Nailart Through my Birthdays

It’s been about three years since I started painting designs on my nails and here is how my skills have developed over the years.

January 2013

My first birthday nails were these Balloon Nails which spelled out a very basic HAPPY B-DAY.  I love looking back and seeing how far I’ve come – in terms of technique, neatness and photography.  I mean – just look at those cuticles!20140118-145235.jpg

January 2014

Last year, I had recently started using acrylic paint for nailart and was able to attempt much more delicate designs like these Happy Birthday nails.  It was encouraging to see how my nailart writing had improved since the year before but I seem to remember it still took a couple of tries to fit the words in!

Birthday Nails

January 2015

This year, I opted for acrylic paint again and also reverted to some balloons for my birthday nails.  I love how colourful these ones are and they should last for a full week of festivities!

Birthday Balloon Nails

I’m looking forward to seeing what January 2016 will hold, when I turn 30! Hopefully I’ll continue to see improvements in my nailart skills.

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My Nailart Station

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Inspired by the WeWork “Show Us Your Dream Space” campaign I wanted to show you my nailart station and share a few tips on how to create a beautiful workspace of your own.  WeWork is a a co-working company that builds communities across the globe to empower freelancers, small businesses and entrepreneurs to do what they love.

There are two main factors that contribute to an ideal workspace – Work and Space.

1. Work

The first thing to bear in mind is that your desk has to be a place where you’re able to work.  It sounds obvious enough, but ensuring you have everything you need to complete your work within easy reach is essential.  I have various activities that constitute ‘work’ when I’m at my desk.

Burberry Nails

First and foremost is nailart.  I need to know that all my tools and paints are easily accessible – this is especially important for me because with wet nails, the last thing I want to have to do is get up to find something else that I need.

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My nailart tools are stored in two places – the things I use most frequently, nail varnish remover, base coat, top coat, acrylic paints and palette are on a shelf unit on my desk, alongside a bucket of all my brushes and dotting tools while my collection of nail varnishes are stored in a drawer unit under my desk.

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The second activity that I do at my desk is blogging.  For this I need my notebook, pen and pencil and my laptop.  These are also stored on my desk within easy reach and with a laptop charger close at hand.

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The third thing that comes under the ‘work’ banner is writing cards and letters.  I have a box of personalised letterhead and some sharpies on my desk and a drawer of notecards and stickers, so I’m ready to write whenever the moment arises.  My favourites are some blank cupcake cards, Vogue postcards and personalised stationery from Honeytree Publishing.

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So that explains how my desk actually allows me to work.

2. Space

The second aspect to consider when creating your workspace is that your desk has to be a place where you want to work.  It’s as much about building an environment that encourages productivity as it is about factoring in practicalities.

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Firstly, there has to be enough space for you physically as well as mentally.

Physically, there needs to be ample room for you to sit comfortably and spread your things out around you whereas creating mental space which gives you a desire to work is about appealing to all of your senses.

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i) Sight
Lighting is essential to working effectively.  Combining a mixture of natural light and artificial light is important to make sure you can work at all times of the day.  Having brighter lights and softer mood lighting will also affect your creativity in different ways so it’s good to be able to cater for both.  I find brighter lights keep me alert when I need to work and think quickly, while softer lighting and candles are conducive to thinking creatively and mulling over ideas.

Colours are also an important factor to consider.  I love the cleanness of white but I also have accents of pink around my desk for a feminine touch and my selection of acrylic paints for extra pops of colour.

Imagery is equally as important for enhancing creativity and productivity. What do you have around you and how is it impacting your work?  I have some photos of loved ones in crisp white frames and also a photo of my first ever nailart portrait taken by a good friend of mine.  It serves as a reminder that other people believe I’m good at what I do.   Then above my desk I have a big mirror that reflects the rest of my room.  It enables me to expand my vision to beyond what I’m doing in the moment. Another incentive to working is having a vase of flowers on your desk.  I find it draws me in to wanting to work.

Neatness is a great contributor to creating an enticing work environment. Having to shuffle through clutter to find any space is going to hinder both your productivity and your creativity.

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ii) Smell
A pleasing aroma is the easiest way to enhance a work space.  My favourite scented candles at the moment are Peony and Blush Suede by Jo Malone, Pomegranate by The White Company and Baies by Diptyque.  The combination is alluring, clean and floral and helps relax me so I’m able to work peacefully.

