Tuesday, 28 August 2012

OPI's Mermaids Tears +

Hi Everyone,

Here's a mani I found in my stash of pictures, from quite a while back. I have uncovered lots of forgotten photos, as you can see from the rather short length of my poor nails!! So, you can expect that you will be seeing some pretty random nail posts from me!

This has been done using OPI's Mermaids Tears. On it's own, the colour is beautiful. 

I, however, must have been feeling the need for something more. Using a green striper, in a slightly darker shade, I added a few vertical lines to the tips!

I simple way to add a bit more depth to a single colour mani - subtle, but still pretty!

I hope you like it!

Love Charlotte x

Thursday, 23 August 2012

China Glaze Street Chic +

Hi Everyone,

You might remember that the last time I went to my local Sally's store, I indulged on some discounted polishes. Let's face it, it would be rude not to... I mean, who can resist??

One of my bargains was China Glaze's Street Chic, which you may remember from this post back in June. It's a gorgeous smokey brown, which is beautiful on it's own...

Or, with a little something extra! As you do, because, well... why not?!

I used two of my current favourite polishes to accentuate the gorgeousness of Street Chic - Accessorize Soft Jade, and Barry M's Gold Foil. I think that this is a great combination of colours! Jade and Gold together are stunning, but the brown just brings it closer to being a great transitional mani from Summer to Autumn!

I love how simple, but effective dotted manicures are. I used the pointed end of an orange stick for mine, but I have also used the end of an old kirby/hair grip before now! (Of course, you can pick up proper dotting tools relatively cheaply, but every time I go to order some, I spend the money on polish instead.) It does help to have a steady hand though...!

What do you think? Are you a fan of polka-dots? Let me know!

Love Charlotte x

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Colour Lustings - Accessorize Soft Jade

Hi Everyone,

I am sharing one of my brain worms with you today! I've had this in my collection for a little while now, but not as long as I had been dreaming about it. Despite the fact that this polish has a rather nice price tag, it's hard-ish for me to get hold of as it means travelling to a city, for a larger Superdrug store. I so wish my local one would sort themselves out and stock the Accessorize make up range!

Anyway, rant over! I will now spam you and bombard you all with images of the precious.

Accessorize Soft Jade.

This is three coats of Soft Jade. It has a fairly nice formula, but a completely beautiful finish. It's just gorgeous! The colour is just  so mesmerising, I adore it! It is opulent and elegant, without being plain or boring.

OK, now you all want it too, right? Go get it! It's about £3 from larger Superdrug stores. Go now!!

Love Charlotte x

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Pink and Purple Gradient Nails

Hi Everyone!

A while back I treated myself to two bottles of China Glaze from the Electropop collection. The colours I picked up were Gothic Lolita (a blue toned purple) and Wicked Style (a blue toned bright pink).

As I seem to be a lover of all things purple, and now pink(!) I decided to use them both for a bright gradient mani!

I love this combination of colours on the nail together, it's bright and fun - great for Summer! And, it allows me to indulge in two of my favourite colours at the same time!

What do you think? Do you like the mix of colours?

Love Charlotte x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Update: Belle Gel Nails

Hi Everyone,

It's been just over a week since I applied my Belle Gel gel nails, and I am still very impressed. I can not recommend them enough!!

I have had a few incidents with my nails - a few little chips here and there, and two minor peeling occasions on my right hand - which were applied with my almost useless left hand. I will be blunt - I put this down to my own clumsiness at work, and my own errors during application.

I could have buffed my nails better. I don't like doing it, as my nails are relatively thin anyway. The file supplied would take chunks out of my nails. Scary! Next time - and there WILL be a next time, I will use my own buffer.

I overlapped onto skin. Rookie mistake - this is simply what happens when you go over skin. The skin moves and it secretes oils, the gel will lift.

I should have done thicker coats - I am clumsy when I'm stressed and busy, so really, a thicker gel would help protect them. I lost maybe three tiny chips from my nails, one of which came away leaving the gel intact.

And during the daily paint, I may have accidentally used polish remover with acetone in once. That's really silly of me. Oooops!

To summarise, these nails have endured:

7 days in hell busy retail
Hair washing -  even straight after application
Shower scrubs with oil in
General housekeeping, cooking and cleaning
Polish application and removal
All sorts of moisturisers and beauty products

I have been cruel to these nails, when you think about it. But they have still been good to me. They have withstood test after test and survived - mostly. These have lasted equally as well as the gel nails I have had applied in salons in the past. I'm going to take them off today, but only because I want to play with other goodies. I WILL be using this kit again (and again) - in fact I already have a few ideas up my sleeves!

The Belle Gel kit is brilliant. My poor colleagues have had to hear me ramble on about how much I love my gel nails on a daily basis. Most of them are male. If you have been considering it, I urge you to try it. And still, awesome packaging!

