Spring Series: Pampering Pedicure

Today’s Spring series covers one of those pesky little maintenance tasks you need to do to get in shape for summer. Fear not, we’re simply tackling your tootsies today with my tips for an easy (and budget friendly) DIY manicure that will look as good as any salon trip, with a little effort.

First up, get your equipment together. You will need:

Somewhere to soak your feet, the bath is ideal but you could relocate to the sofa and use a washing up bowl!

  • A coarse body scrub and/or exfoliating gloves.
  • Nail varnish remover (if necessary).
  • Nail clippers, cuticle stick and nail file.
  • Moisturiser (and cuticle oil if you have it).
  • Nail base coat, polish and top coat.

  1. First off remove any polish you are wearing and soak your feet in warm water with a splash of your favourite bath product.
  2. Using either a decent dollop of scrub, or wearing the exfoliating mitts, scrub your feet all over, focusing on area’s of hard skin such as the heel, and around the nails.
  3. Rinse, towel dry and cut your nails whilst soft.
  4. Clean under the nail and apply moisturiser to the whole foot.
  5. Apply cuticle oil if you have it (moisturiser will do) and proceed to gently push the cuticles back.
  6. This next step is amongst the most important for results – filing the nail makes the pedicure appear professional as your nails get a lovely neat and tidy shape so spend some time on this, creating a nice square nail and smoothing the corners.
  7. Dry the nails themselves with a damp towel and paint them. Set some time aside and do a proper job starting with base coat, then 2 coats of colour and seal with a top coat. Allow to dry properly so you don’t smudge the nail.
  8. For extra dry feet (and only if you are sure the colour is dry), apply a thick layer of moisturiser and pop some socks on overnight for super smooth feet.

And voila! You’re ready for summer!


#JanuaryJoy – Manicure Monday

You all know how I love my nails and I’m a big DIY manicure fan. I always keep my eyes peeled for the latest trends although I leave it to the beauty bloggers to find them and pick them out on Pinterest ;). Over Christmas I was all about the glitter, wearing a festive ruby red glitter shade by Essie and so far this January I’ve gone for a mixed metallics look of silver solid glitter topped by big gold confetti glitter – super sparkly. However much I’m loving glitter though, my nails and patience are not. Taking it off is the biggest waste of time and so unkind to your nails, so I’ve been looking for something to satisfy my sparkle craving with a ton of shine that you only get from a block colour polish.

Enter the crescent moon manicure or silhouette nail.

First spotted on Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2012 show, it was the Chanel Fall 2012 Couture show where this look got snapped by the paps. I love the metallic sparkle hit whilst keeping the nail art subtle 🙂

Sure, flashy nails are never going to change the world, but sometimes changing your mood and brightening your day is as good as it gets. Share your #ManicureMonday by tweeting me a picture (don’t forget the #JanuaryJoy tag too) and let me know if you’ll be trying this at home.

How To:

  1. Start with clean filed nails and your choice of base coat. (I use Leighton Denny Under Cover Base Coat)
  2. Apply one coat of your chosen metallic shade. Make sure you choose a polish that is dense enough with one coat or you will need two. Apply right to the edge of the nail bed and sides of the nail.
  3. Next apply your main shade (Choose a flat, non metallic shade for the best contrast.) leaving a 2mm gap at the nail bed. Taper the colour out towards the sides so by the time you reach the nail tip the colour covers the whole width of the nail. Tip: Using a polish that has a wide brush like Essie or Rimmel makes this technique a lot easier.
  4. Apply a second layer of your top shade taking care to stay within the shape you have created.
  5. Seal with a generous coat of topcoat, making sure to extend right to the sides of the nail and to the cuticle to sandwich your nail art between base and top coat, for extra durability.
  6. If you have any, finish with Leighton Denny Miracle Drops Nail Polish Dryer to reduce drying time and smudges. Tip: If you’re a bit wobbly applying nail colour and have painted your finger when extending the polish right to the edges, use a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover to tidy the edges up and give a professional finish.

