Amsterdam Adventures…

Hey ladies! Sorry I’ve been so quiet over the past couple of weeks – I was busy packing for a loooong romantic weekend in Amsterdam and I’m back with some big news…

I’M ENGAGED!

My very sneaky fiancé (!) got down on one knee and proposed in the butterfly house at Artis Zoo on Valentines Day – and even managed to get pictures and video! It was the biggest, most wonderful surprise I’ve ever had and I’m absolutely over the moon that everything worked out exactly how he had planned.

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Before we left for our trip, I attempted some random nail art inspired by the ridiculously talented Boom Nails London. I’ve followed @boomnailsldn on Instagram for a good while now and the amazing fine detail that she can achieve is mind-blowing – it’s definitely worth having a look at her work; if not for inspiration then simply to stare enviously at all the beautiful nail art.

Here’s a couple of before-the-bling snaps…

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And here’s one of my set right after Jamie popped a ring on it!

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I used the nib end of a nail art pen for all of the details – getting those fine lines is really, REALLY hard. I’m happy enough with these for a first attempt but I want to improve my fine detail work so I’ll keep practising!

We got home last night and obviously had to get out and see all the family today so I decided to quickly change to a simple mani that would let my beautiful ring be the centre of attention. I went with OPI ‘Got The Blues For Red’ from their new 50 Shades of Grey collection (‘Shine For Me’ may have fallen into my basket too!) and I’m glad I did! It’s a stunning, deep, blood red that screams passion. Perfect for an engagement!

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Visit Boom Nails London here

Follow Boom Nails London on Instagram here

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Tara’s Talons Giveaway Shortlist!

The Tara’s Talons giveaway shortlist is up and I’m thrilled to say that the Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons series has made the cut!

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As I’ve said, I really really enjoyed participating in this giveaway but it would be the icing on the cake to win a whole new bunch of Tara’s Talons polishes to create more wonderful manis with!

It’s public vote time and the final closing date is noon on February 9th – click here to view all three final entries and vote for your favourite.

Click here to follow Tara’s Talons on Instagram and keep up to date with offers and giveaways.

Tara’s Talons Giveaway

Tara’s having a giveaway! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is show your love for Tara’s Talons through social media – your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or even your blog. Tara will choose her three favourite entries on February 1st at noon then the three favourites will be placed into a public vote on Tara’s blog. Whoever has the most votes by noon on February 9th will win a haul of eight 10ml and two 5ml Tara’s Talons polishes, nail art bits and pieces and extra goodies! You can find all the details on how to enter by clicking here.

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To show my love, I’ll be posting a special series of manis featuring polishes from my sacred Tara stash! Follow my blog or click here to follow my Instagram and keep up to date with my Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons posts.

Good luck!

Follow Tara’s Talons on Instagram here

Visit Tara’s Talons blog here

Visit my first Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons post here

Freckles CYO Polish Kit

Create my own polish? Yes please!
I’ve been following a newly discovered UK based indie brand Freckles Polish and whilst having a browse through their Etsy store I came across the ultimate item on my indie polish wish list – a ‘create your own’ polish kit.

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The kit comes with pretty much everything you need to dip your toe into the world of frankening – stirring sticks, false nails for colour and consistency testing and the most adorable teeny tiny scoop and funnel. I opted for the larger of the two kits which came with two 10ml bottles and two 5ml bottles pre-filled with suspension base, three bags of mica pigment and four bags of glitters of my own choosing – all for only £15.99!

I’ve often thought about mixing up my own polishes but after some investigation I found that it can be quite hard to find the supplies needed in small, hobby-not-business quantities. This kit is PERFECT for anyone interested in having a go at making their own polish but not so interested in spending a small fortune doing so – it would also make an amazing gift or stocking filler for any crazy nail ladies you might know!

By some miraculous coincidence, the lovely Tara of Tara’s Talons was having an amazing destash sale of lots of powders and glitters that she had accumulated while creating her beautiful indie gems the day after I ordered my Freckles kit so I nabbed a £5 mixed pack and was over the moon to open my envelope and find many many more bags than I had expected. I’m sure Tara may still have some left over so do check out her Instagram by clicking here if you want to grab some beautiful pigments and glitters for a bargain.

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(my Tara’s Talons glitter and pigment haul)

Now to actually make a polish! It is sooooooo much easier than anyone would expect – and since it’s your own, it’s pretty much impossible to get it wrong!

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Select your powders and/or glitters. Oooooh! Shiny! I loved this bit. I found that using a little bit of cheap, clear polish to mix mica pigment into a liquid form gives you a more accurate idea of the final effect that the powder will give your polish. I used ‘Peacock Blue’ mica from my Freckles kit and a gold glitter that Tara sent me.

