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

Sunday, 16 September 2012

[nails] Day 15 - Delicate Print

Hey everyone! Today is Day 15 of the 31 Day Challenge - kind of halfway through. Like most people, I was a bit confused as to what 'delicate print' actually meant, so I decided to go for a random swirly print that I doodle all the time, do it in delicate colours, and hope it turned out okay. Luckily, it did, and I have to admit I am slightly in love with these nails. Just.... squeee. 

Apologies for the slightly naff lighting, it was about midday so all the sunlight was shining straight down and not through the windows properly >_>

The polishes I used here were:

  • China Glaze - Re-Fresh Mint
  • Laval - White
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

 I just used a small nail art brush to free-hand the pattern and I was so pleased with how it turned out! What do you guys think?

Hugs from the Nail Platypus:

Katy xo

Saturday, 15 September 2012

[nails] Day 14 - Flower Nails

Hellooooo  my dearest friends, apologies for the slight gap in daily posting! Today I'm bringing you Day 14 of the 31 Day Challenge, which is flower nails. I was a bit stuck for inspiration with these until I suddenly remembered that I'd been meaning to try out a cherry blossom print since forever, so that's what I decided to do. I was pretty happy with how these turned out, although they were one of those manis that looks better from a distance. Up close the detail looks kind of messy and splodgy (what do you mean, that's not a word?), but from a bit further away they looked dead cute. You guys know what I'm talking about, right? Some designs just look better that way. 

Anyway, onto the pictures!

The polishes I used in this design were:

  • Rimmel London 60 Seconds - Princess Pink (light pink/neutral, two coats as base), Pulsating (bright pink shimmer, just used for dotting in the middle of flowers)
  • Maybelline Express Finish - Blushing Bride (one coat over top of Princess Pink base)
  • Max Factor Nailfinity - Disco Pink (main body of flowers)
  • Barry M - Brown, Bright Pink
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

As I said, I was happy with how these came out, although my mum and sister didn't seem to like them so much. What do you lot think?

It's goodbye from the Nail Platypus, but hopefully not for long!
Katy xo

Thursday, 13 September 2012

[nails] Day 13 - Animal Print

Afternoon everyone, today I have my Day 13 nails of the 31 Day Challenge - animal print. I got the inspiration for this one when I was on holiday last month and we visited an aquarium. One of the fish that caught my eye was the Mandarinfish (or Mandarin dragonet), which is a little, brightly patterned thing that flitted around its tank making it impossible to get any good pictures of my own! Fortunately there are plenty of pictures of this little neon fella online, so here's the one I based my design on:

I used an orange base and hand-painted the stripes and outlines with a small nail art brush. Here's how they turned out:

For this design I used two coats of W7's Orange Dazzle, topped with one sheer coat of La Femme Orange Cream to dull the crazy neon effect. Then I painted on the stripes with Rimmel London 60 Seconds Green With Envy and outlined them with the same brand's Black Out, all topped with a coat of W7 Diamond Top Coat for a bit of shine. I was very happy with how these turned out, and although the colour combination is a bit unusual, I think it looks pretty good. What do you guys think?

Farewell, honorary Platypuses!
Katy xo

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

[nails] New W7 Swatches

Hey guys, another little break from the challenge here as I'm showing you swatches of the five new W7 polishes I bought with some money from my birthday. I bought them all online at Nail Polish Direct which also stocks China Glaze, Barry M, Essie, and OPI, and sells W7 for just £1.95 each. 

The polishes I bought were Orange Dazzle, and four of the W7 Sheer Collection - Sheer Peach, Sheer Blue, Sheer Pink, and Sheer Mauve. You've already seen the sheers in my previous post for the striped nails of my 31 Day Challenge, but here they are at one, two, and three coats. From left to right: Sheer Pink, Sheer Blue, Sheer Peach, Sheer Mauve.

One coat.
Two coats.
Three coats.
Apologies for the difference in pictures, I was doing these swatches in the evening so the light was getting progressively worse, and I had to switch my photo locations to try and get decent lighting. The pictures are a bit mixed but they're all fairly colour accurate, particularly the last one. As you can see, all four of the polishes were pretty much opaque by three coats, the only exception being the blue which seemed a little more sheer than the others. In fact, I wouldn't class the peach as a sheer - it was the most creme-like out of the four and only needed two coats to be opaque. The others will probably be fine for layering in sandwiches and things, but they will need thin coats in order to not block out glitter. The application was easy, not too streaky, and the big W7 brushes make it easy to cover the nail. Overall, very good polishes, especially considering the price. 