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iii) Sound
Music is really important for me in creating an atmosphere that motivates me to work.  Right now I’m listening to the new Ben Howard album, I Forget Where We Were which is the perfect background, chilled vibe.

iv) Touch
A comfortable chair is essential to the ideal workspace.  Occasionally I even work on my laptop in bed for extra comfort.

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Working all day long can lead to very dry hands and lips, so I like to have hand moisturiser and lip balm within reach at all times so that I have no distractions that might prevent me from working.

v) Taste
Whenever I sit down to work at my desk I’ll always have a mug of lemon and ginger tea and a glass of water nearby.  I also have a pot of chocolates for the moments when I need a sugar hit for extra inspiration.

So there you have some details about my workspace and all the things to consider when building your own.  For me it’s about combining convenience with creativity in equal measure.  If I could add something to my workspace it would be a chalkboard where I could write up my blog schedule and tick posts off as I went along.

To understand some of the inspiration for my nailart station, check out my Pinterest board {Dream Home} Workspace.

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The Tillynailart Timeline

Time Nails

I started my tillynailart journey in June 2012 and since then I have had well over 200 designs on my nails. Two years on, I have learnt so much about nailart, the nailart community and about myself.

June 2012
20130818-123556.jpgIt all began on 1 June 2012 when I went to a party for the  Queen’s Jubilee and painted some Union Jack nails. They were a poor representation of my patriotism and I knew in that instant that I could do better. I set about making it my mission to improve my nailart skills.  Here’s how things have progressed since then …

July 2012
Cartoon NailsAt the start, I attempted designs I’d seen in magazines, however I had no nailart tools at all so would have to do all my designs using just nail varnish brushes. I mastered the art of squeezing the brush so it had a thin edge and would use that to attempt little details. The art took a long time and I would end up painting layer upon layer of varnish to cover up my mistakes which led to my nails taking ages to dry and would always end up smudging along the way.  It was a time of much frustration!

October 2012
Baroque NailsI finally purchased some nailart pens and rhinestones and saw a huge improvement in my skills and also greater variety in designs I could try out.  But I remember battling cramp in my hand from squeezing the pens and struggling hugely using my left hand.



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I joined Instagram on 14 January last year – this was my first ever post.  That opened up a whole world of nailart possibilities that I had never even imagined.  Suddenly I was exposed to intricate patterns by other nailartists that raised my game like nothing else.  I began to grasp what was achievable with enough commitment and practice.

June 2013
Ombre Seaside NailsIt wasn’t until that summer that I made my Instagram a nails only account, and began to engage with the nailart community.  This was a turning point for me and shifted my hobby to a fully-fledged passion.  I tried out new techniques – my first ever gradient for example.

July 2013
20140101-160243.jpgA month later I built up the courage to paint someone else’s nails for the first time.  It was a nerve-wracking experience but once I realised I could do it, my confidence grew even faster.  It was through chatting to friends while painting their nails that I understood where so many of them were going wrong.  I didn’t even realise that I knew so much about basic manicure techniques until I was hearing all the mistakes other people were making – things I had learnt from during my own nailart journey. It was then that I decided to host a Tillynailart Class in order to teach people the basics and show them that trialling nailart isn’t as big an obstacle as some people perceive it to be.

August 2013
Watermarble NailsThat summer, while on holiday, I started my blog.  I wrote down all the tips that I had picked up along the way in the hope that more people would be inspired to try nailart – thus making the world a prettier place! Nailart occupied my every thought to the extent that I even started dreaming up designs in my sleep! It was at that time that I tried my first watermarbling…epic fail!

September 2013
My passion was evident to everyone around.  It was pretty much all anybody would talk to me about and it made me so happy!   A good friend believed in my talent and decided to pair it with his photography skills.  And so were born the Tillynailart Portraits.

Cath Kidston Nails 

October 2013
20131129-102526.jpgAs my enthusiasm for nailart grew, so did my need for new tools to master new techniques.  In October, I bought brushes, dotting tools, striping tape and a clean up brush which were all huge factors in allowing my skills to become more advanced.

December 2013
20131231-153705.jpgHowever, the biggest game changer of all was when I started using acrylic paints for nailart.  Suddenly no design was off limits.  My mind was awakened to a whole new world of possibilities and I couldn’t wait to devote more time to painting my nails.

January 2014
Stamping NailsThen at the start of 2014 I tried nail stamping for the first time. To tell the truth, I was fairly disappointed by it.  I think in my mind nothing compared to acrylic paints.

