Oh Pinterest, it's all your fault. I started following a few boards with nail designs on, then I subscribed to a few blogs, and before I knew it my nail varnish collection was out of control. How many colours does a girl need? Over 55, apparently. (I keep finding them in unlikely places, plus a I still need a white.) Then Mindy introduced me to quick-drying top coats. How did I never discover these before? I'm currently using a Sally Hansen version but apparently Seche Vite is the nail blogger's choice.
There is a whole world out there of some amazing art and I am only at the beginning, that's for sure. There are stamps and transfers and designs you can paint on...but in the meantime it's amazing what you can do with some sellotape. Paint your base coat, wait till it's properly dry (even the insta-dry stuff takes a few minutes) then place tape to mask off a section of your nail. Paint on the contrasting colour, and peel the tape off immediately. Use a quick-dry top coat to even it all out and there you go. There are much more detailed tutorials out there, but that's the idea.
It is occasionally amusing to think back to my old self - the one who wore baggy jeans and polo shirts, who used makeup as a mask and didn't really know what to do with nail varnish, and would definitely never have put two colours together. I can't believe it's taken me this long, but it feels good. And I guess I have the internet to thank for it.