Friday, 27 September 2013

Nail Mail!

Is there anything more exciting than nail mail?  Yes as it turns out! Nail Mail from a new shop packed with brands I'd previously only dreamed of adding to my collection.   Rainbow Connection UK started trading this week, and for those of you that don't know is a new UK based store stocking a great range of indie polishes from around the world.  Last week, on shop opening night, I was eagerly refreshing my browser and keeping my (beautifully painted) fingers crossed that I'd manage to snap up two polishes I've had a major lemming for....Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly....
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
 Since they're in the photos, I'm guessing you've already figured out that my shopping was a success....
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers & CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
 I couldn't resist taking some macro shots of these beauties too...aren't they fabulous?  Now the hard part will be deciding which one to wear as my holiday mani...tomorrow I'm heading up to Loch Ness for the Baxters Running festival to take part in the 10k along with thousands of others.  Can't wait :)
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers
Polka Dot Heaven by Liquid Sky Lacquers - Macro

CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly
CrowsToes Shoot The Butterfly - Macro

There is still a store opening offer (use code OPEN at the checkout) until 6th October for 10% off your order, and more brands have been added through the week.  I'm going to have to wait to payday now!  Swatches to come when I'm back from my hols....

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Bitches Brew

Today's NOTD is "Bitches Brew" by Deborah Lippmann, an awesome dupe of the now HTF Chanel Malice.  I love the name of this, it might not be Ocalways in a Halloween kind of mood (just ask the zombie in my garden....he's plastic but that's not the point).  I already own Malice, but for £5 this seemed like a great backup (as part of a 3 for £15 TK Maxx win)

Deborah Lippmann "Bitches Brew" - Sunlight
Shown here I'm wearing Nail Envy base, two coats of colour, and topped of with a single coat of Seche.   This was my first experience of Deborah Lippmann polish, and bearing in mind the RRP of £15 I'm not hugely impressed.  The shade is awesome, but I found the formula a bit on the streaky side.  I'm also not a fan of the brush, the shape of the bottle (which I think is pretty cool actually) means that the brush is really short.  It's also very narrow, with tight bristles, so although it applies the polish smoothly I find it really hard to cover the whole nail in just 3 swipes (which might have added to the streaky impression).  Wear time hasn't been the best either, I had visible tip wear after just a day.  No chips as yet (day 4) but definitely not anywhere near as hardwearing as the Chanel, or even a number of brands with cheaper price points like OPI or Leighton Denny.

For £5, and as a really credible Chanel dupe, this polish is a big win.  But if your only option was to pay the RRP, then it's not such a good deal.

Update: I just removed this and it stains like crazy! It looks like I've done a murder! Sheesh.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Bargains and Nail News

Hello again mani-maniacs.  Exciting news for UK based NP addicts like me - TK Maxx has stepped up in the awesomeness stakes - they now stock Deborah Lippmann polishes! I picked up a pack of 3 for £15. FIFTEEN QUID!  That's literally 3 for the price of 1.  In my pack I got "Bitches Brew" (a Chanel "Malice" dupe, comparison here), "Don't Tell Mama" (a sumptuous emerald/jade shimmer, apparently similar to Illamasqua "Veridian" which I've been lemming for ages), and "Wicked Game" (a silver/green/pink duochrome similar but not a dupe for this season's hot shade - Essie "The Twill of It" and OPI "Peace Love and OPI", comparison here).  Swatches to follow in due course.  This is the first time I've seen Lippmann polishes for sale anywhere else except House of Fraser/Jenners so fingers crossed we'll be seeing more of these in TK Maxx.

Deborah Lippmann polishes
Deborah Lippmann polishes are now at TK Maxx
Also spotted at TK Maxx were pack of 5 Essie polishes for £10.  That's just redonkulous compared to the £8 pricetag for a single polish in Boots.  Sadly the sets they had all contained polishes I already own, and I'm crazy but I'm not that crazy.

There was also a lot of Color Club and Barielle shades.  The Color Club offering included the current season (Fall) Girl About Town polishes, £4.  I picked up the duo below of "The Uptown" and "Williamsburg".

Color Club Fall 2013 - Williamsburg (left) and The Uptown (right)
"The Uptown" is a gorgeous indigo-based flakie polish that certainly looks similar in bottle to Layla Ceramic effect 52 (which is a dupe for Nfu Oh 51), so expect comparison swatches of these at some point.

On the topic of flakies, the Barry M flakie "Crystal Ball" will be released this week (review here). It will be released in Superdrug on the 25th of September, and in Boots from October 2nd and is set to retail for a bargain-a-licious £3.99.

Finally, I'm super excited about the upcoming launch of Rainbow Connection UK. This is a new UK-based online nail shop that starts trading at 8pm tonight (22/09/13) and will be selling indie polishes that were previously unavailable in the UK without paying mental P&P charges.  On launch there will be polishes from Liquid Sky Lacquers, Cadillacquer, Crows Toes and pre-orders for KPT polish. As if that all wasn't exciting enough there's a 10% off opening offer on all orders, just use the code OPEN until 6th October.  I can't wait! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I can snap up a couple of Crows Toes polishes that I've been lusting after from afar....

So that's it ladies.  This week's top tip is to shimmy on down to TK Maxx if you have one - certainly the Edinburgh stores have just had big stock-drops of bargain polish and these things never last!

 Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated to any of the stores or blogs that I post links to or mention.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Plum Gelly

"Plum" is my first experience of the Gelly Hi Shine line by Barry M and I absolutely love it.  It's a beautiful and sophisticated shade of dusky aubergine/eggplant (depending on which side of the pond you're from) that's perfect for autumn. 

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
I never thought I'd go without my beloved Seche, but the pics here are both with NO TOPCOAT.  So this definitely lives up to its 'Hi-Shine' billing!  I guess the 'Gelly' element is a reference to its shiny gel nails type finish, because I'd definitely class this as a crème polish.  Opacity is very good, I'm wearing two coats in these pictures but you could get away with a single coat.  Formula is excellent, smooth and self-levels well, what's more to say? Love, love, love!

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine  - "Plum" - Natural Light
Well there is one more thing to say - this is ridiculously good value at £3.99.  I even picked mine up in Boots in a 'Buy 1 get 1 1/2 price' offer (which incidentally is on again right now!).  I have polishes 3 times this price that aren't even half this good.  I'd highly recommend this.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Comparison: Chanel Taboo & Nails Inc Regent's Palace

Today I have a new comparison to show you - Chanel Taboo vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace.  I'll start by giving away the ending - these are not dupes.  However, it's worth taking a closer look, the comparison isn't as crazy as you might first think.

Readers of this blog will know that I have never been so excited, or so disappointed by a polish than I was with Chanel Taboo (my Taboo review and swatches).  I won't repeat my review here but the main reason for my disappointment was the vast difference between the in-bottle and on-nail impact of this polish.  In the bottle it looks like instant galaxy nails - it's utterly packed with phenomenal looking colour, sparkly bits and what-not.  On the nail, it looks for the most time, like a dull dark black/purple.  The 'pop' in the bottle is only seen in flash, and direct sunlight, and even then only when you're really looking at it.  The formula is also pretty pants, quite gloopy.

So I wondered - supposing you don't want to spend £18 or can't get a hold of this limited edition.  What else could you get that would look as good or better?  Step up to the plate Nails Inc Regent's Palace....

Chanel Taboo  vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace - Natural Light
Chanel Taboo (index, ring) vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace (middle, pinkie)
Natural Light
In close up here you can see some evidence of the sparkly bits in Taboo, and you can also see it's in a much darker base than RP which has a fairly indigo base to it.  Both polishes have a lovely shimmer, but the brighter toned base of RP means that this shimmer is much more evident on-nail in a variety of lighting conditions.  Pictured here is two coats each of colour atop a Nail Envy base.  There's no top coat here.
Chanel Taboo vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace - Flash
Chanel Taboo (index, ring) vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace (middle, pinkie)
When you look at these under flash, you can see more of the bottle-beauty of Taboo coming out and the tonal difference in the bases is more pronounced.  I don't often take swatch pics with flash on because a) it makes me look like a scary albino lady and b) 99% of the time you're not going to be looking at your polish by flashlight so it's not really a fair test of how pretty it will look (I wouldn't have had such a lemming for Taboo if I had seen it in more natural lighting pics I think).
Taboo does have more sparkle than RP for sure, although bear in mind that this sparkle is not actually visible by eye a lot of the time.  So to add some extra zing to the RP I then popped on a thin coat of Max Factor Fantasy Fire (possibly the best layering polish of all time, there is nothing that this won't make more fabulous.  It's like the mani equivalent of bacon).

Chanel Taboo vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace with Max Factor Fantasy Fire - Natural Light
Chanel Taboo (index, ring) vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace with Max Factor Fantasy Fire (middle, pinkie)
Natural Light 
Wowza! Regent's Palace on its own is a fabulous metallic purple shade (see my purple metallics comparison post here) but layered with Fantasy Fire it's stunning.  Again, not a dupe for Taboo, but certainly punching far above its weight in terms of price comparison and on-nail 'pop factor'.
Finally with flash, it's the return of the albino:

Chanel Taboo vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace with Max Factor Fantasy Fire - Flash
Chanel Taboo (index, ring) vs. Nails Inc Regent's Palace with Max Factor Fantasy Fire (middle, pinkie)
In terms of on-nail impact, sparkle, and purple-ness (I know that's not a word, but it should be) for me Regent's Palace plus Fantasy Fire is a clear winner.  In terms of price it's also a no-brainer: the Chanel will cost you £18 but it's Limited Edition so if you miss out in store I've seen this changing hands for £30-£50 which is just insane.  I got the Nail's Inc in a set of 3 from TK Maxx (bargain polish heaven) for £9.99 which by my maths makes this £3.33, but full price would cost you £11.  Fantasy Fire is £3.99 in Boots/Superdrug for a mini bottle.

So for my mani that's £7.32 vs £18, or full price it would be £14.99 vs £18.  At full price the argument is less compelling, but Regent's Palace is one of the few Nails Inc polishes that I would be happy to pay full price for.  Even on it's own, without the Fantasy Fire topper, I feel that Regent's Palace is a better all-rounder than the Chanel.  Blasphemy I know, but there you have it.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Blog lovin'

Ain't technology grand? Since the sad demise of Google reader I've moved to Bloglovin' to follow the many fantastic nail blogs that I read daily. The android app is really good too. If you would like to follow this blog on Bloglovin' you can use the link below...