16 Aug 2014

The Nail Challenge Collaborative presents "Tea Party" - Clarice Cliff

Hello everyone! Now that Digit-al Dozen week is done and dusted, its time to turn my attention to the Nail Challenge Collaborative and this month's theme - Tea Party!

I must say I wasn't overly inspired by this theme at first, but I have decided to create designs inspired by different china designers, starting today with Clarice Cliff.

I saw this plate while rifling through Google images and decided that it could be worth a go :)

For the three patterned nails I started with a white base and added in the design with my new Pure Color No.10 brush from StylishNailArtShop on Etsy (totally recommend this and all their other brushes - I already have more on the way!) using Barry M Gelly Satsuma, LA Colors Wisteria, Color Club Earth Angel, Models Own Feeling Blue, Jessica Banana Peel, LA Colors Sea Foam and a little black acrylic paint. All topped with Seche Vite.

Mine has turned out a little brighter than the plate, but I prefer it that way. I'm really pleased with the way the design came out too, so fairly happy with myself over this one!

I have three more china inspired designs to follow in this coming week - in the meantime, check out the reat of the ladies' fab Tea Party manis by following the links below...

Sam xx

15 Aug 2014

The Digit-al Dozen does Summer Day 5 - Inspired by Bright Batik

Hello everyone! Today marks the final day of Summer week with The Digit-al Dozen. There have been some amazing manis on dispay this week and some of the ideas have been inspired!

I'm finishing with something super bright which reminds me of a batik sarong I had many years ago. Starting with a white base, I sponged on OPI Yellopalooza, and Barry M Gelly Passion Fruit and Blue Grape. I topped with a coat of Seche Vite and once dry, stamped some flowers over the top using Konad White and finished with a final coat of Seche Vite.

So that wraps up DD week! Next month we have something special for you as its our anniversary month! In the meantime, I have four NCC manis for you next week and hopefully something special (and green) on Sunday for #fightforlightandlive to raise depression awareness.

Until then...

Sam xx

14 Aug 2014

The Digit-al Dozen does Summer Day 4 - A day at the beach

Hello everyone! I have just come back from a weekend at the seaside, so it seemed fitting to do something "beachy" for Summer week. I have seem a few of these manis this week and they have blown me away - mine is a little more basic but I got to use some of my favourite colours and its another gradient that I don;t consider a fail, so I'm posting it anyway :)

I painted a gradient using Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Time To Shine and Deep Blue Sea (well that was a no brainer...) and a little bit of LA Colors Metallic Silver. I added some waves using white acrylic paint thinned with a little acetone, and finished with Seche Vite.

This sea certainly looks a little more tropical than the sea I was splashing around in with Scarlett at the weekend, but it was so much fun and a little break that we all needed. Now to start the countdown until we go away in October :)

One more DD mani on the way for you tomorrow - its going to be a bright one! ;)

Sam xx

13 Aug 2014

The Digit-al Dozen does Summer Day 3

Hello everyone! Today is my Friday as far as real life work goes and its hump day in Digit-al Dozen week so I have something simple but effective for you today. Its inspired a beautiful handmade Indian bag that I had years ago. I kept using it until it basically fell apart and I still miss it, so why not commemorate it on my nails? ;)

The lase is 3 coats of LA Colors Apricot Fizz. This is a colour that I've owned for ages, but this is the first time I've used it for more than a swatch. Its not at all me, but I think that I may have been converted! 
I then stamped over that using Jessica Purple Burst and an image from MoYou London Pro XL 06 before finishing with Seche Vite.

Like I said at the beginning, its simple, but effective and I love it :)

Two more Summer inspired manis to come this week - be sure to check out the amazing work on show from the other ladies this week :)

Sam xx

12 Aug 2014

Fighting the sadness - bye bye Mork

Hello again everyone. Today I am full of sadness. I woke up to the news that Robin Williams has died and that in the end he couldn't outrun his depression and was overwhelmed.

I don't tend to get actually, really, truly sad when celebrities die but this has hit me on two levels. 

Firstly, my earliest memories are of watching "Mork and Mindy" and there is a Robin Williams film for pretty much every formative stage of my life so I feel like he has always been there.

Secondly, I am always rooting for anyone who battles depression in and out of the public eye. I am looking to them to see that it can be beaten and that it is a beast that can be tamed. It helps me continue with the daily struggle of feeling isolated by this horrible illness. 

I don't know if its true, but I read that Robin Williams was on medication, and that he had recently turned back to cocaine to be able to "feel" again. I was on various anti-depressants for 16 years and it was that desperate need to feel something again (anything - good, bad or indifferent), that gave me the strength to go through the withdrawal process and the accompanying physical symptoms. It has been a relentlessly hard journey ever since, but I wouldn't swap my worst days to go back to that numb existence (it can't be called living). 

