Saturday, 31 December 2011

Crumpet's Top 10 Cultural Highlights of 2011

Top 10 Non Nail Highlights of the Year

Hi Goddesses

I know some of you like the posts where I just write.  (Or ramble lol).  So just a pre-warning – this post is not related to nails, nail polish or nail art in any way.

I wanted to gather some of the moments this year that really rocked my world.  I love music.  I love books, and films, and I wanted to commemorate that.  So here they are, in no particular order …. Until we get to the final 3 J

The End of 24

Farewell Jack Bauer, farewell.  You redefined TV drama, introduced a rocking way of telling stories, and now you’re gone (until the movie).

Series 8 was great … until about episode 18.  Once Renee died, Jack went off the rails, and the series limped to an ending that was so much less than it deserved.

Other than that, this represents some of the finest drama US TV has ever produced.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 2

I was really nervous about watching this film, because the book contains a moment that destroys me every time I read it, and the films have NEVER captured the emotional depth (such that it is) of the books.

One of the things that connects me to Harry Potter is how he misses his parents.  Drawn from JK Rowling’s own loss, it perfectly captures that endless ache of wanting one final moment or hug with the person who died.  The scene with the resurrection stone reduces me to tears in the book, every time I read it.  It’s true, it’s not mawkish, and its very simplicity captures the perfect hold-your-breath nature of the scene.

Thankfully, the film did not disappoint, and Lily’s “we never left”, gets me every time.

England – The Best Cricketing Nation on Earth

Wow, it’s been a long time coming, but nothing could beat the incredible and almost incredulous results of the Ashes test Down Under and the achievement of the team’s 2 year goal – to be the best team in the world.

As a team leader who loves psychology, let me share this with you fact fans – when Andy Flower took over coaching of the team 2 years and appointed Andrew Strauss as captain, they shared with their team their 2 year goal to be the best team in the world.

Most team meetings would end there.  But Flower and Strauss then proceeded to draw out on the wall, every single match that stood between today and that 2 year goal, and which teams would be in their way.  Together, the entire team plotted what results would be required, with the result that no team in history was better prepared or motivated to achieve their goal. Is it any wonder they achieved it?

Rory McIlroy

When Rory McIlroy self-destructed on the back 9 in Augusta, single- handedly throwing away his first ever major golfing title, the 21 year old put it into perspective on Twitter – “Well that wasn’t the plan! Found it tough going today, but you have to lose before you can win. This day will make me stronger in the end.

6 weeks later, his words rang true as, learning from his mistakes, he did the unthinkable and came back from the loss that everyone predicted would destroy his future career to win the US Open with confidence, and the steel of a champion.

An amazingly inspirational triumph.

Meg Gardiner

I love books, thrillers mostly, and there is nothing I like more than discovering an author who has already written 8 brilliant books which I can devour 1 by 1.  The author I found this year has become one of my all time favourites.

Meg Gardiner writes 2 series of books about strong, independent women – Evan Delaney and Dr Jo Beckett.  What sets her apart is that she is the only author who does not operate on the scale of diminishing returns – every book is as good as its predecessor.  If you’re looking for a new author to get stuck into, get stuck into her.

Stieg Larsson
Continuing the book theme, Stieg Larsson has dominated this year.  I have nothing but respect for any author who can become big news, and it is extremely sad that he died 2 years ago, before he could see The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and its 2 successors become global phenomena.

The books aren’t necessarily literary masterpieces, but the characters are, especially the female anti-heroine, Lisbeth Salander.  Larsson’s books prove the number one rule of all creative art – it starts with the character.  Get your characters right, and people respond, react and get sucked in.

One Day – David Nicholls

My final book choice is One Day which came out a couple of years ago and has sat on my shelf ever since.  It’s about a couple who meet at University and what happens to them on the same day every year.  To be honest, it probably would have stayed on my shelf unless there was a film coming out, and I am so glad that gave me the push I needed to  read it.

