I tried to resist. I really did. But eventually the Christmas spirit or, rather, atmosphere sneaked in and I found myself craving for snowflakes and ugly sweaters on my nails. So here’s a couple of wintery/Christmas-y/festive manicures I was able to make in the small amount of spare time I’ve had lately.

Scintillating Scintillant Scintilla

Cadillacquer Scintilla stamped with Yves Rocher Or Scintillant; design from Born Pretty plate BP-L029.

For this mani I used a GORGEOUS polish as a base: Cadillacquer Scintilla, an exclusive shade for Hypnotic Polish (my favourite online store for indies), is described as a “dark purple-leaning burgundy crelly with copper shimmer”. It’s dainty and rich at the same time: I’m so in love with it! 
Let me include a pic with the polish on its own:

Cadillacquer Scintilla

The starry pattern comes from one of my few Christmas-themed plates, Born Pretty’s BP-L029. As a stamping polish I used a metallic gold by Yves Rocher, appropriately named Or Scintillant (see what I did there? XD ). My stamper of choice was, as usual, Essence’s Stamp it! clear stamper.

Fake snowflake

OPI Holidazed Over You stamped with Essence City Girls Rule! and Hit The Bottle Snowed In; pattern from Clear Jelly Stamper CJS-03.

Another mani I did was a classic snowflake design. This time I picked a very dark, pratically black, blue nail polish by OPI: it’s called Holidazed Over You and it’s one of my favourites from last year’s Holiday collection.
For the snowflakes I used my nemesis: a layering stamping plate! Argh! 
The plate itself (Clear Jelly Stamper CJS-03, purchased from Guerrilla Nails) is good and not hard to use, but the hand maneuvering the stamper is a hopeless one, so it was only after several attempts (and quite a bit of nasty talking and swearing) that I managed to put together something acceptable.
Stamping polishes were my go-to silver metallic, Essence’s City Girls Rule!, and Snowed In by Hit The Bottle.


The following sections include disturbing content: proceed with caution! 
I’m kidding…!!! But if you decide to scroll down, be prepared to see some epic nail fails! XD

The ugliest ugly sweater

The image below shows why I should always steer clear from designs that require to be centered and aligned. I can’t do that. I just can’t, even with a clear stamper. Oh, well. It is supposed to look like an ugly sweater, isn’t it? Nailed it! You can’t go any uglier than this! XD
Anyway, I used a metallic cherry tomato red from the Miracle Gel line by Sally Hansen (the miracle being that it eventually becomes opaque, after three generous coats, and dry, after a few hours). Again the pattern comes from Born Pretty BP-L029 and the white stamping polish is Snowed In by Hit The Bottle.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Jingle Red Rock stamped with Hit The Bottle Snowed In; pattern from Born Pretty BP-L029.
Born Pretty BP-L029

IN CAUDA VENENUM: I’ve saved the scariest – and most ridiculous – for last.

Truth be told: it is a dogsled.

A few years ago, I was browsing on YouTube, when I came across a tutorial for a reindeer mani. I can’t remember who the nail artist was, but she made it look so easy and effortless that I decided to give it a try. How naive of me! 
The reind… creature was so unspeakably ugly that I didn’t even bother giving it its antlers. Not that there was any room left anyway…  -_-

The red-nosed creature

I was going to euthanize it with acetone, but its alarmed, incredulous look stopped me. It stayed. 
That’s how Rocky The Red-nosed Doberman was born.

Further research on my side showed that now and then Santa does in fact use a dogsled instead of his traditional reindeer sleigh, and Rocky is the leading pup.
Photographic evidence is provided below.

Ok, guys, I hope you had a good laugh. 
See you soon! Ho Ho Woof!


Useful links

All photos are my own, except for the banners ( and, the dogsled (, Santa Claus (


Nail art for a start

Let’s put it straight: I’m not good at nail art. I’m clumsy, impatient, unorganized. I don’t have the ability to envision a design, I totally lack visual fantasy. But above all, I’m not talented.

I’ve always been passionate about arts: music, painting, architecture, sculpture, photography… But I’m a beholder, not a maker.  When I try and draw something, the result usually ends up looking like this:

“Thin Man”, soon at MOMA.

So when it comes to nail art, hand painting is out of question, decals and vynils are also a daunting challenge (you know, clumsiness, impatience, fine motor skills deficiency…), striping tape can’t even be mentioned. We are left with dotters, sponges and stamping tools, the latter being my favourite, hands down.