Birthday NailsI also uploaded my first YouTube video tutorial having been given some filming equipment for my birthday. It is very time consuming painting nails while filming and then editing and uploading the videos afterwards. For the moment, I’m investing whatever time I have into nailart itself, and hope to do more videos in the future.

February 2014
Bestie Twin NailsIn February I hit 1000 followers on Instagram which was such an achievement for me and hugely encouraging. As a result of that, I hosted my first online giveaway.  I hope to have many more of these to come.  That was also the month I met up with a fellow UK Nailartist through Instagram.  It was so great to chat to someone who shared my passion and understood my frustrations.  It was with her that I did my first set of bestie twin nails.

June 2014
So that pretty much brings us up to date.  Two years on, I’m still loving nailart and excited about all the techniques out there that I still have to discover. My hope is that many more people will be inspired to give nailart a go, that I’ll get to meet other nailartists and that I’ll continue to see improvements in my skills.

If you have any questions about nailart, or suggestions for designs for me to try, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Two Crimes Against Humanity

Charlotte Partridge, From Britain With Love,

Guard your Heart for it is the Wellspring of Life – by Charlotte Partridge

One of my best friends, Charlotte Partridge, has just had an ‘unmissable’ solo art exhibition entitled ‘From Britain with Love’, and I was completely and utterly blown away by her talent. Of course, I already knew that she was a very gifted artist, but it was also the way she organised the entire week-long exhibit and made it look so effortless that particularly impressed me.

Finding people who are both passionate about what they do and good at what they love is like discovering treasure – it enriches the lives of everyone around them.   And yet, celebrating another’s strengths isn’t always our first or most natural reaction.

We’ve all been there – so inspired by someone else that we’ve wished it for ourselves – to be funnier, faster, stronger, more beautiful, more creative, more intelligent, the list is endless – but I’m sure we’re all agreed, if each of us had the same gifts, life would be very boring.

Envying somebody else is like saying you wished there were two of another person, and not a you.  If granted, the world would ultimately be robbed of its uniqueness and diversity.

Envy is deceptive.  It tricks us into thinking we can become a fuller person, when in fact it makes us less of who we were created to be.

Chelsea Bridge Nails

Chelsea Bridge – by Charlotte Partridge

Certainly, inspiration can be a great thing, but its purpose is to motivate us to grow in our giftings, to encourage us to advance through certain levels of expertise and propel us into something new.

It’s like when you play tennis with someone very good, it improves your game, bringing out something that is already present in you.

Similarly if I chat to someone particularly outgoing and funny it draws out a side of me that is more gregarious, which I really enjoy, but can’t maintain alone.

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, ‘In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out.  By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.’

So, when you socialise, the combination of people in the group will cause different characteristics to become more prominent in each of your friends.   You’ll see new sides to them by introducing them to new people. This only goes to emphasise the importance of community and how vital individuality is for bringing variety in life.

We were all made wonderfully different for a purpose.  Don’t be fooled into envying others and don’t lose your identity trying to be someone else.

Envy’s partner in crime is comparison.  If envy is a fraud, comparison is a thief.

One moment we feel like we’ve grown out of it, and the next thing we know, it will sneak up on us all over again, going through all our insecurities only to air them in public for all to see.

Comparison steals our ability to pursue our gifts with the freedom and purpose with which they were given to us in the first place.

It has been said that ‘Your talent is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to him.’

What gifts have you been given?  There will be things that you can do which nobody else in the world can do quite like you.

Floral and heart cut out nailsWhen you restrict the use of your talents for fear of being perceived as less accomplished than someone else, you deny humanity the full range of colour and variety that every one of us was intended to experience.

 
You may already know what your gifts are and be using them to the full. To you, I express my heartfelt thanks for sharing your skills with the world.

On the other hand, you may not yet have located your talents.  My encouragement to you would be to think about what it is you’re passionate about.  What makes you come alive when you think about it? Frederick Buechner wrote that ‘Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.’

Then think about what you are naturally good at.  What seems effortless for you but a bit more of a struggle for other people?   Whatever it is, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential it is, claim it as a personal gift to you from God.

If you are aware of your areas of expertise but aren’t exercising them either for fear of what other people will think of you, or for fear of failure then I would urge you to recognise your individuality, encourage yourself in the small steps you take in pursuing your gifts and, if possible, surround yourself with people who applaud your talents.  Then practise using them and keep going.  Who knows what you might achieve if you try?

