Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Wimbledon Nails!

Hey everyone :) Today I've dedicated my manicure to the big tennis event that's going on at the moment. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of tennis (or any sport, for that matter), however I am a big fan of painting anything and everything on my nails, so I couldn't help but create a Wimbledon-inspired design!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Blue Roses

Hi guys! Today I decided to do a very simple girly manicure, and I love the fact that I only used Models Own products (my favourite brand, in case you hadn't noticed!) I researched rose nail art yesterday, and decided to adapt a few different techniques into my own style. I can't remember precisely which blogs/pictures I looked at, but there is an abundance of them out there, so just Google 'rose nail art' and you will definitely find a technique that suits you :)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

7 Deadly Sins - Wrath

Hi guys :) This is my final manicure for my self-assigned theme of the Seven Deadly Sins. Today it's 'Wrath', and I really struggled to come up with a design to represent anger. Luckily, I'd just researched a few water spotting tutorials, and decided that combining red, orange and yellow would create a lovely fiery background. So, I set to work with water spotting (I made a BIG mess...), and once they were complete, my better half suggested a volcano design. I suppose volcanoes are angry in terms of natural disasters, so I'm not straying too far from the actual sin. Anyway, here's the tutorial...

Friday, 21 June 2013

Stripes & Floral Combo Nails

Hey guys! Today I bring you a tutorial for a manicure that stemmed from a brand new outfit I've just bought. I created this design for a variety of reasons, including seeing Lacqueerisa's 'Little Poppies' which made me desperate to try a new floral mani. And then when my gorgeous outfit from Boohoo arrived, it seemed the perfect source of inspiration to create a funky floral design!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Thank You!

'Oh,' you're thinking. 'Her nails look different. Her fingers look fatter... And scabbier... And hairier...'

For anyone that it is unsure, these are definitely NOT my nails. They belong to my lovely boyfriend - you know, the one that made my DIY light box? He's also the one that has put up with inhaling nail varnish fumes every night, and has to listen to me screaming and swearing whenever I smudge my latest design. When I asked him if he'd donate his nails for my Thank You message, he agreed straight away, which just goes to show what a good sport he is! I like to do things a bit differently, so I'm glad that I'm able to express my appreciation via unusual means. I mean, how often do you see a 'hairy-arsed builder' (his words, not mine!) wearing shimmery blue nail polish?!


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

7 Deadly Sins - Sloth

Today I bring you my silliest design to date. I decided to take the sin of 'Sloth' quite literally, and ended up painting a couple of little sloths on my finger tips. They're such strange little creatures that it was really fun to design them, and although the manicure isn't 100% technically perfect (I used A LOT of artistic license), I still think it's really cute and effective!


Monday, 17 June 2013

7 Deadly Sins - Gluttony

 Hey guys! So this evening I've created my next manicure for the Seven Deadly Sins theme. Today it's Gluttony, and I've represented this sin through lots of naughty food! Ironically, I can't actually eat any of the food I've painted, since I'm one of those awkward people that's gluten AND lactose intolerant. D'oh. But never mind, because now I've got a doughnut, a slice of pizza, a cupcakey-icecreamy thing, and a burger on my finger tips :)

The equipment:

