Tag Archives: Nails

Mar. 09.

Manicure Monday: Spring is Here!

mm-essie-thIt’s March, and while I personally believe spring starts in February, February just didn’t feel like spring. Now though, the weather is slowly getting better, Irish people are losing the run of themselves at the sight of sunshine and longer days, and it is time to start breaking out the brighter polishes that are most suitable for this time of year (though I totally agree that you should wear whatever polish you like whenever you like). So, to get in the spring mood, I am looking at two polishes that I picked up in the sales in January. Both are from Essie, and they are Naughty Nautical & Bikini So Teeny.

Both polishes come from the 2013 Summer collection, Anchors Aweigh. I apologise for only getting around to them in winter 2014/2015, but when the pair are on sale in Boots for €5 (regular price €16.99) how can you say no. It was an easy path from seeing to wanting to making them mine.


Naughty Nautical, the green, is described by Essie as being an “oceanic blue-green shimmer”. It is definitely more green than blue, and does have a very subtle silver shimmer, which while more noticeable in the bottle, doesn’t really translate onto the nails, unless you know it’s there and are looking for it. Bikini So Teeny on the other hand is a “pretty yet provocative cornflower blue with a touch of sparkle”. The sparkle is again silver, and again is not visible unless you were really looking for it.

I think it applied well, spreading nicely, and while a little patchy after coat one, was nice and smooth after the second coat. These were applied on top of a coat of CND Stickey, and finished with a Rimmel Lycra Wear top coat. The pictures though, seem to be a little odd, showing up some weird defects. First up is nails taken without flash.


The green nail in the middle on the left looks particularly off. I can’t for the life of me figure out where the kind of white streaks are coming from. They certainly don’t appear on the nail when I am looking at it normally.


Similarly, in the picture taken with flash, there seems to be a couple of spots on my nails where I have missed them altogether, which isn’t the case. I’ve never had this issue with polishes before!

That said, though, both are really pretty colours, especially when paired side-by-side. If I were to pick one to wear separately, it would be Bikini So Teeny. I think it is a bit more flattering than Naughty Nautical, particularly on my pale fingers. I think they would both look spectacular though, on tanned hands *makes note*, and I am certainly glad that I don’t have to put them under such close scrutiny with the camera again!

What are your go to spring shades? If you had to pick one, would it be Bikini So Teeny or Naughty Nautical? And what do you make of my phantom defects? Let me know in the comments!


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Jan. 12.

Manicure Monday: The Swatch Board

mm-swathboardI’ve previously admitted that I have a bit of a nail polish obsession. In fact, I have 162 (at the moment) nail polish obsessions, and most of them live harmoniously on the shelf just above my head, looking down on my desk. The trouble is, I tend to reach for the same ones over and over again, and that isn’t right. I decided recently to do something about it, and this is what I came up with…


This is the swatch board. 162 little reminders of what each polish looks like on nails, and hopefully reminders to try something new, something old, or something that catches my eye. The great news too, is that it was remarkably easy (but time consuming to do).

The backing is a piece of photographic mount board that I had lying around, things are held together with a roll of white electrical tape, and the nails came in a big box of 200 from Boots. They’re the Nailene ones that cost €10, and never mind that they are different sizes. You could go high class and try and find ones all the same size, but I was looking for easy and cheap! I did originally have each nail mounted on a cotton bud with the ends taken off, thinking of doing a peg board style job, but later decided that a 2D fixture would be easier to store, and less likely to lose parts of. It was then just a case of painting each individual nail a different colour (I used 2 coats each, so you also get an idea of coverage) and setting them aside to dry. In a situation like this, where you may be doing a large amount of them, I will advise you, batch working is your friend. I worked in batches of 10, which meant that process time left long enough for previous batches to dry enough to handle.


It is really handy to have all of them staring me down too, as I have already noticed some that have slipped through and never been used that I now absolutely must try, but there are also some older ones that I now remember why I bought them. All that remains is for me to make sure my Nail Polish Stash list online is updated too. I’m a bit behind on that!

What do you think of this idea? Daft, genius, or crazy in a good way? (FYI, I am crazy, I know that) Let me know in the comments!


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Dec. 08.

Manicure Monday: Red and Gold

mm-red-gold-thI said during Face Friday last week that there was a red and gold manicure to go with my red and gold face, and true to my word, here we are. As we all know, red and gold are perfect festive colours, and I’ve combined the two here into an alternative French Manicure.


