Tuesday, 31 December 2013

NYE sophisticated glitz and glamour

So 2013 is very nearly over, and I still can't get over how quick this year has gone.. I hope everyone's had an amazing year!

For this NYE I have gone for a more sophisticated look but still with the necessary NYE sparkle....

First I used Barry M 'Countess' from their  Royal Glitter Collection and this has to be one of my absolute favourite winter nail varnish colours. It's a rich deep burgandy, packed full of bronze, red, silver and gold finely milled glitter particles and you literally only need one coat of this for full coverage, it's amazing! 

Of course you could just use this one colour on its own and it would still look lovely but because it's NYE which is a perfect excuse to "go sparkly or go home" I then added a top coat of Nails Inc 'Glamour glitter' which was free out of glamour magazine a while ago but is the perfect for adding that little extra 'zazz' as it isn't too packed full of gold glitter so it adds a nice subtle layer on top of the nail. 

As you can see in the picture above these two nail varnishes are the perfect duo! It's still nice and glittery but without being too in your face.

Finally, add a layer or two of top coat to make your nails extra glossy (I highly recommend seche vite top coat, it is truly amazing, it's gives your nails a gel-like effect and dries in seconds!!) 

... And that's it!! 

I hope everyone has a lovely NYE, and I'll see you all next year for another tutorial! 

- Sophie x

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas mix and match

What better way to get you into the festive spirit than to paint your nails all Christmassy? 

I haven't done a tutorial for this as I used that many different colours and nail art pens, but each nail is really simple to do! 

For all the colours, pick your base colour, then use the right colour to do the shape of the animal/character, and finally use nail art pens for the details such as eyes, scarf, belt etc.

I chose some of my favourite things about Christmas but you can pick anything like snowflakes, Christmas tree, Christmas puddings, bows, or anything glittery! 

I hope you liked this quick post, I've got one more Christmas themed post coming up next week so keep your eyes out for it! :)

- Sophie x

Sparkly snowflakes

I've got another quick Christmas nail art post for you...

For this I used Essie 'Midnight Cami' as my base colour which is a gorgeous metallic navy, and then I layered Models Own 'Jack Frost' (isn't that just the best Christmas name for a nail polish!?) on top to add some extra sparkle.

Then using my trusty Models Own white nail art pen I painted a large snowflake on each nail and added a couple of scattered dots. You don't have to do just one big snowflake, you could change it and do a couple of smaller ones, or alternate on each nail!

Finally just to add that extra bit of sparkle I glued on a couple of white and blue gem stones that I got from a mixed set off eBay..

.. And that's it! Simple, quick and rather pretty Christmas nails, and the perfect alternative to traditional red and gold patterns! 

Hope you like this pattern,

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! 

- Sophie x

Monday, 9 December 2013

A 'Stroke of Brilliance' from Essie


.. well nearly!

It's only 15 days until Christmas now, so it's the perfect time to embrace all things glittery and sparkly!

I was browsing boots the other week and was immediately drawn to the Essie stand thanks to their new 'Luxeffects' range which consists of 5 gorgeous and dreamy top coats packed full of glittery goodness! There's a gold, silver, white and pink one but the one that really caught my eye was the blue glitter called "Stroke of Brilliance" seen in the photo above...

And let me tell you, it really is a stroke of brilliance!! I just had to buy this colour as it's nothing like any other glitter nail polish I have. It is full of different sized navy/metallic blue glitter particles and looks so amazing on the nails as it catches the light so beautifully which gives it a silvery effect too.

As with all Essie nail polishes the consistency is perfection. The brush packs the perfect amount of glitter on each application and the wide fan style brush gives a beautiful even cover of the polish on the nail.

The formula is very chip resistant! In the swatch photo above (that I took today) I've actually had this nail varnish on for a week now and haven't had to touch it up at all! I decided to layer it over a dark metallic blue to show off the gorgeous two tone of the glitter but I think this would look beautiful over a pale blue or even white!

I think this is a perfect glitter nail polish for the Christmas season as it makes a nice change from traditional gold/red/green glitter! 

I hope you enjoyed this review, let me know if you've tried any of the Essie 'luxeffects' range, and what your favourite Christmas nail varnishes are! 

- Sophie x

(P.S sorry about the lack of blogging in November, it was such a hectic month at University with too many assignment deadlines, and i completely lost track of time.. I didn't realise it had been a month since my last post! So so sorry! Now that my assignments are nearly complete i'm hoping to get back on track with my blogging and fingers crossed will be able to get a new post up every week or at least every fortnight! Thank you for bearing with me! xx) 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Walking Dead

It's that time of the year again..... Halloween! 

