Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons ‘Jelly Shoes’

Aaaaand it’s another Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons post! I’m starting to build up a little bank of entries and there’s still just under a fortnight left to get involved with the Tara’s Talons giveaway.

I’ve set myself a little challenge to use one of my Tara polishes for every mani I create until the closing date and I’m really enjoying the whole experience – I find it hard to set my creative side free and this has forced me into it – another reason why I love Tara’s Talons polish!

My polish choice this time is inspired by the whole creativity feeling as a kind of “thank you!” to Tara for inspiring me to push myself to be more free (and giving me a good excuse to post as much as I can!).
I’ve opted for ‘Jelly Shoes’ – I loved mine when I was a little girl (and really had to try not to buy a pair when they started popping up again!)
This delightful creamy pink polish dotted with sparkly silver glitter is a match for the ones I had so I couldn’t resist it. I feel like I’m repeating myself but it’s true – fab formula; applies easily; dries in no time. Gaaaah I looooooove Tara’s Talons! Every polish is consistently AWESOME 😀

I really wanted to try to watermarble ‘Jelly Shoes’ with Barry M Gelly in Key Lime so I got everything organised and prepped my nails (click here to find out about more about watermarbling in my original post).

I’m sad to say my experiment didn’t work out BUT I will say that considering the glitter type and content I was impressed by how well it stood up to the challenge. ‘Jelly Shoes’ sat happily on the surface of the water – both glitter and polish – at first but the motion of the water and the size of the glitter caused small rings to break up around the glitter pieces. I’ll definitely try again with this polish though, I think the ring effect would turn out quite nicely and I’m intrigued to find out.

I had my heart set on using this technique and these two polishes so I improvised – I painted one coat of ‘Jelly Shoes’ over my white base and let it dry, then I watermarbled Barry M Key Lime with a clear polish and transferred my pattern over the Tara’s Talons base.

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I really love how it came out – the colour combination is fantastic (if I do say so myself) – and I can’t believe how bright and glittery just one coat of ‘Jelly Shoes’ came out!

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Click here to find out how you could be in with a chance of winning a Tara’s Talons haul of polish and goodies!

Click here to follow Tara’s Talons on Instagram.

Click here to browse Tara’s Talons Etsy store.

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Braw Claws Loves Taras Talons ‘Fresh’

Seeing as this is the first post of my Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons series I thought I should start by creating a mani with the polish that prompted me to make my first ever Tara’s Talons purchase.
I spotted a swatch of ‘Fresh’ on Instagram last year and HAD to have it. Tara was offering a pick and mix bag in her Etsy store at the time containing four 10ml polishes of your choice for £20 plus she was offering a 15% discount code to her followers (something she does frequently on social media so click here to keep up to date with Tara’s Instagram account) – I’m a sucker for a bargain! ‘Fresh’ was top of my list and my addiction to Tara’s Talons had begun.
‘Fresh’ is a creamy nude base jam packed with neon shapes in all sizes – dots, hexes and squares galore! It’s a party in a bottle, cupcakes and sweeties and all the pretty! As I’ve found with most of my Tara collection, ‘Fresh’ dries quickly – by the time I finish painting my second hand the first is pretty much fully dry – and it applies well. One coat gives a really light and subtle nude base coverage with plenty of bright pops of neon colour dotted around. Use two coats for a full base coverage and a “glitter sandwich”-ish effect.

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(one coat under home halogen bulb – please excuse any patchy bits, I was rushing as usual!)

I’ve learned through experience that applying glitter polishes is slightly different to applying regular polish (it’s logical really, when you take the differences in consistency into account). I apply glitter polish by painting my nail using the regular two/three stroke method to get base coverage, then I dab the now slightly drier but still glitter-packed brush onto the wet polish on my nail to maximise the glitter coverage on top.

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(home halogen bulb)

I painted a base coat – keep your eyes peeled for more details in a later post 😉 – and allowed it to dry. I used two coats of ‘Fresh’ as my base colour and a nail art pen striper brush in white to create a triangle at the tip of my nail. Then, I carefully applied two coats of Barry M Nail Paint in Berry Lilac from the base of my nail out towards the edges to block out my base in the area around the triangle. After allowing this to dry, I repainted the white lines of the triangle tip to define the area and used the dotting nib end of the nail art pen to add dots. Topcoat, as always, to finish it all off 😀

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(home halogen bulb)

To find out more about the Tara’s Talons giveaway click here
Browse Tara’s Talons Etsy store here
Shop Barry M polishes here

Spotted Watermarble Nails

Time to try something new – well sort of new. I love a watermarble so here’s a variation of the pretty, patterned – but sometimes really tricky – original. It’s a little easier but the final effect is just as impressive!