Mozart had composed over 600 works by the time he died at 35.  He has been called ‘the perfect composer’ on account of including ‘startlingly inventive construction and incredibly few imperfections.’   Supposing he had attempted to mould his music to resemble that of his peers, or imagine if he’d suppressed his talents for fear of standing out.  The world would be a much poorer place.

What is humanity being deprived of?  What are you withholding from us? For the sake of everyone, be yourself and share it!

Happiness

Knowing what makes you happy can turn heartbreak on its head, a frown upside down or generally help put a hard week behind you.

100 Happy Days – a challenge encouraging participants to post a photo every day of something that made them happy, reports that ‘seventy-one percent of people who tried to complete the challenge failed, quoting lack of time as the main reason.’  It poses the uncomfortable question: ‘These people simply did not have time to be happy.  Do you?’

I’m not about to embark on this 100-day challenge.  I’m actually not sure I do have the time.  Plus the threat of failure would probably eliminate any happiness from the entire process!

What I am going to do however, is share with you one of my tricks for staying happy.  I have at my disposal a cumulative list of things that make me happy that I can dip into whenever I’m in need of a lift.  Sometimes it may be cake – interestingly the word tiramisu literally means pick me up!

Cupcake Nails

Other times a listen to a bit of Pharrell Williams Happy while doing a spot of shoulder shrugging may be all that’s needed.

Whatever it is that’s getting me down, doing something on my list can almost always shake off a slump, so I thought I’d share part of it with you. Some of the things that make me happy are:

  1. Dancing round my room
  2. Organising clutter, or if I don’t have the energy then googling storage options
  3. Candlelit bubble baths accompanied by classical music
  4. Watching old movies, especially with Fred Astaire
  5. Listening to jazz – Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald
  6. Drinking hot chocolate with extra marshmallows
  7. Spending time with family especially my nieces and nephew
  8. Eating macaroons or Turkish Delight
  9. Watching YouTube videos of bad lip reading
  10. Dunking biscuits in tea
  11. Chatting to a best friend
  12. Playing the piano
  13. Learning to do something new
  14. Watching a Disney movie
  15. Ticking something off a to-do list
  16. Getting into freshly cleaned sheets
  17. Challenging friends to their loudest laugh in a public place
  18. Going on a shopping spree
  19. Chatting to someone about something they’re passionate about
  20. Having a whole afternoon to read a magazine
  21. Planning what nails to paint
  22. Painting my nails
  23. Having painted nails! Especially when I complete a set that was particularly intricate like my Mickey and Minnie Mouse nails.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Nails

Those are just a few things that make me happy.  I have a Pinterest board called My Favourite Things so I can always find inspiration.  When I need cheering up, I’ll work out which options I have the time, the energy or the money for and decide from there.

Do you have a list?  What lifts you up when you’re feeling down?

My latest nails are the biggest pick me up so here they are in case they can brighten your day too!

Yellow crowned nails

I think the Lost Boys had it right – ‘think happy thoughts and you can fly!’

Have a great day!

Happy Birthday To Me!

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So, it’s finally arrived – my birthday!

Twenty-eight.  Two, eight.  Late twenties.  Two away from thirty.

It’s already better than my last birthday.  I cried before turning twenty-seven, and I am not a cryer.  I’m feeling much better about this one, despite getting even older.  However, I’ve come to appreciate that there are plenty of benefits to getting older.  Here are ten that spring to mind:

1. I have more life experience under my belt than I did twelve months ago.  With each passing year, I have more of a history to my name; more memories to draw on; more lessons to learn from.

2. Getting older means that immature thinking is thankfully a thing of the past.  I definitely don’t miss the playground antics and time consuming drama of my early twenties when friends would constantly be falling out and making up with one another.  Maturity equals steady.  Maturity means more time for the things that matter.  Maturity means I can go to a dinner party with six other girls and there not be any bitchiness or competitiveness.

3. I have now lived with myself for twenty-eight whole years.  I know myself far better than I did a decade ago.  I understand what I need and when, and more importantly I know what makes me happy.  And not just me, all my friends are much more clued up as to who they are.  We are not all clones of one another like we were as teenagers.  We embrace our own and one another’s individuality.

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4. Getting older means I’ve had more years to invest in clothes.  I know what outfits suit me and what not to bother with.  I’ve gradually been able to establish a reliable wardrobe of dresses I love and that make me feel great.

5. My friendships are deeper now than they were a few years ago.  They’ve had more time to grow and develop.  We’ve seen each other through more highs and lows and are even closer because of them.

