Sunday, 4 August 2013

Pretty Serious Cosmetics - Purple Monkey Dishwasher

Hi Everyone,

Today I'd like to share the second of my little Pretty Serious collection - Purple Monkey Dishwasher.

This might sound like a very random collection of words (well, actually...) but in fact it's a little tidbit from an episode of The Simpsons - which is my husband's favourite TV show. The scene itself is here if you'd like to see it for yourself!

When I saw a swatch of this polish, I had to show my husband - I get brownie points if I recognise things from his favourite shows. Also, it's purple, and I do love me some purple polish! So of course, I was completely thrilled when this turned up! Yay!! (And yes, he gets mega brownie points for these little treats!)

If you read my last Pretty Serious post, you'll know that I have a bit of a soft spot for this packaging - it's just so pretty! But lets have a look at what's inside... after all, that's what counts!

The polish itself is a blue toned purple, with mixed micro-glitter particles. It dries to a somewhat matte and textured finish. It felt a bit like a rubbish Liquid Sand polish to be honest, but without the sparkle or coverage. In these swatches, I have done something slightly different - on my index, ring and pinkie finger I have applied top coat. On my thumb and middle finger, I've left it bare to try and show the difference in look and texture. I'm not sure if I *actually* achieved this, but lets take a look anyway!

I love these close up shots of the bottle as it shows up the tiny hints of blue and pink glitter. These really show up when you use a glossy top coat - otherwise I think that the polish looks a little bit flat in colour. The texture is quite rough, and it does have a tendency to drink top coat. I used three thin coats of polish and three coats of top coat. I could still feel the texture underneath the top coat, but by then, 6 coats felt like more than enough.

Despite my somewhat gushing praise for Liquid Leprechaun and it's beee-uuuuu-tiful formula, I was a little bit disappointed with Purple Monkey Dishwasher. First of all, I needed to do a bit of brush maintenance before I started my mani as there were a few dangly strands. Then, upon application, I found that the polish was a bit stubborn - I really had to drag it around the nail, which left coverage uneven in other places. It felt too much like hard work, and not enough like fun! A very different experience than the one I had with Liquid Leprechaun.

Top coat really makes this polish special. Without it, I didn't like the polish. (Sorry.) I kept checking my nails during the day to see if I changed my mind, but no. Thankfully, the glossy nails saved it for me. I didn't like the texture or formula, and the colour seemed flat to me. Add the gloss, and we're back to something special - it becomes glowy, with more distinction to the pink and blue particles. This is one for a thick gel top coat I think - just to remove that underlying texture and create a smooth finish.

So... would I recommend this polish? Yes and no.

If you prefer a simple, no fuss mani - don't. I like painting my nails on a daily basis and this just frustrated me. A disappointing experience for me.

If you don't mind putting in the extra effort for a beautiful result, then yes. But bring a gel top coat along for best results!

What do you think of Purple Monkey Dishwasher? Do you have any Pretty Serious recommendations for me?

Let me know,

Love Charlotte x

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Summer Nail Art Ideas

Hi Everyone,

In my attempt to try more things, and do more nail art (and use more polishes) I put together a mix and match mani, with a few different things going on!

First of all, if you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this before. If only briefly. This is from about two weeks ago, but trust, those were a hectic two weeks. I've had meetings away with work, I've had a mess up with my wages, I've had favours to give, training to plan for new starters, and more things I've probably actually forgotten. The air con is very broken in work, and the recent heatwave has left the shop like a sauna. And working 8 hours days, fully clothed in a sauna is not good. I've been coming home very tired, and very forgetful. My concentration is gone! Luckily, I'm off for a week, leaving me in a position to catch up on 'me' things! And to try and get over this evil summer cold...

Anyway... sorry for the rambling... here we go!

This is China Glaze For Audrey - one of my original lemmings, and currently, tragically underused. And it is so pretty! I have also used a Nina Ultra Pro white creme called French White, and my trusty old Barry M Gold Foil. I went with a simple, but pretty line of dots on my thumb nail, (I love the gold on white combination) and then - something new on my ring finger. I tried the fan brush method, using For Audrey and the Gold Foil over a white base. Whilst I'm sure my next attempt will be better, I love this. I'm kinda proud of this mani! And it really was easy to do!

What do you think? Let me know!

Love Charlotte x

Monday, 29 July 2013

Pretty Serious Cosmetics - Liquid Leprechaun

Hi Everyone,

I'm sharing one of my latest polishes today, from a company I have wanted to try for a while! Pretty Serious seems to have it's head on straight - I love that it's a company with ethics, creating fantastic vegan and cruelty free products, meaning anyone can enjoy them. I'm not vegan, or vegetarian, but I appreciate how hard it must be for people to find great products and stick to their personal beliefs.
They say...

'Pretty Serious Cosmetics is an Australian based company creating cruelty free and vegan products. Our products are moulded with personality, fun and class.'

Whats not to like?

