Nail the week: expanding the half moon- peacock nails!

The mani and the inspiration behind it!

Hello all, massive apologies for the lack of posting of late, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks. Today I thought I’d share with you a mani design  inspired by some peacock feathers which I keep next to my desk. Peacocks are one of my favourite animals so I love this design, and like a lot of my manicures, it looks quite complicated but is actually really easy to create and, best of all, it can be worn on long or short nails.

To create this look I started with a base coat and a coat of gold polish. I could have used my Barry M Gold Foil Effect for this, but I thought that the peacock design warranted something a little more sheer and whimsical, so I opted for my MaxFactor Mini Effect in Ivory (which isn’t Ivory at all, it’s a shimmery gold, but never mind). I then used the hole enforcer technique as described in my Silver and Satsuma post here to leave a gold half moon with a sea green nail. To complete the peacock colour palette and mirror the eye effect of the feather, I used the same technique to add a royal blue curved tip to the nails. I found the hole enforcers slightly too narrow for this step,  so I used small circular white labels instead. I really love the finished look of these nails and definitely plan to use the technique again soon, possibly with yellow, orange and red for a sunset effect or white, grey and black for a monochrome style. I’d love to see your take on this design, so please feel free to share it with me in the comments below! Bye for now.

Materials used:

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Base Coat

MaxFactor Mini Effect in Ivory

Nails Inc in Symons Street

Barry M Nail Paint in Navy

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Hole Re-inforcers and small circular labels, from W H Smith

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Interview Chic: how to land that job and stay individual!

We’ve all been there: you have to look smart for an interview but want to stay stylish and let your uniqueness shine. The question is, how do you strike a balance between the two? As it happens, I found myself in exactly this predicament recently, so I thought I’d share with you how I coped with this age-old conundrum.

My complete interview look

My complete interview look

As you can see, I didn’t stray too far from the time-honoured skirt suit. I teamed a classic black blazer with a patterned midi pencil skirt and a sheer cream blouse with a basic vest underneath. I felt that the midi length was perfect for an interview, and it’s always a good idea to wear layers, e.g. a jacket which you can remove, in case you get given hands-on tasks or assignments during the process. The off-white colours in the skirt tied in nicely with the cream blouse and I brought the overall look up-to-date with a statement (but not too dramatic) necklace and the collarless detail on the blazer, which I thought was really unusual and individual.

A closer look at the outfit’s detailing

In terms of accessories, for job interviews one has to be practical. This means a bag big enough to carry any documents you might need (CV, qualification certifcates, ID, etc), as well as essentials like a bottle of water which never go amiss in more nerve-wracking situations. This one has several useful pockets and compartments, so there was no embarrassing fumbling in the bag during the interview. I am a firm believer that a heel gives you that added confidence boost in an interview, but obviously you don’t want to be tottering around the office or worse, risk tripping up in front of the panel! That’s why I plumped for these chunky mid heel cut-out boots, which are a funky cross between a court shoe (or pump, if you’re in the U.S.) and an ankle boot. These shoes would be perfect to wear in all but the harshest of weather conditions, so I suspect they’ll become a regular feature of my work wardrobe!

Shoes and bags can make or break an outfit!

Shoes and bags can make or break an outfit!

Here’s where I grabbed my interview outfit:

Collarless Blazer, £34.99; Aztec Print Midi Skirt £14.99; Sheer Shirt, £16.99 and Cut-Out Boots, £24.99, all New Look

(I was lucky enough to be able to source almost my entire outfit from one store, which left plenty of time for coffee and gossiping with my shopping buddy. I only had to pop elsewhere for the basic vest and the super stylish and businesslike tote bag!)

Basic White Vest, £3.99, H&M

Large Black Tote Bag, £45, TopShop

Obviously, you don’t need to stick to my rules of interview style, maybe you’re more into statement earrings or prefer to leave the clothes classic and let your shoes do the talking. Whatever your preference, I hope that this post has managed to show that work style does not have to mean boring clothes; if anything, it can add a whole new unique dimension to your closet repertoire!

