I can't hold my non-dominant hand steady enough to get a good picture with my crappy little camera >_>):

The glequins I used are from Born Pretty Store - they come in little pots with absolutely loads inside, no need to worry about using them up quickly. Even with this mani which used hundreds of the things, I barely made a dent in my current stock! 

I think I managed to fulfil the 'bling' theme pretty well, and it was worth spending all the time on these just to see people's reactions, which were very positive and quite disbelieving =P

What do you guys think of these? Are you involved in Polish Days too? Anyone can take part and I highly recommend it, just click here to sign up. 

Here's all the other wonderful designs that are part of this month's event:

Lots of love and hugs, 

Katy xo

Sunday, 2 December 2012

[nails] Simple Festive Stamping

Hi everyone! I apologise for the crazy delay between posts, I've been busy lately with both university work (I'm in my final year now so things are kinda intense!) and also with my other main obsession - knitting/crochet. I've decided to put the 31 Day Challenge on hold for the festive season, since I love Christmas too much not to do as many themed nail sets as possible! So here's a simple design using Konad plate M79:

I used Barry M - Raspberry as the base. This is a new purchase of mine and although I didn't use to be such a fan of red polishes, I adore this one. It's a perfect, deep, festive colour. The stamping was using Gold Foil, also by Barry M. I didn't use top coat here. Even though this was a quick and simple look, I was happy with how neatly I managed to pull it off, and it looked pretty cool from a distance as some stamps do :)

And now for something completely different... I forgot to take a picture of Mr Platypus with the polishes themselves so here's one I snapped just now on my phone of him inside a mini wheelie bin I bought at the pound shop recently. Cute, isn't it? 

Hope you liked this design, and see you soon for more festive designs and probably cake and knitting and things ^_^


Katy xo

Sunday, 11 November 2012

[nails] Polishes Everyone Should Own: China Glaze Fairy Dust

Hellooooo dear readers, hope you are all well. Today I have a 'Polishes Everyone Should Own' post for you. You may remember I started this way back in July with my swatches of Barry M's Denim, and I've been meaning to get more posts in this series up but have just been so absorbed by the 31 Day Challenge that I haven't had time. However, I've been ill for almost a week now and didn't feel like doing the complicated 'inspired by a song' design I have planned, so I decided that some swatches were what I should do. Therefore, may I present the second Polish Everyone Should Own: Fairy Dust.

This is a China Glaze polish which I only got quite recently but absolutely adore. It's a very fine, densely packed, silver holographic glitter. It's definitely meant to be a layering polish - the clear base means you can never really layer it to opacity - but it goes with everything and anything and is just so damn sparkly. Here I've shown two coats over black.

In natural, non-direct light - sparkle not very visible here

Slightly blurred picture in artificial light to show holographic effect
I must apologise for the terrible pictures - living in the Land of No Sunshine (aka England), it makes it difficult to capture the real holo in this polish, so trust me, it's truly stunning in real life. This bottle shot shows it a little too, and gives you an idea of the density:

This beauty is also really easy to apply, and not a typical glitter nightmare to remove either. You can use it over any colour ever, and I highly recommend it (why else would it be on the Polishes Everyone Should Own list?). 

So there you have, a beautiful polish with an adorable name that you should GO BUY RIGHT NOW. Hope you enjoyed this post :)

Katy xo

Monday, 5 November 2012

[nails] Two sets of very badly photographed nails

Hellooooooooo everyone! Today is another challenge break I'm afraid, as I am bringing you two sets of special occasion nails that I've done over the past month. The first is from when I went down to London with my family to celebrate my sister's 18th birthday, and we went to see Mamma Mia (which was incredible and such a feel-good show, go see it). I aimed for something sophisticated to try and match what I was wearing - since it was an evening performance we got all dressed up. 

This is what I ended up with - I used the same colours as the base for my galaxy nails, which I mentioned in the post that I loved and didn't want to paint over! This was one coat of Barry M - Cobalt Blue, and one coat of China Glaze - Riding The Waves. On top of this I placed four tiny gold ball decorations which I got (along with 11 other colours) from Born Pretty Store. Then I topcoated with W7 Diamond, and hey presto, simple but sophisticated nails (in my opinion, anyway!) I was really happy with how these turned out. 