Starter Kit £59.95 from www.bellegel.co.uk, currently with free postage and packing on orders over £40.

Additional gels (12 colours available) at £12.95 each.

If you get a kit, I hope you love it as much as I do,

Love Charlotte x

This update is all, as always, from my own thoughts and opinions. I have not been paid for this review, not am I affiliated with Belle Gel. I just like to give my readers as much information as possible!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Lingerie Nails - Oo Er!

Hi Everyone,

Today I would like to share a bit of nail art I did a little while back, after my Holiday. I had been away for 10 days with no polish, and I was itching to get some practise!

I knew, what ever I ended up doing, I wanted it to be a bit vampy. Not blood sucking, dark and twisted vampy, more bombshell, Marilyn Monroe-esque vampy. Dare I say a mix between cute and sexy?

Anyway, the first polish I grabbed just happened to be a red... no surprises there! One of my favourite reds is the Mavala Elle Red - great colour and very easy to apply! So, this is what I went with!

My mini bottle of MAC Style Tip from my Dazzlesphere set was on my desk, so I started to play...

Here's what I came up with!

I started with a curved V at the tip of each nail, and whilst I really liked the colours together, I felt it needed a bit more. I wanted to give the effect of ribbon running through the outer edges of the curves. Whilst on close inspection, I didn't do a great job, from a respectable distance it looked pretty cool!  There are a few streaks where my top coat decided to bring the red along with it, but all in all, I was pretty happy. I was a bit out of practise after all...

As for the name, there was something about the curves of the V with the ribbon that reminded me of a bra! Odd, I know! But hey, surely you know me by now! 

One thing that I did learn from this is that I actually really like the design, and next time, I will pay more attention to getting my ribbons straight! And not allow my top coat to misbehave of course...

Love Charlotte x

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Summer V Mani

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have all been enjoying the sunshine we have intermittently been having! It's sunny, it's rainy, it's sunny again! To try and tempt the sunshine to stay a little bit longer, I used some rather Summery colours on my nails. Even if it didn't improve the forecast, it definitely improved my mood :)

I used Nicole by OPI Shop Around The Clock for the white base (alas, not a polish I am massively impressed by...) and then added a layer of Barry M's Gold Foil. I painted it on freehand in a slight curved V, just, ya know, cos I felt like it! After this had dried, my last little V was also a Barry M polish, this time in Peach Melba.

I really loved this combination of colours - it was fresh and Summery, whilst still being a bit glam!

What do you think of this simple Summer mani? Do you like the combination of colours?

Let me know,

Love Charlotte x

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Random Nails of The Day!

Hi Everyone,

Seeing as I am on day 2.5 of wearing gels, I thought I would share an older mani with you!

Here is a fabulous and random manicure from me. Very random, but I loved wearing it haha!

Ever been unable to decide how to paint your nails? Do you have art, or a new colour, or all out bling?

I was in a particularly blingy mood, and really wanted to play with my Sally Hansen Glitter polishes, which were an awesome gift from Beth. I couldn't decide on a colour... So...

My only real option was to use more than one colour... and add a bit of leopard print in the mean-time. All I needed now, was huge hair, shoulder pads and some mahoosive earrings!

How do your random manicures end up? Let me know!

Love Charlotte x

PS - The colours I used were Blingtastic (Blue) and Bejeweled (pinky-purple).

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Nails and Tales Review: Belle Gel

HI Everyone,

Today I would like to share a new product with you from Belle Gel, which I have been asked to review by the lovely Beth.

She has been with her trusted manicurist for many years, and that is a rather happy relationship... which means that she wouldn't really have the opportunity to do this justice herself. (Her manicurist... awesome, by the way...)

I have not purchased this kit, and I am not being paid for this review - nor am I affiliated with Belle Gel in any way. All thoughts are my own, and 100% honest.

Anyway, Belle Gel have created an affordable, at home, gel manicure kit - which is perfect for anyone who is looking for a longer-lasting manicure, or something to help their natural nails grow longer for an event. According to the website, the formula has been designed to help preserve the natural nail underneath. This is great to hear, as when I gave up having my nails done with gel at a salon, the natural nails underneath were trashed.

Also, a nice thing about doing it yourself at home. is that you can have your mani done at any time of the day or night! It is not always possible for people to get to a salon, and also, when you include backfills and removal costs, visiting a salon can be rather expensive over time.

So... down to the kit itself.

I know that this is hardly a make-or-break factor, but I really like the fact that the packaging has been well thought out. The drawers make it easy to see where everything is, and I like that each product has a home. Sad, I know, but to me it makes a difference. It's easy to put away (rather than fighting with a box and KNOWING it won't go back in the way it came) which means I'll be able to store it neatly with my many other nail based beauties goodies necessary items.