I enjoy stamping! Like, a lot! Simple patterns, of course, nothing layered (I don’t seem to be able to align the images properly) or reverse-stamped (my “decals” are always either too dry or too tacky). Sometimes I make an attempt, but the process is often frustrating and the final products underwhelming.

But other than that, stamping is good, stamping is fun! Over the years, my stamping plates have multiplied (not spontaneously! you can’t just place a male plate together with a female plate in a cozy corner with soothing music on and hope for a litter of puppy plates!).
By now, even if my collection is not large by any means, I have a nice variety of plates to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites (the majority of them I purchased with my own money, a couple of them were sent to me for review by Beauty Bigbang and Guerrilla Nails).

Top row, from the left: Beauty Bigbang BBB-10; a plate I got from Ebay, simply named P; Emily de Molly EDM 19.
Bottom row, from the left: Pueen 61, HeHe 057 and another plate from Ebay, named 08; MoYou London Sailor 03, Scandi 08, Trend Hunter 01 and Tropical 03;
Überchic collections 1 and 4.
Click on a photo to open the gallery!

As far as stampers go, my preference goes to the clear jelly one by Essence: it’s affordable, it’s readily available and it works just fine!

After the longest of preambles, shall we get to the point? 
A few days ago, I stamped. Oh yes, I did!
First of all, I made a gradient with two A England polishes: Katherine of Aragon and Peaseblossom A Fairy. 

A England Katherine of Aragon (gold/neutral) and Peaseblossom A Fairy (magenta)

After that, I stamped a design taken from Überchic plate 4-02. I used a black stamping polish by Moyra, like I always do. 

A England Katherine of Aragon and Peaseblossom A Fairy, Überchic plate 4-02, 
Moyra’s black stamping polish.

May I say that I’m pretty happy with this mani (for once)?

I hope you had fun reading my struggle with nail art! By the way, I’m not a native speaker, so please bear with me if I make mistakes or sound weird!!! Feel free to correct me – I’d appreciate your help!
It’s time to go, now. See you soon!


Indie, indeed

Back in 2013, when I was taking my first steps into the polish word, I came across something unseen (by me) and unheard (also by me) of: glitter mixes. 
Suddenly a choir of angels started singing, accompanied by the sound of heavenly lyres, while unicorns would gallop gracefully around them, shaking their rainbow manes and leaving pink footprints in the clouds.

I became frantic: I had to have one (or two, three, four… #hoarderinthemaking) of them! Specifically, I wanted what now I would call a crelly: a glitter in a coloured, semi-opaque base.
That’s how the whole chase-the-rabbit-down-the-rabbit-hole situation began: from crellies to indies the leap is bound to happen. 

The universe of indipendent nail polish brands (or indies for short) was, for me, fascinating and unattainable: here in Narnia (the little corner of the planet where I live), cosmetics coming from outside the EU are not easy to import, as I had to realize when I tried to get my hands on them. I could only think of one solution to my problem: I needed to find a European indie maker! Easier said than done, but eventually I succeded: first of all I found Crazy Polish Lady from Portugal (whose polish I still own and treasure – but that’s another story) and then Foxy Paws stepped (see what I did there? XD ) into my life. It was love at first sight!

Foxy Paws Dancing in the moonlight

What would you have done in front of this beauty? Yep, me too: I got hooked. Little by little, a growing number of cute Foxes found their new home in my drawers. Five years later, they’re still there.

Foxy  Paws polishs galore

Foxy Paws is the creature of the lovely and talented Charlotte from Denmark: a beautiful woman inside and out! She’s been on maternity leave for the last couple of years, but she’s coming back, and I couldn’t be happier!
While we wait for her new shades, why don’t we take a look at a few of my (many) favourite Foxies?

Top row, from the left: You Saucy Minx and Cake By The Ocean. Middle, from the left: Get Psyched Mix and One More Night. Bottom row, from the left: Time To Be A Unicorn and I’m Blue.

Finally, a proper (well, proper… sort of) swatch: on my nails I have two coats of the gorgeous Accidental Boob Graze (shall we talk about the name? XD ).

Foxy Paws Accidental Boob Graze
Foxy Paws Accidental Boob Graze: my photos don’t do it justice: it’s stunning in real life!

Once again I talked a lot! Time to go… See you soon!


Easy peasy lazy

Sometimes you gotta wanna TRY TO keep it simple. 

When you get back home after 72 (perceived) hours at work and you feel like playing with polish, but at the same time you’re so tired that you just wish that said polish could materialize on your nails without any kind of human intervention, you may want to compromise with your own self and go for something easy peasy… lazy.