The next special occasion is one I'd been waiting for for almost four years - I went to see the Killers (aka my favourite band in the world ever) live on the UK tour for their new album, Battle Born. For this set I went with a red and black theme to reflect the Battle Born logo, and I used tape to create the logo's lightning bolt on my ring finger. Then I went to do the Killers dotted 'K' on my thumb, and settled with what I had after the fourth attempt O_o. It smudged a little when I put topcoat on, and I didn't managed to get pictures of these before they started to chip, but here you go anyway:

So there you have it, two sets of badly photographed nails, as promised! I blame it on my six-year-old camera and not myself ;) Hope you guys had as good a weekend as I did (YAY KILLERS) and see you soon with some old-fashioned 31 Day Challenge posts :)

Katy xo

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

[nails] Day 21 - Inspired by a Colour

Hey everyone! I hope you can forgive me for the gap in posting, but I wanted to save these for Halloween - you'll see why in a second! Most people when doing the 31 Day Challenge take the 'inspired by a colour' day to mean inspired by polish names, and I did just that. I was umming and ahhing for a few days over the polishes I had in my collection, but then I hit on the perfect idea, inspired by Rimmel London's 'Grey Matter'! You've seen this polish a couple of times before on this blog, as the base for both my Day 9 Rainbow nails, and my swatch of Lush Lacquer's Midnight Affair. However, for this look I took the name of the polish and only used it sparingly in the actual design, because the look I went for was of course: BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNNNS!

Yep, brains. It took me while to get this design to something I liked - I had to take off two versions and start over again, but I ended up with this - the line down the middle being the centre of the brain between the two hemispheres. I've had mixed reactions to this: some people think it's hilarious, others are faintly disgusted - my mum just decided it was 'pretty pink squiggles', sigh. But I was really happy with how they turned out and I've worn them for almost a week. 

I'm also giving you a rare picture of my right hand. The left-hand design was a bit too precise for me to do with my wrong hand, so I went with something a bit more simple: BRAAAAAAAAIIIIINS! Sorry, I just enjoy saying that.

The thumb says 'INS', in case you can't quite read it...
The polishes I used here were:

  • W7 - Sheer Pink, Diamond Top Coat
  • Maybelline Express Finish - Blushing Bride
  • Rimmel London 60 Seconds - Grey Matter
  • Barry M - Red, Chocolate Brown, Black
  • China Glaze - Westside Warrior

So there you have it! This was intended to be just a regular challenge design but since it turned out so Halloween-y I thought I would save it to post today. Do you guys like it? Or are you faintly repulsed by it too? :P

As ever, the Nail Platypus wishes you a fond farewell and a Happy Halloween!
Katy xo

Saturday, 20 October 2012

[nails] Day 20 - Water Marble

Okay, so I'm hoping that any of you who have also done the 31 Day Challenge had a similar reaction to the water marble day as I did: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH. I had one very half-hearted and entirely unsuccessful attempt at water-marbling about a year ago and have avoided it ever since. When it came to doing it this time around I was a bit more careful - I don't have a water filter but I did boil it first in the hope it would be a bit easier for the polish to spread out, and I tried a few different polish combinations before I settled on China Glaze Riding the Waves and Max Factor Nailfinity Disco Pink. 

I did a test nail on my right hand first (my non-photo hand) and actually managed to get a semi-decent design, so I went ahead and did my whole left hand:

As you can see, I managed to get some kind of marble design which I was quite pleased with, but because I used a light colour (China Glaze - Sweet Hook) as the base, the bits where I didn't quite pick up enough polish look like tip wear >_> I struggled with clean-up too, hence the messy edges. 

So there you have it - not a complete failure but not a success either! It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be though, and I don't think it's too bad for a first real attempt - I might even give it a go again in the future. Have you guys ever tried water marbling before?