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Measure out your powders and/or glitters. Using my teeny tiny adorable mini scoop I measured out 0.25g of ‘Peacock Blue’ powder and 0.25g of gold glitter – that’s five tiny scoops of each – and placed them onto a patch of greaseproof paper. After a little research online I found that the general consensus seems to be 0.5g of powder to 10ml of polish for full opacity BUT this is a guideline, it is by no means a rule. There are no rules when it comes to mixing your own polish!

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Add powders and/or glitters to your bottle of base. This is where the teeny tiny adorable funnel comes in! Make sure to hold it up so that it doesn’t touch the base that is already in your prefilled bottles or it will end up all clogged up and carefully tip your powders and glitters in. If I was using my own suspension base and empty bottles I would probably choose to add my powders and glitters and then add the base on top – I figure it would help everything to mix up better however, adding them in on top of the base worked well too.
Shake shake shake! Give your concoction a really, really good shake. Up and down, side to side and spinning the bottle between your hands in all directions!
Test your polish by painting a coat onto a false nail. Make sure that the consistency is good and that you have your desired opacity and finish. Mine needed a little pinch more gold glitter so I added another 0.1g.
Personalised polish! Yay!

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(two coats under home halogen lightbulb which seriously doesn’t do my wee polish any justice)

I was so excited about my first bottle that I decided to whip up a Christmassy topper using white hexes from my Freckles kit and some white/blue iridescent glitter that Tara had sent me – look how pretty it is over a dark base! I can’t wait to create a mani with this baby!

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(one, two and three coats from left to right under home halogen lightbulb)

Buy your own Freckles Polish CYO Polish Kit here.
Browse Freckles Polish shop here.
Follow Freckles Polish on Instagram here.

Festive MoYou Stamping

I bought a handful of MoYou stamping plates months ago and they haven’t seen the light of day since they arrived. It’s taken me all this time to bite the bullet and have a go – it seemed so complicated!
One of my plates – Festive 04 – is etched with beautiful, intricate Christmas-jumper-esque designs and it is by far the plate that I was most excited about. I discovered Lucy’s Stash’s YouTube video tutorials showing three different ways of creating stamped decals that make stamping seem so much less scary! You know how much I love creating nail stickers – it’s so much easier than attempting an awkward technique directly on your nails and it means that only the perfect designs make the cut.

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I used Method 2 for my festive mani – this involved creating a nail decal on the rubber stamp before peeling it away – you can find the link below. This option appealed to me because it seemed that the flexible surface of the stamp would make removal of the sticker super-easy and it was! Just a little squeeze and a gentle slide using the edge of my nail and the design popped off without even a hint of sticking or tearing.

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I love this technique and I will definitely use it for more (if not all) of my future stamped designs – now to invest in nine more stamps so I can do all ten fingers at once!
Have you tried stamping? What are your top tips and hints for the perfect stamped design?

Browse MoYou products here.
View the Lucy’s Stash tutorial that I used to create this look here.
Browse Lucy’s Stash YouTube channel here.
Find Lucy’s Stash’s blog here.
Follow Lucy’s Stash on Instagram here.

Wintery Models Own Mani

Brrrrrr! It’s feeling rather like winter these days. I have a love/hate relationship with Scottish winters – there’s something slightly exhilarating about the crisp, chilly breeze but it is rather persistent and I’d rather be too hot than too cold.
The change in weather influenced my nail polish choice today – I opted for a gem from my much loved Models Own Diamond Luxe collection.
You know those Instagram competitions that we all enter into thinking: “I wish, never gonna happen to me”? IT HAPPENED TO ME! I was blown away when Models Own contacted me to let me know and I fell in love with them as soon as they popped through the door. Every polish has a beautifully subtle sparkle created by the addition of “real diamond dust” – nail polish AND diamonds, what more could a girl ask for!?

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I chose ‘Asscher Blue’ – a gorgeous light blue that imparts a teal-green-silvery sheen (haha!) to the perfectly balanced shimmer of the diamond dust. Not only is it beautiful, this baby goes on like a dream too. It’s super smooth to work with and the well sized brush allows me to get away with two strokes per nail minus the thumb. I can’t speak highly enough of it or any of the Diamond Luxe collection for that matter. They’re my first ever Models Own polishes and I’ll certainly be buying more of their pretty polishes in the future!

After watching a tutorial by Simple Nail Art Designs on YouTube for a little inspiration, I added a snowflake accent. I had to keep my “it’s officially winter” nails low-key for work this time but I will not compromise come Christmas nail time! 😉

Shop Models Own here