Tag Archives: nails

Review: Ciate Flower Manicure Bad-a-Bloom

21 August 2014

ciate flower manicure reviewciate flower manicure reviewGone are the days when I’d painstakingly create tiny masterpieces on my nails – my patience has since worn far too thin for such frivolity (living with a semi-feral cat and a man who can’t make his own sandwiches will do that to you). But when I saw the Ciate flower manicure set, I was instantly drawn (nothing to do with the fact it was half price in the bargain utopia that is TK Maxx). The results on the box look simply stunning, and it’s available in blue (which I’ve got) and pink, which is aptly named ‘Strike a Posy’.

The set includes a pastel blue nail polish and a clear topcoat (both full size), two pots of dried flowers, a nail file and quite a decent pair of tweezers.ciate flower manicure review I whipped out this set on a Saturday night home alone when I had no distractions and plenty of time which are ideal conditions when you’re trying to focus on such a fiddly project. I put on a couple of coats of the pale blue (I’m personally not a massive fan of Ciate nail polishes, they tend to be quite slow-drying and this was no exception). Colour was nice though. Once dry, I put on a layer of the clear topcoat and as quick as I could, fished out a bit of flower and positioned it on my nail. Before it dried, I put on another piece to finish the formation. Once dry, I filed off the over-hanging bits and put on a final layer of topcoat.

The whole process was extremely fiddly and took an eye-watering amount of time. I’m not exactly the most patient gal in the world and frankly, I was glad when it was over. I liked the finished result from a distance, but you can see on the close-up what the problem was. Because you need so many layers of nail polish, you end up with a bit of a gloopy, air-bubbly effect. And because the flowers are more 3D then you’d expect, you don’t get a smooth finish like it looks on the packaging (which I suspect has been heavily photoshopped). The bits were quite sharp and I found they’d catch on everything. Longevity was decent, and even though little bits of flower snapped off during the course of the week, it wasn’t too noticeable.
ciate flower manicure reviewciate flower manicure review All in all, I really liked the look of this flower manicure but I was too embarrassed for my nearest and dearest to get too close. I doubt I’ll try this again any time soon but if I do, I’d probably take a bit more time and try to stop the dreaded bubbles from forming. If I’m being completely honest, I’d save yourself the time, hassle and frustration and just get yourself a set of nail wraps.

Ciate Flower Manicure in Bad-a-Bloom is available at Feel Unique for £18.


Nail Product Addict Tag

15 July 2014

nail polish addict tag
Thanks to A Simple Mix for tagging me, I no longer feel like a saddo who never gets asked to do these!

Favourite nail treatment product?
Probably Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle. I use this as my base coat every time I do my nails. I’m not sure if it strengthens nails in the long run but it does seal up any cracks quite nicely.
Favourite luxury brand?
I’m a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to nail polish but I do love OPI. The colours are great, the brushes are fat and the names are witty.

Favourite drugstore brand?
Barry M. Super affordable and quite frankly, superb colours, formulas and finishes. A close second has to be Rimmel, the Salon Pro ones are the easiest polishes to use, I love the one-stroke application.

Best eye-catching red?
I usually go for China Glaze Hey Sailor. It’s a true, classic red and lasts for over a week without chips, which is good because chipped red nail polish is one of the biggest beauty crimes.

Most disappointing nail polish/product?
For some reason I bought OPI RapiDry topcoat thinking it would be better than my beloved Seche Vite. At the time, it was nearly £20 (I think they’ve reduced the price since then) so I was quite frankly expecting miracles. It wasn’t bad but it certainly wasn’t worth the price.

Basecoat – yes or no?
Yes! My nails have the texture of sandpaper so a smoothing base coat is a must and saves tears and frustration when removing dark nail polish.

Favourite topcoat?
Seche Vite every single time.

Favourite summer shade?
I keep going on about this and it’s getting boring but I can’t keep away from Rimmel Salon Pro in Aqua Cool (you can see it in action here) this summer. It’s one of the few pastels that doesn’t look odd on my skin tone.

Favourite winter shade?
Lincoln Park After Dark by OPI – it’s a very, very, dark blood-red that looks almost black. Gorgeous and vampy and perfect teamed with a dark red lip.

Mention something extra!
Seeing as it’s high summer, now is the only time I’m brave enough to crack out something a bit mad. Yellow Polka Dot Bikini is an insane fluorescent yellow which always gets comments (mostly good) when I wear it. I can imagine it looking great for the beach if I ever went to the beach.