That’s what happened to me a few days ago. I decided to go for a creme from H&M, because their formula is usually excellent and they’re often opaque in one to two coats. I picked Witching Hour, because it’s dark, green and badass, and I love the name (which by the way reminds me of an overwhelmingly boring novel by Anne Rice: I never made it after page 50, but I still like the title). I estimated 10, 15 minutes of work. Not more than 20, anyway.

That was the plan. But then (surprise surprise) things went horribly wrong and I smudged, dented, messed, dragged, flooded anything I could and it took me 46 (perceived) hours to complete the simplest manicure. So much for my quick-and-easy painting. 

On top of that, the photos I took turned out pretty cra… not good, so I only have one to show you. Please be aware that my skin is not unicorn-y, strawberry-milkshake-y,  marshmallow-y pink in real life: I’m not an alien – just a bad photographer!

H&M Witching Hour, two coats.

As always when I wear a crème, I got bored with it after ten minutes, so I thought that I could make an additional effort and use a flakie topper over it: first good idea of the evening! The topper, Face of Boe by Colors by Llarowe, applied smoothly and looked great!

Colors by Llarowe Face of Boe over H&M Witching Hour under artificial lighting.
Colors by Llarowe Face of Boe over H&M Witching Hour under natural lighting.

Well, I guess that’s enough chatting for one single post. See you next time!


An ode to Anna

Specifically, to Anna Gorelova. 

If you’re into nail polish, you definitely know who I am talking about. Anna Gorelova is an iconic Ukrainian nail blogger whose swatches are an example of unattainable (especially for me) perfection. 
A few years ago, she teamed up with the Russian brand Dance Legend to create her own line of nail polish. The day they sealed the deal was a blessed one, because so many beautiful creations have seen the light ever since. 

She had me at her first collection, I was won over by the uniqueness of colours and finishes. And now, four years later, every time she comes out with something new I’m still the first in line! I love her inspiration, her references to the Russian folklore, the fact that her choices are elegant and bold at the same time. I appreciate how she stays true to herself, but is not afraid to dare and experiment. 

A few days ago I decided to paint my nai… nubs with one of her older shades. 
Леший (I’ve seen it translated either as Silvan or Wood Goblin: it’s #14, anyway), from the 2014-2015 Winter collection, is an amazing green to purple duochrome that dries to a satin finish.
It’s G. O. R. G. E. O. U. S. 
My pics don’t do it justice, but I hope you get the idea.

Anna Gorelova by Dance Legend 14 Леший, two coats.
Anna Gorelova by Dance Legend 14 Леший, matte.
The colour shift in Anna Gorelova by Dance Legend 14 Леший.
AGbDL 14 Леший with a glossy top coat.

Now a fun fact. There are actually two versions of AGbDL 14 Леший, the more common one being the green/purple duochrome shown above. The other version is blue and happened by mistake, but ended up being appreciated and coveted by collectors (many thanks to Tanya for telling me the whole story!).

Guess what? I own both versions. Oh yes, ladies and gentleman: I’m a hoarder. Guilty as charged. Shame on me. But that means that I can show you the two shades side by side: isn’t it a life-changing opportunity that I give you? Eh eh eh… Enough silliness: let’s see the polish. I apologize for the poor quality of the photos!

Anna Gorelova by Dance Legend 14 Леший, blue version.

Anna Gorelova by Dance Legend 14 Леший, blue and green version side by side.

Anna Gorelova by Dance Legend 14 Леший, blue and green version.

Which version do I like better? I can’t decide. I guess I need to see the blue one on my nails before  

That’s all for now: see you next time!


The constant princess

It’s not me, don’t get too excited (even though I do think that some day I will be a princess – or Keanu Reeves’ fiancee, with a preference on the latter). The Constant Princess is a novel by Philippa Gregory focused on the figure of Katherine of Aragon, the Spanish princess, daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, who became Henry VIII’s first wife. 

The polish with the same name, a masterpiece by A England, somehow reminds me of the character in the book: soft and subdued, but with an inner flame. By far the most beautiful neutral shade that I own!

The base is a pale gold (should I call it a beige? I really don’t know, I’m the worst with colours and nuances), but there’s a ton of tiny bright gold flakies running through it and the combination is a treat for the eye.

Adina, if you can hear me, you are a polish genius! I’d marry you, if I wasn’t engaged with Keanu.

A England Katherine of Aragon, two coats.
A England Katherine of Aragon.
A England Katherine of Aragon – look at those sparkles! 