I started by cleaning and filing my nails in preparation for applying the gels. All polish was removed, cuticles pushed back and the nail itself  gently buffed to remove shine and help the gel stick.

Gross, eh?

I then used the sanitiser spray to ensure that there were no oils, dirt or dust on my nails! You need to use this with paper towels, rather than cotton pads, as the cotton can leave lint behind. We don't want that trapped under the gel for the next two weeks!

An odd thing to add, but I really like the smell of the sanitiser...!

I chose to use the clear gel, as I foresee that I will end up painting over the gels within a few days. The kit also came with a red gel too, so I can vamp it up in the future should I wish :)

Once I was ready, I applied a thin coat of the nail primer over each nail, and allowed it to dry for around 30 seconds. Then, I was ready to begin with the gel application.

In all fairness, it was much easier than I had anticipated. The gel is really malleable, and applies easily. It is just like painting your nails... and I'm guessing we can all manage that! Using the clear, it was harder to see if I had managed complete coverage of the nail (whilst avoiding cuticles and bare skin) so I have got a few tiny gaps near the cuticle. It's not noticeable though, unless you are really close, and only I get that close to my nails! And lets face it, it's hard to be perfect on your first go!

The clear gel requires three coats in total. This can be pretty time consuming, especially with all of the curing involved.

Step One: Apply the gel to the little finger on your first hand, and cure it under the lamps for 30 seconds.

Step Two: Apply to the ring finger, and cure both nails under the lamp for 30 seconds.

Step Three: Apply to the middle finger and cure the three nails under the lamp for 30 seconds

Step Four: Apply to the index finger and cure all four nails for 30 seconds.

Step Five: Do your thumb! I would suggest doing the thumb on your opposite hand, then you can cure it with your fingers on your first hand!!

Essentially, it's rinse and repeat three times, and after your last time, you give your nails a five minute cure! The lamp itself will switch itself off after five minutes, so don't worry about timing it!

I applied relatively thick coats to my nails. The instructions don't suggest whether they should be thin or thick, so I went with my personal preference.

After the end-curing stage, wipe off any sticky residue using the sanitiser and a paper towel.

Then you are ready to add the supplied Supergloss Top Coat. It is recommended that you use the top coat provided, as this will protect the gel from staining, and your own top coat may not provide the same benefit.

Shiny, but still a bit gross. Yellow... ew!

I am not a huge fan of seeing my own bare nails, even under a protective gloss of gel, so I free-handed some white tips, and covered with top coat.

Much better!

Overall Conclusion:

The kit is ideal for at home use. It's simple to use, easy to apply, and gives great results.

The Bad Bits: (get this over with first)

Erm...  No indication as to whether it can be used in conjunction with false tips and the bulb in the UV lamp could have been stronger. Really, nothing bad, unless I want to be persnickety!

The Good Bits: (best for last!)

The price (especially compared to going to the salon), the simplicity, no foul smells or mess, the choice of colours included (and more available on their site), tidy and well thought out packaging, great brush for applying the gel (a bad brush is always a nightmare) and a fantastic finish to my nails.

I will come back to you and update this regarding wear time when I have had a chance to give them a good testing.

Roughly ten minutes after applying these, I had to wash my hair. Not something I would normally have done, but I had not planned my day sensibly haha. To be fair, they withstood that with no issue at all! I'm feeling confident that these will last really well!

So far, Nails and Tales recommends Belle Gel at home gel nails kit!

Additional Info:

Starter Kit £59.95 from www.bellegel.co.uk, currently with free postage and packing on orders over £40.

Additional gels (12 colours available) at £12.95 each.

So, do you like having a gel manicure? Would you, or do you already do this yourself at home? Let me know!

Thanks for reading, 

Love Charlotte x

P.S. If you want to check out Beth's new blog, she is telling it like it is over at www.lifebybeth.com

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mavala Mini Haul

Hi Everyone!

So, hands up anyone who has ever made a snap decision to go without food for nail polish...?

Just me? Surely not...!

You may recall my somewhat mushy post regarding my Wedding Anniversary from last week. As a huge surprise, my Hubby whisked me away for a trip to the lovely city of Oxford, and to visit some family members from the surrounding areas.

Perfect excuse then, for me to rummage through their shops and root around for goodies!

*cough cough* I mean find his mum a birthday present... Anyway...

Mumsie-in-law requested something to make her nails stronger, and help with peeling. I went to a highly recommended product of course - OPI Nail Envy. One for her, and one for me!

You can see where this is going... right?

Whilst the stuff isn't cheap, it doesn't look like much to the uninitiated, so I decided to make a little goodie bag of nail delights. We popped into a little pharmacy, and BOOM! Mavala display!!


I chose a Mavala gift set for her - and had a minor pout moment as it was the last one and I really liked the colours. To settle my sulk, I picked two bottles up for myself. As you do.
Off I trot to the counter, and the lovely girl tells me that the Mavala singles are on Three for Two.

