around the world challenge

Around the World Challenge: 8 – London

London. My home town! And this time next week I’ll be in London (or I’ll have spent a day there and then be on my way to Brighton where I’ll be working this summer)

I wasn’t sure what to do for London nail art. There are so many things that are iconic about London and I know the city so much better than any of the others on the list, so it was really hard to decide. I was going to go with a transport theme (red bus, black taxi, underground…) but liked the bus I had done and decided to do it on all of my nails.

This is the first time I have done a design almost entirely in acrylic paint. I mainly decided to do it because I didn’t have a red which would dry well – my red polish are all really slow dryers and almost always bleed when I top coat them ruining everything… It was different using acrylic but I quite enjoyed it and was pleased how any of the streakiness or unevenness completely disappeared when I top coated them.


I used: The Thames – Nails Inc, red, yellow, black and white acrylic paints.

Around the World Challenge: 7 – Paris

I love Paris, it’s a beautiful city that I’ve visited countless times and even spent a month there one summer doing a training course. But I just couldn’t think of what to do for this day of the challenge. I ended up spending ages browsing for pictures that inspired me and when I couldn’t find anything that really screamed Paris to me, I gave up and decided to go with some cute illustrated Parisian women, an Eiffel Tower and a poodle! (Google images threw up a lot of Parisian ladies out walking their poodles by the Eiffel Tower when I searched for illustration and Paris)

It was a fun one to do and tested my freehand painting skills. I enjoyed doing the cute little faces and I think the poodle silhouette came out looking very much like a poodle!

I’m really enjoying this challenge so far (especially now we’re onto the European cities!) and am pleased with a lot of the designs I’ve come up with. A big thank you to Guilty as Charged for organising such a fun theme.



I used: Don’t Pretzel my Buttons – OPI, Warwick Avenue – Nails Inc, Revlon Red – Revlon, Matt Aqua – BYS, Brazilian Bikini – Sephora, black and white acrylic paint.

Around the World Challenge: 6 – Barcelona

I knew immediately that my Barcelona nails would involve something to do with Gaudi. My boyfriend lived in Barcelona when I first met him and I visited a few times. I remember having a fun and romantic day out at Park Güell and being very impressed by all the beautiful mosaics, balconies and buildings by Gaudi. The mosaic salamander there is pretty iconic, so I decided to include the salamander’s head on my nails. I went to the Sagrada Familia one day when he had to work and took about a thousand photos because it was just so incredible! it seemed natural to feature a silhouette of it on my middle finger. My thumb and pinkie are blue tiles inspired by the Casa Batlló, yet another bit of Gaudi in Barcelona – a city of art.

The background is a blue to white sponged gradient (it’s been way too long since I last did a gradient – my favourite kind of nail art!) as Gaudi seemed to love blue and to represent Spain’s beautiful blue skies – although I’m not sure if Barcelona has such wonderful blue skies as we do down in the south of Spain…


I used: Matt Aqua – BYS, Light Blue – Kiko, Baker Street – Nails Inc, Keep Calm, Paint On – China Glaze, Sumner Place – Nails Inc, Floral Street – Nails Inc, Life is a Freeride – Essence, black acrylic paint.

Around the World Challenge: 5 – Casablanca

I have a LOT of catching up to do! I’m really behind on the Around the World Challenge and never finished off the Couture Nail Art Challenge – so I’ll try to catch up on those this week.

Casablanca was a difficult one for me. I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco but have to admit I know very little about the city of Casablanca. I did discover that the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca has the world’s tallest minaret and that it’s decorated with extremely beautiful tiles much like the ones you can see all over Andalucia from when it was part of the Arab Empire.

So after my success with detail on the 1920s nail art, I decided to try something even trickier – geometric Arabic patterns. However it turned out to be a bit of a fail. This was obviously waaay beyond my skill level and my lines are not straight enough and my eye for detail not sharp enough.

