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Gold Finger & Highlight Of My Summer

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Hi lovelies. I have a fun mani for you today that I really enjoyed wearing. After last week’s rather heavy posts, I hope this lightens up my blog a bit.

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I then painted Maskscara Gold Finger on all of my nails except on my ring nails. Gold Finger is a lovely gold foil. I had no issues with the formula at all. I think I’ll try and stamp with this one at some point because it was fairly opaque. Not a 1 coater, but good enough to give it a go. On my ring nails I painted 4 coats of China Glaze Highlight of my Summer. Highlight of my Summer is like a mint green neon. I really love the colour. It is bright, but not as in your face as a neon pink or orange. The formula on Highlight of my Summer is quite typical of China Glaze neons and I needed a 4th coat to smooth it out to my satisfaction. I gave my nails a few minutes to dry and then used the polish brushes to make random dots along the sides of my nails, alternating the colours and size of the dots. I took Sinful Colors Black on Black and my smallest dotting tool to outline the spots and make random black spots in the blank spaces. I sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

Maskscara Gold Finger and China Glaze Highlight Of My Summer Leopard Print Nail Art

Maskscara Gold Finger and China Glaze Highlight Of My Summer Leopard Print Nail Art

I really loved this mani and got loads of compliments on it. I used the polish brush to make the dots and you could totally do the black outlines with a toothpick. Leopard print is one of my favourite nail art patterns. It is simple and easy to do. It is quite hard to mess up, since the pattern is rather random. I like the colour combination I chose here and in general I just love it. I will always come back to leopard print.

What do you think of this mani? Do you like leopart print? I must say I don’t wear leopard print clothing and am not particularly drawn to it, but I love it on nails! Would you give this a try? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

Jamie’s Birthday Celebration 2014

Yesterday was a tough day at work for me. It was the first year since Jamie passed away that I was not able to take leave to be at home. What this meant was that I was quiet and withdrawn all day and burst into tears periodically. My colleagues are really not used to me being quiet. I’m willing to bet they wish I would shut up sometimes!

This also meant I couldn’t bake for Jamie’s birthday like I normally do. Look, I’m not a good baker. It is a labour of love as well as an experiment every year. The first year I baked a cake that looked like a scone when it came out of the oven. It was also hard enough for me to be afraid that it might hurt birds that ate it, so after forcing a piece down I binned it.

Yesterday Sanita took me out during our lunch hour for a little but of retail therapy. When I grieve I find buying stuff to be really therapeutic. To put it in perspective, the day after my grandfather passed away I bought a king size bed. I really wanted to buy that Christmas tree yesterday! It didn’t take spending that much though. I visited Planet Nails and stocked up on nail files, bought some nail stickers and some fizzy manicure balls (like those bath bombs you get, but miniature ones for your nails). We popped off to a little shop to buy some cake for our annual celebration. Sanita recommended a chocolate swiss roll that you find at this shop that is slathered in caramel. Sounded good to me! I also bought some candles for the kids to blow out. Elijah really enjoys that 🙂 I really felt better after we came back from our lunch break, even though I had not spent thousands.

I also decided pizza for dinner was a good idea. We decided to try Dominos which is new to South Africa. Although the pizza wasn’t bad, I still prefer Panarottis. After dinner Elijah asked for cake every 5 minutes, so we didn’t wait too long before we had the cake. I popped some candles onto the cake, Elijah came to blow them out – Gabby wasn’t very interested, I’m sure this will come with age. I snapped a pic of the moment:

Jamie's 6th birthday 2014

 

For some reason this year was more difficult for me than last year. I managed to take things in my stride last year and had a small cry. Yesterday I was distraught for the most part. I suspect having to be at work had something to do with that…just being around people when I would much rather be alone to wallow was hard. Hopefully next year I will be able to get the day off.