6. Being childish is still acceptable.  I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of childish pranks.

7. Reminiscing about the past is funnier now than it was when I was younger.  Old memories and past fashion failures have dated even further and only seem to get more amusing.

8. With each day that goes by I’m seeing continual improvements in my nailart skills.  Here is a photo of last year’s birthday nails.  Looking back it’s encouraging to see how much progress I’ve made.

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9. Dreams only get bigger as I realise how much more is possible.  The older I get, the less constricted I am by opportunities, worries, finances, self confidence etc.

10. Getting older means I have more to be grateful for.  Every day that passes is a gift from God and an opportunity to bless and be blessed.

So there are just a few reasons to welcome an increase in age.  After all, I’m only turning twenty-eight – I’m not too old to wear a crop top … right?!

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Where do Memories Go When the Trigger’s Gone?

I don’t know if it’s like this with you, but my street is currently strewn haphazardly with poor, abandoned Christmas trees.  It was only a matter of days ago that we were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over their beauty and splendour and now, naked and forlorn, they have been cast aside and quietly await their rapture.

Winter Wonderland Nails

And it’s not just Christmas trees that get the chop at this time of year.  January seems to be the time to rid ourselves of all the clutter that has been burdening us for the last twelve months and to make a clean sweep of our homes and our lives.  And rightly so – a fresh start is enough to propel us into the new season with determination and optimism.

Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that it’s not just junk that we’re cleaning up and clearing out for good.

Attached to each culled item are these tiny little, silent things – utterly invisible to the naked eye, yet worth more than gold.  They cling on for dear life, hoping for a moment’s recognition. They’re actually the source of many a conversation and the inspiration behind countless books and films.  In fact, each time an artefact is used it mysteriously collects more of these barely noticeable things.

These things are, of course, memories.

If you’ve recently cleaned out your cupboards or shelves or under your bed, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  You’ll no doubt have paused at times upon determining the fate of some innocent jumper or teddy bear.  With flashbacks to parties or childhoods or people or places, you’ll have been torn between the decision of whether to hold on to these fragmented memories, or to allow yourself the opportunity to forget.

If you’re anything like me, afflicted with a very poor memory, these seemingly inconsequential keepsakes are often all we have to remind ourselves of fragile moments of our past … of our history even! When we rid ourselves of the very triggers of these memories, does our past disappear with them?  Where do they go, these memories that make up who we are?

Don’t let your imagination get the better of you – I’m not some hoarder living under a mound of newspapers from the 1920s.  I’m all for living for the present and embracing the future, but I can’t deny the value of the past and all we can learn from it.

I occasionally feel this same sense of sadness when the time comes to get rid of a nailart design. Some patterns are easy to remove.  I’ll have built up no connection to them, and I’ll happily apply the nail varnish remover while watching a movie, without so much as a glimmer of remorse (a prime example were the stamping plate nails of yesterday).

Stamping Nails

But every so often there’ll be a design that I sweated blood over, poured out hours of my life trying to master.  It will have sparked countless conversations, travelled to some unbelievable places and have stored up dozens of memories over the course of its short lifespan.  (Cue my New Year’s Eve nails.)

Van Gogh Starry Nigh Nails

Call me sentimental, but when I eventually build up the courage to remove ones like these, it actually feels like a tiny piece inside of me dies.  It sounds dramatic and you’re probably thinking ‘Why do I do it to myself if that’s how it makes me feel?’

I already feel a heightened sense of attachment to the modern art installations that have most recently taken up residence on my nails.

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I know very well I can’t keep them on forever, and of course there’s the excitement over what the next design will hold, but as someone with a terrible memory, I can’t help thinking that when the nails go, so will a part of me.

Photos help of course, but aside from having an endless parade of paparazzi following your every move (gosh, celebrities have it so good!), I don’t really have an answer to any of this.

Maybe we’re just to appreciate the ethereal, ephemeral nature of these intangible memories that seem to come and go unannounced and trust that the ones worth keeping will forever be immortalised within us.

New Year…New You?

Happy New Year!!

Hope you had a good New Year’s Eve – and not the typical annual anticlimax.

My tip for a good New Year’s Eve is to have low expectations and to surround yourself with great, fun people.

So often we go into the New Year with intentions of becoming a new, better, shinier version of ourselves – to embody some imaginary avatar ideal.  Personally, I think this is unrealistic and, quite frankly, unsustainable.  Surely we want to become more of the person we were made to be rather than a reflection of someone else we wish we were like?