Farewell from the Nail Platypus <3
Katy xo

Thursday, 18 October 2012

[nails] Day 19 - Galaxies

Howdy, partners! How are you all? I am ridiculously excited because I'm off to London this weekend with my family to celebrate my sister's 18th birthday - we're going to see Mamma Mia on stage, yay! However, you have no need to fret and worry about my absence, I have new nails for you today and I'm scheduling another post for the weekend to keep you satisfied. 

So without further hesitation, I present Day 19 of the 31 Day Challenge, galaxy nails! I assume all of you have seen the galaxy nails trend before - I'm not entirely sure when it began but I've always enjoyed seeing galaxy designs, although I'd never tried one myself. I hesitated over them for a while because both my black polishes are now so thick and gloopy that they're practically unusable (although I've ordered some nail polish thinner from Born Pretty so hopefully that should be remedied soon). I then realised that I could probably get the same effect from just using a dark blue base, so that's what I did! Here's how they turned out: 

For the base on these, I used one coat of Barry M's Cobalt Blue, topped with one coat of China Glaze's Riding the Waves. This created such a gorgeous deep blue base that I was reluctant to cover it up! I sponged on in different places: Rimmel London 60 Seconds - Black Out, China Glaze - Electric Beat, Rimmel London 60 Seconds - Green With Envy, China Glaze - Re-Fresh Mint. Then I used a dotting tool and Electric Beat and Laval - White to create some stars, and topped the whole thing with a coat of China Glaze - Fairy Dust, to make it twinkly. 

At first I wasn't sure about these, and I'm still not convinced they look much like galaxies, but I think I've fallen a bit in love with them since they're so sparkly! For such a dark-coloured design I was surprised how much I liked it. Do you lot think they look anything like space? :P

So long, lovely readers, I love you all! <3 Nail Platypus
Katy xo

Monday, 15 October 2012

[nails] Day 18 - Half Moons

Afternoon everybody! Today is Day 18 of the 31 Day Challenge - half moons. I don't know if you will remember, but back in July I posted these nails, which are pretty much one of my all-time favourite designs I've done. I had to fight the urge to just recreate these, but I still ended up doing a pretty similar design! I got a few new polishes recently from a shop in town that sells cheapy ones, so I decided to use a couple of those and then do the same style half moons over the top. Here's what I got:

First off, I'd like to apologise for the poorer quality and squareness of the pictures - now I'm back at university I no longer have access to my sister's high-quality, widescreen camera, so I'm back with my 6-year-old crappy one which is near impossible to focus! Hopefully I'll get a new one of my own soonish so you won't have to put up with pictures like this for too long. 

Anyway, the polishes I used here are:

  • W7 - Mojito. A yellow-toned green microglitter, almost foil-looking. So pretty. I used four coats here because it takes a while to build up colour intensity, but application is a dream.
  • Technic - Mermaid. A bright blue holographic glitter mix. SHINY. 
  • Laval - White
  • Rimmel London 60 Seconds - Black Out
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

I really liked how these came out - I think I'll probably always end up doing half moons this way with the dotted border (although that's partly because my hands aren't steady enough to get a neat line so it's easier to cover it up!) What do you guys think?

Farewell, as always, from the Nail Platypus <3
 Katy xo

Thursday, 11 October 2012

[nails] Day 17 - Glitter

Howdy folks, today I'm bringing you Day 17 of the 31 Day Challenge - and I managed to do it without a two-week break in between like last time, huzzah! Glitter is a pretty wide challenge with lots of freedom to do what you want, and since I have a pretty big glitter collection it took me a while to decide what to do. Against all my natural instincts, I actually settled on the idea of a subtle glitter look using a flakie glitter, and here's what I got:

I didn't have the best light to photograph these, but I was so happy with how they turned out! I think flakie glitters look great over light colours since they catch the light so well, and layered over white here they looked like snow ^_^

For this look I used three coats of No 7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour in Snowflake, topped with two coats of Nubar 2010. I kept it on for a fair while since I liked it so much :)

What do you guys think?

