My Life as a Zebra

Zebra print dress and nails

I’ve always has a soft spot for zebras. Horses are beautiful animals but when you add black and white stripes, a pattern so simple and stunning, the result is magical.

Zebras are better than unicorns because they actually exist.

Riding a Zebra

My love of zebras started earlier but was cemented when I was 12. My parents had a holiday house in the Loire region of France on a small island called Noirmoutier. You may have seen it on TV recently, because this year the famous Tour de France bike race started from the Isle de Noirmoutier, on the causeway that links Noirmoutier to the mainland.

That causeway is the longest in the world but only accessible at low tide. The rest of the time it’s deep under sea water so there’s a real element of risk driving over it. Huge poles with ladders on are strategically placed for people who get the timing wrong and needed an escape route.

Sometimes people tried to drive over the causeway just before the tide turned and didn’t make it. They say that the tides come in faster than a galloping horse in some areas of France and what was just an empty causeway quickly disappears under meters of sea water.

Driving over the causeway was a thrill on family holidays but the other thing we looked forward to each summer was a visit to the touring circus.

The circus usually came to the island to catch the summer crowds and one year they rented a field by our house for their exotic animals. They didn’t put the lions in it, but suddenly we had llamas and zebras peeping over the fence at us. There was even a giraffe.

I couldn’t resist and, when there was no sign of mum, dad or any circus folk, I climbed the fence into the field, took a running jump and leaped onto a zebra’s back for a little ride.

I don’t think the zebra moved at all but I still lay claim to having ridden a zebra.

Wearing a Zebra Dress

Zebra print dress and nailsA decade or so later, back in England, I was off to live in Zimbabwe in Africa for a year and threw a safari party before leaving.

The safari theme fitted well with my African adventure but the real reason I chose it was because I had this fantastic zebra print dress to wear.

It’s a glittery sleeveless shift with a huge split right up one thigh. My mum must have been the belle of the ball in the seventies when she wore it, especially accompanied by my Austin Power lookalike dad with his black framed glasses, gently flicked hair and pink satin frill necked shirt. I’m not kidding.

I love that zebra print dress and still wear it sometimes to seventies parties. But it’s a classic style and design. I’m sure you could wear it to the Oscars and get on the best dressed list.

Becoming a Zebra

My relationship with zebras deepened that year in Zimbabwe when I met a Zimbabwean man who asked me:

“What is your tribe?”

“Huh? Tribe? What do you mean tribe?”

He explained that everyone in Zimbabwe belonged to a tribe and, since I was tribeless (sadly we don’t have tribes in England just social classes) he invited me to join his tribe, Madube.

“Madube?” I asked.

“Yes, it means zebra. Madube is the shishona word for zebra so will you be part of our zebra tribe?”

I happily agreed. Now I’d gone from being a zebra lover to actually being a zebra.

Zebra Print Nails

Zebra print nailsMany years later here I am in Australia and with another strange hankering. This time I’m after gorgeous hands and nails.

I’m a busy lady. No time or patience for manicures and every time I do my own nails they end up looking terrible. I just cannot sit still for long enough to let them dry properly so they always get messed up.

Then I discovered this brilliant idea called a 14 Day Nail Shield by Sally Hansen. It’s real nail varnish that you stick onto your own nails to give them that lovely clean, shiny  look and protect them from the ravages of daily life.

They’re brilliant when you’re traveling too, because all that packing and unpacking always takes its toll on my nails.

I love that you can do the manicure yourself anywhere, and whenever you have time.

I’ve even applied them on a plane and while watching my kids play basketball. Please understand these were separate occasions – the Candy children are strictly banned from  playing basketball on airplanes.

Best of all there’s no drying time. You just stick the polish on, press it down, file the edges off and you’re ready to go with a gorgeous manicure that last ages.

The clear nail protectors are great but then I looked online and saw that they have colored versions too plus some crazy psychedelic prints or glittery versions.

They’re called Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips but I couldn’t find them near where I live so, out of sheer desperation, and because I really do love this product, I emailed Sally Hansen and cheekily asked if they’d send me some so I could try it out.

I told them the real nail polish trips are perfect for travel and I’m nuts about them. In my enthusiasm and desperation I might have gone on a bit but they got the message. Or maybe they just sent me some samples just to get rid of me.

But when my Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips arrived, instead of the conservative pale pink nails (yawn) I’d normally sport, they’d sent me bright orange, silver glitter and even zebra print nails. How did they know?

So now the zebra woman has gorgeous zebra nails.

I admit, at first I thought these zebra print nails were a bit wild for me. I’m more the classic (read boring) type, so it took me a while to actually try them out. B ut as soon as I did I loved them too.

Sadly I can’t ride a zebra or wear my Shirley Bassey zebra glitter dress every day but I’ve got the zebra nails. They’re a brilliant conversation piece too.

So thanks so much to the lovely PR lady at Sally Hansen who succumbed to my pleas and sent me a lovely bundle of Salon Effects nails and even threw in some gorgeous citrus-scented 24 hour moisture hand creme with shea butter which I loved too.

Find Out More About Zebra Nails or Find Them

There’s a video on YouTube (where else) showing the different Salon Effects colors and patterns including zebra nails and how to apply them.