Over the years I’ve had my fair share of resolutions –

  • Swear less
  • Save more
  • Don’t spit my gum out on the street
  • Exercise
  • Say yes more
  • Say no more!

I’ve never gone in for the no chocolate option – it just wouldn’t be right. And a dry January is out of the question as my birthday is on the 18th (just FYI!!).  To be honest though, given my lack of success with the other resolutions, the no chocolate or alcohol probably wouldn’t last that long anyway.  The only one from this list that I have managed to keep to is ‘don’t spit my gum out on the street’ – I can’t believe I ever did that, so gross!

In 2012 I devoted myself to twelve months of a No Fear Year.  I went on stage, visited someone in prison, became a mentor, rode a horse and a few other things too.  I’d intended to have a difficult and long overdue conversation with someone, but it took me slightly longer to work up to that one.   I finally got round to it this last year and the No Fear Year really helped give me the confidence to go for it.

For the past few years, I have taken to going with a good friend of mine to somewhere with a view so we can regain perspective on life.  

Romantic Sunset Nails

We think through what we want to do with our lives and then write a list of all the things we will aim to do in the next year.  The goal is to put enough down to push ourselves but not so much that it daunts us into doing nothing.

It has been said that we tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a year, and underestimate what we can achieve in five years.  As far as the overestimation goes, I have certainly found this to be the case!

Here are some of the things I have so far failed to do since beginning the lists:

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  • Go to Paris – specifically to Entrecôte (I’ve now done this)
  • Go to Italy
  • Go to New York
  • See Il Trovatore
  • Fall in love
  • Explore more of London
  • Expand my cooking repertoire

Cupcake nails

And here are some of the things that I have ticked off my lists:

  • Go to California to visit a good friend
  • Go to Singapore to visit my sister
  • Go out dancing more
  • Buy a MacBook
  • Read the Bible twice
  • Go to the Saatchi Gallery
  • Be more creative

Where I haven’t managed to do something, I’ll either add it to my list for the following year or decide I don’t want to do it after all.

Having done this for a few years now, I’ve realised the key with these things is to be specific. Perhaps, rather than aiming to explore more of London, I should have written ‘Go to five restaurants, cafés or bars I haven’t been to before’.  Or maybe if I’d aimed to cook ten new things this year I would have had more success.

My list for 2014 is still taking shape but a few things will definitely be going on it:

  • Go to Israel (I’ve now done this)
  • Fall in love (that one will have to be carried over)
  • Start vlogging (apologies if you’re already feeling spammed with my nailart!)

I was going to put ‘start using acrylic paints for nailart’ but I just bought some and couldn’t wait until 2014 to try them out.  I painted some nailart inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night ready for this year’s regain-perspective-session.

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I hope you’ve had a good enough break to regain some perspective and you go into 2014 motivated to try new things so that when the next New Year’s Eve rolls around you’ll be looking back over twelve months of fulfilled dreams.

The True Meaning of Christmas

Happy Christmas!

This year I decided to do an Advent Calendar on my nails depicting the Christmas story in 25 scenes.

Luke 1:26-28, 30-35

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

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The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

20131224-220438.jpgMatthew 1:18-20

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son.”

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John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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Luke 2:1-3

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

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Luke 2:4

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

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Luke 2:5

He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

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Luke 2:6-7

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born … [but] there was no room for them in the inn.

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Luke 2:7a

She gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

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Luke 2:7b

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger.

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Luke 2:8a

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby …

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Luke 2:8b

… keeping watch over their flocks at night.

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Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them.

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Luke 2:9a

And the glory of the Lord shone around them.

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Luke 2:9b

And they were terrified.

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Luke 2:10-12

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

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Luke 2:13-14

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

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Luke 2:15

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

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Luke 2:16

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

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Matthew 2:1-3, 7-8

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him … Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

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Matthew 2:5-6

This is what the prophet has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, 
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
 for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”

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Matthew 2:9-10

After [the Magi] had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them … When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

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Matthew 2:9

After [the Magi] had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

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Matthew 2:11a

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

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Matthew 2:11b

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

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Matthew 1:21

“You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Random fact about me – I was born in Sweden.  My father’s job took my family to Stockholm for two years a long time ago, during which time I was born, so I spent the first six months of my life there.  Ok, so it’s not in my blood and I may never have been back, but it still forms a part of my history.   With this in mind I wanted to incorporate a bit of Scandinavia into our Christmas decorations this year.

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