Saturday, 28 December 2013

My Christmas Nails!

Thumb (snowflake): Boy Next Door (old shade) by essence (blue base coat), Electric Blue by Accessorize (shimmery blue), Shade 216 by M.O.D (white), Crystal Shimmer by Accessorize (glitter)

Index finger (Christmas tree):  Rock the Green by essence (shimmery green), matt stampy polish by essence (black), Wanna Be Your Sunshine by essence (yellow), All That Glitters by essence (gold glitter), Fame Fatal by essence (red), Sparkling Red by Mavala (red glitter)

Middle finger (reindeer): White on White by Revlon (white, background), Mink by Accessorize (taupe), Marilyn and Me (glittery red), Shade 216 by M.O.D (white, eyes), matt stampy polish by essence (black)

Ring finger (Santa suit): Fame Fatal by essence (red), White on White by Revlon (white),  matt stampy polish by essence (black), Wanna Be Your Sunshine by essence (yellow), All That Glitters by essence (gold glitter)

Pinkie finger (snowman):  Boy Next Door (old shade) by essence (blue base coat), Electric Blue by Accessorize (shimmery blue), Shade 216 by M.O.D (white), Flashy Pumpkin by essence (orange), Fame Fatal by essence (red), matt stampy polish by essence (black)

I hope that you all are having a lovely Christmas season!

Monday, 23 December 2013

"12 Days Of Christmas" TAG

Thanks to Leana for nominating me for this tag :) (and her now not-so-secret stalking! ;p )

1. What is your favourite Christmas memory?

Hmm, there's not one that really stands out above all the rest, but I really did love last Christmas, as all my family from across the world came together for the first time in ages and we had a truly amazing Christmas :)

The clan on Christmas Eve 2012
2. What one toy/gift to you remember from all your Christmasses?

This answer is kinda like the one above. I've been blessed with so many special gifts that there isn't one that really stands out. I mostly just remember how each Christmas made me feel :)

3. What do you/your family do for Christmas?

My family has our big Christmas get-together on Christmas Eve. We alternate having dinner at my mom's house and my aunt's house. We have a HUGE dinner with my Ouma, aunts, uncles, cousins, partners... everyone! We all get presents for each other, and we spend the entire evening (from say 5/6pm til past midnight) alternating between eating and opening gifts! In the morning, we go to church (my family is Catholic) for the early mass. After church, we have breakfast and open a few more special presents. Lunch is always amazing, my mom is seriously talented! After lunch, we normally just relax, maybe splash around in the pool or read our Christmas books (always get some of these as gifts!).

4. How many days before Christmas does your decorating start?

We normally start with our full-on decorating at the beginning of Advent (that's 4 Sundays before Christmas).

A peek at our Christmas tree this year :)
5. What is on your favourite Christmas menu?

Our Christmas menu deviates from the "traditional" because (a) SA Christmases take place in Summer and (b) I personally don't like gammon or turkey. We normally start our Christmas eve dinner with some refreshing cocktails and some canapes. Starters are normally seafood based - my favourite menu would have a prawn dish (this year is going to be a prawn, mango and chilli salad). For mains, I would choose roast chicken, chipolatas wrapped in bacon (oven roasted not pan fried), a big salad (I loved last years', which had rocket, blueberries, mango and beetroot) and Belgian-style croquettes (or alternately potatoes roasted in goose or duck fat). Obviously, towards the end, you don't want a hot or rich desert, so I'd choose to finish with some homemade ice-cream (my current fave is condensed milk, peanut brittle and cherry), a pavola ladened with summer berries and maybe a handful of Christmas cookies! (You can see my post on last year's Christmas Eve dinner over here).

Christmas Eve 2012-  Selected dishes from the main course
6. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Nope, not yet.

7. What traditions will you continue with your future family?

I love so many of the traditions of Christmas and would love to pass them down to my own family one day.I love the tradition of decorating the entire house, complete with a Nativity scene (using inherited figurines) and an Advent wreath (this contains four candles, one gets lighted each Sunday of Advent).  I love spending the week before Christmas in the kitchen, doing the necessary baking with my mother (and hopefully one day with my own daughter). I love using traditional colours: gold for the newborn King, red for the blood that He would shed, green to represent the eternal life He brings. I love our tradition of having a huge Christmas Eve with the family, of watching dozens of presents being handed out, watching the family open them, of the little games and jokes that get played. I will continue the tradition of going to church early on Christmas day (I normally go to church with my family every Sunday morning normally as well). I love that for us Christmas isn't just one day: there's the four weeks of waiting (Advent), there's the Christmas celebrations themselves, and then there are the 12 days of Christmas, from 25 December to 5 January (ending with the feast of the Epiphany on 6 January). (Christmas decorations don't come down until then).