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You’ll need:

  • A container large enough to comfortably dip a finger in filled with room temperature water
  • Nail polish – a base and another polish to use in the watermarble (I used Barry M White Nail Paint as my base and Barry M Gelly in Papaya as my watermarble)
  • Tape OR my Super Easy Clean Up Secret Weapon…see below!
  • Cotton pads or kitchen paper
  • Orange sticks
  • Acetone or nail polish remover that contains acetone
  • A spray bottle
  • A safe place to work – well away from any wooden or polished surfaces – I used a plastic tray

Prep for watermarbling. Set up your acetone spray. Pour a little into the spray bottle and give it a couple of schooshes (NOT over your good coffee table!). Make sure everything you need is at hand (container of water, polishes, orange sticks, cotton pads and acetone spray) and prep and paint your nails with base colour.
For more detailed instructions on getting ready to do watermarble and tips and tricks that I’ve picked up while experimenting that may help you if you are having trouble click here to view my original Watermarble Nails post.

Tape up or…

Use your Super Easy Clean Up Secret Weapon! Clean out an old empty polish bottle by pouring in some acetone, replacing the brush and giving it a good shake. Empty the acetone out and repeat a couple of times, then rinse with water. Leave the bottle and brush to dry completely then, fill it with cheap PVA glue – I got 250ml from Asda for £1.48! Using the brush, apply the glue to the skin around your nail that you want to protect from polish and allow it to dry. This creates an easy peel barrier that let’s you simply peel away all the messy excess polish you end up covered in when doing sponged ombrés, watermarbling etc. One thing to note when using this method with watermarbling is that when dipped in water, the water-soluble glue ends up wet and sticky so you will have to allow it to dry fully again before attempting to peel it!

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Make a circle of polish on the surface of the water by adding drops of polish quickly but carefully. Remember to stay close to the surface but not to touch the water!

Spray the polish with acetone. Spray once or twice over the polish, across the rim of your container – not directly into it – to create a blotchy, spotted pattern.

Dip your nail. Once you’ve found a part of the design you like, dip your nail into the water at an angle to transfer the polish. Always be careful of your other fingers! Make sure they are well out of the way of the water and polish – I learned that lesson the hard way.

Clean up the water surface before lifting your nail out to avoid messing up your design. Use an orange stick in dipping and swirling motions, dragging the excess polish away from your finger.

Allow to dry fully. This is particularly important if you used glue as your protectant. Wait until all the white, sticky patches have turned clear and shiny before attempting to peel.

Remove protectant. Whether you used glue or tape, remove it by pulling down and away from the nail so that any tugs of slightly damp polish peel back into the nail as opposed to up and away, leaving patches exposed.

Tidy up. If you have any polish remaining, use a fine brush and acetone to clean up around the cuticle and a cotton pad for patches further away from the nail.
TIP I’ve found disposable eye shadow applicators are a useful alternative to cotton pads for removing excess polish – the little stick allows me to avoid getting my freshly painted nails covered in cotton wool and acetone and the applicator head allows for precise cleaning.

Topcoat. Essential, as always. Topcoat seals your manicure and finishes it off beautifully.

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Done! Show me yours using #brawclaws on Instagram 😀

And don’t forget to watch out for my Braw Claws Loves Tara’s Talons series! Follow my blog or find me on Instagram to keep up to date with new posts 🙂

Grumpy Cat Nail Decals

I am sooooooo excited about this mani!