Once I had the clarity of my emotions back (good, bad and indifferent), I found the balls to make some major life changes, got myself out of some very unhealthy situations and made a lot of changes for the better. I thought I was cured.

Turns out I wasn't. Everything life-wise was going my way (with a couple of minor exceptions due to the past trying to encroach on the present), but I've been having to fight against my depression harder in the last six months that I've had to fight in my entire life. Something inside my brain is refusing to allow me to feel loved, worthy, successful, happy - or even allow me five minutes peace. 

Despite going on with my day to day life as much as possible, I have felt like a fraud masquerading as Sam, not just for work and online, but to my husband and my daughter too. I'm frequently asked by my husband if I'm ok and I always reply that yes, I am. Then I'm annoyed that he can't read my mind, while at the same time being glad he can't read my mind so that he can't see what an absolute train wreck I am inside. And that is the isolating nature of the illness.

I refuse to go back to the medication. Please note that I am in NO WAY saying that people shouldn't take anti-depressants - they are very effective as a short term fix and help a lot of people. But they are no longer for me. I have an amazing therapist and I go every week. I deal with my current feelings and all my baggage and try to keep my head above water that way.

But when I see that someone like Robin Williams has lost to the same foe that I am fighting, it reminds me that this can be a terminal illness. I have never considered ending it all, mostly thanks to my daughter - I can't imagine leaving her having to live with something like that, but its a stark reminder of where it can lead. On some days it spurs me on to fight harder, but on my darker days it makes me believe that despite winning a few battles, I will never win the war.

If you think someone is depressed, don't just ask them if they're alright, they'll likely say yes for fear of being judged or being a burden. If you know them well enough ask them instead if they're depressed, try and initiate a discussion. If you can find a way of making a depressed person feel less alone (trust me, its almost impossible, but we usually appreciate the effort if we are able to on that day). 

My husband and I use this now, it works better if he asks if I want him to build me a nest rather than asking how I am:

Excuse the rambling post, but if this tragedy gets us all talking about our own experiences and reading about this makes even just one person feel less alone, then its been worth it.

Sam xx

The Digit-al Dozen does Summer Day 2 - My favourite beach towel!

Hello everyone! Anyone who knows me will also know that I pretty much only ever wear black, rain, shine, tropical heat or arctic winter. But I accessorize loud! Going to the beach is no exception. Last year I stumbled across this beach towel and couldn't resist - once I learned that our August theme was Summer, I couldn't wait to have a go at recreating the gradient nad leopard print design on my nails.

I started by sponging on a gradient using Color Club Take Me To Your Chateau, Models Own Lilac Dream and Orly Pink Waterfall. Once that was dry, I added the leopard print using the same colours along with OPI Yellopalooza, finished the leopard print with a little black acrylic paint and a small dotting tool and topped with Seche Vite.

Another piece of useless info about me is that I hate (actual real hate!) doing gradients. I'm never happy with them but figured I'd get away with this one because something was going over the top. Then I went and did the best bloody gradient I've ever done and had to cover it up - typical! (I may have kept a few pics of the plain gradient for self-congratulation purposes). Still, I love the way that these nails match the beach towel and the way that it all came together :)

All the DD ladies are coming out with some seriously amazing manis this week so be sure to check them out by following the links below. You can also find links to all our social media by clicking on the "Digit-al Dozen" tab at the top of the blog.

Back tomorrow :)

Sam xx

11 Aug 2014

The Digit-al Dozen does Summer Day 1

Hello everyone! I'm back with a very busy week on the blog! I took last month off but I'm back with the Digit-al dozen for our Summer week kicking off today :)

There's plenty of full colour manis coming your way later this week, but I'm starting with a typical English summer's day - ie, a hint of blue sky through the grey clouds and generally a bit of rain thrown in...

I started with a base of soft grey using Color Club Silver Lake and then sponged on LA Colors French White, Color Club Take Me To Your Chateau and a hint of Ciate Vintage to create the cloudy sky. I topped with OPI Matte top coat and once fully dry, I added drips of Seche Vite, which dried over the matte top coat to create the rain drops.

I love this one! It was a lot less subtle in real life, but hey ho, them's the breaks sometimes. I recreated it on my real nails (they're still refusing to grow btw) and got so many compliments. I'm looking forward to trying it again with a "stormier" sky - I just need to wait for the Autumn themes to start coming around ;)

I will be back with something decidedly more colourful for you tomorrow. Until then, please check out all of the other fabulous summer manis by the DD ladies by following the links below :)

Sam xx