Our little Nativity set
8. Can you name Santa's reindeer? (without googling!)

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen! Plus Rudolph, of course ;)

(Only because I'm the nerd that has read "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (the "'twas the night before Christmas" poem) a million times!) (My friends have nicknamed me Google, does that invalidate my answer?)

9. It's 5am on Christmas morning: where will you be found?

Lying in bed, having been awoken by the morning sunlight, counting down exactly how long I get to still stay in bed before I have to get up, shower and go to Church (our mass starts at 7h45am, but I'll have to be there much earlier).

10. Did you ever sneak a peak at your Christmas presents?

Not that I can remember. But lately, I get to choose some of my presents, so there's no need to ;)

Presents underneath the tree!
11. What would you love to get for Christmas this year?

All the pretty things! Things such as makeup, nail polish, perfume, pamper goodies, books (to make my brain pretty!) and jewelry. Oh! And world peace! ;)

12. What does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas is a time when we come together with loved ones to celebrate life, to celebrate hope, to celebrate the gifts that we have been given.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Nails #3

Another week, another attempt at Christmas-themed nail art! This week is another "skittle" manicure with a bunch of stuff going on - so many things I wanted to try, so little time to get them in before the big day!

The Inspiration
Index finger:"Fair Isle" knitted Christmas jumper.
Middle finger: Rudolph, of course
Ring finger: Christmas tree with strings of lights
Pinkie finger: Winter wonderland (this is on my thumb as well)

The polishes I used:
Index finger: Fame Fatal by essence (red), Shade 216 by M.O.D (white)
Middle finger: White on White by Revlon (white, background), Mink by Accessorize (taupe), Marilyn and Me (glittery red), Shade 216 by M.O.D (white, eyes), matt stampy polish by essence (black)
Ring finger: Rock the Green by essence (shimmery green), matt stampy polish by essence (black), Wanna Be Your Sunshine by essence (yellow), All That Glitters by essence (gold glitter), Fame Fatal by essence (red), Sparkling Red by Mavala (red glitter), Boy Next Door (old shade) by essence (blue), Sparkling Blue by Mavala (blue glitter)
Pinkie finger: Boy Next Door (old shade) by essence (blue base coat), Electric Blue by Accessorize (shimmery blue), Shade 216 by M.O.D (white)

I'm really happy with this attempt - I think I'm learning a lot with all this Christmas nail art! If I had to change one thing, I would make the wire/string of the Christmas lights thinner (my paintbrush was not cooperating today).

What do you think about this festive nail art?

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Nails #2

I really love how this week's Christmas nails came out! I went with a traditional red-and-green for the base colours. The green is "rock the green" by essence, and the red is "Marilyn and Me" by Catrice - both of these polishes have a lovely shimmer in them.

I freehand painted the snowflakes on with a small paintbrush and "White on White" by Revlon.

Inspired by this post on Glamorous Glitter, I painted a snowman. His body is "White on White", his nose "flashy pumpkin" by essence, his eyes "In the Navy" by Tip Top, his scarf "fame fatal" by essence and his hat/buttons are this black polish from essence.

I really love how the snowflakes came out - I think next time I need to do them over a blue background for a "winter wonderland" themed mani!

What are your thoughts on this nail art?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Lush Haul!

In case you hadn't heard already, Lush South Africa finally opened their online store recently, which is fantastic news for those of us who can't get to their brick-and-mortar stores! (I live about an hour away from Cape Town, depending on traffic, and don't have my own car, so getting there is a mission.) I've also been holding back on buying things from Lush, because I know I'd want all their lovely bath things, and my apartment (which I love) stupidly doesn't have a bath, just a shower, so I'd have to miss out. Luckily, I'm going to visit my parents for a few weeks over the festive season, and my old haunt does have a bath, so I'm going prepared for some long, relaxing, Lush-y baths!

I filmed a short haul video for you guys, which you can watch over here :) Don't forget to give the video a thumbs up if you liked it (and be sure to hit the subscribe button!).

[Watch it on YouTube HERE

Here are the products that I mention in the video:

Luxury Lush Pud bath ballistic
Golden Wonder bath ballistic
Snowcake soap

Snow Fairy shower gel
Candy Mountain bubble bar
Snowman bath bomb
Rock Star soap
Popcorn lip scrub

Have you tried any of these products? If yes, what did you think? If no, which would you consider getting?

Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cherry Picking!