Models Own 'Utopia'
Models Own 'Bare Beauty'
Models Own 'Pastel Pink'
Models Own 'Blueberry Muffin'
Models Own 'Feeling Blue'
Models Own 'Jade Stone'
Models Own 'Fuzzy Peach'
Barry M 'Shocking Pink'
Natural Collection 'White'
Fearne 'Lemon Drizzle'
Classic red
03. black fine liner
A fine nail art paint brush
I started out with a base of Models Own 'Utopia', which is a greyish-mauve colour. It only takes two coats to achieve this finish, and it's a really gorgeous shade, so I wholeheartedly recommend!
Next, using a fine paint brush, I applied the block colours. Using Models Own 'Bare Beauty', I painted a thick circle for the doughnut, a curved triangular shape for the pizza, and the burger bun. On my ring finger I used 'Blueberry Muffin' for the bottom of the cupcake/icecream (I can't decide which one it is...)
Next I added more block colours, using Models Own 'Pastel Pink' for the doughnut icing. I used Fearne 'Lemon Drizzle' for the pizza's cheese, and white for the topping of the cupcake/icecream. For the tiny little burger, I added lines of red, green and yellow.
Now for more details! I used Models Own 'Feeling Blue', Barry M 'Shocking Pink' and white nail polish to add sprinkles to the doughnut. For the pizza I added tomato sauce in red, and vegetables using 'Fuzzy Peach' and 'Jade Stone'. I also drew a few black dots (olives maybe?) using the fine liner. I also added darker blue stripes to the base of the cupcake/icecream, and a few sprinkles like the doughnut, then topped it off with a cherry. The burger is so tiny that I couldn't have too many details, so I just added tiny white dots for sesame seeds.

I actually prefer the nails like this, and I kind of regret adding outlines. But never mind. I guess the whole point of nail art is trying and testing different techniques. Anyway, here's what they looked like after adding the outlines with the fine liner...
Maybe if my fine liner was even finer, it would have worked out better. Never mind! I still love the doughnut and the cupcake/icecream, but the pizza slice kind of annoys me now, and the burger is inconsequential because it's so small! Ooooh, and I also drew 'Gluttony' across my thumb nail (on top of 'Pastel Pink'), just because I didn't want to break the habit of writing the name of the sin :)

So there we have it, my Gluttony nails! I think I might do a full set of doughnut nails in the future, without the black outline of course. What do you think? Have you ever painted food-inspired nails?


DIY Light Box

Morning! I've decided to dedicate a whole post to the DIY light box that I've been going on about for the past few days! I know there a lots of 'how-to's out there, but I thought I should contribute my method, since it's a lot simpler than others. Plus I only used materials that were lying around the house, rather than having to buy fabric and special paper etc.

The equipment:

10" x 9.5" x 8" cardboard box 
10 sheets of A4 paper
Gaffa tape 
A clever boyfriend

The box we used (I'm using 'we' very lightly here... I didn't actually do anything other than observe the process, as is obvious in the images!) was from a recent delivery. It's the perfect size for this sort of thing, but any size of box can be used, although a big box = big sheets of paper. It's best to search around for a box that's around the same size as A4... I guess a shoebox would work!
Anyway, once we'd found a suitable box, we fixed the flaps together with gaffa tape, making it a good few inches deeper.
Once fixed, we measured around three sides of the box and marked it out. The parts we marked were the top, and the two sides. A ruler can be used for this, or anything with a straight edge (we used a piece of wood that was lying around).
When everything was marked out, we cut out the shapes. Use a good pair of scissors for this, or a sharp knife, as you don't want to rip towards the edges.
So this is what your box should look like. I recommend 'sturdying' up any edges or loose bits, because you don't want it to suddenly bend or collapse.
As you can see, we taped over the flaps at the back of the box, and around every single edge. It doesn't look pretty, but it really strengthens the structure. Then we took out our A4 paper and began to fix it into the windows.
When all of the windows were filled, we took another piece of paper and placed it inside the base of the box (you can see a tiny bit poking out in the picture!) With the rest of the paper, we stacked it together so it was thick and bendy, then lay it in a curve inside the box. If you have a malleable piece of card, or a good quality cartridge paper, this would probably work better. But, as I said before, we refused to go out and purchase anything for this project, so stacked A4 paper had to do!
You can see inside the box in this photo, and how the paper curves from the top to the bottom. I didn't worry about any of the edges or gaps, because I knew I'd only be photographing the very centre of the box in my nail art pictures. We placed the final box under a desk lamp (any lamp will work), et voilà!
Here's the proof of how well my light box works. Both the above and below photos were taken with my iPhone 4S, and they're my 'Proud as a Peacock' nails. In the top image, the lighting is rubbish, the picture is grainy, and the beautiful colours of the manicure aren't done justice at all! But look how well it photographs inside my light box...
It's kind of a no-brainer. 