Again, this is a book about characters so acutely defined that they leap off the page.  The story meanders – as does a life – but the characterisation keeps it gripping.  And then the ending just destroys you.  Wonderful.


Glee has a lot of knockers, but how can you hate a program that is the very definition of its name ?  At its very best (which is hasn’t been for some time) Glee makes me cry with joy and empathy, and when Glee is less than good, it only succeeds when the music rocks my world, as it did when Gwyneth swung into Forget You; when they ripped off their cardies in the empowering Born This Way episode; when The Warblers created the acapella masterpiece of Teenage Dream; or when the TroubleTones mashed up Someone Like You and Rumour Has It.  Genius.


There’s not very many films these days that the minute they end prompt me to say “I need to see that again”, but Inception was one such film.

A total mind fuck, it succeeded on the basis of great actors, a fantastical story, great special effects and enough suspense and wonder to keep you guessing into the heartache of the final reel.  Masterpiece.

The Royal Wedding ..

… captivated most imaginations everywhere this year, and I captured most of my thoughts in my blog back in April.

8 months on, and I what I still zero in on is a couple so clearly in sync with each other, oh and yes – more bank holidays please.  We enjoyed our 2 back to back 4 day weekends J

9/11 rebuild

Did anyone catch the Discovery Series this year about rebuilding Ground Zero? Awesome.  Inspirational.  And emotional.

That series was full of people who have not only rebuilt something, but in so doing have forever left the imprint of their soul on the project.

From the sheer perfection of the imagery of the disappearing waterfalls, to the fact that the architectural layout of the plaza is dictated by the sun’s position at every key moment that fateful day, this whole project could not have been delivered with more respect, tenderness or awe.

And now my Top 3 …..

3.  Lady Gaga – Born This Way

THE album of the year, no questions asked.

When you’re as far out there as Lady Gaga, the only way you can achieve credibility and be more than “just a novelty” is to have the talent to back it up – and she has it in spades!

This entire album is a pop masterpiece, topped off with the sublime HAIR.  Whatever mood I am in, that one song makes my very soul swing.  A masterpiece.

2.  Adele at the Brits

By now, I am sure you have all heard of Adele.  Back in February, when she performed at the BRIT Awards (like the UK Grammys) she was fairly unknown in the US, but this performance changed EVERYTHING.

If you haven’t seen it, you MUST YouTube it.  It is one of those performances that STOPS TIME. 

Someone Like You is a paean to a lost lover who is about to remarry.  It defines heartache and hope, and ache travels through every syllable.  Adele performed it half a beat slower than on the album, dressed in black, with just a piano.  Starkness and simplicity.

And then, just as she reached the key emotional note of the song, gold tickertape fluttered down to create a moment of magic, a moment of unimaginable emotional intensity, and a moment that defines an artist in history.

1 – the end of LOST L

Oh wow.  LOST.  THE best TV series of all time and it ended this year.  I have so much respect for this show, and for Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, for the fact that they went to the network and said “no, we’re not doing this forever.  We want an end date”.

The moment they got their end date (mid-way through what was a meandering Season 3) the show took off like a rocket-fuelled firework.  Series 6 promised so much, and tried its best to deliver, but when you have an audience sooooo incredibly emotionally invested in your show, you’re never going to please everyone.

If you know me, you know I am the Queen of Sleep.  This is the only thing this year I crawled out of bed for at 5am.  Nothing else could have made me do it.  And if I was disappointed with the finale the first time I watched it (I really was), by the 3rd time, it made perfect sense AND accomplished what the writers promised they would do – create an ending that was true to the characters (and if it didn’t complete the story, tough).

Finally – can we just shoot whoever it was at ABC who decided to run scenes of the original crash over the end credits and therefore create an unintentional and frankly insulting cyber-discussion that the whole 6 series of the show had been a dream.  You twat.