I hope you like the effect – every time I catch a flash of gold from mine it makes me smile. 🙂 And it just goes to show, you don’t meed a pro-manicure for your nails to look good and give you some #JanuaryJoy. (If you do happen to have a bit of spare cash and feel in need of a treat however, I’d fully recommend going and putting your feet up with a magazine whilst getting a pedicure this Monday!)


Found: Nails Inc Bling it on…

Regular readers will know I love my nails and often share a new nail find. The last trend I showed the DIY for was a painterly autumnal ombre effect, but todays is a product, similar to the Ciate nails I tried a while back.

I first saw the new Nails Inc Bling it on glitter effect probably a couple of months ago. Passing through Selfridges I made a bit of a cack-handed effort at trying it on myself, ended up with a slap dash mess and wrote it off as an insubstantial gimmick. Fast forward to two weeks ago and I was getting my nails done pre-holiday and ended up with this…

The truth was, one of the manicurists was at a loose end and utilised her time by studiously applying the Bling it on glitter to her nails whilst I was having mine done close by. The glitter effect in her chosen black looked absolutely stunning against her black uniform and I was captivated. It was so dense and perfect that it was unlike anything else I had seen and I was inspired to try it out for my holidays.

There are several colours available but I chose a pinky shade (in the Hologram set) which worked over my pink polish. Each kit has 2 complimentary shades of ‘bling’, a mini polish for underneath and mini Kensington Caviar topcoat, with a brush and tray to apply the bling. You tip the glitter into the tray, apply a layer of polish, dip your finger in to the glitter nail down, whilst rolling to evenly coat the nail (the tricky bit.) If you need extra, you shake it over the nail held over the tray, then brush the excess off the nail and finger with the brush. Finally seal with a coat or three of topcoat.

I was really impressed. I was afraid it would feel rough or catch on clothes but actually it becomes textured yet smooth once sealed with topcoat. I worried it would chip straight off but after week one of my holiday (including sand, sea and pool water,) my nails needed re-doing and the glitter ring finger remained intact. I re-did the others and a full 14 days later, my fingers were only just starting to look worse for wear. Impressive.

Clearly it’s not an everyday look, but if I have any special occasions coming up this party season, I know what I’ll be doing with my nails 😉


AW12 Nail trends: DIY Painterly Two Tone Manicure

You all know I’m a big fan of a nail trend so when I spotted a video on creating an ombre nail effect I decided to have a go myself. I’ve been craving something new for the new season and this just seemed perfect before I turn to my autumn/winter nail wardrobe of steely greys and inky blues.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I toyed with several colours for this look and trialed it with the navy I eventually chose, Chanels muddy purple ‘Paradoxal’ and also a Nars silver which I liked for the futuristic mixed metals look it gave. The most dramatic however was the Navy, so thats what I chose for the finished look. It’s a very subtle metallic navy that with a couple of coats looks almost black, Betty Blues 110 by No. 7 at Boots.

To get the look you will need:
Your two chosen colours.
Your usual base coat and a clear top coat.
A cosmetic sponge.
Some cotton buds.
Nail polish remover.

  • So first off, apply your base coat (the paler shade.) I’m using a Topshop polish here, a super metallic white gold shade called Crystal Clouds. I only used one coat as that gave a dense enough colour, and don’t forget your base coat first.

(The most difficult thing about this look is that layering the polishes, however you do it, disturbs the coats you have already applied, so this coat needs to be really dry before you start again. I applied mine then went out and did the rest later.)