Much love from both myself and the Nail Platypus as always, 

Katy xo

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

[nails] Day 16 - Tribal Print

Good lord, it's been over two weeks since I posted! I knew it had been a while, but not that long. I'm so sorry guys! I don't really have any decent excuses, but I've just moved back to university for my third and final year (argh what) and I've also just taught myself to crochet and that's turned into a bit of an obsession. However, I've gotten back to the 31 Day Challenge and today I'm bringing you Day 16, tribal print. 

I've actually always wanted to try out tribal print nails, but when I got around to this day I was feeling so uninspired, and although I wasn't very happy with how these set turned out, I just couldn't be bothered to take them all off and try again! Also, I took these pictures after a couple of days of wear, so apologies for the big ugly chip on my thumb nail. Here we go:

The polishes I used in this design were:

  • China Glaze - I'm With The Lifeguard, Re-Fresh Mint
  • Barry M - Emerald Green, Spring Green
  • Sinful Colors - Call You Later
  • Claire's - Unnamed Green Glitter

As I said, I'm not mad keen on this design, but perhaps some of you guys will think it's semi-decent! Thank you for not giving up on me while I was away (being lazy), and I promise posts will be more regular from now on! 

All that remains is our usual fond farewell from the Nail Platypus:


Katy xo

Monday, 24 September 2012

[nails] Lush Lacquer Swatches

Helloooo everybody! Long time no post, I know, and this isn't even a challenge post, but I hope I can make it up to you with some swatches of the most gorgeous indie polishes. I've mentioned in previous posts that it was my birthday recently (twenty years old, eek) and I used some of the money I was given to buy my first indie polishes from Lush Lacquer on Etsy. Karin and Lexi are a mother-daughter team based in the USA who sell a huge range of beautiful custom-blended polishes. I had a really hard time choosing just a few polishes but eventually settled on 'Midnight Affair', 'Tropical Kisses', and 'Lite Brite'. I decided to get mini bottles because I figured I wouldn't use them up too quickly, and they arrived promptly and in perfect condition. Here's the bottles:

First up is Midnight Affair. This is a clear base packed full of black, white, and red bar glitters, black and red square glitters, white hex glitters, and teeny tiny white microglitters. Yes, they managed to fit all that in! I've shown two coats here, over Rimmel London 60 Seconds 'Grey Matter', which I think worked pretty well as a base and brought out the different colours. This is a dense glitter and didn't need any placement or gap filling, application was nice and easy. Some of the bar glitters curled a little but nothing that a good top coat wouldn't sort out. In summary, love it!

Gotta love a macro bottle shot - just look at the density of that glitter!

Second is Tropical Kisses. This one is kind of the odd one out from these three as it has a sheer tinted base rather than a clear one. It's a lovely yellow-toned green sheer base, with big pink and yellow hex glitters, medium pink hexes, small green hexes, and weeny little pink microglitter. This isn't quite as dense as Midnight Affair, but it gives a wonderful tropical feel and a more understated look. I've shown two coats here over Barry M's 'Lime Green', which matches the sheer base almost exactly. I think you'd need a good four or five coats to build the base on Tropical Kisses to opacity, so better to layer it in my opinion. I can imagine it looking great over pink or black especially. Application was brilliant and there was no curling or even roughness, I wore this without a topcoat and it retained a glossy finish. Another winner here :)

And finally we have Lite Brite. This is another clear base polish, with a beautiful combination of jewel-toned glitters. There are great big gold and metallic pink hex glitters, small square glitters in green and purple, small hex glitters in red, orange, and blue, and tiny silver microglitter. I've layered two coats here over Barry M's 'Vivid Purple', a deep metallic purple, which I think complements the colours of the glitter nicely. Application was easy with this one and although the glitter was a bit rough, a layer of top coat smoothed it out easily. Much love for this polish too.

So there you have it! Three gorgeous polishes from a brilliant indie company. I hope that explains why I haven't posted for a week - these are all so pretty that I didn't want to take any of them off! Hope you enjoyed seeing the swatches, and check out Lush Lacquer on Etsy or Facebook to see more of their creations. All that remains is a farewell from the ever-present Nail Platypus, who is feeling neglected after all these pictures that didn't feature him:

Thanks for reading, hugs for you all!

Katy xo