The colours chosen for this manicure are ones I’ve never used before. The red, a shade called Tate from Nails Inc. came free with the December issue of Glamour, while the gold is from Collection’s Work the Colour Nail Polish range and is shade 18, Going For Gold. After basecoating my nails with CND Stickey, my basecoat of choice, I applied three coats of Tate to all except for my ring finger, which got an equal number of coats of Going For Gold. I could have gotten away with two coats each, but in order to build up such a deep intensity of colour I thought three would be better suited (that and it’s the magic number).  I then took a modelling paintbrush, and working with the gold, freehanded French Tips onto the red nails, before adding a second coat to ensure a good solid colour. I would have used tip guides, and then the brush that comes with the polish, but I didn’t have any and wanted to challenge myself a little. Finally, I did the opposite over the gold, but instead of a French tip, I did a half moon in red.

Both polishes were really lovely to work with, with the brushes covering the nails evenly, and the polish spreading and moving with no dragging, leaving behind beautifully smooth coats. I’d happily work with the polishes again and again, such is my love for how well they applied.

Finally, let us have a look at the finished result. Pictures, as always, are taken with and without flash, and are presented for your viewing pleasure, firstly without flash.



I am super impressed with how this turned out. Okay, my French tips could have been just that little bit tidier, but the colours work so harmoniously, that I’m not overly concerned by the tips. The contrasting red on gold just serves to do something different, but works in its own right. What do you think of them?


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Nov. 10.

Manicure Monday: Starry Night Nails

starry-thWith the holiday party season rapidly approaching, I have gotten to thinking about how to wear my nails. Classic reds always work, but what other options are available. Taking inspiration from the night sky, and the classic combination of black and silver, today’s Manicure Monday is inspired by the starry night sky.


The 4 polishes included in this manicure are a delightful mix. The black is a black creme polish from the Wet n Wild Wild Shine range (conveniently called black creme), with a top coat from No.7 (silver glitter top coat from a gift set last Christmas). The silver is a basecoat of Sinful Colors (Out of This World) topped with two coats of the unbelievably gorgeous Ignite The Night from Essie.

As for how it looks – See for yourself!

Without flash:


With flash:


I am in love with this. Normally I wouldn’t wear black polish, as I find it can look very harsh. This one though, is amazingly shiny, is priest’s socks black, and sets off the mix of different sized glitters perfectly. Ignite The Night then provides an amazing accent, as the densely packed glitter catches the light from every angle. It is a veritable feast of stars on your fingertips.

What do you think of this? What other glitters would you try with it? I’m thinking that a light sprinkling of gold on top of the silver glitter would add yet another dimension to it, but let me know what you think!


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wnw box
Nov. 08.

Something Else Saturday: Upcoming Reviews on Robyn Rants & Raves

SES-Upcoming-THI know things have been a bit sparse on the review front here on Robyn Rants and Raves over the past while due to hospitals taking up my time and energy. But that doesn’t mean I am not looking for great things for to share with you. So, today, for Something Else Saturday, I want to show you a selection of what you can expect to see soon!

As you know I try to follow a particular theme each day, be it a manicure, trying out products (new and old), waffling on about something, really testing a product, or showing you a face of makeup, along with what products and tools I used to create it. It has created some amazing opportunities for me, chances to work with awesome brands, learn more about makeup & beauty, and share my experiences. I do, of course, fully intend for that to continue! So, here is what I am looking forward to showing you!

CND Solar Oil

Picture 1 of 21

Of course, in addition to all of this, I will continue ranting, raving, and trying to make use of my massive nail polish collection to see what I can come up with. I already have my eyes on a number of ideas for the upcoming party season, but need to decide which looks to work on first!

But, you, my dear readers, are very important to me. While I write Robyn Rants & Raves, I am led by you! So, tell me, what do you really want to see? I wouldn’t be here without you, so let me know, and consider it done.


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Oct. 13.

Manicure Monday: China Glaze Bizarre Blurple

polish-thAfter last weeks bright pink, it is time to get back to darker autumnal nails this week, and so I took a polish that I bought last year off the shelf that I surprisingly haven’t gotten around to wearing yet. Maybe that just goes to show the extent of my nail polish addiction, but this week I have a China Glaze polish in a rather interesting shade called Bizarre Blurple.


