Gel nail polish

So as you may have gathered already, I love my nail polishes. In fact I have two boxes of them, in all colours and brands.

photo 1

But one of my major peeves is that inevitably, you can only go 2 days or so before, at best, they need a retouch and at worst it’s start all over again. I’m busy! I don’t want to be doing my nails every other night! But chipped nails just look naff.

So of course, this new rage for gel nails seemed right up my street, except I wasn’t going to fork out £20+ every week or two and god knows how long in a salon to get them. My dad’s girlfriend Gail has been having them for ages but then she has a salonist friend, so…

Also, I already have a large collection of nail polishes, and I didn’t want to leave them languishing or fork out more for a whole new set of special ‘gel’ polishes.

Luckily, my old friend eBay came up trumps, and I nabbed a UV light box AND a clear Gel polish (Nailene) with solvent cleanser (more on that later) for less than the price of one salon gel manicure.

photo 2

So for my first test, I went for Kiko Mint Milk, which is not a very well wearing polish normally, with a gel top coat. This is after my usual cuticle tidying and base coat of Nail Rescue.

It lasted four days before I felt like it had to come off, and chipped much less. However, I think a lot of this is in the technique and the normal polish you use underneath. My second attempt has been with a Nails Inc polish that is better wearing, and also faster drying. I read that it can take 24 hours for a normal nail polish to truly dry out, and if you gel top coat you basically seal in the solvents and it won’t properly dry.


Also, you have to be really precise with the gel polish. It will only adhere to your nail (that’s a good thing!) but it does mean that if you overrun, then set it, you end up with a hard edge protruding from the nail which you can easily catch and peel off a chunk of the polish. You also need to be quite firm in sealing along the front edge of the nail, otherwise this is where the normal polish will wear back.

Finally, at first I thought my UV lamp was dodgy because you’re only supposed to set the nail for 1-2 minutes, but it was still tacky. Can’t be right, I thought, so I turned to the internet. Turns out that was what the cleanser sold with my gel polish was for, with some little lint-free wipes – the tacky layer is normal and you clean it off with this to leave a shiny, hard gel surface.

Overall I’m really impressed with my little do-it-at-home kit and will definitely be perservering with the gel top-coat theory!


Paris Beauty Haul

So I popped over to Paris on the Eurostar the other week for a long weekend – as you do!

Overall I was quite restrained with the shopping but I did pick up some things from my favourite European beauty store, Sephora. I am still gutted that they have no stores in the UK, I’m sure they would be really popular. They stock a lot of the same brands as the high street department stores in terms of makeup, perfume and skincare ranges, but they also have their own range which is really good quality and good value.

First up, Mavala Cuticle cream.

Mavala cuticle creamYou can get Mavala online and from select department stores (I’ve found it in the larger House of Fraser sometimes, and in Selfridges) but generally it’s hard to track down in the UK. I have used a number of their products in the past including nail strengtheners, but this time it was the cuticle cream I nabbed.

It’s quite a gel-like cream, and doesn’t smell all that marvellous – a little bit medicinal. But it soaks in nicely and doesn’t leave too much residue, and seems to be doing the job for me so far.

My cuticles were getting quite dry and were prone to peeling, and this seems to be happening less now I’ve been using this cream.

€9.50 [£7.80] / 15ml

Sephora nail polish

Now I’m not one to pass up a good nail polish, and Sephora had three for two on their cute little ‘Colour Hit’ bottles, and a great range of colours. In the end I went for ‘Have u Ever‘ (matte pink), ‘Be a Millionaire‘ (matte teal) and ‘Flash Me!‘ (acid gold). The pink nail polish was the first I tried and I loved the colour and cover, but was disappointed in the wear, as it needed retouching after just 24 hours. However, Flash Me! seemed to have much more durability and lasted several days without any noticeable chipping or fading. I haven’t tried Be a Millionaire yet, that’s next!

image image_1








€4.95 [£4.06] / 5ml bottle – 3 for 2 offer

Finally, Sephora Blemish-fighting roll-on gel

image_4I’ve been prone to a few breakouts recently so decided to pick up this handy looking product. It’s got a metal rollerball applicator and is actually more of a liquid than a gel.

