Nail Harmony Gelish Training Booked….

My nails obsession has hit it’s peak and by the end of August I will be a fully trained Nail Harmony Gelish Technician!

As this is only a part time passion I will mix my training and subsequent nail design courses with kimono and Japanese style fashion. In fact, I plan to almost exclusively be a Japanese Nail Art technician.

My friends and I normally do demos and have a stall at kitacon, so I might see how the insurance fits and offer a £25 gel manicure with a fancy nail design on say the ring finger. Mad 3D lolita style or freehand painted.

I also have in mind to do a £18 ‘Gelish Vitagel‘ mani for those wanting to repair and grow out their nails with normal polish on top. The polish can then be removed and reapplied.

I plan to be also CND Shellac trained as well as do training in O.P.I Gelcolor (as this is what my mum likes) by the time kitacon comes round.


Wa Lolita with real vintage kimono….

I was at a Lolita event and in a fashion show this weekend. I am NOT lolita but Isla and I showcased wa lolita using real kimono. Most lolita complain wa lolita is too much like a costume, so we offered up an alternative. Wearing your kimono in Wa STYLE.


We were also at Stoneleigh Abbey the next day:

jane austin and kimono

*Photos by April Boyd

Kimono De Jack is 3 years old this year!

Our next meet up at Hyper Japan is very soon but I have just created our 3rd Anniversary Meetup at Japan Matsuri (5th October, London)age-3-birthday-foil-6000057-0-1348496708000

Check out the facebook group for details!

Reminder about what KDJ actually IS:

Kimono de Jack is an event for people who love kimono and need more reasons to wear it 🙂

Feel free to join us in one of our little outings, we always welcome new faces. Alternatively, why not organise one yourself and then let us know about.

Happy Kimono Wearing ^_^

*Although Kimono de Jack in itself is free and there is not charge to attend, some (or all) members choose to go places that might require a payment. If you would like to participate in these optional events during Kimono de Jack, please make sure you bring enough funds to cover the payments. Usually, these places or events will be listed in the description. If not, then at least plan on getting lunch with everyone.*

You can follow our outings via twitter

Or via blogger

either way, we want to join all kimono lovers in UK

I have been busy!

I have been really busy with everything, and lasted 6 months on a no buying binge!

However, recently I bought 2 fancy furisode obijime:

Furisode Obijime

Furisode Obijime

and two synthetic two-piece kimono. I have wanted a two piece kimono for a while. Why?

For working….these are great throw on peices that you can dress over your jeans when you are kimono working!

Two piece synthetic kimono

Two piece synthetic kimono

It has been a while! Kore wa, shibaraku shite iru!

Ok, I have been on a kimono hiatus in many ways. In wearing and buying – mostly due to my new freelance status and needing to be VERY busy in order to earn money.

However, recently I have:

1. Booked a holiday to Japan
2. Bought a new haori

Retro haori

I plan to wear kimono a LOT in Japan so will be focusing any new kimono spend on undies!

I am wearing haori more as I can wear these to business events and travel in them really easy.

Fun with nail gels!

I am having lots of fun with nail gels.




But the concept of nail gels seems to confuse some! So here are some simple yet ‘asked about often’ questions about nail gels.

1. This gel does not dry in 2 minutes!

Your gel won’t dry in natural light, it is cured by either LED or UV light in a lamp. You need to really research your processes when dealing with gel nails or buy a kit with instructions. This is the reason why I get really cheap OPI GelColor on eBay. This Christmas a lot of people were bought sets without the rest of the kit and have no idea what to do with it. OPI is a professional only product, as well as MOST other gels. In the UK there are very few home kits available.

2. Does it damage your nails?

No. Not if done correctly but there are so MANY ways to do it wrong. Damage happens mostly with removal. The top coat always needs to be gently buffed away as it is resistant to the acetone used to remove. You will need to soak with acetone using wraps for upto 15 minutes. ONLY remove with a wooden or plastic orange stick. If you use a metal remover you WILL cause damage.

Normally with Gel you need to lightly buff the shine off the natural nail. I have weak nails so I don’t do this.

Don’t peel. This is the EASIEST way to ruin your nails.

3. Do the UV lamps give you cancer?

Yes and maybe. A professional lamp has all the nasties removed but with cheaper and even salon lamps you are never 100% sure. I wear UV protection fingerless gloves as a regular ‘geller’. Best to be safe and not sorry!

4. You said gels? Like hard gel?

No, I always mean SOAK-OFF gels. I don’t use hard gel at all, especially as an untrained DIY’er. Soon I will be trained though to NVQ L3 but I probably won’t stray from the path.