And that’s it from me for 2011 – see you on the other side J  xxx


Crumpet's Brand of the Year - 2011

 The Brand of the Year 2011

Hi Goddesses

I wanted to do a post which evaluated how good or bad the nail polish world has been to us this year.  I am aware that my readers are split about 50/50 between well-read nailaholics who know more than I do, and real nail newbies who appreciate being pointed in the right direction.

So here you have my opinions on the output of the main brands, together with my ultimate winner of the year.


Let’s start with the biggest.  OPI was the reason I became re-obsessed with nail polish because a workmate wears them all the time with minimal chipping.  A quick journey through ebay and I saw their preference for reddish colours (matched my own at the time) and an obsession was born.

Since then, I have been educated, and I have come to realise that the Queen has lost her crown.  Newer brands have become better, and other brands have overtaken her.  OPI no longer rules the roost.  Why ?  I don’t know.  Maybe they became complacent, maybe they didn’t realise what other brands had up their sleeves, but OPI have been well and truly left on the shelf this year, churning out dull crèmes and only briefly hinting at their heyday with The Muppets Collection.

Final Verdict - A really disappointing year.


So after my OPI obsession, came Zoya.  No one does purples like Zoya.  They also use a small brush – neater application – and have smaller bottles height-wise – better storage.

Zoya have released some beautiful collections this year, yet I’m quite shocked to end the year without feeling the love for them.  I literally could not wait to get my hands on Smoke & Mirrors when it came out, and yet have not been wearing it half as often as I expected.

All this though is only half the story.  Zoya have – in my eyes – the best customer respect on the planet, and do awesome giveaways regularly, just because they love their customers.  They also do the best nail polish remover.

Final verdict – a solid year, with much expected in 2012 – we’ve seen photos of the flecked top coats, and the Zoya fairies still keep whispering about holos.  I am sure if Zoya do a holo, it will be the most beautiful ever made.

China Glaze

I had never heard of China Glaze before this year, but d’you know what, if I was recommending just 1 brand to a beginner, it would be this one.

CG is reasonably priced, offer great colours, do glitters, holos, crèmes, shimmers, the best crackles – you name it, you can find it in the CG catalogue.  Their collections this year may not have set the world on fire, but there have still been interesting individual polishes.

Final verdict – a solid year, with great expecations for 2012 and The Hunger Games collection.

Color Club

Color Club – what’s to fault?  Awesome polishes, great application, holos, glitters and yes!  FOILS !!

Final Verdict - It’s been a great year for Color Club, and all at an insanely affordable price. 

Sally Hansen

Good ole Sally.  She may be nearly 100 years old, but she still keeps knocking them out!  Lol.

Again, a brand I was unaware of in the UK but wow – good prices, great colours and application and a full range of finishes.

Final Verdict – good, not spectacular, but good


This baby was born this year, and wow was she born with great qualities.  A stunning range of colours, amazing application and to die for finishes.

This is a THOROUGHLY impressive brand, with a woman at the helm- Adina – who has a true passion for polish as well as the most adorable cat in the world, Tristram.

Final Verdict – totally blew everyone away with her Mythicals Collection.  Oustanding, and with great hopes for her next Collection.

Glitter Gal

Hands up if you’d heard of Glitter Gal at the start of the year?  Probably none of us, but holy holo wowness, what amazing polishes.

A Glitter Gal holo is beautiful like very little else in the world.  Exquisite beauty and finery, amazing colours, balanced only by a far too small bottle and a tendency to give colours names slightly darker than how they appear on my nails!!

Final Verdict – outstanding year.  2011 was the Year of Holo, and Glitter Gal led that charge.

So, to the Awards

Honourable Mention

Although she is not a brand, I want to include in this post a woman who has possibly done more than anyone this year to champion exotic and amazing polishes.

Step forward Leah Ann Rowe.  I remember buying from Leah Ann back in July.  Back then, she had a handful of Glitter Gals which she mainly sold through her eBay store. Since then she has created a true, loving Facebook community, genuinely interacted with her “fans” the way only a fellow nail geek can, and introduced us to-
·         Glitter Gal
·         Ozotic
·         A-England
·         HITS
·         Picture Polish
·         Ludarana

I know I speak for many of us when I say – where would our stashes be without her ? I know our bank balances would be healthier!  And then she topped it all by bringing Lynderella to her site … and promises more magic for 2012.