That’s all, folks, see you next time!


Let’s talk polish! Pahlish Sunless Sea

Just a quick post today to talk about a polish I wore recently: Pahlish Sunless Sea.

I got it from a friend, to whom I will be forever grateful, because this guy is stunning!
The perfect yellow/green ratio, a sprinkle of tiny flakes and a very vibrant look make Sunless Sea a joy to look at.
I did three coats to correct some patchiness  (user’s error, I’m pretty sure).

Pahlish Sunless Sea, three coats

I’m so in love!

Pahlish Sunless Sea

When I wear really vivid colours, I like to tone them down a bit with a black stamped design. I didn’t really feel the need to do that with Sunless Sea, as it is so pretty, but I wanted to try a new Beauty Bigbang plate, so eventually I gave up. At first I was thinking about reverse stamping, but then I messed it up because hey, it’s me, so I went back to a simple black image.

Beauty BigBang’s BBB XL-039
Pahlish Sunless Sea + BBB XL-039 + Moyra’s black stamping polish

DISCLAIMER: The plate I used was kindly sent to me for review by Beauty BigBang; if you like it, here’s the reference (you can use the code LLAE10 for 10% off your purchase!): 

BBB XL-039 ➡ item SKU: BBBXL-039

That’s all! See you next time (wink wink).


20 B.C.

Based on the title, this sounds like a post about history – which would be appropriate, since that is my area of expertise. Sort of, anyway.

Once upon a time, when the Romans ruled the known world and a blogger would have used clay tablets to write on, I was in my twenties. I was a tomboy – totally, hopelessly so. I hated pink, only felt comfortable wearing clothes that were frowned upon even in building sites (where I used to work), alternated sneakers and combat boots, depending on the season. No make-up, God forbid! I owned two or three bottles of nail polish: two blacks and a dark blue. It was 20 B.C. – Before Collecting.
But then time went by, and I’ve grown into what I am now: an older tomboy.
I still hate pink, go for jeans and sneakers on a daily basis, only wear a dress at weddings. When I use some eyeliner or mascara, the world stops astonished.

How come I have become a nail polish addict, then? The answer is simple: I. Have. No. Idea.
Seriously, no clue. Suddenly I found myself down the rabbit hole without even knowing why, when and how. It happened somewhere between 2012 and 2013.
I clearly remember a colleague who was wearing a magnetic polish by Deborah Milano that I fell in love with and hunted down (and paid 8 euros for – a crazy amount for my standards back then!), but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the trigger. What really was, I just can’t recall. It might have had something to do with some nail art tutorials I accidentally saw either on tv or on YouTube that caught my attention (Mikeligna, are you the Enabler, the One To Blame? LoL…), but I’m not sure. The fact I’m well aware of, though, is that from that moment on it was all downhill. The Way of the Hoarder was open… and the Flames of Hell are waiting for me.

This little guy is still with me!


So I’m blogging: will it last?

I’ve been debating whether to start blogging or not for years.

Blogging would do wonders for your English – I said to myself – and would be a constructive way to pass the time especially in the summer, instead of binge-watching Netflix or just doing nothing.

On the other side, I kept thinking that I have nothing really interesting to say most of the times, so what was I supposed to blog about?
Travels? When I’m lucky, I leave home twice per year, and generally for the same two destinations: exciting, uh? Nope, let’s forget travels.
What about books? I’ve always been an avid reader, I go through novels as fast as lightning, but to be honest my picks are – again – pretty monotonous and boring: do the world need another dull reviewer? I guess not.
Cooking? Don’t be ridiculous, Ilaria: your intepretation of haute cuisine is mug cakes.
Cats? Tempting. “Cat A today slept for 14 hours straight, then used the toilet, asked for his dinner and went back to sleep. Cat B whined because he wanted to go out, was disappointed with the weather and blamed me, then went ahead and devoured Cat A’s food, ignoring his own”. Can you see the Pulitzer price coming at me? Me neither.

Then what, nail polish? That is of course a passion of mine, and something I am always interested in hearing about, but… But.
I’m not an expert, I can’t paint my nails very well, my photographing skills are non-existent. I’m just the girl nextdoor (girl? Let’s say the middle-aged lady nextdoor… lol!) who happens to own SOME polish (the world’s biggest understatement…) and sometimes feels the need to share her weakness with somebody who understands and doesn’t judge it too shallow.

So many concerns, so much indecision. You know what? I might as well get started and see what happens.