There were so many designs that I was debating to do for the Polish Party Halloween challenge but since the return on my favorite programme 'The Walking Dead' I've been slightly obsessed with zombies so i thought, what better tutorial to do than the look of rotting flesh dripping with blood!? 

For this tutorial, I used Models Own 'Aciiid' and 'Purple Ash' which blended together give the perfect horrible zombie 'fleshy' colour! I also used my red Rio nail art pen - you don't necessarily need to use a nail art pen for this, but i just found it easier to work with.

... I didn't do a step by step picture tutorial because this is such an easy look to achieve and literally takes a couple of minutes! 

- So to start with paint all your nails with the lime green 'Aciiid' 

- Then put a couple of blobs of the 'Purple Ash' onto a piece of scrap paper and using a small sponge start getting messy!! Just dab and blend the darker colour all over the nails and down onto your skin.. be careful not to overdo this bit as you still want to let the lime green colour come through!

- Next, grab your red colour and start drawing blood around the cuticles/edges of the nails and also do some red streaks down your fingers. Then using a clean edge of your sponge just blend the red in slightly.

- Now add a few fine streaks of the red and 'purple ash' on the nails, and again just lightly blend them in using the sponge.

- Dip the sponge back into the 'Purple Ash' and darken the red colour slightly, and also sponge some of the lime green 'Aciiid' down onto your fingers to make your flesh look like its rotting!!

- Finally, just keep blending the colours together over the nail and on your skin until your happy with the effect. 

And that's it!! I didn't put a top coat on these as you don't want the nails to look glossy!

This literally took me about 10 minutes to do, it's so quick and easy and extremely fun to get that messy with nail varnish and not having to worry about being neat and precise! 

I hope you like this look, if you're dressing up as a zombie for halloween then this would be perfect to do!

Thank you for taking the time out to read this tutorial!
- Sophie x

P.S. don't forget to check out all the other Polish Party girl's Halloween tutorials below as they are amazing! 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Autumn bloom

Hi everyone,

Today i've done a tutorial for possibly my favourite pattern to date.. a autumnal vintage floral design...

Autumn is by far my favourite season, and i love being able to go back to wearing warm, rich, dark colours for the season.. and of course to make it a bit more 'me' i had to do some flowers on there!

(before i start please excuse the poor quality of my pictures! my camera isn't the best, and it doesn't help when there is poor lighting in my room!)

To begin with paint your base colour.. 

I used my all time favourite autumnal colour - Models Own 'Purple Ash'.. Oh my.. this colour is just amazing! its a gorgeous purple/brown/taupe colour and as with all models own colours gives amazing coverage!

Then using a light colour, I chose 'Lemon Meringue' as you can see above from Models Own (again!) and just paint random splurges to make the base shape of your flowers.. this bit doesn't have to be neat, the messier the better in fact as it all adds to the vintage look!

Then you'll need two more colours, one slightly darker, and then another one step darker.. I used another beauty from Models Own - 'Fuzzy Peach' and my red Rio nail art pen.

For this bit i used a fine nail art brush and put a dot of each colour onto a piece of paper and then just painted random flecks and swirls onto each flower.. I also painted a little blob of the red in the centre of each flower just to add depth and shadow.

Finally you just need two shades of green for your leaves (you can just use the one shade if you don't have two) - I used 'Aciiid' from Models Own (can you tell that they are my favourite nail brand?) and my green Rio nail art pen..

Paint a couple of triangular shaped leaves onto each flower with the lighter shade, and then add a couple of flecks of the darker colour to mimic the veins in the leaves..

Then just seal with your favourite topcoat and your done! 

This pattern is so easy and quick to do! you can be really messy and random as it doesn't take any precision at all, and of course it creates a perfect look for autumn! 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, leave any comments below with any suggestions as to what kind of pattern you would like me to do next!

Thank you for taking the time out to read this tutorial, I really appreciate it!

- Sophie x

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Liebster Award

Today its a bit of a different post to my usual tutorials, but recently I was nominated for a 'Liebster Award' from the lovely CandySaysx.

I'd never heard of the Liebster award until I started blogging so after hunting around the internet I grasped a better idea of the award and what it entails. Basically its an award that bloggers give to fellow bloggers, but the one catch is that they have to have under 200 followers - so it's a brilliant way to discover and promote new and upcoming blogs! 

You answer a set of questions given to you by your nominee and then once you've answered the questions, you tag and nominate ten of your favourite new blogs and so on... 

I was so touched when I was nominated and it just shows and i've finally managed to find the time to answer the questions CandySaysx set for me, so here it goes....