Anyway, this is one of two Pretty Serious nail polishes that were bought for me as a gift from the hubby! Call it a 'thank you and I'm sorry and thank you' gift. It's a long story, but it involves his car, being woken up at 4am whilst he's away at a meeting, and me kinda saving the day. The sorry bit is because it was 4am. As in, in the morning. Who knew it could even be that early?!?

Enough of my ramblings, lets have a look!

The first thing I love: the name. Liquid Leprechaun. Makes me think of a 'Will it Blend?' video. Poor little leprechauns, but, ya know...

The second thing: the packaging. Their avatar/logo/company goddess is gorgeous, really well designed and pretty much just fab. I love the detail they have put into it too. It makes me think that they care about their products, and to be honest, its what I would do too.

 The third thing I love: OMG the formula. LOVE. Its beautiful. Not what I would expect for a glitter - this applies like an absolute dream. This is two coats - with about two coats of top coat to smooth it out. No clean up. None required. That is not usual for me at all! So yeah, two thumbs up from me!

The blurry sparklies! <3

Oh my, it's beautiful, isn't it? I've had so many compliments wearing this. So many. For someone who doesn't often 'do' green, this is a huge win!

The fourth thing I love: their service. The order was placed at 5am, Thursday 18th of July. It arrived at my home on Wednesday 24th of July. (I got it on the 25th as there was no one home to sign for the parcel.)
Let's just take a moment to appreciate the fact that it took less than a week for these to work their way to the UK from Australia! Bloody fabulous! (Don't get me started on the UK Amazon seller who took 26 days to post a book to me... grrrr.)

So what do we think? I think Pretty Serious have just rekindled my love for glitters. I'm not even going to moan about removal. I can't wait to wear the next one... stay tuned to see for yourself!

Love Charlotte x

Friday, 12 July 2013

Tales: An Under-developed Side To The Blog.

Hi Everyone!

When I started this blog, I never really intended for it to just be nail based. I wanted somewhere to post my random twitterings. You know, just general life stuff. Things I think about and things I do. I hope you don't mind but I would really like to get that side of things going a bit more.

I'm going to start with a list. I love lists. I rarely write them down, I just keep a random jumble of things floating in my head. When I do write them down, I end up with scraps of tatty paper that get lost and disappear for a few months.

This list is a list of things I want to do. They're not life changing things, just little things - but they will make me happy.

1) Work on my garden and spend more time outside. 

I am not a gardener. I am not a carer of plants. I am traditionally a neglect-er of plants. I feed myself, my husband, and my cats. I forget about the plants (they don't cry when they're hungry). I do like being outside though.

For about five years now, I have wanted a chiminea. But, the thought of spending £100+ on something for the garden made me feel a bit queasy. In a local bargain store, I saw a small one on sale for about £30. So I bought it. That's right people, I spent money on something other than nail polish! And now I'm inspired.

My garden can be quite pretty - but it needs a bit of maintenance. The weather has left the grass and plants looking a bit wild. There are old bird tables that need to go, and plants that need a new home so I can reclaim my patio table. I want to transfer my random herbs into hanging baskets. And boy, do I need to do some weeding.

I am going to try and find a way of tidying the garden up - with a limited budget. I want to be able to entertain outside with a fire burning (and a glass of wine in my hand). I want to eat meals out on my tiny patio. I want to barbecue without it being a chore. And I want to save my husband's strawberry plants from the evil slugs!



2) Be more creative!

I recently made a small typography poster for my sister and brother-in-law, who were married last April (wooo!). I haven't created any permanent artwork (nail art is so temporary) for so long, which is a shame. I'm not amazing or anything, but I do have a few canvases and sketches that I'm proud of. And it's such an easy way to update our home, with a few new splashes of colour. I like the feeling that I have accomplished something - even if it's only something small.

The un-finished article! Trust me to forget to take a pic when it was complete!

So, painting, sketching, typography, knitting (badly - but it's a good stress-reliever), cross stitching, printing out photos and framing them. Even re-purposing my old kitchen cabinets and giving it a new lease of life. It may not be perfect, but it will be mine. I have ideas, and inspiration. All I need is to save a bit of cash and get going. It may not get done quickly, but even Rome wasn't built in a day!

3) Eat more healthily!

I love food. I love it. But I have a terrible relationship with it. I eat all of the wrong things and I comfort eat when I'm down. I am overweight. I'm likely to stay overweight until I decide to love exercise more than lounging, but I can make a small change. I can make better meal choices.

My husband trained as a chef. He has worked in two Michelin starred restaurants, but he doesn't cook. (And left that industry long before we met.) If he makes our evening meal, it normally has chips with it. If I am too tired to cook, I shove a pizza in the oven. Or chips, again. I'll admit that. This has been changing slowly. I have moved to rice or pasta based meals a lot more. They are my 'I'm too tired to cook' meals now. The rest of the time, there will be a lot more vegetables in our diet. I'm trying new recipes and cooking healthier choices. This isn't a diet, and I'm not on some massive weight-loss kick. I'll still be eating cakes, crisps and chocolate, but I will be eating better meals in the evening. Something more interesting and tasty, hopefully! And something that will bring more nutrients to our diet.

