Sunday, February 17, 2013

MINI REVIEW: OPI The Amazing Spider-Man Collection: Number One Nemesis

Today I'm reviewing a colour from the OPI Amazing Spider-Man collection that in my opinion can only be described as "a so-ugly-it's-awesome greeny-goldy-bronzy shimmery colour", but describes it as a "... sparkling nickel".
Base Coat: CND Stickey, Colour: OPI Number One Nemesis, Top Coat: Seche Vite

THE Verdict
I love this ugly colour! The colour is awesome, it doesn't really match anything else I own, so I don't feel the need to be matchy matchy when I wear it and the formula and wear are fantastic.
I am taking points off for removal, it's a pain in the behind to remove, but that's not something that is uncommon with glittery polishes, and it is definitely better than trying to remove chunky glitter, so don't let it dissuade you from buying it before it disappears, since it isn't part of the core OPI collection and won't be around forever!

Review Disclaimer: This review is for a product I purchased myself, but I am always happy accept gifts for review purposes, when I review those products I will state that they were a gift.
When writing reviews I will do my best to point out both pros and cons, but my overall rating will reflect my honest opinion, regardless of how I obtained the item.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

REVIEW: China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier aka attempting to resuscitate my poor destroyed nails

Today I'm reviewing a new nail product that I have just purchased. According to the Calcium Gel Fortifier provides a thick gel coating for substantial protection to weak, dry or splitting nails.
This is not a treatment that is designed for use under lacquer, China Glaze recommend applying 2 coats to bare nails every 4 days.

Normally I have quite strong nails, but in the last 12 months I have reignited my high school love of nail polish and the regular painting and removing of my nail polish (along with picking at chipped nails) has weakened my nails significantly, I used to use a cheap supermarket brand of nail strengthener underneath my base coat, and that was keeping the worst of the damage at bay, but when I ran out I didn't immediately buy a new bottle so they disintegrated very quickly.
Browsing my favourite nail-blogs one night turned up China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier as a possible solution. Michelle from All Lacquered Up has this in her regular nail arsenal and calls it a "...facial for the nails." After a little more research, I decided to ordered some.

Before using China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier
As you can see, my nails are peeling and splitting along the tips, they are discoloured and generally pretty horrible looking.

My pre-purchase research turned up a post by Erica (aka AlwaysCosmeticJunkie) and she suggested applying 1 coat 3 times a day for 7-10 days, based on her recommendation and the current state of my nails, I have decided to try this technique, rather than 2 coats every 4 days as recommended by China Glaze.

The first coat went on beautifully, the consistency is slightly thicker than a normal clear polish or basecoat treatment, but  not as thick as Seche Vite. My nails have a nice glossy look, they still feel a little rough, but considering where we started I can't expect 1 coat to cover the bumps and ridges left over from peeling. It looks like some of the discolouration is gone, but I suspect that might be the result of the faint pink tint of the polish.

(4 Coats)
This is the second day, after my first coat for the day
My nails feel beautiful and glossy, still a little bumpy over the worst parts. It feels like there is a good protective layer over the peeling tips.

DAYS 3-5
Around day 3, the gel fortifier started to chip, I kept applying new layers 3 times a day, but by day 5 it was chipping so badly that it was taking some of my nail with it, making the peeling on the tips worse.

DAYS 6-9
 I removed it and started again, this time applying 2 coats and leaving it for the 4 days as recommended by China Glaze, I found it had the same overall affect and didn't chip as easily.

DAY 10
After 10 days of using China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier 
I removed the Gel fortifier and gave my nails a good buff to help minimise the peeling.

Before & After (Click to enlarge)

4 out of 5 stars
Overall, the product is great. It promoted growth and strength in my nails. However, I don't believe I gained anything by following Erica's recommendation, and that it just wasted a lot of great product. It didn't fix the peeling on the tips, but peeling isn't specifically mentioned in the product information, so hoping that it would fix that was a long shot anyway. I do feel like overall it strengthened my nails and they feel a lot harder, even though they still lift and peel on the tips.
Essie Luxedo over China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier
with CND Stickey basecoat and Seche Vite topcoat
After my test period was over I was desperate for a little colour on my nails (I haven't been 10 days without nail polish in sooooo long!), so I decided to see what happens when you wear it under polish. It bubbled a bit when I applied the top coat (Seche Vite), and most of the large bubbles smoothed out, but there are a few pinprick sized bubbles that set in the top coat on most fingers, it is smooth enough that you can't really see it from a distance, however I know it's there so it bugs me. On my left hand I used the Gel Fortifier over the base coat (CND Stickey) and on my right hand I used the Gel Fortifier under the basecoat, I saw no difference in wear or appearance. I am still on the lookout for a nail hardener that I can wear under my nailpolish, but I think this is an excellent treatment to use overnight once every week or two.