Then there's the odd one out of the polishes I bought, Orange Dazzle. I already have several of the other W7 Dazzle polishes (Purple, Green, and Blue) so I know from experience that they're absolutely packed with glitter, and this is no exception. The difference is that this one doesn't have a clear base, it's an orange jelly with gold and orange glitter. It's almost neon bright, and this is two coats:

Direct sunlight.
You can see just how bright the polish is here, and how dense with glitter! For someone who loves orange polish as much as I do, this is pretty much a holy grail. Application was easy (again, with those big brushes) and there was no need to arrange the glitter as it went on evenly. As you would expect, it was quite rough with that amount of glitter, but nothing that a good topcoat wouldn't smooth over. 10/10 for this one. 

I think you can tell I'm pretty pleased with these purchases - W7 are maintaining their reputation for cheap but quality polishes, and these five have filled some holes in my stash, so I'm grateful for that! Hope these swatches have been useful, and happy buying ;)

Katy xo

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

[nails] Day 12 - Striped Nails

Check me out with my daily posting! I wouldn't get used too used to it though guys, I'm sure it won't last for long =P

Here I have my Day 12 nails for the 31 Day Challenge. The challenge was stripes, and I'll admit I was completely stumped for ideas with this one. Eventually I got some inspiration when some of my new polishes arrived (my birthday was at the end of August so now I have a bit of money to spend on new polishes!). I ended up with an all-pastel look with just one thick stripe across each nail, and I actually quite liked it, despite my usual avoidance of pastels!

The polishes I used were:

  • W7 - Sheer Mauve, Sheer Peach, Sheer Blue, Sheer Pink
  • La Femme - Lilac Frost, Orange Cream
  • China Glaze - Electric Beat
  • Barry M - Bright Pink
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
I will have a post up tomorrow with swatches of all the new W7 polishes I got, but for now, the Nail Platypus and I wish you a loving farewell:

Katy xo

Monday, 10 September 2012

[nails] Liebster Award!

Hi everyone, today I have a post that I'm quite excited about - I've been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award, and by two different lovely ladies! This is an award for bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, and since I am comfortably below that number I'm pretty shocked that anyone reads this blog at all, let alone nominates me for awards. I was nominated by the wonderfully talented Lariesa at Me, Myself & Polish, and Laura at Pictures && Polish. I highly recommend you follow these two, and I'm not just saying that because they gave me an award ;)

Now, onto the award itself! Here's the rules:

1. Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
2. They must answer the 11 questions the 'tagger' has set for them.
3. They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
4. They must then chose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and tag them in their post.
5. These lucky bloggers must then be told.
6. There's no tag backs!

Since this is a text-heavy post, I'll do all this after the jump...

[nails] Not My Nails - two for the price of one!


So I mentioned in my last post that I had recently done nail art for both my sister and my best friend who was staying with me last week, and here is that nail art (accompanied by grovelling apologies for the shocking quality of all these pictures!). 

First up, the best friend. While she was here we went to a local theme park/zoo so I decided to do her nails on that theme. I started with a blue background and then using various nail art brushes painted on a flamingo on the thumb, a lemur tail on the index finger, a rhino on the middle finger, a giraffe on the ring finger, and a turtle on the pinky. My brush work still isn't as good as I'd like it to be, but I was still pleased with how these turned out - when we were in the gift shop at the park all of the shop assistants came over to look at the nails and were very positive - always nice to have your skills appreciated! 

L-R: Flamingo, Lemur Tail, Rhino, Giraffe Neck, Turtle

Close-up of the flamingo - apologies for the poor quality!