1) If you could go into one shop and have anything and everything you wanted for free, which shop would you choose?
I'm completely torn with this question so i've got no choice but to cheat and say Selfridges, that way I'd have access to all the goodies off the high street such as my fave Topshop, and amazing designer labels! Plus the added bonus of the beauty section and most importantly the food hall! Who doesn't love a good food section?! 

2) Which mascara do you use?
I use so many different mascaras that all pretty much do the same job but i get pressured into trying new ones by the tempting offers in boots! At the moment i'm using new Revlon Lash Potion Mascara  which i'm loving! It's got a large bristle brush which separate your lashes without leaving you with the dreaded "spider" lashes.

3) Which fashion house would you most like to work for?
I'd have to say Topshop.. This is always my go-to store when I want to treat myself or when I just want to have a general browse at the latest trends.. but it does love to drain my bank account!

4) Who influences your style?
 I've got a mega girl crush on Zooey Deschanel and because I love all things vintage, her style would probably be my biggest influence. Although there are others such as Lucy Hale (from Pretty Little Liars) because she has a bit of a mixed style which ranges from girly dresses to jeans and converse.

5) What would you typically wear on a first date?
If I was going to quite a fancy place for my first date then i'd wear a floaty dress, blazer and I'd probably even brave a pair of heels despite my hatred for them! 
If it a more 'casual' first date then i'd stick to my blazer, but i'd wear a more laid back skater dress and a nice pair of flats.

6) Eyes or lips; or are you one of those brave people who emphasises both?
Definitely eyes! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love a bold red lip, but I've only felt brave enough a couple of times to actually venture outside wearing red lipstick, so i tend to fall back into my safety net of emphasising my eyes more and then wearing a more natural lip colour.

7) Do you have something hanging in your wardrobe which you’ve never worn?
I've got too many things hanging in my wardrobe that i've never worn, but we won't go into how much of a hoarder i am right now though....

8) Do you have a favourite pair of shoes?
Definitely my black Topshop Mary Jane T-Bar shoes.. they scream "granny chic" and most people probably think they are hideous, but I love them too much to care! 

9) What cheers you up if you are sad?
If i'm feeling down or sad then I tend to just watch a couple of episodes of New Girl or The Big Bang Theory and it normally does the trick!
And of course, just ranting and unloading all my sadness onto my friends works a treat to! 

10) If you won a holiday for two, who would you take with you and why?
I'd take my lovely mom, and pay her back for all the amazing things she's done for me over the years.

11) What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Ermm i think it's just meeting all the other lovely bloggers that are out there, but also just having an outlet where I can share all my likes and obviously my love for nails! Sometimes you do feel like your talking to yourself, but even when you just get one comment on your blog post it makes it all worth the effort and dedication!


And thats it! Its a different styled post to what I normally do, but I was so honoured to be nominated for a Liebster Award I couldn't just ignore it! 

Here are my 10 nominees - go check out their amazing blogs if you havent already! ...

and here are my questions for all you lovely ladies...

  1. What's the one beauty product you couldn't live without?
  2. What's your all time favourite nail varnish?
  3. What's the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?
  4. What made you want to start a blog?
  5. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
  6. If you could become best friends with a character from any novel, who would you choose?
  7. What's your favourite fashion style?
  8. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
  9. Favourite magazine?
  10. Are you a pudding/desert girl, or do you prefer savoury foods?
  11. If you travel back in time only once, which period or event in history would you choose to travel back to?

I hope you all enjoyed reading this (and i hope i didn't bore you all too much with my answers aha!)

- Sophie x

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Autumn Colour-foil

Hi everyone,

Since starting my blog a couple of months ago, I have met so many lovely bloggers on twitter and since getting to know these lovely ladies we decided to set up a group called 'Polish Party'.

Every month we are setting a themed nail design and this month we decided to go for an autumn theme, and the last week of every month will be when we will all post these designs. So far the other girls have gone for super cute animal inspired patterns, and gorgeous leaf designs (you can check out all their blog's from the links at the end of the post!) but sticking to my love of all things vintage and glittery i've decided to go for a foil bejewelled design using autumnal colours...

So for this design you will need a few different things;

- Your base colour - I used one of my favourite new nail varnishes that i've bought recently which is Models Own 'Absinthe' from their gorgeous new Velvet Goth range which you can buy here.

- Nail art foil - I picked this Ciate kit up from asos in the sale for a bargain £8 and in the kit you get a full sized nail varnish, 12 sheets of foil which will last for ages (i only used a tiny square from 3 individual sheets for this design), foil adhesive, and you also get a nail wheel!