Making a DIY light box is soooo easy to do, and as you can see, the results are amazing. If you're a nail artist, or even a blogger who likes to take review products like makeup or jewellery, then I really recommend taking the time to make your own mini studio. It will make your images look so much more  professional!

What do you think? Have you made yourself a light box? Are you going to try?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

7 Deadly Sins - Pride

Happy Sunday! (And Father's Day, if I happen to have any readers who are daddies...) Today I'm presenting you with a tutorial for my next Seven Deadly Sins manicure, 'Pride', and I've worked with the concept of peacock feathers ('Proud as a Peacock', I think the saying goes). I've seen lots of a peacock inspired nail art, and I love the combination of colours and the simplicity of the design.

The equipment:

Rimmel 'Azure'
W7 'Neon Green'
Missguided 'Misslead'
No. 7 'Hot to Trot'
No. 7 'Totally Teal'
Models Own ' Gold Finger'
Rio black nail art pen
A fine nail art paint brush
I started out with a lime green base, using two coats of W7 'Neon Green'. I initially painted my thumb nail the same as the others, but I soon decided that this would alter at the end of the manicure!
Next, using No. 7 'Hot to Trot', I added ovals of gold in the centre of my nails. I used a fine paint brush to neaten up the edges.
Once dry, I used the gorgeous Rimmel 'Azure' to add tear drop shapes inside the gold ovals. I absolutely adore this colour, and it's absolutely perfect for a peacock design. I also topped the lime green sections with Missguided 'Misslead', which is a subtle shimmery polish in yellow.
Then I added small black circles to the bottom of the azure tear drops, and using the striping brush end of my nail art pen, I painted a line up to the base of my nails.
Next, using No. 7 'Totally Teal' and the paint brush, I added darker green details to the feathers. I also added sparkles to the gold section of the feather, using Models Own 'Gold Finger'. It's a very subtle effect, but it makes the feathers sparkle when they catch the light!

Finally, as can be seen in the first image, I painted my thumb nail with Rimmel 'Azure' and then wrote 'Pride' using the black nail art pen. I also added a few more sparkles using 'Gold Finger', which ties the whole manicure together.

These are the first photos I've taking using my DIY light box (courtesy of my lovely boyfriend). I think I may post a tutorial of the whole process, because it was so simple and yet it works a treat! There are lots of DIY light box tutorials out there, but mine is slightly different, and I think it was actually much easier. Watch this space...

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Grab My Button!

Wow, two posts in one day... What is wrong with me?! Unfortunately this is not a tutorial, it's just a quick message to let you know that Little Tip Off now has a button. As you can see, it's very small and simple, and will look cute on any kind of blog! Find the code on the bottom right hand side of the page, and feel free to grab it and add it to your own page. If you'd like me to return the favour, get in touch with your button code :)

Yorkshire Bloggers

Hi guys! This is a just quick post to let you know about Yorkshire Bloggers, which is a site dedicated to promoting all kinds of blogs that are based in Yorkshire. Obviously I'm not living in Yorkshire at the moment (*sob*) but it definitely holds a massive place in my heart, and I really hope to move back eventually! I'm so glad to have been invited to join this site - after all, a really important part of blogging is being able to support and promote one another. Anyway, there are all sorts of blogs linked via the site, from beauty, fashion and lifestyle to cookery, parenthood and photography, so you are guaranteed to find something to suit your taste. I'm adding the Yorkshire Bloggers badge to my sidebar, so give it a click ;) 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Mattifying Mania!

Good morningggg! This post may cause a few 'Déjà Vu' moments for my readers, because the photos involved have already appeared individually on my Instagram, Tumblr and/or Facebook page. However, I've decided to dedicate a whole post to my new obsession... Essie 'Matte About You'! I had no idea I'd fall this much in love with a top coat, but I have. I've fallen hard.
I ordered it from Superdrug online, and took advantage of the 3-for-2 offer that was on at that moment in time. You can see what else I bought in this post! Anyway, I opted for Essie's offering to the matte-effect phenomenon because I've read so many good reviews, plus the price (about £8) was reasonable. I could have gone for a cheaper brand, but I know that Essie has never let me down! I'm also not wiling to venture beyond the £8 mark, so Seche, OPI and Nails Inc. (apart from the miniatures) are out of bounds I'm afraid...