It feels cool and fresh when you apply it over the blemish area and it seems to be working. I applied it over the area where I’d recently had a spot and it noticeably reduced the redness.Even better, I applied it when I felt a spot coming up on my cheek and it cleared that up before it got a chance to break. This product definitely gets my thumbs up!

€9.95 [£8.17] / 10ml


Glossybox Goodies

A while back I reviewed some products that I received from Glossybox, I haven’t had any boxes for months due to moving and budgeting a bit more tightly, but this month they had an offer for the July box + the August box for £15 + p&p (£17.95 total) – normal monthly price is £10 + p&p. So that seemed like really good value – I was sold!

I have yet to try out any of the products (watch this space) but here’s what I got:

Glossybox JulyJuly Box “Seaside Splash”: From left to right: Anatomicals Spray Mist Facial Spritz / Alterna Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist / Sleek Pout Paint in Rosette and Cloud 9 / Coola Organic Mineral SPF 20 Face moisturiser / Essie Sleek sticks nail stickers.

Total value of products in box: £34.77

Most excited about: Anatomicals facial spray, Alterna tousled hair mist.

August boxAugust Box “High Flyers”: From left to right: Emite eyelash curler / Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 shadow/liner / Urban Veda Turmeric & Botanic Radiance Day Cream / Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Concentrated Treatment / Oceane Makeup remover pen.

Total value of products in box: £34.98 – not including Oceane product which is pre-launch.

Most looking forward to: Oceane Makeup remover, Urban Veda Day Cream.

So, £17.95 paid, and £70 of product received…. even if I’m not crazy about some of them, it’s massively good value. Ok, month to month it’s a bit of a lottery and there have been some boxes I was disappointed in, but I have been impressed by the fact that often the products are full size, and the range tends to be high end.

Watch this space for the reviews…


Jewelled nails

An oddbits post tonight, as I haven’t particularly been feeling the outfit inspiration this week. That said, I have had several lovely things turn up in the post this week, some expected, some not – more about that soon no doubt.

However, one of the things on my crafting to-do list for some time has been a jewellery roll. Whenever I travel I always take many rings, necklaces and earrings and they always end up in such a mess. I once spent an hour on my return from holiday untangling a ball of jewellery – longer than it took to unpack everything else!

Ages ago I bought a fat quarter of pale turquoise paisley print fabric, which I used to make a phone sleeve but still had loads left. Then I picked up a remnant of blue & white floral print fabric in the charity shop, and the idea was born for a contrasting fabric jewellery roll.

To make this I used:

  • Two coordinating but contrasting fabrics
  • A piece of medium thickness felt
  • A ribbon (reused from my Glossyboxes)
  • Blue bias binding
  • White and pink cotton
  • Press studs

Firstly I cut out the felt and fabrics to size, then a small rectangle & two thin strips of the outer fabric (the turquoise), and a rectangle of felt. These I used to make the earring flap, and the ring and necklace keeper (by rolling up the strips and then sewing down one edge). The two keepers were stitched to the inner and felt layers at one end, and the press-stud attached at the other end. The earring flap was also stitched in along the top side. Then I added the outer face, stitched all round the edge, trimmed and sewed the outer edge of the bias binding. The final edge stitch to finish the binding I hand stitched in pink thread to match the pink tie-ribbon. This was doubled up and stitched in place in the centre of the outer end when the roll is folded up. Ta -dah!

inner jewellery roll






The other bit of this post relates to nails – I had another splurge on my favourite nailcare brand. When I last when on holiday to Barcelona I discovered two European stores that I wish we had over here – SIX Jewellery and KIKO Cosmetics. KIKO do absolutely amazing nail colours, I have never seen so much choice, and some great nailcare products like a cuticle exfoliating pen and nail polish thinners that I’ve never come across elsewhere for such great value.