I bought six. Pretty reserved, considering... Who doesn't love free polish??!


A gorgeous nude. I am not normally the type of girl who gets excited by plainer polishes, but this made me giggle with delight. I loved it. It's beautiful. It really ought to be a collection staple for any nail polish fiend.

This was two coats, and was a pleasure to apply.


Pink! Let me just start by saying that I am in love with this pink! It's gorgeous! This, to me, is a wannabe neon. It's bright, but doesn't have the sharpness of a true neon - it's softer, and just plain pretty. Think Barbie, and you can't go too wrong. 

Again, the formula is lovely, but this colour is slightly sheer. I used three coats, but would recommend using two over a white base. That will really make the colour pop too!

La Paz

More pink - only this time a much more vibrant, hot pink. I could not resist this one, it has a slight blue tinge to it which makes it really bright! 

The formula on this polish was slightly thicker than the others, but despite this, with two coats, there is still some VNL. Another one for the white base coat!

Oh, and La Paz + Toes = Perfect Summer Pedi!


Ok, I know. It's purple. I LOVE purple. Maybe too much...? But I am weak and it's hard to resist a purple, especially one like this. A rich plum-purple. With blue shimmer.

The tone of the purple is very similar to MAC's Dark Angel , except that Mexico has that shimmer when the light hits it. Shimmer! It makes DA look rather flat in comparison, and there is a slight price difference too. MAC bottle retail for around £10 for 10ml, the Mavala polishes are around £4.10 for 5ml. And I can't remember the last time I finished a large bottle of polish.

I have to admit, like the MAC purple, this was my least favourite formula, and it took three coats to cover the streaks. And the shimmer is most noticeable under a bright light. But still, it's very pretty.


This shade dates back to 2010, when Elle collaborated with Mavala to create a polish celebrating their 25th anniversary. It is described as a purpley grey, but I see a brownish hint to it too. It's name is very fitting, as it is elegant and chic - grown up, but not old lady!

Another one with a lovely formula (no surprises there) and again, just two coats. 

Platinum Marble

Last but definitely not least is this beautiful metallic, taupey brown. The description might sound a bit meh, but this has a stunning multi-toned shimmer running through it. I think that this compliments my skin tone really well too, and yes, I did have a squeal from this polish too. For a metallic, the brush strokes are very minimal, and it dries to a lovely molten finish.

A great formula, but again, slightly sheer. This was three coats, but these polishes dry quickly, so it's not a hardship.

So, the moral of the story? I love me some Mavala.

Great price, great selection of colours, quick drying and excellent formulas. 

And... buying a gift for someone else may lead to gifts for you too...

Love Charlotte x


Friday, 3 August 2012

MAC Dazzlesphere Collection

Hi Everyone!

Today I would like to share a few swatches from the MAC Dazzlesphere gift set, which my lovely Brother and Sister-in-Law bought for me for my birthday, back in March.

For some reason, I totally though that it was called a Sparkleglobe. I seem to be making things up in my head. At least I was close haha!!

 Anyway, first up is my personal favourite from this collection, Dark Angel. This is two coats of a fabulous vampy grape purple cream, despite being labelled as a frost on the bottle. It's very opulent and rich, and a perfect colour for those dark Wintery days and nights! Alas, out of all of the colours in this collection, I found this the hardest to apply. It's a bit streaky, and hard to control. But still, it's a gorgeous colour!

Next is a beautiful pink toned nude, called Style Tip. I have found this polish to be very versatile, and have used it a fair few times. I'm thinking I might need a full sized bottle, when I get a bit of spare cash... Or find myself near a MAC counter... This is much easier to apply, and again, I'm showing two coats for these swatches.

Now we have MAC Much Adored. I tried applying three coats of MA on it's own on my ring finger and pinky, but it was a bit too sheer for my liking. You can see my icky nails underneath! I'm not a fan of my own bare nails... I won't be using it on it's own - rather as I've shown on my index and middle finger, where I have one coat layered over Style Tip. It's a pearlescent finish, with a nice warm shimmer to it and very nice to apply.

Finally, last but certainly not least, is MAC Mistletoe. This is a frosty metallic green, tinged with what I would call an antique gold. It applies nicely, but dries with visible brush strokes. The finish and colour combination reminds me a lot of Chanel Peridot, the sought after colour for 2011, however this has less of the bronzey duochrome effect. Still, you can see how the colour changes between natural light and the flash. In it's own right, this polish is still fairly unique - I haven't seen many that are like this! When you get it, the green is beautiful and vibrant.

With regards to wear, I really can't comment as I haven't used any of these for a full mani - only for these swatches. However, they have made me more curious about what else MAC has to offer in the nail polish department!

Do you have any favourites from MAC? Let me know!

Love Charlotte x