Next up, my sister's nails. I told her to pick out any object and I would translate it onto her nails, so she chose a magnet she bought from Cocoa Beach in Florida. It has loads of beautiful colours so I struggled for quite a while trying to work out how best to translate it. I settled on using a different part of the magnet for each nail - the pier and palm trees on the thumb, the sunset on the index finger (with the addition of a couple of birds), the setting sun on the middle finger, the reeds in the sand on the ring finger, and the waves in the ocean on the pinky. Here's how it turned out:

Yes, that's a rhino in the background!
Again, apologies for these pictures - there's noticeable tip wear and no good shots of the thumb nail (which is a shame because I was really proud of that one!), but the sister took these shots herself because I kept forgetting. Even so, I think the top photo shows off the four fingers quite well - I was surprised how good these looked in the end as my previous attempts at stamping have been pretty useless. They looked very bright and summery and the sister was very pleased with them. Here's a quick shot of the magnet they were inspired by:

I used so many polishes for these designs that I won't list them all here, but if you'd like to know a specific polish then let me know :)

Katy xo

Sunday, 9 September 2012

[nails] Day 11 - Polka Dot Nails

Hello folks, apologies for the slight delay between posts! As I mentioned in my last post, I had a friend staying with me for the week so I didn't get the chance to do my nails - although I did do both her nails and my sister's, so look out for that post soon. 

Today I bring you Day 11 of the 31 Day Challenge, polka dot nails. For this challenge I actually decided to recreate a look I did last summer when I was just getting into proper nail art. It's a simple design but I just loved the colour combinations so much that I wanted the opportunity to have another go, now that I understand the principles of cuticle clean-up and so on!

As you can see, this is a very basic design with just five different colours, and white polka dots over each. When I did the design previously I stamped the polka dots, but I freehanded them this time using a medium sized dotting tool. The polishes I used were:
  • Barry M - Shocking Pink, Lime Green, Block Orange, Cyan Blue, Yellow
  • Laval - White
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
I also used Laval's White as a base underneath the green and yellow nails, to prevent staining and to make the colours stronger - the green especially is quite sheer and needs a good four/five coats to reach full opacity. 

I still like these nails, even after a year - they make me think of summer and I got some really nice compliments despite them being so simple. Hope you guys enjoyed them too :)

Bye bye from the Nail Platypus!

Katy xo

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

[nails] Polish Days - Geometric

Hey everyone, I have a bit of a break from the challenge today as I am taking part in my first Polish Days! This is where a group of bloggers organised by the wonderful Polly Polish all post their interpretations of a theme at the same time, and today's theme is geometric. 

I'll admit I had to rush these nails a bit since my friend is coming to stay, so there was lots of cleaning and tidying to do! I chose to use my GOSH Holographic as the base since I hadn't worn it in far too long, and then painted on various geometric designs with black polish and a small striper brush. Here was the result:

Woo, I actually got natural sunlight to show off the holo!
I was pretty pleased with how these came out (my brush work is usually awful), so huzzah! A reasonably successful first Polish Days for me, I think. If you'd like to know more about Polish Days or get involved, click *here*

Now for the really interesting part, here's a list of all the other bloggers participating today:

And finally, a goodbye from the Nail Platypus:

Katy xo

Saturday, 1 September 2012

[nails] Day 10 - Gradient Nails

Confession time: I suck at gradients. 
Like seriously, painfully, horrifyingly suck at them. 

Doesn't matter which tutorials/methods I try, they always turn out lumpy and uneven. So I have always planned to conquer this part of the challenge by turning to a technique I love and happen to be semi-decent at: glitter gradients! 

I used this colour combination in a random collection of designs I did around Easter-time, and I've wanted to use it on all my nails ever since then, so I thought now would be the perfect time. I used Maybelline Express Finish polish in 'Blushing Bride' for the base - it's a sheer so I think I used four coats (maybe five?) here. Then I used a thin brush to apply W7's 'Cosmic Mauve' in a gradient from the base of the nail. When I did the look previously I used a dotting tool to apply the glitter, but I really don't think there was much difference between the outcomes. The W7 polish is jam-packed with glitter so there was no need to worry about excess clear polish getting in the way or taking ages to dry. I topped them with a coat of Seche Vite and here was the final result:

 I was really happy with how these nails turned out, and I love the colour combination just as much as I did the first time around. Above all, these were so much easier for me than regular gradients, so I'm just glad I managed to avoid that one ;)

As ever, here's Nail Platypus to wish you a fond farewell:

Katy xo