Review Disclaimer: This review is for a product I purchased myself, but I am always happy accept gifts for review purposes, when I review those products I will state that they were a gift.
When writing reviews I will do my best to point out both pros and cons, but my overall rating will reflect my honest opinion, regardless of how I obtained the item.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tonight's dinner conversation

Charlotte: "I was pretending to be the teacher today"
Justin: "are you going to be a teacher when you grow up?"
Charlotte: "no, I'm going to be a doctor"
Jack pipes in: "you going to be dr octopus!!!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Charlotte's first day of school

The sun was "too bright mum!" for me to do the front door photo,
so you get our outdoor toilet door instead lol
My mum told me when Charlotte was born that motherhood is just a series of letting go, and this monday was one of the hardest letting goes (go's?) I've done so far. Charlotte had her first day of Kindergarten, and Justin and I are no longer the most important and knowledgeable people in her life.

Jack's first day in the Banana's in Pyjama's room
Jack went back to preschool on Monday, so of course we had to take his picture for the first day of school too. He is very excited to be a big "Banana's" kid now, and in the preschool end of the centre. We had a few tears on Tuesday as we explained to him that he didn't get to go to preschool even though Charlotte got to go back to school. Today was much better, and he was quite happy to have mine and his Gran's full attention for the day. But how much of a chatterbox is he? I didn't realise how much he talks to Charlotte in a day until it was all directed at me!

Obligatory in front of the school sign shot
Ignore the date, they staggered the Best Start Assessment days over 3 days so Charlotte's first day was Monday, but Kindergarten didn't officially start until Tuesday.

Taking it all in her stride, practically running into the school
Their poor, poor teacher!
She's in the same class as her best friend and they are so excited, send prayers for their teacher!

On the way home on Monday, look at that grin! She loved it!
She loved her first day and 3 days later, still loves going. I hope this enthusiasm lasts after their full curriculum kicks in next week (and the next 13 years!)
2 days in a row were too much!
Yesterday she came home and was so exhausted that she put herself to bed at 4, and slept on and off (lights on until I realised she was asleep) until 8pm, she got up for some dinner and went straight back to bed until Jack woke her up early this morning.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Aled

The kids were invited to a 4th birthday party yesterday so I whipped up a quick little card (about half an hour before walking out the door!), the dinosaur was coloured with several layers of the 1 colour (using markers & aqua painter) so it was really quick to colour.
Stamp Set: Dinoroar
Ink: Stazon, Island Indigo
Cardstock: Brights DSP stack, Pacific Point, Whisper White, Watercolour Paper
Dies: Window Frames Framelits, Typeset Alphas Bigz

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Using MDS elements with Photoshop

I CASEd this card from Stampin' Up! South Pacific's facebook page, but to add my own twist, I used MDS elements from the One Big Sale-a-Bration MDS content disc. You can get the disc free when you spend $100 between now and the end of March. Contact me to place an order.
I also decided to record tutorials on this card to show you just how easy going digital can be:

Leave a comment and let me know what you think, and what you would like to see in my future MDS tutorials!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homemade Mixed Berry Yoghurt

I'm a bit obsessed with homemade yoghurt lately. I'll write another post on making the actual yoghurt later as I am about to experiment with a few new techniques, but I thought I'd share how I flavour the yoghurt.

I add a tablespoon of water, 2 tablespoons of castor sugar and about 300g of frozen berries to a saucepan then cook it on high, stirring, until the liquid starts to bubble, then lower the heat a little, and continue stirring until the liquid is syrupy. Once it's done, I pour the berries into an icecube tray and after it's cooled, chuck it in the freezer. I store the frozen cubes in ziplock bags and then just add a cube to each serve of yoghurt. At the moment I add the cubes when I make the yoghurt and mix it in properly before eating, but when Charlotte starts school I think I will keep the yoghurt plain until I pack her lunch in the morning, that way the frozen cube will help keep the yoghurt cool in her lunchbox, but should be thawed out by recess time.

The whole process only takes about 10 minutes (including cleaning the pan) to make enough for 2 batches of yoghurt and I think it's worth it to have yoghurt that isn't full of preservatives and fake flavourings (so much more delicious too!)