I’ll freely admit that I bought this shade specifically because of the name. Just what colour is “blurple”? Is it Blue, is it Purple, or is it somewhere in between? I was determined to find out, so I bought it, but got distracted by a million other things. Anyway, it is time to put it right. I am a great fan of China Glaze polish. The formula and pigmentation is a joy, and Ruby Pumps is one of my all time favourites. Yes, it is a b*tch to get back off my nails, but when I’m wearing it, I don’t want to take it off. The same holds up with the formula for Bizarre Blurple. The brush length and firmness is ideal, and the polish goes on smooth and glossy, becoming nicely opaque in two coats, but I added a third, just to really amplify the depth of the colour, and even out the little bits hat my cack-handed application messes up.

Now, lets answer the colour issue. Take a look at my nails, top picture taken without flash, and bottom with, as usual.



It is blue. It is purple. It is somewhere in between. It is all these things and more. It is, in fact, bizarre, the way that the colour changes so much depending on the light hitting it. I am not sure if it is magic, alchemy or witchcraft, but I love both the two main shades of blue and purple that it comes up with, and the in between shades too. It may have sat on my shelf for a year, but it will not be another year before I go to wear it again!


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Sep. 29.

Manicure Monday: Nicely Nude Nails

nude-thI’ll admit that I am a massive fan of colourful nails. There is a good reason why I own so many colourful nail polishes. However, sometimes a nude nail can look as good as, if not better than their colourful counterparts. There is something so chic about a nicely done nude nail, and I do have several in my collection for when I want something neutral but nice looking adorning my fingers. One such example, that I will show you today is from the Supreme Shine range by 17, and is called mink.


Mink is at the deeper end of the nude spectrum, veering to a milky coffee shade, Its wide brush does allow for easy application, but I found it a little streaky on coat one. On coat two though, it had evened out into a tidy shiny finish. It’s not the best formula in the world, but I have certainly tried to work with far worse!


As for how it looks on my nails. I actually had difficulty trying to photograph this one. It looks deeper in the picture than it actually is. In reality it is a bit milkier than seen here, and while darker than my own skin tone is still quite a pleasant choice to wear when I don’t want to blind someone with bright colours!

Is there a nude shade you regularly turn to? Or are you one of the colours for all brigade? Please do let me know!


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Sep. 08.

Manicure Monday: Paese Silk Nail Enamel Shade 371 – Pleasure

mm-paese-thI mentioned yesterday in my Something Else Sunday post that I would have something to show you from the new Silk range from Paese to show you today, and true to my word, I do! Today we have a lilac shade, numbered shade 371, and called Pleasure, though this is not listed on the bottle.


One of two new collections, the Silk range are described as beautiful soft shades. In the picture above you can see them alongside their sisters in the new pastel collection (the Silk ones are in the circle), and are beautiful neutral shades, running from nudes through to the lightly coloured lilacs. Coming in attractive square bottles, each one is 9ml, and the great news is that they are 4 free, so they have none of the nasties that may be in other polishes, like toluene and formaldehyde.


On to the shade we are looking at today, a pretty little lilac called Pleasure, numbered on the bottle as shade 371. It looks like a beautiful colour in the bottle, with a subtle sheen to it, which is created by the addition of pearl particles. Being a sucker for purples I couldn’t wait to get this on my nails to see how I got on with it, as I am completely new to the nail polishes from Paese.


The brush, seen here fans out nicely and spreads the polish well, but I am not a great fan of it. My problem isn’t exactly with the brush, but what it is connected to, the big square lid. I found that the size of the lid, and the length of the brush took a lot of getting used to, particularly with my weaker right hand, but I persevered and eventually figured out the best way of approaching it. And that means I can show you the polish actually on my nails, as opposed to painted across my fingers!


Here it is, pictured on my nails without flash. I’ll admit, as you see it here, I was slightly disappointed. I am so used to going for polishes that look shiny and glossy and had never considered a matte polish. But it is growing on me. I can understand why it’s done in a matte finish. It doesn’t need to be super glossy to be a genuinely gorgeous girly shade. It is just the right shade to show colour on my nails without being a glossy shouty look at me shade. I have been looking at it as being quite sophisticatedly understated.