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I have been hunting the internet for nail decals – specifically nail decals with one of my most loved meme characters on them: Grumpy Cat! I absolutely adore him and have wanted to incorporate him into my nail art for ages – I think looking down at his little frowny face during a shift at work would definitely make it easier to smile through the whole day. There are plenty of options on eBay mostly from China and America but when it comes to my nail things I prefer to shop as locally as possible – partly because I want to support small businesses in the UK and also because I’m a little impatient when waiting for nail mail (“a little” may be a slight understatement). So despite finding a few nice designs, I held off from buying and then I happened upon Shop Keeki after clicking a picture of some Twisted Apparel style “Tatted Ariel” decals whilst browsing Instagram.
Shop Keeki is an accessories brand based in Manchester with a passion for bringing good quality products to their customers at fantastic, affordable prices. They stock a huge range of really cute decals in lots of styles and they ship internationally – UK shipping is very affordable and there are quite a few shipping options too!
After having a peek at their decals, I found him. Looking all cute and grumpy and frowny! TAKE ALL MY MONEY! I used some of my Christmas cash to treat myself to a few sheets – and used all of my willpower to avoid buying them all. At £1 per sheet of 18 decals these are by far the best value grumpy cat decals I’ve come across.
I placed my order on the 29th of December, my order shipped the next day via Royal Mail 1st class (I told you the shipping was very affordable) and my decals arrived on the 31st! I placed another decal order with a different company on the 26th and only received shipping confirmation on the 31st – I was expecting this kind of time frame for delivery at this time of year and don’t find it to be unreasonable at all so well done Shop Keeki for your speedy turnover – you have one very impressed customer right here!
The decals are great quality, the backing paper is firm and easy to cut through with scissors and the decals slide off easily without tugging or tearing.

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There are 18 decals on a sheet – 4 large, 4 medium and 10 small designs. I painted two coats of Barry M Gelly in Rosehip and allowed them to dry, cut out my decals and soaked them in a small bowl of water then slid the decal away from the backing paper and onto my nail. I used tweezers to help me position the design, dabbed the excess water away with some cotton wool and added topcoat to seal everything in. I did find they rolled up around the edges when soaking but I may have dipped them for a little too long. I also had a little trouble smoothing them right down on my nail and had a couple of bubbly edges – that may be newbie error though so I’ll keep practising!

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I’ve woken up loaded with the cold and have to go to work so these pretty much sum up my general mood today! NOPE.

Browse Shop Keeki here.
Follow Shop Keeki on Instagram here.

Sexy Sheer NYE Nails

Happy New Year! And Merry Christmas and all the general seasonal greetings that I missed out on online! I hope you all had a fab time and Santa spoiled you all rotten – I know he certainly spoiled me. I got pretty much the entire “basics” of OPI nail care – Chip Skip, Nail Envy, Rapid Dry and their fantastic REFILLABLE Corrector Pen. And quite a few lovely little extras too!
My festive holidays have been pretty hectic with lots of last minute buying, wrapping, visiting and eating – and a few shifts in between – so I haven’t had a lot of free time to jazz up my nails or post anything of any interest but I’m back with a little rundown of these awesome sheer painted nails that took me from 2014 into 2015 looking like the classy lady that I am (despite the few too many glasses of vino!) 😉

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These were inspired by a picture that popped up on my Instagram feed but I can’t for the life of me remember who posted it! Sorry!

You’ll need:

  • An old half used clear polish
  • Black polish
  • Thin nail art brush
  • Dotting tool

Make your sheer polish. I wasn’t sure it could be as simple as just adding some black to clear so I searched YouTube just to make sure and came across a clip by ShelsLaMarie – click here to view the video – and it really is! I started with four or five drops for I’d say between 6-7ml of clear polish, shaked it up, then tested it on a nail wheel to check the opacity. I ended up using closer to 10-12 drops but the number of drops needed will vary quite a bit so it’s wise to start slow, you can always add a little more if you need to. But, if you do use too much black don’t panic – you can save it by diluting it down with some more clear polish.

Basecoat. ’nuff said.

Apply your DIY sheer polish. I used two coats.

Allow to dry fully.

Outline your nail using the striper brush and some black polish.

Add some dots using the dotting tool and some black polish. Mine are by no means perfect – I was rushing these on New Years Eve – but I found it helps to work from the base to the tip. I started with two dots at the base and then lined up three slightly further up then back to two, then three…you get the jist.

TIP: As there is a bit of intricate painting involved here, I completed the design on one hand and allowed it to dry fully before working on the other hand. Although it takes a bit more time it really helps to prevent smudging all your hard work.

Allow to dry fully.

Topcoat to seal in, smooth out and give shine to your pretty nails.

What were your nails wearing for New Years Eve? #brawclaws on Instagram to show me!

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.