My blog hit 364 views yesterday. That is my highest number of views in a very long time. I received so many messages of love and support. It warmed my heart. I said in my letter to Jamie yesterday that other people have forgotten, but they have not. I was really grateful for everyone who took a moment out of their day to send us a message for Jamie’s birthday. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart <3

Happy Birthday Jamie x

Dear Jamie,

It is your 6th birthday today. I cannot believe it has been 6 years since you became an angel baby. So much has happened since then. You have a brother and a sister now. How lucky are we? Your brother talks about you sometimes. We’ve told him about you and sometimes he will tell me that you visited him in a dream. He says you play together nicely and have fun with each other. He says you have long brown hair and brown eyes. It makes me wish that I could plug into his dreams to get to know you and spend time with you too. I would really have loved that.

I usually take leave for your birthday, but this year I was not able to. It will be the first year that I am not home baking something for you. I am not sure what my day will be like at work. It may have been 6 years, but I have already teared up writing this post, so while time has helped stitch my heart back together, it still hurts at the seams. This is a kind of pain that everyone else has forgotten and that most do not understand, but it is there and it is real to me. The week leading up to your birthday I always feel sad and since I’m not always actively thinking about what we were going through 6 years ago at this point in time, sometimes I wonder why. I should know better. I really should. It is always there.

I wonder sometimes if you grow up in heaven. Your soul does not have a body, so how does that work exactly? I won’t ever know, but I like to think you can think for yourself and communicate in some way (with us or other souls) even though you could not do that when you left us.

I try not to be sad, but how could I not be? I know that you probably would not want me to be sad. I know time is probably different to you and to me. 6 years is a long time where I am. I do my very best not to let my sadness creep into our home life. I don’t want to be sad around your brother and your sister. They are too little to understand. I’m not sure they will ever understand until, God forbid, something like this happens to them. Until they lose a little piece of them they can never get back.

Some days I still feel so guilty. Your brother asks very basic questions…questions about how you died. I find those so very hard to answer. Sometimes he will say, very bluntly “Who killed her?” and he might as well be stabbing me in the heart. This morning when I told him he would be able to eat cake with us if he was good today, he asked me when you are coming back 🙁 While I know we made the right decision, not only for us, but for you…it isn’t always crystal clear and sometimes the lines blur and my heart breaks all over again. I don’t dwell on the “What ifs”. I simply can’t when it comes to you. I cannot do that to myself and I know deep down in my heart that I could never have done that to you either. Still…I wish you were here. I have nothing but memories of you. Nothing to hold onto, nothing to touch. I’m not sure if that makes it harder or easier.

If you were still here your sister probably would not be. That is hard to imagine. I know her in a way I never got to know you. I still don’t know exactly why you happened to us, but I know there must be a reason. Maybe to pave the way for your siblings…maybe to kindle a burning desire for them within me. Perhaps I needed you in some sort of physical sense. I don’t know.

Just so that you know, you are not forgotten. Mommy misses you.

Until we meet again,

Love always

x

***If you are new to my blog and you are unsure what this post is about, you can learn about Jamie in my About Me section.***

Oh, Christmas Tree! Oh, Christmas Tree!

Oh, Christmas tree 🙁

Last year when we took our relatively expensive Christmas tree down, we decided to chuck it as the branches were no longer properly attached to the main stem and were drooping and made the whole tree look horrible. We bought this tree the year I was pregnant with Elijah (2009), so the tree wasn’t even that old, but it was no longer a pretty Christmas tree. What I did not realize at the time was that times would be very tough this year. Our bonuses are practically non existent, so I don’t have that extra cash flow to replace the tree without a second thought.

Guys, you know me. I’ve put up my tree in September before. I love Christmas and although Christmas has been a downer the last few years, the tree was the one thing that always lifted my spirits and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside…even when everything else was meh. Elijah is also old enough now to understand Christmas, relate to the whole theme of things and was really excited to decorate the tree with me last year. I’m totally ready to put the tree up already, except…there’s no tree. So I started looking for trees online…HOLY COW. When did a plastic Christmas tree get so expensive?!? This is my dream tree…only one thousand two hundred ront. Wait, what?! I haven’t actually been into the shops to check their prices, but I doubt that it will be much less.

