AW13 Nail Favourites

Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Noir and Vendetta // Essie in ‘For the Twill of It’, ‘Power Clutch’ (khaki) and Magnetic Snake skin effect ‘Snake it Up’ (navy) // Butter London ‘Billy no mates’

For the last couple of weeks I’ve started to embrace autumn’s palette in my nail shades, opting for darker tones. Unusually for me I’ve been drawn to deep rich blues, my usual Rouge Noir (although not always the Chanel version) and a couple of wild cards. I’ve yet to try it but I’m lusting after a flat khaki green and pale grey. I don’t own a khaki but I fancy this Essie shade and I’ll be resurrecting a pale grey I bought a few years back and wore only once. They feel modern and grown up at the same time and will provide the perfect relief from summer corals and neons, before party season sparkles take over.

I’d love to know what your favourite shades are this autumn… let me know!


Spotted: Essie in the Beauty Aisles

This morning I had to give a new find of mine a shout out… Essie nail polishes are now available in your local Boots, Superdrug, Debenhams and even John Lewis! This might not come as news to many of you and my apologies for appearing a little behind the times. Although an avid shopper, I rarely bother with Beauty Stores or spend much time in Beauty departments, apart from at the specific cosmetics counters that I like. I’d never make a Beauty blogger! Previously a salon-only brand, a few months back, Essie headed into high street stores and has stormed to the top of my favourite nail brands!

I absolutely LOVE the fact that there is such a huge range of colours, including many fashion and trend led shades – their range of blues and greens right now is second to none. I treated myself (and here’s the second thing to love,) for a very reasonable ยฃ7.99 to Lapiz of Luxury, a lovely cornflower blue and have been wearing it since last Friday. So far I’ve given it some real welly, scrabbling around setting up the Dream. Find. Do. shoot yesterday and at the weekend I helped my friend with some party planning that involved a fair bit of washing up, after heading to the allotment for a few hours. Believe it or not, it’s still chip free! ๐Ÿ™‚

The current collection is the mirror metallics after a particularly ice-creamy selection of seaside shades earlier this season. Snap up a metallic and you’ll be ready equipped for the coming season – metallics are going to be HUGE in AW12.

So, have you worn Essie and what’s your favourite colour… I’m always in the market for a new shade ๐Ÿ˜‰


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.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 (ยฃ12) 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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,

Florence’s Gift Guide #7 – Stocking fillers

This morning, it’s a very quick last few ideas for stocking fillers before the Christmas shopping deadlines.

Most shops are still accepting orders for delivery before Christmas until the end of the day, ( only until 11am!) so if you’ve got anything left to buy and can’t face the shops do make sure you get it done quickly this morning and save the time spent battling the masses on your local high street for Christmas fun with the ones you love ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Every year I buy someone (if not several people) these Gap wool socks. The picture doesn’t make them look good but they do different colours and patterns and are the warmest socks ever for wearing with boots in the winter. Without fail they go on my list too.
  • Party girl or cocktail lover? White Peach Puree – for an effortless Bellini.
  • For a perfect pout all winter long… Eve Lom Kiss Mix.
  • For the man who loves a kitchen gadget, give him uniformity with a Meat Baller!
  • A shade that ticks all the boxes for a great price, try giving Metallic nails (or any number of other reasonably priced makeup items) – Topshop
  • For the gardener in your life, string in a tin – Crocus
  • In a range of different phrases to tickle everyone’s humorous side and making a great fold up tote for inside your bag… Book Club Tote –
  • Save your own moisturiser from being depleted and treat him to his own… Nivea for men – to soothe his winter chapped skin.
  • Interiors fanatics and design afficionados will appreciate the credentials of the Pantone Bone China Mugย in Custard Yellow.
  • And lastly, my favourite ‘find’. For handbag lovers, cat owners and the safety conscious alike (– that should have every female friend or relative you know covered then,) have you seen this genius and stylishย Alessi Handbag Hook? Shaped like a cat, you keep it in your bag then balance it off a table edge where the tail keeps your bag close to hand. LOVE.

That’s the last Christmas gift guide for 2011! I purchased my last present last night (smug face) and am now facing a mountain of wrapping…

Pop back this afternoon for Florence’s book club!


Winter… Nailed.

Ok, so after quite an introspective and cerebral afternoon yesterday, I thought it might be time to discuss something a little more light hearted, because we women are nothing if not diverse, no?

This afternoon I thought I’d do a round up of the ‘it’ shades for your finger tips this winter and ask what are you nailing?

My all time favourite polishes are Leighton Denny – I love the colours and they wear really well on me. Jewel tones are big this season and glitter is making a come back with the Leighton Denny Atmospheric collection: Your Planet or Mine (teal with petrol multi-shimmer), Big bang (Black with Silver Glitter) and Purely Plutonic.

Probably the best received couture colour this season was Diors ‘Blue Label’ – a royal blue which seemed really fresh after years of greys. There are still greys to be had though – phew – and Dior does a real favourite shade of mine, along with this rich regal purple. Dior Vernis – Purple revolution, Perfecto and Blue label.

Once again, Blue was THE colour at Chanel, and this exclusive Blue Jeans collection was produced especially for Vogue’s Fashion Night Out – good luck getting your hands on it! Chanel Le Vernis – Coco Blue, Blue Rebel and Blue Boy.

The latest nail trend? Magnetic polishes. Nails Inc started it with Nails Inc Magnetic polish but you can get a (cheaper) slice of the action with this similar Boots 17 nail polish.

More of a neutrals girl? Well, for a massive range of nudes and beiges (plus this super sparkly party purple shade I couldn’t resist including,) try Butter London. Butter London Holiday collection – The Black Knight (Purple sparkle). Yummy Mummy (nude) and Fash Pack (putty) from the Classic collection.

And if you’re looking for something cheap, here is a Florence’s Favourite tipRimmel London Pro Colour Memory nail polishes last fabulously on my nails, come in a shade to match nearly every designer or trend led shade available and have a really wide brush making application really easy.

So readers, have you bagged any of these shades or will you be adding them to your shopping list? Do tell what shade you’re nailing today?!


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