- Selection of embellishments; I get all my studs and jewels from ebay as they are so cheap! I used a mix of pearl studs and green, gold & silver jewels for this design.

I wanted to include a swatch of 'Absinthe' on its own just to show off how amazing this colour is!

If you haven't already tried out the Velvet Goth collection from Models Own where have you been hiding!? Its a gorgeous sparkly and super pigmented set of colours which include a black, green, red, blue and purple and each colour gives a unique 2D matte yet sparkly finish! I only used 1 coat of Absinthe in the picture above so you can see how intensely pigmented they are!

Okay, back to the tutorial!

.. Once you've painted your base colour, grab your foil and I used the glue which came in the Ciate kit but i reckon this would work with a little bit of ordinary nail glue as well.

To get the foil affect, dab a bit of glue onto the nail only where you want the first foil colour.. wait for the glue to go a little bit tacky, place the foil shiny side up and press down firmly. Then in a swift movement peel off the foil and your left with a gorgeous effect on the nail!

If you want you can just use one colour foil, but if like me you prefer a more vintage/baroque effect then you can layer up a mix of colours like i have, which looks so nice on top of a deep rich base colour!

Finally, I added a mix of some pearls and different coloured jewels to compliment the foil. This is an optional step and I debated for a while whether to add any jewels because it looked so pretty still without but I decided to go all out and scatter a few on each nail...

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, don't forget to check out the other amazing designs from the rest of the girls in Polish Party below!

Sophie x

>> >> >> >> >>

Friday, 20 September 2013

Bird print tutorial

 Hi everyone!

Today i've got a super easy nail art design for you all that only takes 2 quick steps...

All you need for this pattern is your chosen base colour - i've gone for 'Cream Soda' from Ciate which is a gorgeous pale grey with blue undertones - and some bird shaped nail stickers. I'm using the stickers out of a little kit from Bourjois I picked up a while ago. I think it was a free gift when you spent so much on their products, but you can easily get your hands on some stickers from places like ebay or amazon..

So firstly paint your base colour....

Then once your nails are 90% dry (you'll want them a tiny bit tacky still so that you can press the sticker gently into the polish to make sure none of the edges stick up) place a sticker on each nail.. I found it easiest to use a pair of tweezers to pick up each sticker and gently position and press into the polish..

And it's that easy!

All you have to do then is seal with a top coat and your done! This literally took me about 15 minutes, its so simple and is a lot easier than trying to paint the birds on free hand!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, 

Sophie x

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

NYFW Half Moon

Hi everyone! 

Over the last week I have been hooked on looking at all the coverage from New York Fashion Week, and all the collections - especially Elie Saab's A/W Haute Couture collection - are so stunning! 

But one thing that has really caught my eye is actually the simplicity of the nail art... most designers from Alexander Wang to DVF all opted for simple, classic and chic nails mainly using nudes, white, and sometimes a hint of gold or grey. Seeing all the fabulous pictures has rekindled my love for nude nails as i've been stuck over summer in going for a more floral design so this is something really understated and plain for me....

.. but surprisingly I love it - it's such a simple design but looks really effective!

The 'Half Moon' has been a popular trend amongst nail junkies over the last couple of months and it is such an easy look to achieve! (which is why I haven't done a step by step picture tutorial!)

Heres how I achieved the look;

1) Paint your base colour.. I chose my favourite nude which is Barry M 'Lychee' from their hi-shine gelly range. This is such a gorgeous colour and only took 1 coat for full opacity!

2) Then using a white nail art pen - I chose my trustee Models Own one but any will work -  draw a line along the cuticle at the base of the nail, and then draw your outline of a semi circle (it's up to you how big you want the semi circle shape.. I normally go for about 1/4 the way up the nail) and then simply just fill in the shape with the white paint..

.. and thats it!!

So quick to do but I think it's a nice modern twist on the classic french manicure, and pays perfect homage to NYFW in just two simple steps! ..

This would also look great with a gold glitter as your half moon, and even black against the nude!

I hope you all enjoy this tutorial!

Sophie x

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Daisy Mania

Hi everyone,

This week i've decided to do one of my all time favourite nail art designs! This is such an easy pattern to do and requires minimal effort...

All you need for this pattern is a base colour and a white, yellow and black nail art pen. I used my trusted Models Own pens and I cannot rave about these nail art pens enough!! They are by far the best ones on the market today, and they seem to last forever!  

If you haven't got these colours in a pen, you can use a dotting tool to dip into those three colours.. 

(Oh before I forget, please excuse the state of my yellow nail art pen! my mischevious - and far too cute - little dog managed to get his paws on it and decided to chew the lid.. luckily I found him with it before he covered himself in yellow nail varnish.. disaster averted!)