Look, I know Christmas is not about the tree. It isn’t about the gifts. I know a huge number of people don’t have a tree or even gifts. I know all of this. I sure would like a tree for my kids and to get myself in the spirit too. Rudi suggested getting a live tree, but a) those are not available yet b) they die and you have to throw them away c) they are just as expensive! I saw an ad on Gumtree for a 2 m live tree – R850.  For 1 year.

Maybe I should settle for a smaller tree. It is just so awesome to have a tree that is taller than you are! I don’t know what we are going to do about the tree situation. We don’t have a garden. We don’t have anything to decorate really.

I don’t know what I am going to do…but I NEED a new tree…and a big one. Who is with me?!

By the time I finished writing this post I had practically convinced myself to just buy it on my credit card. *sigh*

Neon Skittle for Summer Day

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Hi everyone! I have a very bright mani to show you today. We had a “Summer Day” at work where we were asked to dress up with bright and summery outfits. Of course, I had to do a neon mani! It was a nice day. Even though we still had to work (of course!) we all got ice cream and there were chocolate fountains with marshmallows, watermelon, kiwi and strawberries. Later in the day one of the guys that works here and DJs on the side whipped out the decks and played some music for us. There were people playing dominoes, pool and cards. There was also a photo booth, but we haven’t seen the pictures yet. Let me show you the mani 🙂

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I pulled out all my neons for this one! I think I’ll show you the picture first this time and then tell you which polishes I used.

China Glaze and L.A. Girl Neon Skittle

On my thumb I’m wearing 4 coats of China Glaze Neon & On & On. While this is a stunning colour the formula is terrible. It is a watery streaky polish and I needed 4 coats for it to be nearly acceptable. All the studs used here are from Born Pretty Store (purchase here*). On my index I’m wearing 2 coats China Glaze That’s Shore Bright. The formula on this polish is about the best from all my China Glaze neons. I found it very easy to apply, opaque and even. My stud is off centre here. Sheesh!  On my middle nail I have 3 coats of China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy. Man I love this neon! Formula is a little tricky as the polish dries fast and it is easy to create bald spots, but I generally get it to look ok with 3 coats. On my ring nail I am wearing 3 coats of L.A. Girl Leap. This is a great neon green. No formula issues, but it is a bit sheer so I used 3 coats. The stud formation on this nail was my absolute favourite thing about this mani! I really liked how it came out 🙂 On my pinkie I’m wearing 3 coats of China Glaze You Drive Me Coconuts. This polish is a jelly, but it is quite opaque. Jellies often need 4 coats to hide visible nail line, but this one you can get away with 3. I sealed everything in with Seche Vite.

What do you think of this mani? Bright enough for summer day?

*Don’t forget you can use my affiliate link in the sidebar on the right to register on Born Pretty Store, as well as my 10% discount code for non discounted items :)

Las Vegas Lights Butterflies

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Hi everyone! Happy Friday and happy Halloween to those that celebrate! I’m working this weekend, so it isn’t much of a Friday for me, but I’m sure it will be over in no time and then I’ll have two weekends off again. Yay! Before I show you my nails of the day, I apologize in advance for any crap photos. I struggled my bum off to photograph these. I’m not sure if I was just having an off day or what. The bottle shape was so awkward to hold and when photographing the holo in the sun I could not see my screen at all, so it just sucked overall. Let me show you what I did for my last Pink October mani.