Please feel free to make any suggestions, I’m a total lemming when it comes to nail polish. Looking forward to seeing other responses to this from everyone, but in the meantime, I tag:

Victoria & Tori

Spring Nail Picks

14 April 2014

spring nail picksI’ve tentatively put away my big ol’ coat and battered winter boots for another year to make way for spring. To ring in the changes, I’ve had a rummage through my nail polish collection and re-discovered some long-forgotten colours that are perfect for this time of year. Let’s hope the sun is actually here to stay, although the cat is currently curled up extremely tightly with a paw covering her eyes – something usually reserved for winter nights!spring nail picks
China Glaze Nail Lacquer Lemon Fizz is an opaque, pastel yellow with a nice glossy finish which can be a bit elusive with China Glaze nail polishes. I love using this on its on or as a background to floral nail art. OPI Nail Lacquer Japanese Rose Garden is one of my favourite nail polishes to wear any time of the year. Opaque, pastel pink with a very slight purple-based sheen in the sunlight, it’s pink at its best. I wasn’t expecting to like Rimmel Pro Aqua Cool but once I put it on I loved it. It’s an understated blue with a grey-purple undertone, and perfectly sophisticated. You’re probably sick of the sight of Barry M Nail Paint Greenberry but there must be a reason it’s so popular! If you’re after something summery and eye-catching that isn’t overly girly, this is the one. As far as makeup brands go, KIKO is so under rated – the nail polishes are amazing and for the price, are some of the best you can get. KIKO Nail Lacquer 220 Satin Beige is stunning – a beautiful nude with a little bit of gold shimmer. The perfect choice for a classy manicure and even prettier in the sunlight!

Review: OPI Into the Night

29 October 2013

It was mine and Mr TBL’s anniversary a few weeks ago – 3 years to be exact, but I must say it feels like a decade sometimes, especially when we’re sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea discussing the state of Chicken’s bottom.

Fortunately we managed to steer clear of such unsavoury topics on our anniversary night out. We went to Hakkasan which I can confirm was as delightful as ever. Seeing as we were in the West End and feeling a bit snazzy we strolled down to Aqua Kyoto for a few drinks which started off beautifully but sadly ended up with dreaded eye rolling (me) and the “can we leave now please” (also me) after a clumsy lady knocked my extortionate drink over and didn’t offer to replenish my now empty, smashed glass. We hopped back over to East London, got changed out of our glad rags and headed out for some bad dancing. Or rather, I sat like a cuckold and watched Mr TBL dance badly with some enthusiastic mums.
OPI into the night
Anyway, I painted my nails that afternoon, and uncharacteristically I was feeling a bit matchy-matchy and painted them navy to go with my navy dress I was wearing. It’s by OPI and it’s called Into the Night. I bought this in Hong Kong because of the bargain price (I can’t really remember how much it was but it was definitely bargainous!) and had never actually used it until this night! As you can see it’s absolutely stunning – what took me so long to dig it out?! It’s ever so slightly streaky but it looks so opulent and gorgeous, I’m absolutely willing to forgive that. It lasted a good week or so (with a slick of Seche Vite on top) before I noticed any chipping – definitely one of my new favourites!
OPI into the night
Also, just realised Into the Night was actually part of the limited edition Spiderman set which came out in 2012, and looking at it, I’m pretty sure I picked up Just Spotted the Lizard, also when I was in Hong Kong – will need to take a proper look at my collection to confirm!

You can get OPI Into the Night 15ml here for a juicy £7.95 with free delivery.

Review: Rimmel 3D Plumping Topcoat

25 October 2013

I’ve got a mild case of non-specific Sunday dread so I thought doing a post before bed might cheer me up a little. I recently went into Boots to buy a new topcoat (I ended up with a haul) as all my half-used bottle of Seche Vite have dried up and turned all sad and gloopy. I’m planning on getting myself down to Peckham when I can be bothered as there is a fantastic little-known nail shop that does Seche Vite at bargainous prices.
rimmel 3d topcoat review
Anyway, I spent an unhealthy amount of time in Boots looking at topcoats. I’m sure the security man was following me, I must have one of those shifty faces. In the end I opted for the Rimmel Finishing Touch 3D Plumping Topcoat, priced at £4.49. I tried it with the notoriously fast-chipping China Glaze neon polish in Purple Pink – an amazing neon pink that always gets plenty of compliments – to put it to the test.
rimmel 3d topcoat review
rimmel 3d topcoat review
I painted on a layer of the Rimmel topcoat on top of the China Glaze as soon as it dried. Maybe I’m just too used to the Seche Vite but I found this too slow to dry, and it stayed tacky for a good few minutes. Nevertheless, I persevered and added a second coat to get this “3D Plumping” effect they speak of. And to be honest, I didn’t really see it. Once completely dry, it seemed to lose a lot of its gloss too.
rimmel 3d topcoat review
Within a day, my nails were horribly chipped but this was probably down to the China Glaze. I’ve since used the Rimmel 3D Plumping Topcoat with a KIKO nail varnish and it did a much better job. But again, there was a lack of long-lasting gloss.


  • Wide brush means each nail only needs one stroke
  • Good consistency
  • Fab packaging


  • Not particularly plumping
  • Not fast-drying
  • Doesn’t stay very glossy

Verdict: Fine as a bog-standard topcoat if you’re using a decent nail varnish to begin with. However, if you’re used to Seche Vite, this won’t be a contender. Sadly won’t be repurchasing but will use it as a back-up.

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