Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Love is a Thief 

 by Claire Garber

 (Published by
Harlequin MIRA)

I will be honest with you, I struggled to get through the first half of 'Love Is A Thief'! That said I enjoyed finishing it and found that it was worth it for the thought-provoking moments, idiosynchratic (and all too human) characters and the honest look at how we sometimes squander our control over our destinies.

The idea at the core of this tale, that many of us let our relationships take centre stage and priority over careers and other goals, is a very, very real issue for many women and some men therefore many readers will instantly relate.
Perhaps because it reminded me of times I also let love blind me to reality and once took me half way around the world and another, 600 kms across the country, meant it hit too close to home and so I struggled with it. Or perhaps it was that including so many characters didn't enamour me (making the story a little convoluted)...
That many characters saw themselves as victims became somewhat tiresome and I cheered out loud once Kate, the protagonist, finally took responsibility for her own life choices.

Now onto what I loved about this book!
I must say that the love stories flowing through 'Love Is A Thief' are sweet, the characters altogther human and wonderfully not stereotyped ie: an elderly female mechanic, which is something I loved most about 'Love Is A Thief'!The number of older characters and their life-stories was also something I treasured reading this book.

Despite my initial ambivalence, there are many beautifully thought-provoking and humourous moments that I enjoyed and the final chapters wrapped up Claire Garber's 'Love Is  A Thief' perfectly.
I'd recommend this if you're doing some travelling, as I found it good to pick up and read a chapter, put down for a spell and then go back to.

Thankyou to 'The Modern Woman's Survival Guide' for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A tutorial for 'cloud' nailart

Because I've had a lot of interest in this mani I've decided to create a tutorial on how to re-create this look for yourself.
Trust me it's relatively easy if you take your time with it! Just make sure you have all the items you will need, a good light source with a comfortable chair and table.... and no distractions.

 Follow the pics, starting from top right down and across to the left.

1. Choose 3 shades of polish that you would like to use, and an additional glitter topcoat if you want to add that as I have.
Note: It's important to use a basecoat and topcoat. The basecoat protects your nails from staining and also helps the polish adhere better to the nail. I know I used to think these 2 items were an unnecessary expense, but they really can make a difference to your manicure lasting. And a fast-drying topcoat is all I ever use, as I am way too impatient to wait for my polish to dry!
A topcoat can also be invaluable for smoothing any uneveness which occurs with nailart, especially this design where you have uneven layers of polish and glitter. I like either Poshe 'Fast Drying Topcoat' or Essie 'Good To Go'. Applying a new slick of topcoat every day is also the best way to extend the life of a manicure.

2. After applying basecoat to your nails, paint your nails the main colour that you have chosen. Here I am using Revlon's 'Plum Seduction'. I have used 2 thin coats but the good thing about this design is, if your basecoat is still showing your nail line, the following coats will cover it.
For extra steadiness and support, lay the hand you are working on flat then rest the side of your 'working' hand on the table and just move your index and thumb, to control the brush and application of polish.(I hope that makes sense, I think that's the way I do it!)

3. Once the base colour is dry (or, if you're in a rush, use some fast drying topcoat between colours to speed up the process) take the second colour and using the brush, paint a vertical strip starting about 2/3rds up the nail and about 1/3rd the width along one side of your nail.
I have used Ulta3's "Flirty Bikini' here and in the pic you can see I have completed my pinkie and ring finger and only 2 strips on my middle finger.(the ring finger didn't work out as well as I'd hoped and the light makes it look like there is 1 big strip and a smaller one on the edge).
Don't worry too much about this stage, just make sure to take your time and remember that any uneveness can look a great deal improved if the final colour is done more neatly! If you find your 'clouds' are looking more like 'steps' you can use the tip of the brush and make an upside down U shape at the top of the strip to give it more of a curve. You also may need to apply 2 coats of polish for opaqueness.
Thin coats are always better than thick ones which can take too long to dry and look lumpy.