This first manicure was inspired by none other than a pair of pants! I was sitting on the sofa trying to think up design ideas, and then when I spotted the cherry-patterned knickers hanging off the airer, my decision was made. Oh, and contrary to my initial statement about this source of inspiration, they are NOT my boyfriend's pants. It was a joke...
I used W7 black as a base, then added white cherries with pale pink highlights (I used Models Own 'Pastel Pink'). Then I added red cherries using Models Own 'Soda Pop Pink' with red and white lowlights and highlights. For the storks I used Models Own 'Jade Stone' with No. 7 'Totally Teal' for details. Once dry, I added a coat of Essie 'Matte About You'. It completely pulls together this funky manicure, and makes it even more cute!
Here I used the matte top coat over Models Own 'Utopia', which is a beautiful pale mauve/grey shade. Adding 'Matte About You' makes it even more delicate, almost porcelain-like, and it's the perfect manicure if you fancy something low key yet gorgeous.
This manicure clearly shows the effect of Essie 'Matte About You'. I started out with 3 coats of Models Own 'Bare Beauty', and once dry I mattified! Because Essie products, both the polish and the brushes, are such high quality, you only need to use one coat and it applies really smoothly. If you haven't yet ventured into the world of mattified manicures, then I wholeheartedly recommend Essie 'Matte About You'. Have you used this product before? If not, what's your favourite matte top coat?

Ooooh and before I go, make sure you check out my other platforms for Little Tip Off. The Facebook page can be found HERE and the Tumblr blog HERE. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter - search for littletipoff and @amykilv, respectively :)


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

7 Deadly Sins - Greed

Evening! Yes I've been a rubbish blogger YET AGAIN... The weather has been so gorgeous recently that I've tried to be out and about as much as possible. My nails have either been bare or a simple shade of peach for the past week, so I thought it was about time to do something sparkly and O.T.T! Here's my latest offering to the theme of Seven Deadly Sins...
I decided to represent the sin of greed with diamonds, glitter and jewels. I used two gorgeous shades - Rimmel 'Pompous' and Models Own 'Gold Finger' - along with my beloved Nails Inc. 'Bling It On' in silver, a couple of studs, and some tiny gems. I also used Rio nail art pens (I seem to have misplaced my Models Own ones, and Rio work just as well).
As always, I started out with my bases. Can you believe I achieved this finish with only 2 coats of each varnish? I highly recommend Rimmel for this - all of their polishes have a really good consistency, a lovely flat brush, and end up looking perfect after only a couple of coats. They also tend to be very quick drying, which is a plus! 'Gold Finger' is also brilliant in terms of minimal application, which is surprising for a glitter polish.
Once dry, I used a white nail art pen to begin the base for a diamond. I used the striping brush end to get clean, straight lines, and then filled it in.
Once both of my diamonds were dry, I applied Nails Inc. 'Bling It On', which is a fine silver glitter in a cute little bottle. I dabbed it on with a brush, then cleaned up the edges (my little finger nails is a diamond prior to the clean up!) Then I used my black nail art pen to add more details to the diamond.
I normally avoid using large embellishments on my nails, because they're so slim and curved. These studs would be ideal for someone with lovely flat, broad nails, but hopefully the two clear top coats I applied will keep them in place! I added purple gems to this nail, and on the final purple nail I used silver gems.

Finally, I wrote 'Greed' across my thumb. These nails are far too O.T.T. for day-to-day activities, and I'm pretty sure I will lose a few gems while washing dishes/washing my hair/living in general. However I think they aptly represent the sin of greed because they're so embellished and opulent. I also think the purple and gold shades complement one another beautifully, and really relate to the concept of wealth and indulgence!

What do you think? Do you like to use studs or gems, or stick to something more simple?
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