Leah Ann – you’re awesome.

Best Indie Brand – Cult Nails

I don’t own any Cult Nails polishes yet, but I would love to know how a small US brand managed to create more buzz than ANY of the multi-nationals.

Well done for all you achieved with Unicorn Puke / Clairvoyant – you’ve touched the true heart of a polish lover.

Best Expensive Brand – Deborah Lippmann

I know, I know, but 3 of her polishes are in my all time Top 10 (Ruby Red Slippers, Across The Universe and Lady Sings The Blues).

Let me put it this way – 2012 is going to be The Year of the Flakie, 2011 was the Year of Holo, and 2010 was the Year Glitter Came Back, and no one did more to achieve that and continue that than DL.

She redefined what a glitter could do in a polish, keeps releasing bijou little collections, does crème and shimmers AND did her own flakie, Edge of Glory.

Can you imagine if DL was in charge of OPI – can you IMAGINE what a year that would have created for OPI ?

Within Budget Brand of the Year – Wet n Wild

A US brand I had never heard of, Wet n Wild has rocked my world this year.   They did the best glitter of the year – Tangled in My Web – as well as a couple of GREAT collections and generated HTF buzz with On The Prowl and the Ice Collection.

I don’t know if it was this year or last year but there is also a great collection based on TV programs which I LOVE.

Final Verdict – a surprisingly strong performance with great polishes of all shapes and sizes – an EXCELLENT year.

So there you go – which brand blew you away this year?  If you could only keep the polishes you bought from one of them, which would it be??


Enjoy J  xx


Top Tip – if you’re ever unsure what a nail colour looks like, go to Google images, which will give you plenty of contrasts and compares.

11 from 2011 - Crumpet Nail "Art"

11 Moments of Perfect Crumpetness in 2011

Hi Goddesses

So I’d done my Top 10 polishes of all time and my Top 10 polishes of the year, so it seemed a bit pointless to do my Top 10 Manis of the years, as so many of them are just swatches.  So instead, I decided to only include posts that are not a pure swatch – and YES! Some ok nail art made it in there too!

Enjoy xx J

I’m going to start with a couple of posts from the 31 Days of Christmas Purple Crumpet Fairy Challenge.  The ANGEL manicure is one of the very favourites I’ve done this year.  You can tell what it is AND the colours just blend perfectly.  I was sooo pleased with this one.

I then recycled the angel for the nativity mani, and as I mentioned at the time, Beth and everyone else who knows me had been laughing at how on earth I would be able to attempt this mani!  In the end, I think I did ok, and I particularly like Mary and Jesus.  I think a key learning from these is that my nail art is NEVER going to look as good as Nailside’s or Sonoma’s, but somewhere, there’s a Crumpet style, if I can just perfect it.

I then wanted to include this one, because it was one of the funniest posts I wrote this year – the Hallowe’en ghost cats incl the one that might have been an owl lol.  This one was funny, and I did enjoy it too J

Water marbling has just blown my mind this year.  I could never have imagined this was possible with polish, and the minute I saw it, I KNEW I needed it in my life.  Here we have my favourite 2 of the ones I did, my watery blue marble (with colours PERFECTLY chosen by Beth) and the Autumn water marble which I just loved.

I like Skittle nails.  Love them, and one of my most popular posts for a time was this one showcasing Wet N Wild’s Tangled InMy Web.  There is just something about the clash of those colours that I love.

My second favourite skittle was this crackle one for Hallowe’en – proof that sometimes simplicity creates the most impact.

This was my 200th post – the Barry M blue camo skittle.  Camo is such an easy nail art and it looks fab.  I have plans to do these in more colours in 2012.

FIRE!!!!  This was from early summer, when my nail obsession was just starting, and really could not be simpler – a yellow to dark orange gradient, with red shatter on top.  This was so bright and colourful – I loved it.