If you’re in Australia you can get the clear 14 Day Nail Shield in BigW. The classic design and wild and wacky Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips print nails can be snagged at Priceline Pharmacies and David Jones.

If you’re in the USA check out the Sally Hansen website to find your nearest stockist.

Have fun.

Welcome to the Zebra Tribe

Oh, and since I’m a zebra and you’re in my tribe I guess that makes you a zebra too which is brilliant news…. as long as there aren’t any lions around.

Photo credit: Coda

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  1. Harriet Cabelly August 10, 2011 at 3:44 am - Reply

    And I have had a soft spot for giraffes for years. I collect them and have my fun den filled with all kinds of them.
    I’m a first-timer here. Will be back, as I love travel, books and writing. Recently launched my website/blog. Found you on twitter from The Bridgemaker.

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2011 at 8:44 am - Reply

      Hi Harriet, great to see you here:) I love giraffes too! In fact I think I love all African animals. I’m even thinking of making ALL the images on both my blogs animal pictures only!

      So great you found us, it’s brilliant to have you here.

  2. Barbara August 10, 2011 at 4:48 am - Reply

    You made me laugh. The nails are funky and wild for sure. I’ll have to try them. I’ve been getting a product called Gelish applied to my nails here and it lasts for 2-3 wks. Problem is, it’s not easy to find a salon that does it. Maybe I’ll contact Gelish and they can send me the kit to do my own. You got me thinking now!

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2011 at 6:54 am - Reply

      Hi Barbara, why not! I know there are a lot of new products around but I prefer the DIY versions I can do from home. I’ve graduated to neon orange today but each packet comes with enough for two sets of nails so I can go zebra again whenever I feel like it;)

  3. Dave Doolin August 10, 2011 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Those nails! Rawr!

  4. Galen Pearl August 10, 2011 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Wow, from riding a zebra to zebra nails to being a zebra. The riding the zebra story was terrific. I can just see it. That must have been a very tame zebra since I’ve read that they can be very mean! Great tail, er, tale.

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2011 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Hi Galen, lol, well it was a circus animal;) Poor thing. Zebras are really best viewed in the wild in Africa! Back with more tails soon, thanks for reading them!

  5. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living August 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm - Reply


    I never knew about the French island you mentioned. Did your parents keep the house? At my local coffee shop in California, the young girls working there have a special nail polish that crackles on top of the base coat and looks similar. Have you seen it?

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Sonia, we had it for about 2o years. It was sold 1o years ago. Noirmoutier’s quite nice. As flat as a pancake so good for biking:) The crackles sound good. I’ve seen them in stores!

  6. Sara at Saving For Someday August 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel!

    Zebras fascinate me. Their stripes are like our fingerprints and are unique. You look at them and think they’re all the same, but like people, they are each their own individual.

    I can completely understand your love of these gorgeous animals.


    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Sara, they are gorgeous aren’t they?! The dress and the nails are inspired by them but not as inspiring:)

  7. Desolie August 11, 2011 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Well of course there are no lions around your tribe of zebras! Our rhodesian ridgeback dogs have been keeping them at bay for the past 11 years.

    What a fun story, Annabel.

    • Annabel Candy August 11, 2011 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Hi Desolie, lol, oh, that’s perfect. We can all relax now and get back to our grazing then!

  8. Kathleen August 11, 2011 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Love the nails! I showed them to my daughter Lily (Kiara’s age) and she insisted we rush out to buy some. I have to admit, I wanted them too so we headed across the street to Walgreens and picked them up and they are also available at Target for any other wanna be zebras out there!

    • Annabel Candy August 11, 2011 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Hi Kathleen, thanks for the Target tip. They are easy to get in the States compared to here in Australia but hopefully we’ll catch up! I find the stickers are very long and my nails quite short so I can trim off the ends and use them on Kiara’s tiny fingernails. Twice as much fun:)

  9. Dorothy August 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    This was one of the most enjoyable, quirky posts I’ve read in a long time. I’m quite envious of your globe-trotting ways. And of those nails! Am heading off to Priceline tomorrow…!

    • Annabel Candy August 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Dorothy, galloping off I hope! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. No more boring nails for me anymore:)

  10. J.D. Meier August 13, 2011 at 4:30 am - Reply

    Your Madube days must have been fantastic.

    • Annabel Candy August 13, 2011 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Hi JD, fantastic and very mad:) I’d love to write about them more. I will soon!

  11. Tess The Bold Life August 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    I was at the San Diego Zoo a couple of days ago and the animals were gorgeous and the zebras stood out in their shining glory. Love that photo of you in the zebra dress!

    • Annabel Candy August 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Tess, I hope you get to see them in the wild some day too. Although I think they are happy being tame too:) Thank you!

  12. Red Nomad OZ August 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Haha! I’ve loved zebras ever since seeing a (Disney?) film ‘A Zebra in the Kitchen’ as a child (that MAY give away my age …). But you’re the only person I know who’s ever ridden one – can I have your autograph??!!

    And now I find I’m a zebra too!! How cool is that?? Just MIGHT have to get me some of those super-cool zebra nails so everyone will know!!


    • Annabel Candy August 14, 2011 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Red, yay! Welcome to the zebra tribe. Black and white looks great but we have to mix in some HOT red too;) I don’t know that movie, will check it out!

  13. michael December 8, 2011 at 7:17 am - Reply

    cool story!!

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