As a new mama, I am rather hard pressed to find “me time”, however I am determined to employ quick, easy and inexpensive ways to take care of myself. These days I may occasionally be seen springing out of the house, cardigan inside-out, bus card between my teeth, sporting a somewhat disheveled side ponytail, pushing a buggy whilst trying to keep my handbag on my shoulder… but my nails will be nicely painted, thanks to my simple routine.

Some simple steps to nice nails

Once every 1.5 – 2 weeks, I:

  1. Remove old nail polish.
  2. File nails “square” (illustration 1).
  3. Apply a good fast-drying base coat (illustration 2).
  4. Apply a coat of colour almost immediately, using a “3 brush stoke” method. First dab a drop of colour in the center of the nail, a little above the cuticle. Push the drop down to almost meet the cuticle then move the brush up in one straight stroke to the top of the nail. Go back to the base and drag the brush along the side of the nail to cover it with polish. Repeat on the other side so that entire nail is coated (illustrations  3-8).
  5. Apply a total of 2-3 coats of colour using the method above (leaving time for drying time between each coat).
  6. Finally, apply a secret weapon; super-fast drying Mavadry or Minute Quick Finish by Mavala.

Every second time I do this routine for my fingernails, I also do a foot-friendly version for my toenails. Polish tends to last much longer on toenails, so every 3-4 weeks seems to suffice nicely. As I am generally a “boots girl”, my feet are hardly ever on display, but keeping my toenails perfectly polished gives me a little psychological boost (as though I am saying to myself, “I may be a busy mum, but I still make time for me!”).

Thankfully I don’t suffer from dry hands or issues with my cuticles, so I don’t fuss with them, but occasionally I apply hand cream. Shea Butter Hand Cream by L’Occitane is a wonderfully effective product. Protecting and deeply moisturising, the scent is gender neutral (so ladies, you might have to share!) and the cream absorbs well. It is also a great multi-purpose product and works wonders on feet, legs, elbows, etc.


• Try filing your nails short-ish and “square” for added strength and an easy-to-maintain elegant look.
• Always apply a base coat.
• Apply each colour coat to your nail in 3 brush strokes if possible (a center stroke and then two side strokes, with the brush having just enough enamel for each stroke).
• Use a fast-drying top coat that will also speed up the drying time of your colour coats. I recommend Mavala’s Minute Quick Finish (purchased as part of the Natural French White Manicure set) or Mavala’s Mavadry, which is fabulous.


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