Dots.  Dotting tools were my favourite thing this year.  I’m better with them than with brushes, and this again is simplicity itself, using smaller dots of the base colour on the large silver dots to give the appearance of hollow hoops.

And finally …. My proudest stamping moment of the year – The Sound of Music Curtains!!  Lol.  Such a HAPPY mani.  As you know, I had a tough time loving Konad the Barbarian, and this is our best date so far, even though this was done with his brother, Red Angel.

If these are my best posts of the year, I’m quite happy.  They do not come close to the people I admire and aspire to emulate, but for 5 months progress, I am pretty happy.

As ever, practice, discipline and the just continual DOING of it, really DO make you better, and if I could share one tip it would be this – always practice before you take a mani off.  You’re about to take it off anyway, so why not see if you can do a chevron, or a stamp, or some dots …. Cos one day, you will, and it will KICK ASS.

See you in 2012 (oh, after 1 or 2 more final posts).

Crumpet love xxxxx


Top Tip – if you’re ever unsure what a nail colour looks like, go to Google images, which will give you plenty of contrasts and compares.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Stamping & My Favourite Christmas Movie


Day 29 – Your Favourite Christmas Movie

Hi Goddesses

OMG I am sooooooo excited to bring you this post.

Can you guess what the movie is just from this one photo ?

For the longest time I was going to do Wizard of Oz nails and then Beth and I sat down to watch and singalong to this the other day and a GENIUS idea was born J

Have you got it yet ??  3 clues –

Are they curtains by any chance ?
Brown paper packages tied up with string
I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don’t feel …. So saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad J

Yes!!  It’s the curtains that Maria made into playclothes in The Sound of Music, one of THE best films of all time J  I love this film!!  And I am so glad that Beth loves it too.  We practice Doh, A Dear a lot, but her favourite song is Cuck-oooooo.  Personally I like a bit of yodel-ay-ee-yodel-ay-ee-yodel-ay-ee-oh as well J

This mani was born from my new Red Angel plates which have lots of pretty “wallpaper” patterns as I call them.  This was a base of OPI Skull & Glossbones and then stamping with CG Westside Warrior and RA-104.

I am really super delighted with these.  I feel they look like what I wanted them to resemble and it’s also not too bad a stamping effort either, although I am struggling to get the stamp over the whole nail (maybe my nails are just wide, like the rest of me).

Best of all, this made me smile and sing everytime I looked at it lol.

Result J

Enjoy xx J


Top Tip – if you’re ever unsure what a nail colour looks like, go to Google images, which will give you plenty of contrasts and compares.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas Challenge - Day 28 - Sweets!


Day 28 – Christmas Sweets

Hi Goddesses

Come on, suck it up, we’re nearly there.  Just 4 more manis to go and tomorrow’s is AWESOME.

Today’s isn’t too shabby either.  So, in England, at Christmas, people buy huge great big tins of sweets that they spend all day scoffing and then wondering why they feel sick.  One such brand is Quality Street, where every chocolate is wrapped in a different coloured FOIL (see where I’m headed with this?)  So here’s the real thing –

And here's my mani - 

Polishes –

Thumb – SH Nail Prisms – Bejeweled
Index – Color Club – Hot Like Lava
Middle – Color Club – Cold Metal
Ring – Color Club - Perfectly Mol-ten
Pinkie – Color Club - Foil Me Once

I loved this bright brashy combination.  I then put silver shatter on it, because the reverse side of the foil is silver, and everyone scrunches their wrapper up into a teeny tiny ball.

And do you know what, foils no likey shatter.  Doesn’t that just look ….. wank ?  it dulls the bright quality that makes those foils so amazing.

Never mind, tomorrow I PROMISE YOU makes up for any and ALL mistakes J

Enjoy xx J


Top Tip – if you’re ever unsure what a nail colour looks like, go to Google images, which will give you plenty of contrasts and compares.

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