Oh, and did I land the job? I’m pleased to tell you that yes, I did! 🙂

Nail The Week: Midweek Marblin’!

Finally, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go for it. Months after first hearing about water marbling nail art I have, on this fine Wednesday afternoon, got round to giving it a whirl (literally). To be honest it was a bit of an impulse move, I entered into it more for experimentation purposes than anything else. Could that snazzy, swirly design really be achievable outside the realms of YouTube? I decided to give it a go with one nail at first. After prepping my nails with two coats of white (it makes the colours pop more, apparently) and taping around the edges to protect the skin and minimise mess (ha ha), I took a mug of tap water which I’d let stand for a couple of hours to ensure that it was room temperature, and dropped in my first polish blob. To my surprise and mild delight, it spread out beautifully, so I continued blobbing in alternate colours until the surface of the water was covered. After that I anchored the polish to the edges of the mug using an orange stick,  then used the stick to swirl the paint into a psychedelic design.

Then it was time to dip. I lined up my nail horizontally with a particularly appealing part of the design and took the plunge. After waiting a few seconds for the paint on the water to dry, I collected it with the orange stick (think the skin on custard) and slowly removed my finger from the water. Well, it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but essentially, water marbling had worked!

First and foremost

First and foremost.

I decided to go back in with more nails, this time dipping three at once to save both on time and nail paint. Once all the nails were safely dipped, I waited a little while until the polish was touch-dry and removed the tape before cleaning up around the edges with nail polish remover and adding a top coat. Here are the finished results:

My finished first marble!

My finished first marble!

I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. The colour selection was somewhat accidental- I just grabbed what was nearest to me, but I think the navy and white works really well, it brings to mind ancient Chinese porcelain! I love how the marbling gives a different, intricate effect on each nail and the overall look is really eye catching. I’ll have to wait and see how the design fairs in terms of durability, but it’s definitely a winner if you want an easily achievable, show-stopping nail look!

Materials used:

A cup of room temperature tap water

Scotch tape

An orange stick (you could also used a tooth pick or an empty ball point pen)

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Base Coat

Matt White and Navy, both by Barry M

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Nail The Week: Silver and Satsuma!

Bright and tasty!

This week’s Nail the Week combines two very different yet beautifully complimentary colours from one of my favourite nail polish brands, Barry M. Although it looks a little intricate, this design is so easy to achieve with the help of a stationary cupboard staple, hole re-inforcers. To create this look, I painted a single coat of silver over a long-lasting base coat and waited for it to dry completely. After that, I took my hole re-inforcers and and adhered them to the bottom of my nails to create a half-moon shape, being sure to press them down firmly at the edges. I then added a coat of orange over the exposed area of the nail and removed the hole re-inforcer carefully and immediately. It’s important to remove the re-inforcers straight away after applying the second colour to prevent the shape from smudging. Once the orange was touch-dry I added a fast-drying top coat to smooth out any harsh lines in the design and protect my polish.

I really love the two colours I’ve used in this manicure; the finished effect is summery and very glamorous, and the bright orange reminds me of one of my very first nails polishes, a bright orange affair from Rimmel, back in the day when they were still using square bottles! Both the Foil Effects and the Gelly Hi-Shine polishes are pigmented enough to only require one coat of each, which is great if you’re doing a design like this one with more than one colour. This is a great look to opt for if you’re looking for a manicure to take you from day to night, as it’s bright enough to be striking in the daytime but shimmery enough to add some nighttime glamour. Of course, you could also make up your own colour combination, some others I thought of were pink and gold, black and white and peach and purple.

I’ve heard that the half-moon manicure was big news in the 1930s and 40s, so if you feel like trying out a classic manicure with a modern twist of colour, why not raid that office drawer and get started today?

Polishes used:

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Base Coat

Silver Foil Effect and Satsuma Gelly Hi-Shine, both by Barry M

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Hole Re-inforcers, £1.99, from W H Smith.