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I painted two coats of Ice Box Las Vegas Lights (gift) on all my nails except my middle fingers. Las Vegas Lights is an awesome pink linear holographic polish. The formula on the Ice Box holographic polishes is outstanding. The full size bottles also come with a very wide brush (even wider than the essence brushes), so you can cover almost any nail with two strokes, you just need to be careful not to leave too much polish on the brush. On my middle nail I painted a silver polish (a mini L.A. Girl silver with no name) and then two coats of Rimmel Shooting Star. Shooting Star is a silver textured polish with small silver hex glitters in a silver base. The formula was easy to work with and it dried well. The texture isn’t very rough to the touch, but you can definitely see it. Once my nails were dry I place a butterfly decal from luckystarstyle on my ring nail. These decals apply quite differently to the Born Pretty Store decals I showed you here. You adhere these exactly like those temporary tattoos you get for children. You remove the protective plastic from the decal, stick it on your dry polish and dampen the decal with a wet cloth. The backing will easily slide away once the decal is stuck to your nail. These decals have clear backgrounds, so they show up best over lighter polishes. You should cut out the decal as close to the design as possible so that there isn’t any excess. This one can’t be cleaned up with acetone after it is stuck down. Also, once you place it on your nail you can’t lift it again, so be sure to place it exactly where you want it the first time. I used a fan brush dipped into Born Pretty Store Holo #7 to brush over my thumb, index and pinkie nails. You cannot see the fan brushing at all, but it did scatter the holo somewhat and add a bit more silver to the holographic effect. Nobody else is going to know it is there though. I sealed everything but the texture with a coat of Seche Vite. The results:

Ice Box Las Vegas Lights, Rimmel Shooting Star, Lucky Star Style Decal

Lucky Star Style Decal, Rimmel Shooting Star, macro

Lucky Star Style Decal, Rimmel Shooting Star, Ice Box Las Vegas Lights

I’m not sure if you can tell from the last pic that the holo is different on the pinky/index and the ring nail. I had something different on my middle nail before and really hated it. I wanted to take everything off. I realized that the middle nail was what was bugging me though and after changing it to the silver texture I am much happier with how this turned out. I absolutely adore this Ice Box holo and these pink butterflies look so cute on it!

What do you think of this mani? Be sure to let me know in the comments below 🙂 Thanks for reading!

With Age Comes Moisturizer

Hi everyone! Is it me or has this year just flown by in a blur? Just as the past few years have. It seems the older we get, the faster time passes. The sands are running through the hourglass at a frightening speed and with age comes moisturizer…

When I started doing my nails, it came with a whole lot of routine maintenance. A lot! I couldn’t have bothered with half of it, but the more I posted photos of my nails and trawled nail sites online, the more self conscious I became about the state of my cuticles and the more dedicated I became at performing said maintenance. Have you woken up? Moisturize your cuticles! Did your hands touch water? Moisturize your cuticles! Do your hands feel dry? Moisturize! Are you going to sleep? Moisturize your cuticles! Rinse. Repeat. Every day. Moisture, moisture, moisture. Many products have been tried and tested and I have found a few I think work for me and I’m sticking to them.

At some point it dawned on me that I was paying so much attention to maintaining and beautifying my nails and cuticles, which people do not necessarily even notice in person, but I was doing nothing to or for my face. So I started to apply bio oil as a moisturizer. I didn’t see/feel it making much difference, so applying it diligently tapered off into not applying it at all.

I received a call from Isabella Garcia offering me a free gift as one of my friends had apparently nominated me. One of the questions to check if I “qualify” was whether or not I have a credit card. Alarm bells! I figured this was probably one of those things where they send you something and then phone you again later to bully you into subscribing to something or buying stuff here’s looking at you Platinum Life. Since I am one of those suckers who cannot say no, I accepted and answered questions about my skin type, issues and products I use. I received the delivery a few weeks later with no less than 10 different tubes of products. I was overwhelmed. So many things! 3 different types of cleansers (i.e. mask, exfoliating and foam wash), a few different moisturizers and other special lotions and potions for my face. I thought I would start with the basics: cleanse, tone and moisturize. I added the specialized products that are to be used once or twice a week in gradually.

To be completely honest, I don’t think that my skin has improved dramatically at all. I’ve been using the products for about 3 weeks and I am neither here nor there about their efficacy. I do, however, feel better that I am making some sort of attempt at taking care of my face. It has also gotten me into a morning and evening routine of moisturizing and I have added moisturizing my heels into that routine, leaving me all nice and soft.

I am also making a point of applying eye shadow every day. I’ve watched some YouTube videos on how to make smokey eyes and bought a few strategic brushes to help me do so.