Here it is though, pictured under the flash of a camera, which allows the light to hit the pearl particles. In the light I really enjoy looking at this polish, where it does have a sheen. Again it doesn’t need to be overly shiny. There will be times (a lot of them) where I want to have super shiny nails, but this polish has convinced me that there are other options out there, and I may just have to go looking for more of them.

Paese Silk Nail Enamels are €4.99 and are available from the Paese Website.


* Product was provided for review

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Sep. 01.

Manicure Monday: Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer

mf-berry-thSometimes the postman hates me. Sometimes he brings me bills, or bad news. Today though, I like the postman. He had a parcel for me, and inside the parcel were some super shiny bottles of joy, or as they’re also known, the new Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer nail polishes. It’s very fortunate too that my nails happened to be bare at the time, so I had no delay in putting these on my fingers.


The principle behind the shade choices for this collection is really clever. Max Factor’s Global Creative Design Director, Pat McGrath, chose 9 shades, representing a modern twist on colours that defined fashion makeup throughout decades, starting with the 1950’s and a pin-up red, through the 1970’s and 80’s blues and brights, to the deeper burgundy hues of the 1990’s. The full collection is seen in the picture above, but the ones that actually jumped out at me the most come from the 1990’s.


It’s September now, and that means autumn. To me autumn brings deeper richer colours (though I am not entirely retiring my bright colours for the year) and the three shades of richer winey reds really spoke to me as being the perfect transition colours. Their 1990’s inspired shades include Radiant Ruby, which is a richer, deeper red compared to the 1950’s pin-up, Sheen Merlot, a really dark wine colour, and the one that I chose for to go on my nails today, Sparkling Berry, which is somewhere in between the two, deeper than the red, and with a little bit of plum in there too.


Application of the polish was a dream. On top of a coat of CND Stickey went just two coats of the polish, though you could see how pigmented it was after the first coat. The second coat was really just to even out the polish slightly and add shine to it, which this polish has in abundance. The formula is described by Max Factor as being thick so it doesn’t mould to the ridges of the nail and is self levelling, so it dries without streaks or lines. I can safely say that while the polish is thick, it does move about extremely well, and the brush fans out nicely, so you don’t have to overwork the polish. The wear time of the polish is listed as up to 7 days (though I rarely seem to hit those estimates) and I will be interested to see how this stands up.

Finally, the polish on my nails, shot both without and then with flash. You will have to excuse the slight untidiness, as the photos are of my left hand (it’s a right handed camera) and I am dominantly left handed. There are also no fancy or simple bits of nail art today, as I just wanted the polish to speak for itself.



I’m really impressed with the finish of the polish. It is rich with pigment, and the gel shine finish looks amazing. As long as it lasts close to the wear time, I think that it will be great for a DIY manicure at €10.39 per bottle. The only question I have to ask is what era is speaking to you?

Update: It has now been 4 days since I put this on to my nails, and I am not noticing some minor tip wear, and one chip. It is nothing major, but I am quite hard on my nails, and the shiny polish magpie in me is debating changing to a different colour. It is still wearing better than a standard polish though!


*Product was provided for review

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Aug. 18.

Manicure Monday: Sinful Colors Hot Spot

sinful-blue-thI think I am developing an obsession with Sinful Colors. Every time I spot one in Dealz I end up buying it, and there is a good reason for it. The price is €1.49, and the polishes are honestly amazing! So, while it is still summer and I should be looking at brighter colours, I couldn’t resist trying out one of my most recent purchases, a deep, dark blue that is called Hot Spot.


This polish is so deep and dark that I am trying to figure out how to read the black ingredients on the bottle. It is very close to being a navy blue, but isn’t. It looks like a very rich inky blue, with little lighter blue glittery flecks, which give it a shimmery effect. It reminds me of being in the countryside at night, when the stars have started to appear, but the sky is not yet at its darkest. This served as the inspiration behind the manicure, which you will see momentarily. Application was a breeze, with a coat of CND Stickey basecoat, followed by just 2 coats of polish. As it is so deep it builds in colour really well.

Now, to the actual nails. This is very simple. It is just 2 coats of Hot Spot, with a light coating of a No.7 silver glitter top coat on the ring finger, giving the appearance of stars.


I intentionally kept things simple for this as the polish by itself is so elegant. It doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to stand out. In fact, I think that as the nights get darker, this may really stand out on both fingers and toes on a night out. What do you think?


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