  • Next up, working one finger at a time, paint a corner of the cosmetic sponge with the second (darker) shade of polish. You only need to paint a small area – about the size of your nail. You don’t need a lot, just enough so theres still some on the sponge, allowing for some to soak in.
  •  Carefully sponge the polish onto the nail. (Don’t worry, you will get it all over your fingers too but we’ll clean that up later.) Once you’ve got the hang of it and if the amount of polish on the sponge is perfect you can start half to two thirds of the way down the nail and build the colour up towards the tip. However I found this a bit unpredictable and started at the tip to test the effect and worked further down as the sponge got less saturated. You can sometimes do a couple of nails before you need to repaint the sponge.
  • Work fast and lightly; as I said above, once the polish is wet if you mess around, you just start to take it off each time you press the sponge on. At this point it’s about creating a finish that you are happy with. If the sponged edges get a bit ‘definite looking’ I went back with the gold polish and making sure most of the excess polish is wiped off onto the bottle, added a couple of extra dots of polish then sponged around them. You’re looking to create a painterly watercolour effect where the two colours just bleed into each other.
  • Finally, you want the tips to have the appearance of properly applied varnish so you might need to apply a little extra there to get the depth of colour. By now your fingers will probably look like you have dipped them into a paint box to dip a cotton bud into your nail polish remover and scrub around the edges and tops to remove all the extra polish from your skin.
  • Finish with 2 coats of topcoat to give a smooth glossy, ultra high-shine finish. When you apply the first topcoat you can actually muddy the finish a little more by very lightly dragging the colour around a litre if you want to improve the effect.

So there you have it, what set out to be an ombre nail is actually more of a painterly two tone and I love it. The gold mixed with a darker shade seems light enough to nod to the end of summer but has more than a hint of the new season about it.

What do you think readers? Are you going to be trying this one out?


Nails #trending…

I’ve been a-noticing recently, nails just aren’t what they used to be. They’re even better!

I’m fairly confident that I can award myself the title of nail queen. From leaving school right through to my early uni years my nails were painted 24/7 in every colour possible, then medicine and hospital hand washing rules got in the way. (Despite the fact that nail varnish has absolutely nothing to do with how much you wash your hands or how clean they are.)

Freed from the wards now, I’ve been getting back into nails in a big way over the last year or so, and quite topically after this morning’s discussion, I thought I’d do a round up of nail trends I’ve been spotting.

You see, it’s no longer enough (and I say that of course with a pinch of salt,) to simply have painted nails. They must be the latest shades like blues, greens and neon, have contrasting tips, stripes or ring finger accents. And then there’s, *gasp* glitter!

Once upon a time I thought these trends were so lacking in cool (remember nail art and hideous acrylics with piercing and a diamanté? And when blue nail polish was so your-ten-year-old-self?) but now I’m all for experimenting. It’s funny how things change 🙂

Turquoise with china glitter Pshiiit.com
Space Nails Pshiiit.com (DIY)
Red and coral mani (how do you like the zip transfer?) Pshiiit.com
Sparkled Apricot nails – Cupcakes and Cashmere (DIY)
Galaxy nails – A Cup of Jo (DIY)
Grey and gold sparkle fade tips via Pinterest
I love these Deborah Lippman glitter top coats and this baby blue one is perfect for spring – Kellie Gonzo
Gold leaf manicure – The Beauty Department (DIY)
Faded neon Tips – High Fashion Magazine
Yellow neon ‘V’ nails – Pshiiit.com

So today I was wondering… What do you think about all the new nail trends we’re seeing, are you game? Or too many memories of the 90’s?!


Saturday Survey

Happy weekend everybody!

I’m having a relaxed one and hopefully spending some QT with Pete. We went to a wedding last night and now I’m nursing a bit of a sore head with a long to-do list to get started on! Later on my Mum and step-Dad are coming over – we’re treating them to dinner at Alberts for his birthday, then tomorrow I’m cooking Fish Pie for Mother’s Day and my sister is coming over.

This week it’s just one question for you, but first, five things from me to you 🙂

Five things…

Get 25% off at KurtGeiger.com with code ‘GRAZIA25’until 27th March.

Kurt Geiger Ltd.

The new Dashing magazine is out!

A little sneak peek of my dining room make-over coming up on the blog next week…

And speaking of sneaky peeks, last month I shared a favourite corner in my home on Getting it Swoonworthy. It’s an antique scandanavian cupboard which I use to display my accessories, and you can peep inside it here.

My new nail crush? Neon and nude. Get it here from Nails Inc

Image Credit

Saturday Survey.
There’s really only one question on my mind this week, and it seems appropriate given that it’s Mothers Day tomorrow.