All of this is work. Work I never used to do before. Work I didn’t feel was necessary before, but that I feel is absolutely essential now. Getting old just seems to add more and more effort into making ourselves feel and look acceptable (to ourselves) and what we perceive others to expect of us.

My Isabella Garcia samples are starting to run out and I am considering purchasing products to replace them. I’m not sure exactly what I will replace them with, I have colloidal silver soap which was recommended to me that I can use to cleanse…what I’m looking for is a good moisturizer that is inexpensive and won’t cause an oil slick on my face. My skin is quite oily, even more so in summer, so I need to use something with effective oil control. Any recommendations?

 

All of this has left me asking, who am I even?

Tip Top Gradient Stamping

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Hi everyone! Did you have a good weekend? It is slowly dawning on me that Christmas is coming faster than you can say ho ho ho. I am not ready for it to be Christmas, but I am always ready for Christmas nails! That aside, for the mani I want to show you today I tried my hand at gradient stamping. I was seriously impressed when I saw someone doing this on a YouTube video, but it took me ages to get around to trying it. Let me show you how it turned out.

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I painted 2 coats of Tip Top Grecian Urn on all of my nails. Grecian Urn is a gorgeous metallic bronze coloured polish with a pink colour shift. In direct sunlight you can even spot a sparse holographic shimmer which is beautiful! The formula is good, but you need to apply it carefully to avoid brush strokes. If you have too much polish on your brush this will also cause an uneven finish so make sure to wipe enough off before applying it to your nails.  Once my nails were dry I used the bottom image of PUEEN 26 to stamp over all of my nails. I used Tip Top Crushed Grapes and Sherbet Angel to create the gradient in the stamped image. I wish the Sherbet Angel showed up a little better over the Grecian Urn, but since this is a first attempt I’m going to give myself a break 😉 I sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

Gradient Stamping over Tip Top Grecian Urn

 

Gradient Stamping Macro

 

First of all, can we please take a moment to acknowledge the absolute awesomeness of my new macro lens? Wow. I’m so blown away by the macro photo! Such an awesome little gadget! No buyer’s remorse over here. I ordered my macro lens for my Samsung SIII here. As I mentioned before, I wish the Sherbet Angel showed up a little better over the base, but other than that I like how this mani turned out. It really is beautiful and one of my colleagues even referred to it as “exquisite”. So much love for that! Next time I do a gradient stamp I’ll be sure to use a lighter base and hopefully pick up some better contrast.

Be sure to let me know what you think of this one in the comments!

Kicking the Antibiotics

Early last month I posted about trying to get my children off what felt like constant antibiotic use. The post was well received and I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one worried about this. I realize that the weather is starting to warm up and that means less illness, but it is allergy season which has meant illness and infections for us in the past.

Since that post was published I have not taken the kids to the doctor once. They have had the snots, coughs, pukes and fevers since then…but never seemed limp and unable to play, so I held out and they recovered on their own. I still make use of over the counter medication and the kids are both taking an antihistamine to try and prevent allergy related post nasal drips which become monster coughs.

Another thing that has coincided with this is that we no longer have our family pet. I suspected for a while that having our cat was contributing to the problem. The children at the day mother where my children were picking up their germs were not constantly on antibiotics, but recovered on their own. The only logical explanation to me was that something environmental was aggravating my children’s condition to the point where they develop an infection. I am not saying that none of those other children have pets at home, but I was always aware that Elijah is susceptible to chest infections and it made sense to me that something he was inhaling could cause his condition to escalate. Yes, it could also have been grass, dust and a million other things. Testing for allergies is very costly, so finding out exactly what was setting them off was not financially viable.