This Sunday, I went with my family and friends to Klondyk Cherry Farm to go pick our own cherries and enjoy a day out! It was so much fun, so I thought I would share some photos! Not shown on the photos is the crazy weather we had! For 90% of the day, it was ridiculously hot. However, after our picnic lunch, the thunder and lightning started, and we ended up getting totally soaked! Then, just as we started driving away from the farm, the rain turned into hail - the largest hailstones I've ever seen in our area. Then a few minutes later, back to the >35°C heat! Rather bizarre!

Firstly, though, I needed some nail art to suit the occasion! The base colour I used was "that's what I mint" by essence. I then added the cherries using "red red" by wet n wild with my essence dotting tool. I added the stalks and leaves using a toothpick and "the green and the grunge" by essence.

Here are some photos from the day:

(All photos by my brother, except for the last one of the two of us, which was taken by my mom)

If you would like more information about the farm we visited, go to

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have several kilograms of cherries to eat my way through :)

Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Nails #1

My first Christmassy mani of the season! I wanted to start off with something simple that didn't require much artistic skill (of which I have very little) so here goes.

The first thing I started off with was my index and middle finger. The inspiration behind these was an abstract idea of a Christmas tree with lots of twinkly fairy lights. The base colour for these was essence's "the green and the grunge" - a gorgeous forest green (inspired by the 2013 colour of the year). I'd been looking for a green like this all year and just couldn't find one I liked so I was thrilled when I saw this one ( will still put on a swatch of this colour by itself). I topped it off with one coat of essence's "make it golden". I've featured this on the blog before (eg here and here), but it's a clear polish that's packed full of gold shimmer, small gold glitter circles and medium gold glitter hexagons.

My thumb and pinkie were obviously inspired by candy canes! I debated using striping tape, but then I decided to hand paint them to give a more imperfect finish - like handmade candy canes with the red colour drawn through them. I used two coats of Revlon's "White on White", and then used a small paintbrush to draw the lines of red using "fame fatal" by essence.

The ring finger accent was just an excuse to use my one of my new studs from essence. I painted two coats of "White on White", and then when the second coat was still wet, I added the stud.

Once the whole thing was dry, I topped it off with a layer of top coat.

Hmmn, now what to try next week...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

DIY Christmas Gift - Custom Bleach-Dyed T-Shirt

Last year for Christmas, my brother made me the most awesome gift - he custom dyed a t-shirt with my name on it (using the atomic symbols for the elements lanthanum, uranium and radium) (La U Ra!). It was such a cool idea that I demanded another one (big sister benefits!) and the second time, he let me in on how he did it.

You will need:
A cheap black cotton t-shirt (we found that the plain t-shirts from Mr Price worked very well!)
A spray bottle
A stencil

Ok, first off: the stencil. You can either use a pre-made stencil, or make your own from cardboard, acetate sheets, wax paper, etc. Basically, anything that will be able to block the bleach from touching the t-shirt where you don't want it.

A good idea is to practice first on an old rag or shirt that you don't mind ruining. Just in case, it's also best to do this on a cheap t-shirt in case of a mistake.

The first step was finding a design. I wanted a radiation warning symbol (because my job involves working with radiation), so I found one on the internet and printed it out in the size I wanted.

 I then cut out my pattern and traced it onto wax-backed brown paper. (You can use your choice of medium). The resulting "stencil" was carefully cut out.

My brother then ironed the wax paper to the t-shirt to make it stick.

I wanted the whole back of the t-shirt splattered except for the design, so we didn't cover up any other spots. Stuff the shirt with lots of newspaper to prevent the bleach from seeping through to the other side. You want to work in a place where it doesn't matter if bleach gets on the ground - we worked outside on the old concrete stoep, but an alternative is the bath/shower (just rinse clean afterwards).

Put some bleach in the spray bottle with an equal amount of water (that is, a 1:1 dilution). This makes the bleach safer to work with. Don't dilute it any more, though, because it won't work as well.

Now for the fun part! Spray at your t-shirt! You want to get an even distribution without any section getting too "wet". To do this, don't spray too close to the t-shirt, and make sure that the spray bottle gives out a fine mist. If you are using a cardboard or acetate stencil, make sure that it stays in one place. You want to spray from above so that the bleach doesn't seep underneath the stencil.

Dab carefully with an old rag if a section gets too wet. As I said, we wanted the whole back of the shirt to be bleached, but if you only want the area around your stencil (like in the first image at the top of the post), then just spray where you want. (A good idea is to place several layers of newspaper over the areas that you do not want bleach getting).

You should be able to see the bleach starting to work!

Once you can see that the bleach has worked, plunge the fabric into a bucket of water immediately! This will dilute the bleach significantly and stop it from working any further. Wash the t-shirt thoroughly.

Place in the sun to dry! (As you can see, our stencil lifted slightly so the central circle has bled a bit, but this didn't bother me).