You can order online – there’s a minimum £25 order, but delivery is free. It’s just more of an excuse to stock up on great stuff! Here’s my loot:

279 Yellow; 310 Golden Orange; 209 French Baby Pink; 389 Mint Milk; 325 Gray Green; 323 Milk Chocolate; Nail Cuticle Scrub Pen; French Manicure White Nail Pencil
279 Yellow; 310 Golden Orange; 209 French Baby Pink; 389 Mint Milk; 325 Gray Green; 323 Milk Chocolate; Nail Cuticle Scrub Pen; French Manicure White Nail Pencil

Shrinking dress

I bought this Next dress a little while ago and only wore it a couple of days, then washed it (by hand). I decided to pull it out again today as it looked to be a brighter day, and it seems to have shrunk lengthways!

It was short before, but it’s fair to say I can barely sit down in it now, or bend down. It’s a nice dress and I like the fact it has pockets (always useful) but I’m annoyed as I now know I’ll pass over it for another dress 9 times out of 10.

Matched today with cream & gold belt, cream brogues, plum tights, red nails (Nails Inc St James), freshwater pearls, owl earrings and bird motif ring. Also, despite two coats + top coat, the nail polish has chipped badly in less than 24 hours.

Outfit side shoes

A tale of two scarves

Sorry everyone I’ve been a bit lacking in posts the last week or so, time has just slipped by! Here’s a post with two outfits in it to make up a bit, and this is a tale of two scarves!

First, the small square yellow and grey spot scarf (vintage via Lily Vintage), worn with mustard yellow cashmere jumper with sheer panel detail (Per Una via charity shop), grey trousers ( and my cream brogue ribbon-lace court shoes. Accessorised with a cute battenburg ring from the Gingerbread House and chunky wire cage heart earrings.

outfit scarf









Next up the oriental-style birds and flowers pale scarf (vintage via Lily Vintage), teamed with green asymmetric-neckline top (Rocha John Rocha via charity shop) and jeans, again the brogue court shoes, and this time a green and cream stone ring (charity shop) and the same heart cage earrings.

outfit scarf









With the first outfit I’m wearing one of the two Nails Inc Catwalk colours I got for my birthday; St Mark’s Square, and with the second it’s Bolton Place. The polish goes on really smoothly and the colours have a lot of depth, but unfortunately even with a top coat they do tend to chip easily and don’t last much more than a day or two before needing to be re-done.

Product Review: Seche Nail Polish

I thought I would add product review posts to my list of topics, so here’s the first one! In my November Glossybox I got a nail polish, from Seche. At first I didn’t think it had any branding on it, as the design on the bottle is matte black and the polish is such a dark blue, the two merge completely.

nail polish bottle

I hadn’t heard of Seche before – so it was good to get to try a brand I’m unfamiliar with. It’s a full sized polish bottle, so I’ll get a lot of wear out of it (does anyone actually finish a nail polish before it goes gloopy?).

The colour was ‘Hypnotic’ dark royal blue, which is a shade I used to wear a lot but recently I’ve tended to go for more neutral shades that are work and multiple-outfit appropriate.

polish brush

The polish is quite a runny one, which I suppose is good because it takes longer to go gloopy, but can make application a bit tricky. Also, they’ve gone for the traditional long thin brush, which I find tricky to control when loaded with polish. Some other brands have started to move towards flatter, oval-tipped brushes which I think give a neater and easier finish.

Although it’s runny, you do have to load quite a bit on the brush to get even coverage in one sweep the whole length of the nail (and most of my nails are quite short at the moment). My default tactic with nail polish to avoid over-loading the nail is to go for small repeated applications, but that doesn’t work well with this polish. However, it did dry quite quickly.










The finish is smooth and the colour is deep. For the sake of fair testing, I didn’t apply a top coat. After 48 hours the finish is still reasonably glossy with minimal fade (certainly not as bad as I’ve seen with other polishes), but there is quite a bit of chipping round the edges of the nail tips – and I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary; typing, cooking, opening packets etc.) However, there’s no cracks or flaking in the majority of the nail so I would stab a guess that a strong sealing top coat would improve the durability of this polish.

48hrs later

acertainstyle Star rating:

Colour : ☆☆☆☆☆

Applicator: ☆☆

Finish: ☆☆☆☆

Durability: ☆☆☆