3. Take your final colour and repeat the 2nd step but leave about a brush width of the middle colour polish. I've used Face Of Australia's 'Have Your Cupcake & Eat It Too'. Make sure to cover the whole tip edge of your nail to give the best result. If you wish to add a layer of glitter do that once the 3rd colour is dry. I've used Savvy's "Purple Viking' and personally preferred the look of a few layers of this glitter, as it was quite thin.

4. Finally add a generous layer of topcoat and apply right down over the lip of your nail edge so the polish is encased all along the tip. This can prevent shrinkage of the polish and tip wear.

I hope this has been helpful :) I saw a tutorial on Instagram a while ago that I wanted to credit here as my inspiration, but I can't seem to find it now.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Chanel inspired

A few days ago I came across a pretty nail art/mani design on the fantastic blog, 'Pampered & Polished'. Follow this link to see the lovely manicure created by Chanel's Creative Director, Peter Phillips.

I recreated this look with a silver and deep red which I quite like for a more subdued, cooler season manicure. I decided to use 'Pedal To The Metal' by Sally Hansen with 'Black Plum' by Ulta3.

 I painted two coats of the silver on each of my nails over a base coat and once this was dry also painted two coats of the deep red inside the silver, leaving a few millimitres of a silver border except on the nail tip. This was actually more difficult than I expected and you will see some unsteady lines on some nails :) I then painted each nail with 'Poshe' to speed up the drying process and protect the design.

This mani was fun, if a little tricky, to do and next time I think I may try to leave more of a border around my nail to create more of a 'framed' look.

I love meeting other beauty lovers through beauty sites and blogs, learning and sharing tips. 
The Made Up Maiden very kindly shared her knowledge using Poshe topcoat after I mentioned I'd had some issues with tip wear on my previous blog. Thankyou, The Made Up Maiden, I now know to 'wrap' the topcoat around the tips of my nails to protect my manicure!

Where do you find inspiration for your manicures/nail art?


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Recent nail purchases & great effects

Since I last posted I've picked up some new polishes, a BYS Glitter and 
Super-fast Drying Topcoat by Poshe.
  The beautiful Glam Glitter polish by BYS is in 'Dazzling', a gorgeous
emerald green glitter with small and medium circles of glitter that in different
light change from silver through green to orange and blue with larger emerald
green hexagons that change from green to silver.

I tried to catch all the colours in the photos but am not sure if I succeeded, so apologies!  Dazzling by itself was quite pretty with a pale green opalescent effect but the nail line bothered me so next time I will try it over a nude or white to avoid that.

On my thumb is 'Dazzling', two coats with a base and top coat of 'Poshe',on my index finger 'Dazzling' is layered over two coats of 'Jade' by Ulta3, and I have 'Jade' on the rest of my nails.
As you can see there was some tip wear by the time I took these. It was my first use of 'Poshe'Super Fast Drying topcoat which was amazing at speeding up drying time and smoothing out any bumps or lumps of glitter but it did seem to wear quickly on my nail tips.

All in all I was really quite happy with the results of 'Dazzling' and can't believe I didn't use something like 'Poshe' sooner! I'd love to hear your opinions! Are you familiar with BYS and Poshe products?

K x

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Inspiration for returning some colour into your world

Not having much energy or suffering from chronic pain can be depressing but I have found some days just painting some nails gives me both, a boost, and an opportunity to be creative at the same time without having to outlay much money. So I've decided this blog will showcase some of my nail 'art'. I created these looks a while ago and found using the same type of polish, ie: matte or metallic, gave the best results.

A 'fiesta' in pinks and corals

Colour pop
Pink ribbon tribute
Each of these designs were painted with predominantly cheap nail polishes(under $3 a bottle)...there's no reason why you can't add some colour or novelty into your day (or week) with the help of affordable polishes! Just remember that using polish with the same 'finish' - metallic, matte etc can work better as a whole and tie various colours together more smoothly or while adding a colour in the top/last layer.

For the 'fiesta' and 'colour pop' looks I painted each nail in one colour (generally with two coats for opaqueness)
Once they were dry I painted a strip over the bottom or middle, also in two coats.
After each nail had dried I then used a top coat to both seal the colours and also fill in some of the uneveness on some of the nails.