I’d like to know where you are in terms of having a family?

Are you…

  • Not in a relationship
  • In a relationship but not married
  • Married without kids
  • Thinking about starting a family
  • Already a parent

I hope it’s not too personal a question…

What are you doing and what did you get your Mum for Mother’s day?


Florence’s DIY Mani-tips

Hello lovelies!

This afternoon it’s a ‘beating the January blues’ kinda post, because what can possibly cheer you up more than a slick of colour on your nails?

You may be a regular getting your nails done, or have never ever had them done, either way, there’s always a time when you might need to paint them. For a special night out perhaps, or maybe you’re a regular polish addict and want to save some pennies by DIY-ing at home sometimes. For anybody who needs it, this is my DIY guide to painting your nails with success and the top products that I use each and every time to make it last.

The Products:
I am a firm believer in painting your nails properly. That means using a base coat and a top coat and I have 2 great recommendations for you.

Leighton Denny Base coat

First up. Leighton Denny Base Coat. This dries matte and I have no idea how it makes the colour cling on so well to your nail, but I couldn’t be without it. It’s quick drying too so needn’t add any time to your routine. It’s a little more than your average nail polish in terms of price but I’ve had mine for 3 years and it’s still going strong.

For a top coat, it’s the cheap and cheerful Rimmel Pro Super Wear Top Coat. This has 2 great actions – firstly it really makes a difference when it comes to chips and making the polish last, but it also gives a wicked shine to any colour. (Please note, this polish is clear, but mine has taken on the colour of the polishes I layer it over, most notably Rouge Noir.) 😉

On the left here, you’ll see my Leighton Denny Miracle Drops. These are a must for people who smudge out of impatience. You drop them onto the nail as soon as you’re done with your top coat and the chemicals suck the oxygen out of the polish making it dry quicker. You can apply several times if you’re in a hurry and it really works.

Bodyshop Almond oil nail and cuticle treatment

You will also see I have photographed a cuticle oil that I use occasionally. It’s cheap and moisturises the nails well -I used one before my wedding and dip in occasionally now, worth a try if you struggle with yours being dry or scraggy.

The How-To:
First up, start with clean, filed nails. I use the Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File and prefer mine short and square-ish. I bought the mini file (£12) over a year ago and it’s supposed to have a lifetime guarantee. It’s also make light work of the job – I hate filing my nails, surely we all have better things to do with our time?

Apply your base coat first coating the whole nail from the cuticle up and right to both edges.

Once that has dried, start applying your colour. The trick to looking like your nails were done professionally is all in the base of the nail. Try to make a straight line with a millimetre or two’s gap from the cuticle. I like to press the brush onto my finger half way up the nail then edge it down to create this line, before swiping it along the length of the nail. I do each nail in 2 quick strokes. Be decisive! It’s when you stress over getting it straight that you wobble! Like the base of the nail, don’t paint right to the edge of the nail either, it helps avoid mistakes and elongates the nail if yours are short.

If you’re messy (and it happens to everyone) just use the nail of the other hand to scrap it off, or wrap a bit of tissue tightly around a cocktail stick and wipe away – you can also do this at the end to tidy up if you dip it in a bit of nail polish remover.

How to paint nails

I applied 2 coats of this fab metallic white gold colour from Topshop – it’s like molten metal on and I’d recommend it for this time of year – it’s bright enough to look cheerful for spring, but also wintery with it’s glitzy edge. 🙂

Next apply your top coat. The Rimmel one has an extra wide brush so you should be able to do the whole nail in one coat, try to take it a tiny bit wider than the actual colour and slightly lower, to really seal in the edges.

Finish with the Miracle Drops and Voila!

(I took this photo less than 2 minutes after applying the miracle drops and you can see they are touch dry already. They wouldn’t take a big knock or swipe but the drops are incredibly good.)

Let me know if you like DIY-ing and found this useful or of course if you have any recommendations for products to try that make a DIY manicure easier.

Lots of fancy-fingered love,

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