This design works with so many different colours as your base, but I chose a gorgeous green which is 'Mojito' by Essie (made even better by nabbing it for a bargain £1.99 on fragrance direct - check out their website here if you haven't already!) 

I have so much love for Essie polishes, they have a really wide, 'fanned' brush and in just one stroke you've practically coated the entire nail - its make them so quick to work with! 

So once you've painted your base colour, grab your yellow nail art pen and do random dots on each nail.. you can adjust this design to suit you by painting as many or as little daisies as you want! 

Next, using your white nail art pen, paint dots around each yellow centre.. i tend to find 5 or 6 white dots maximum looks best..

At this stage you can leave the pattern like that as it looks so cute by just using the white and yellow


... using your black pen, add a little black fleck to each white petal.

I like to add this little bit extra detail to the flowers and i just find it works really well and looks that tiny bit more impressive.. but depending on how much time you have or how simple you want the pattern, this step is optional! 

Once you're nails are completely dry - be sure to leave extra time if you add the black to avoid the dreaded colour "bleed" - add a layer of your favourite top coat and you're done!

This is such a quick and simple design and can be easily be transitioned through to A/W by using rich dark colours like burgundy and even black as your base colour! 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! 

Sophie x

(p.s. be sure to leave any comments below, and tweet/instagram me a picture - link to profiles on side bar - with pictures of your nails if you decided to try it out for yourself!)

Monday, 26 August 2013

Peach Meringue Vintage Floral

Hi everyone, 

For my first nail art tutorial I thought I'd do something that's simple and quick to do, and seen as the sun is deciding to shine today, I've gone for a pretty summer floral pattern which I hope you'll all like! 

For this tutorial, I chose Models Own 'Lemon Meringue', my all time favourite 'Fuzzy Peach' and 'Aciiid'. These colours work so well together and are perfect to give this nail art pattern a vintage feel, but so many different colour combinations would work perfect for this!

Start by painting your base colour.. I find with most models own nail varnishes you only need 2 coats to get it fully opaque. 

Once you've done this, select a second colour and using the brush that comes in the bottle (you can use a finer nail art brush if you find that easier) paint random blobs of colour onto the nail - just be sure to leave enough room the do the leaves!

Then, grab yourself a nail art pen that's slightly darker than the flower colour - for this I chose my red Rio nail art pen (if you don't have the colour you want in a nail art pen, then you can always dip a cocktail stick or thin brush into a nail varnish).. and using your pen paint on random flecks around the edge, and a couple of flecks in the middle of the flower to mimic the petals on a rose..

This step is optional.. if you prefer you can just stick to one colour for the flecks of the petals, but I always like to use my trusted models own white nail art pen just to add a couple more as I find it adds a bit more depth to the flower.

Grab yourself whichever green you like and paint a couple of leaves on each flower. Don't worry about being that neat for this part as I tend to find that the 'rougher' the leaves, the more realistic they look. For this I just used the brush in the bottle but use whatever you find easiest to work with..

Last but not least, if you have a green nail art pen then you can also add a few flecks to the leaves to add a bit more detail..

Once your done, seal with your favourite topcoat and your good to go! 

I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial!

Thank you for taking the time out to read it,

Sophie x

(p.s. drop me a comment below with any suggestions, and tweet/instagram me a picture if you tried this pattern out for yourself!)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

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First steps into the vast and nerve-wracking blogosphere...

Hi everyone! 

Before I get started, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about myself...

My name is Sophie Allen and I'm a full time History undergraduate student at Newman University. I'm a complete and utter history geek and could spend hours trailing around a museum (I know what your all thinking... *snoooooze*) but I'm also a self confessed lover of dogs, all things vintage and floral, and of course everything and anything to do with nails. 

So... after months of inner debate, I decided to finally take the leap and join the blogging community. As I sit in bed with a cup of hot chocolate, New Girl on the TV, and writing this I'm nervous... not just because the idea of anyone actually bothering to view, let alone take the time to read my blog is mind-boggling to me, but also because there are so many amazing and wonderful blogs out there already (I too have spent the last couple of years hooked on staring at my laptop screen thanks to the many blogs I loyally follow!)

BUT... I'm so excited at the same time! The reason I decided to create this blog was purely for the fact that I just want to share my (some may call OTT) love of all things nails; this will be through nail art tutorials, reviews, swatches, hauls, and any other ideas that randomly pop into my head, in the hope that some of my passion for nail art rubs off on you!

Please be patient with me while I get to grips with everything, but without further ado...

... welcome to The Floral Bandit!