I know using tape or stickers to mask areas is a useful tool when using multiple colours, and although I have yet to try it myself, there's no reason why you couldn't use that technique here to great effect.

For the 'pink ribbon tribute' look I used a red as the base coat then used some glitter polish on the very top of the thumb, ring finger and index finger nails to create a half-moon effect.
I then painted the whole of my little finger and middle finger nails with one coat of the glitter polish.
Once that was dry on my middle finger I used a hot metallic pink to paint a ribbon for breast cancer awareness and then a final clear top coat to protect the artwork.

Remember to be sure to always use a clear base coat to prevent yellowing of your nails before using nail colour and then always use a top coat for protecting your finished artwork so it should keep for at least 4-5 days.

I hope these examples have provided some inspiration for adding more colour into your life.
Scarves are another favourite item of mine for adding some colour but I'll leave that to another day:)
Have fun!
A review of 'Foal's Bread' by Gillian Mears

Well, here I am months and months after I should have reviewed this amazing book.
Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes and it has been a long haul but I'm finally here on the page!

Allen & Unwin kindly sent me 'Foal's Bread' to review and I highly recommend it.

This book, to be frank, is at a times a harrowing read.But that is not all it is and it has some outstandingly lovely passages as it follows the story of Noey and Roley who travel on the country high-jumping ciruit during the great depression. A story of hopes and dreams, both found and lost, this book is both a tender account of love and a gritty realistic portrayal of life in the bush and on the land. 
Beautifully written, Gillian Mears has created an Australian classic and it reminded me a lot of that other bush classic, A Fortunate Life. A window into life in a more simple time with all it's goodness yet harshness due to the depression.
As I've mentioned reading 'Foal's Bread' can be disquieting at times, due to it's excrutiating honesty when dealing with illness suffered by one of the characters, in particular. Having said that, please do not be put off reading it!It is a great book for everyone, especially horse lovers with many moving descriptions of the bond that can exist between humans and horses. Painting a realistic portrait of fallible individuals with their own personal battles,losses and triumphs, it is a very fine piece of Australian writing.

I can't recommend 'Foal's Bread' highly enough for it's exquisite passages of wonder juxtaposed with the gritty reality of the dark depths of humanity. A stunning book.

Monday, 19 September 2011

An entertaining read in 'The Siren's Sting' by Miranda Darling

Thanks to the lovely people at Allen & Unwin for this great read!

'The Siren's Sting' is a thriller, a favourite genre of mine, and is Miranda Darling's latest book featuring international action-girl Stevie Duveen. An entertaining piece of fiction, it boasts some unexpected twists in the plot while remaining light enough to take on holiday.

Stevie is a strategic analyst at Hazard Ltd, knows a thing or two about the risks involved in international shipping and can hold her own with the European 'glamourati'. The action races us from one corner of the Jetset's Mediterranean playground to the other; encountering Somalian pirates, an opera diva, wealthy play-boys and ruthless arms-dealers, interspersed with sun-soaked interludes of R&R in a sea-side cottage in Sardinia.
As the novel opens we find Stevie assigned with protecting a famous soprano on a cruise ship, something she isn't happy about but which results in her successful defence of the ship when it comes under attack from pirates. Recuperating from this experience Stevie heads to her Sardinian haven in her grandmothers cottage where she encounters old friends, unwanted relatives and a mystery or two. It's not long before Stevie is given another assignment (albeit not strictly official) to protect an old girlfriend of her boss and this time apppearing under the guise of a wealthy partygirl. Initially a relaxed venture, this assignment brings Stevie face-to-face with a number of real threats to her own life. At the twelfth hour she finds an unexpected ally as she endeavours to save a kidnapped child in a daring manouvre, played out right under the nose of a ruthless international arms-dealer.

With James Bond type thrills and spills involving high-tech speedboat chases, glamourous soirees and a pinch or two of some cultural sight-seeing; this is escapist chick-lit at it's best...particularly when there are also irresistible men of mystery involved!

I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed, glamourous thriller and look forward to reading more of Stevie's adventures.