Frenchie with Ceramic Blue on Peach Pie

I don’t know when the last time I had a French manicure was, but I imagine it was the day I graduated high school. I remember doing acrylics with white tips are one of those Vietnamese nail places and not caring that about half the nail was white – I know better now. Once I started getting regular acrylics I quickly realised that not only did it look worse with white tips than with nail polish, it was also more difficult to maintain.

And along those lines it’s gone. When I’ve had acrylics I haven’t wanted it for the above reasons, and when I’ve had my own nails I haven’t wanted it because I’ve thought I still had ‘too much tip’ and it’s not the easiest thing to do on your own nails. Also, if I’m allowed to admit this, I don’t think I’ve ever really been that much of a fan and I kind of find it a little bit ‘safe’. Like when I was getting married I knew I definitely did not want a French manicure – it felt very done and not very me.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I have lots of pinks in various shades in my nail polish collection. But what I’m missing is a really good, not pink, nude. I have a very opaque beige, but it’s almost too opaque to be able to be passed off as nude. So when I went food shopping over the weekend and saw that they were selling Maybelline polishes quite cheaply I had a look – and found Peach Pie. When I got home and tried it on I realised that it was a lot more transparent than I had expected it to be – and immediately thought it was the perfect Frenchie base. But because I’m not a traditional Frenchie kind of girl, I had to adopt the ever-so-popular pastel tip trend.

So here you have two coats of Peach Pie, with two thin coats of Ceramic Blue and then a top coat.



Derby Gate on Elizabeth Street

I have never really been a pink girl. Growing up I loved my dresses – true – and especially the ones my mum made, but I was always a little bit of a tomboy. I ran around in the forest, played football for over ten years, dreamed of being a football pro or a war correspondent, and my favourite colour was blue. Always have been, always will be.

But in my later twenties I have started seeing pink in a new light. It may be that I feel like a grown-up now, and that as a teenager I had enough of the ‘ditsy blonde’ prejudice not to want to play on it by wearing pink, but who knows. When I was little I hated mushrooms and tomatoes and now I love them. Tastes change.

Anyway, though I’m still somewhat nervous of looking like Elle Woods when I dress in pink, one place where I do love it is my nails. I usually go for lighter, or dusky, and generally more subdued, shades, and my nail polish bag is filled with pink and pastels.

For Christmas last year I got a set of Nails Inc. nail polishes. Because I also got the OPI All Stars mini collection, I didn’t really look at the Nails Inc. until March. Coincidentally, it was my last week before I was leaving London, and once I’d painted my nails with the fun pink glitter polish that was in the box I realised it was called Derby Gate – which just so happens is right outside my old office!

Derby Gate is a darker pink glitter polish with both tiny round glitter and larger asymmetric pieces. I think it looks best over a light pink shade (here Elizabeth Street) but it would probably look nice over white as well. I don’t think a darker pink would complement it as well, because I think it would disappear a little.

This is two coats of Elizabeth Street, two coats of Derby Gate, and a top coat.


Tickle My France-y

I love this nail polish! S gave me the OPI All Stars mini collection for my stocking filler one year, and Tickle My France-y is part of that collection. (Also, can we just mention that OPI has the best nail polish names ever?) It’s a gorgeous, slightly darker, shade of dusty rose (it’s more pink in the daylight outside than in this inside picture) that’s neutral enough to work in any setting and with any outfit. It’s also the colour I wore when applying for jobs in April, so I have to like it because I was offered two different jobs wearing it!

This is two coats of Tickle My France-y with a Barry M quick dry top coat.


giving up is never easy to do

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a nail biter. I don’t know when I started, but I know I was already biting my nails when I started secondary school. I remember my mum threatening that she’d tape cotton gloves to my hands if I didn’t stop. (It didn’t help.) There were points where my nails were so short that they were red and raw, if not bleeding.

They say nail biting is a ‘social habit’ and that you pick it up from seeing someone close to you doing it. They also say it’s connected to anxiety.