Homemade Guacamole, anyone? It was gooooood!!

Picked fresh from my own garden - so tasty!

That's it for now, but I'm sure more things will pop up! It will be nice to have something to focus on, and to stimulate me. It's easy to fall into a complacent rut and neglect things you love. I just want to be able to enjoy my surroundings that bit more, and feel better in myself!

What do you do to feel good about yourself? Do you have any hints, tips or suggestions? Let me know!

Love Charlotte x

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Change Will Do You Good...

Hi Everyone,

I made a change. Only a small one, in the grand scheme of things, but a good one. I broke the nude pattern.

Which, if you haven't read the last few posts, probably seems like a pretty random statement.

It's been a while since I have done any actual nail art. It's on my mind a fair bit - I want to try stamping again, I want to use my dotting tools more, I want to use polishes that have been sat on my shelf and never actually used. And don't get me started on the 60-odd nail art pens I bought in a job lot a couple of years ago and barely even used...

So, with that in mind, and an hour or so to spare, I got the paints out.

By paint, I mean polish of course! And this is what I came up with!

I don't know what inspired me to come up with this, but I loved it. It was just so random and bright. I actually kept the Headline Colors nude Centerfold as my base (does that count as cheating?) but managed to use the rather unused and previously unloved China Glaze polish in Papaya Punch, which is that gorgeous orangey yellow! It makes me think of sweet and juicy fruit!Yum!

I also used China Glaze Wicked Style (the bright pink) and Sinful Colors Sweet Nothing (Turquoise-y blue).

So... we have dotting tools - Check!
Unused polishes - Check!
Nail art pens - Check! (Well, one at least!)
And nail art... - Double Check!

It's funny, I feel like this has really inspired me to do more nail art in the future! A change really does do you good!

So what do you think? Do you like having something a bit more random on your nails? How do you change it up?

Let me know,

Love Charlotte x

Sunday, 7 July 2013

More Nudes! Headline Colors Centerfold

Hi There!

I think I'm seeing a pattern emerge. Especially where nudes are involved.

I seem to be using them a lot lately. I probably need to break this pattern, but before I do, here is a pretty lovely one from Headline Colors (previously Killer Colors). It's called Centerfold - which I think is a great, tongue-in-cheek name for a nude!

Application was fairly good - the formula is a little bit thicker than I prefer, but the brush was pretty nice and it dried quickly. This was a decent two coater, and quite a fresh and clean looking nude. If I have to pick a downside, it's that it made my nails look a little bit ridgey - which they're not. But all in all, I would say that this is one of my favourite nudes so far!

Thanks for reading,

Love Charlotte x

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Collection Lasting Gel Colour in Stormy Grey

Hi Everyone,

This is a mani from a few weeks ago now - so forgive me if you've seen it before on my Twitter or Instagram (@charnailsntails) but I really liked it - so it's worth a share!

After seeing so many people talking about them on Twitter, I really wanted to try the Collection Lasting Gel Colour Polishes - which are a snip compared to other gel based ones at around £3.20 each! Bargain.

As Summer has been a slight fail for me so far (come on sunshine - don't be shy) I am leaning towards more nudes than usual! Neons need sunshine!!

This colour is called Stormy Grey - which is apt given today's weather. I'm not sure if I agree with the grey part - this leans more brown in my eyes, but the name is not the important part. At least it's not just a number!

This is two coats. I probably could have done with three, or a white base. As a gel based polish, I was really hoping for something a bit more pigmented to be honest. For me though, this just hits the acceptable shade for avoiding mannequin hands, and therefore is a good nude in my opinion!

I decided to also go with a LE Barry M polish from Superdrug, from Christmas 2012 - a turquoise foil! I really loved the contrast of the colours, and how simple, but stylish this mani is! I got a lot of compliments for this one!

Unfortunately, I do have an issue with this is the name of the Collection polish. No, not the Stormy Grey part - we've already covered that! It's the 'lasting' part. It didn't - well not for me anyway. So far... Let me explain!

I have been using OPI's Nail Envy for over a year as a base coat (and to strengthen my nails) and it's always done a good job. Recently I'm starting to think it might be the NE causing mani's to fail (I've tried the matte version and it seems a LOT better as a base coat) but I can't be sure. So... I don't know if it's a bad reaction with the NE, or if it just doesn't last, but this one chipped and peeled. I haven't had that happen for a long time.

Either way, it's a fab colour, the brush and formula is gorgeous and I will be using it again! I'll try a different base coat next time though... And at that price, I may have to try a few of the other shades too. In the interest of a fair trial of course!

What did you think of Collection's Gel offering? Have you tried them yet?

And does anyone else still think of them as Collection 2000, despite the re-brand? I'm probably just showing my age there...! Haha!

Thanks for reading,

Love Charlotte x