Amelia’s Magazine | The NailGirls spa salon in Islington Spring/Summer 2010 nail polish launch event.

Colourbox leadersdebate
Illustration by Antonia Parker.

Last week it occurred to me that if one drew something remotely funny and sent it around twitter at the same time as everyone was going mental with the hashtag #leadersdebate whilst watching the Leaders’ Debate on the TV, what is ed one was more or less garunteed a huge amount of retweets and a viral hit.

Except there was something that was irking me about this twitter phenomenon: and that was the poor quality of the drawings that were tickling the fancy of so many. So I sent out my own twitter message to see if anyone was up for drawing something satirical and vaguely amusing that we could send out on twitter at the appropriate time this week, no rx and knowing that I hang out with lots of very talented illustrators on twitter.

Then I read in the Evening Standard that the election has already brought about a vast outpouring of artistic ingenuity: drinks (slightly poisonous looking concoctions in virulent red, and blue and yellow), logo decorated jellies and even rag rugs have all been created with the election in mind. So it seems I am not the first to cotton onto a general feverish mood in the artistic firmament.

Here, then, are the results of my callout. This blog is not about my political leanings – though I’d happily take a pop shot at Cameron’s flabby potato head (sorry Sam) before I’d see him in power – but rather about an experiment in the way we communicate during election time in 2010. So these images will also be twitpic-ed out come 8.30pm tonight. Feel free to join in the fun and let’s see how far they travel!

With thanks to the lovely illustrators who answered my callout with such glee. It seems I touched a nerve…

jenny robins - leaders debate
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

Clegg, Cameron, Brown-Abi Daker
Illustration by Abi Daker.

Leaders Debate Katie Harnett
Illustration by Katie Harnett.

Illustrations by Antonia Parker.

Marnie Hollande-Leaders Debate
Illustration by Marnie Hollande.

DEBATE-Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

I’m not really a high maintenance kind of girl, illness but the older I get I am starting to think that maybe I should consider paying just a little bit more attention to myself. But grooming just takes so much time, store right? And it’s just so darn pricey?

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

Well yes to both the above. And no. Last week I had my nails done at the NailGirls Spa Salon in Islington, order it took about ten minutes and it didn’t cost a thing. Oh okay, so it was a freebie as part of the press launch for their summer range (yes, nail varnish really does come in seasonal colours) but it was also incredibly quick. Within ten minutes of Kelly placing my hands – with well practiced firmness – on the towelling rest, I was sporting 10 perfectly manicured pinkies in Purple #7. Here at NailGirls they don’t go in for fancy names for their nail varnishes, preferring instead to take the minimalist route.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

Musing, in the way that one does whilst being attended to by a beautician, I wondered how long it takes to grow really sick of painting nails. Five years perhaps before the sight of someone else’s paws drives you insane? “Well, I’m 20 years old,” says Kelly, “but I’ve already been doing nails for 5 years.” Blimey, 5 years? No way?! “Yes, since I was 15!” But she isn’t sick of it yet: in fact she’s just left behind he beloved cheerleading squad that she tutors up in Brum to pursue a glittering career in London, where her financial trader boyfriend is based. I love hearing about these little things. Human life, always so fascinating.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch
NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch
Lynda-Louise and Joanna Burrell (just before Jo spilt white wine down Lynda’s top, but we won’t talk about that).

NailGirls is the brainchild of two north London sisters. As my nails are being painted Lynda-Louise tells me how she spent 11 years working in the fashion industry in New York before returning to set up the business with sister Joanna Burrell, formerly working in oh-so-glamourous recruitment. “I knew that I wanted to do something in fashion – and there didn’t seem to be anything here like they have in the US, where they have proper nail spas.” Before she returned to the UK Lynda put her back into some serious research and got together a nail polish formulation that is not tested on animals and eschews nasty chemicals such as toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and camphor, which are proven carcinogens. The nail varnish is made in the US and imported to sell in the salon and online.

Nail Girls-joanna burrell

Lynda is passionate about painted nails as a way of keeping on trend. “It means you can change your look really easily and without the expense, of say, buying a Chanel handbag.” And without going into consumer overdrive, I should add. Using her self-confessed expertise in the field of trend spotting she picks out key colours for each season. For spring/summer 2010 she has picked out colours from the collections of Christopher Kane, Christian Louboutin and Burberry: a soft coral, bright green, pale blue and pearlised apricot. During their friendly garden speech the sisters described working with top make-up artist Pat McGrath during fashion week, and excitedly hinted at more fashion related collaborations later this year.

Nail Girls-lynda-louise jo burrell

It’s all rather fun this beauty malarkey, I have to say – and I found it most intriguing to chat with the various girls that I met at the launch; in a shrewd move the NailGirls have chosen to target a range of beauty bloggers (the success of this strategy is borne out with a quick blogsearch). Hungrily ogling the nail colours on the salon shelves I met the immaculate Lola of the Beauty Geek blog, who is normally doing corporate stuff for Nokia but puts together blogs demonstrating how to apply perfect Cheryl Cole-esque make up in her spare time.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty Geek
Beauty Geek blogger Lola.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty Geek
Those are Lola’s delicate little hands, not mine.

Whilst I was snaffling canapes by Eclectic Food in the garden I met some beauty bloggers who work at the other end of the spectrum. Hair stylists Alex Brownsell and Louise Teasdale run Beauty is a Religion, which takes an occasional look at plastic surgery gone wrong, tattoo art and 18 year old girls with orange skin and fake boobies for whom Jordan is an idol. They sport fabulous pastel coloured hair and pale skin. You couldn’t get two more diverse approaches to beauty blogs if you tried. Other bloggers present that I did not get to meet have some fantastically named blogs: including Do Not Refreeze, Vex in the City and Make Up to Make Out. It’s a whole wide beauty blogging world out there I tell thee.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion Alex Brownsell
Beauty is a Religion blogger Alex Brownsell.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion Louise Teasdale
Beauty is a Religion blogger Louise Teasdale.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion
This is Louise’s identical twin! Except for the hair that is.

It’s been a week since I had my manicure, and I have to report that my nails are faring very much better than they would have done had I applied a manicure myself (though not as good as Lola’s – blimey she’s doing well!).

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

“You must come back and have a pedicure when the sun is out!” Jo tells me as I leave this friendly little salon just off the high street in Islington. The NailGirls website desperately needs a bit of tender lovin’ care to make it more user friendly, but I’d return to be pampered in their lovely garden spa area in a jiffy. Summer pedicure did you say?

Categories ,Alex Brownsell, ,Beauty, ,Beauty Geek, ,Beauty is a Religion, ,blog, ,Bloggers, ,Burberry, ,chanel, ,Chemical Free, ,Cheryl Cole, ,Christian Louboutin, ,Christopher Kane, ,Do Not Refreeze, ,Eclectic Food, ,Islington, ,Jordan, ,Louise Teasdale, ,Make Up to Make Out, ,Make-up, ,Nail Polish, ,Nail Varnish, ,NailGirls, ,Press Launch, ,Spa Salon, ,trend, ,Vex in the City

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