We had Amber for many years and she was getting old. She had lost both her canines and was struggling to jump out of the window and up onto the bed. Amber was the first in our family who knew I was pregnant. It might sound weird, but she started sleeping by my tummy before I even took a pregnancy test. This was out of character for her. She always slept with Rudi and I found it strange that she suddenly wanted to sleep with me. After I took the test and she did it again, I made the connection. Once we bought the pram, she started having behavioral problems. She urinated in the pram more than once and she started defecating in the house. Since this started happening the moment we brought the pram into the house, we thought she was not having any of this new baby. She had lived through the arrival of one baby and refused to take this news in her stride. We tried to find her a new home for over two years, but nobody wanted her. We put a sign up in the local vet with a picture of her and a short explanation of why we could not keep her. Not one person called. Rudi and I fought about this constantly. I was unhappy, the kids and myself were constantly sick, our cat was acting out, our house constantly stank of cat urine (to the point where neighbours walking past our house commented about it) and we were at the end of our tether. My grandmother suggested we contact the animal anti-cruelty league and said they would likely be able to try and find a home for her. I called them and the lady that answered said we could bring her through and they would see what they could do. Rudi and Elijah took her early the next Saturday morning. Rudi said they examined her and said she was around 12 years old (we never knew her exact age as we started caring for her when she was no longer a kitten) and there was no way they could find a home for her and that they would put her to sleep. Rudi returned home without her. We were very sad. She wasn’t just a part of our family for around 10 years, she was also Elijah and Gabby’s first pet.

So far kicking the antibiotics is going well. I think a combination of a) the medical aid being depleted b) me not panicking at the first sign of a fever c) the onset of summer d) no more pet hair/dander to contend with and e) finding over the counter medication that works for us have all contributed to it going well so far. I know it has not even been 2 months and we have gone this long without antibiotics before, so you may think it is too early to assess. You might be right.  The reason I’m posting this now already is because we have experienced scenarios in this last two months that usually resulted in a visit to the doctor and a prescription for antibiotics, yet here we are. I don’t think they will never need antibiotics again. I’m sure they will. I hope to strengthen their immunity by letting their body fight these germs. It might take them a little longer to recover and it might still be costing me a small fortune in over the counter medication to alleviate their symptoms, but I am sure as their immunity increases this will pay off in the long run.

Have you tried to kick antibiotics? How did it go?

 

China Glaze Neon Dotticure

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Hello lovelies! I hope you’re having a splendid day 🙂 Today I want to show you a mani that just made me smile every time I looked at it. I don’t think it is a secret that I love neon colours on my nails. I have a number of neon polishes, mostly pink and purple mind you. I recently purchased another neon China Glaze and thought it would look great as a dotticure. Let me show you what I came up with.

 

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I painted 3 coats of China Glaze Peonies & Park Ave on all of my nails except my ring and thumb nails. Peonies & Park Ave is a gorgeous dark pink neon. It dried a shade or two darker than it looks in the bottle, but I really love it. It dried matte as most neons do. The formula was a little tricky to work with as the polish dries really fast and if you go over the same spot twice it tends to leave bald spots, but with careful application you can avoid that. On my ring and thumb nails I painted 3 coats of China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy. This polish has a similar formula to Peonies & Park Ave. It is my favourite neon polish! I don’t love orange polish in general, but this orange holds a special place in my heart! It is simply gorgeous, so gorgeous that cameras struggle to capture the true colour. Sorry about that 😉 I dotted all over my nails alternating the colours using my largest dotting tool. I gave the dots a minute or two to set and then dotted over the largest dots again with a smaller dotting tool and the alternating colour. I have always loved these kind of dotticures when I’ve seen them online…I like to think of it as ‘dotception’. Yes, I’m making bad jokes. I felt like the pink and orange kind of hurt my eyes and I needed to break it up with something and to tie everything together nicely, so I pulled closer China Glaze Highlight Of My Summer and a small dotting tool to make random dots in the empty spaces. I sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

 

China Glaze Neon Dotticure

 

This mani was so gorgeous and got me into the mood for summer big time! I really love the colours and love how they looked together. Big thumbs up!

What do you think of this mani? Do you like neon colours? Remember, you don’t need a dotting tool to create dots on your nails. Any household item from a ballpoint pen to a toothpick can be used as a dotting tool. Experiment on paper to see what size the dots will be when using different household items 🙂