What I’m going to say now may be provoking to some people – the ones who say ‘just stop doing it’ – but I see it a bit like smoking, or obsessive eating. It’s easy for people who’ve never done it to think that it’s a disgusting habit (I’m not saying that it’s not) and that it should be easy to quit. There are all kinds of statistics about dirt and bacteria and infections as a result of nail biting, but just hearing it doesn’t work. Just like it often doesn’t work to just say to a smoker that they could get cancer, or to tell an obsessive eater they could become obese or get diabetes or so on.

I’m not a professional, but the literature available on the internet, as well as my personal experience, would suggest that there is often a psychological as well as habitual reason behind the biting. That’s why saying “your nails look disgusting, you should stop biting them” to a nail biter may do more harm than good. For me it was(/is) a vicious circle – I would feel ashamed of the state of my nails, so I would bite them more because I was feeling bad about it. And so on.

I think I’ve tried pretty much everything short of hypnosis to finally quit for good – with varying results. Foul tasting ‘nail polishes’: didn’t work. The ‘shame and blame’ method: didn’t work. Painting my nails regularly: didn’t work. Chewing gum: didn’t work (you can chew gum and bite your nails at the same time). Snapping a hair tie around my wrist: didn’t work. Wearing gloves/plasters on your nails: didn’t work.

The only thing that has worked for any longer period of time has been getting fake nails (gel/acrylics) and then let my nails grow underneath them. The problem with this, though, is that just like a gastric band on an obsessive eater, it doesn’t deal with the reason why you’re biting to begin with. So some (and sometimes several) months would pass where my nails would be gorgeous and healthy looking, and then something would happen that would set me off again. And as before, I would be ashamed that I’d ruined my nails, feel bad about myself, and thus bite them even more.

What doesn’t help is that I have this perfection need, so once I get a tiny scuff on my nail polish I have to start peeling it all off – on all 10 nails! I’ve also, after all these years, become used to having my fingers in my mouth (terrible, I know) even if I’m not biting them. So sometimes when I’m concentrating on or thinking about something my fingers will wander to my face and end up resting in the corner of my mouth. And, if one of my nails break, I feel the need to cut them all off to the same length – and for some reason (I guess because they’re not as nice looking?) biting shorter nails is more appealing than biting longer ones.

The funny thing is that when I have long nails I go all girly-girl and think they’re so pretty and I want to paint them in all different colours (I have a supermarket shopping bag full of nail polishes) and my own (and failed) attempts at nail art. When I’m already biting my nails I sometimes do it because I’m bored or out of habit – and sometimes even without realizing – but that’s never the reason for relapsing, which is why I say that it’s not always as simple as ‘just quitting’. The relapses have always been emotionally connected, and that’s why, when you’re trying to quit, you have to deal with the psychology and trigger points as well. Obsessive eaters eat when they’re upset – compulsive nail biters (or at least this one) bites their nails.

But (and I know I’ve said this before) now it’s time for a change. For the xth time I’ve managed to grow my nails out again and have left them alone for the past few months. I’ve even had one break on me and not gone full barbarian – I just filed it down and left the others where they were! I’m trying not to fiddle (easier said than done), using nail scissors or a file instead of my teeth if I get a hangnail or something breaks, and trying to avoid putting them in my mouth subconsciously. I keep them nicely painted, and at the sight of the teeniest scuff mark I repaint them. Unfortunately, due to the composure of my nails that can be as often as every other day. (My nail polishes have never lasted very long and I read recently that if you have naturally oily or dry nails it can mean that the polish chips off much sooner.)

And since I’ve just started blogging again I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone (or two flies in one smack as we say in Swedish: “två flugor i en smäll”) and keep myself accountable on here. Once a week I will post a picture of my nails, and if you’re not interested you can just skip over it.

I will start off with a picture of my un-painted and un-manicured nails in their natural state, one of which – in honour of this very post – of course had to have a small cut on it.