5. I finished my manicure but its all sticky!

You need to remove this and any uncured gel with isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol.

If in doubt, have them done by a professional. Even if it is to see what they DO and if you are suited to gels.

DIY 14 Day Manicure Nails…update

Well, I have now been doing my nails for a while and use various different brands and I am back with a review update!

Opi GelColor – I love this system however it can come though quite thick. This makes it harder to remove and damage to the nail more likely.

Orly GelFx – Similar to Opi, however goes on thinner and it is easier to remove.

CND Shellac – One of my favourites because it goes on a lot thinner and soaks off the easiest. However, it can be hard to handle. You need a bit of practise before you can get the look right and you need ALL THE STUFF in the world in order to make it right. I am still not using a CND lamp, but one day I might invest in one.

Ink Gel by Glam & Glitz – Possibly my favourite for the home nail enthusiast. Vast amount of colours and glitters, nice big bottles and a medium range price. Comes off easy and lasts well. Not easily available to the UK though, price inflated by shipping and customs.

Entity One – A bit meh, to be honest. OK but I found the colours to be lacking. Same size as the ink polish so I would go there instead.

On my review list is Bluesky one step gel which I have yet to try out, as well as a few other indie brands. A friend of mine is testing out Nail Harmony, so if she gives it a good review I will get myself a set.


しばらくですね。It’s been a while!

It has been a while I know. I have been very busy with work as I have changed to totally freelance. This means I have to make MORE effort to go and get work as well as getting clients to pay up 🙂

I am not buying kimono things currently as I have finally after a shaky start STOPPED buying kimono and related articles.




I took this photo of my new baka-hime (mannequin) with my haori, hat and gloves as I think about my ensemble for the latest Kimono de Jack which I HOPE I can make. Suffering from the lurgy maximus.


I HAVE been wearing kimono to business events but rarely get time to take a photograph.

Off Topic – DIY Soak off Gel Hybrid Nails

If I stayed away from EVERYTHING a professional told me I couldn’t do I wouldn’t get out of bed in a morning. Same goes for doing your own ‘gel’ nails. I use gel as a loose term as the gel I use is a gel/nail polish hybrid made to be removed using acetone.

My process is simple and I use the SAME process for every brand I use:

1. Buff shine off natural nail after you have gently pushed back your cuticles

2. Clean with IPA and a link free wipe

3. Apply a primer. Primers make your manicure last longer (about 2 days) but it is harder to remove.

4. Apply a thin layer of your chosen base coat avoiding SKIN! Avoidance of skin is good for longevity (less peeling) as well as for safety reasons. If you get some on your skin don’t panic, remove and just don’t cure it on your skin.

5. Cure for 30 seconds with an LED lamp (a REAL one)

6. Apply colour gel curing for 60 seconds each time. I have never done more than two layers.

7. Apply top coat and cure for 30 seconds.

8. Use IPA or rubbing alcohol (you can get standard or a branded one) to remove he sticky layer which is used for adhesion to a second layer. You don’t need this for your top coat!

9. Use a cuticle oil or balm


These are brands I have USED.

Sensationail – This was my first kit and it is great stuff. Hard to remove if you use the primer. Limited colours.

CND Shellac – The one salons are supposed to use. I like it, but your nail technician will say it is not the full shellac service doing it from home. Probably not but it lasts for 2 weeks and I will make a note on salons later.

Bluesky/CCO Shellac – These are Chinese replica brands of the shellac product. With the process I use I don’t see much difference, but it is a 1/3rd of the price.

Orly Gel FX – Review to come

Opi Gel Color – Review to come (will update)

A note on salons.

I had a bad experience with a professional. Had certificates on the wall however I am surprised that you only need to do a few hours of training to get certified and call yourself a professional. I thought 2 years at beauty school would be involved, but alas NOT.

My nails were ruined by a certified professional that had GOOD reviews and now they split vertically in some areas still after 3 years. These were gel extensions but I won’t trust a professional with my hands again and even during the process all the filing and buffing hurt.

Also check what process/products a salon uses and google them before booking. There are some great systems out there but also salons who use fake or replica brands in place of famous brands to save money. CND Shellac and Bluesky Shellac are two such cases. CND is the top end product hard to buy at around £15 and Bluesky is £4. You would expect a professional salon to use CND Shellac with ALL it’s trimmings for a £20-25 price.

A salon that uses a replica brand that can not be traced directly to it’s supplier with an MSDS could impede insurance. So if you do have an allergic reaction or other problems there is no fall back.

I have checked the MSDS for Bluesky and CND and I am happy to use the product. However, being a qualified chemist I probably have more appreciation for this kind of thing than most.