Not one of my proudest moments but here are my somewhat wonky Casablanca tiles nails.


I used: My Boyfriend Scales Walls – OPI, Yellow – Sweets Sweet, Porchester Square – Nails Inc, Unfor-Greta-bly Blue – OPI, black acrylic paint.

Around the World Challenge: 4 – Rio de Janeiro

The obvious choice for Rio de Janeiro would have been carnival, but I wanted to look at a different but equally colourful aspect of this city. I’ve always associated Rio with bright colours and the pictures of its street art I’ve seen have probably contributed to my imagining it as a bright and vibrant place.

A quick google search confirmed that there really is a lot of colourful street art there with one of the most interesting being this project where 34 buildings were painted with bright rainbow stripes to create a community artwork. I loved this inspirational idea and thought it was definitely worth trying to recreate on my nails!


I was feeling a bit too lazy to do the design on both hands, so my right hand just has rainbow stripes rather than the whole building effect.


I used: My Boyfriend Scales Walls – OPI, Warwick Avenue – Nails Inc, Sensation – Color Addict, St James’s – Nails Inc, Psychedelic Orange – Rimmel, Light Blue – Kiko, Matte Aqua – BYS, Where’s My Chauffeur? – Essie, Take it Mint – Catrice, Def Defying – China Glaze, Mellow Yellow – Sally Hansen, Yellow – Sweets Sweet, Miss Grey – GOSH, Dreamer – Revlon.

Around the World Challenge: 3 – Mexico City

Mexico City – the first city on the list that I’ve actually been to and the challenge I was most looking forward to. I lived in Mexico (but not in Mexico City) for 2 years and visited the capital a few times. One of the most memorable days I spent there was when I visited Xochimilco, an area where tourists and locals alike can spend an enjoyable few hours on the brightly coloured boats that sail around the canals.

So the boats of Xochimilco were my inspiration for today’s manicure. You can see pictures of some boats here


I used: Don’t Pretzel My Buttons – OPI, Baker Street – Nails Inc, Papaya Punch – China Glaze, Yellow – Sweets Sweet, Notting Hill Gate – Nails Inc, Def Defying – China Glaze, St James’s – Nails Inc, Floral Street – Nails Inc

Around the World Challenge: 2 – Vancouver

So I know absolutely nothing about Vancouver other than the Winter Olympics were held there – but as the temperature is hitting the 30C mark here it would have seemed a bit weird to have snowy nails.

Canada is a country I’d love to visit and travel around and I’m mainly attracted by its incredible wildlife, so I looked up Vancouver wildlife on google and found that one of the most iconic animals associated with this part of Canada is the killer whale. I thought it was a fun and challenging idea for nail art.

I was pretty pleased with the results this time – my whales are easily identifiable as whales and I think the glittery sea turned out nicely too!


I used: Top of the Ice Stream – Essence, Dreamer – Revlon, Jacob’s Protection – Essence, Baker Street – Nails Inc, Water You Waiting For – China Glaze, black and white acrylic paint.

Around the World Challenge: 1 – New York

After the April challenge which I only participated in a few times a week rather than every day, I was going to have a break from challenges, but then I saw this one: the Around the World Challenge hosted by Guilty as Charged and it sounded like a lot of fun, plus it’s only once a week. I’d thought about doing a series of designs based on countries around the world as I love travel and learning about other cultures, so this one seemed perfect for me. There’s also a fantastic giveaway associated with this challenge, so even more reason to participate!

Anyway, the first in the challenge is New York. I’ve never been to New York, but the city’s famous skyline was the first thing I thought of for the design. I saw a lot of beautiful sunset over the New York skyline pictures when I did a google image search so decided to do a sunset gradient. It turned out a bit too bright and tropical, but never mind!



I used: Mellow Yellow – Sally Hansen, Papaya Punch – China Glaze, Westferry Circus – Nails Inc, black acrylic paint.