4 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Miss Mistletoe

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Behind door number four is the beautiful and glamorous Miss Mistletoe! I was very excited to try out the month’s first sequin set and I wasn’t disappointed.

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Miss Mistletoe isn’t available to buy separately from Ciate’s site, but you can still buy sets with sequins included, like the emerald set, which also has caviar, velvet and a full sized lacquer, all in green of course!

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The sequins are pink and gold, and perfect for a luxe take on festivities! I love the name too – I definitely like getting nods to Christmas in the advent calendar, as pretty much everything I do in December revolves around Christmas, so it’s nice to co-ordinate! I really think this is a contender for a New Year’s Eve mani, too – that gold is just gorgeous.

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It’s easy to apply too, although you will end up with sequins everywhere – just like Ciate’s caviar, you simply paint your nail the desired colour, then pour the sequins over the top, press to firm everything up, then allow the excess to fall off. You may have to tidy the edges and remove any sequins not quite flush. Then, for added protection, paint a top coat over everything to keep it in place!Square logo initials

3 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Hopscotch

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You are now witness to my confession – I actually broke this colour out in October for Halloween, before I bought some full sized orange nail varnish. I regret nothing! Ciate’s site describes it as: “As refreshing as a tall glass of fizzy orange soda with a swirly straw, this delicious bright pop shade is colour blocking heaven and a huge dose of colour for happy fingers and toes.” You can purchase a bottle here.

3 Dec Hopscotch Opening

Hopscotch is the perfect Halloween orange – cheery, bright and peppy! I also love it with a matte top coat too!

3 Dec Hopscotch montage

You probably can’t quite see in the image, but on the lower left I have left the tips with a shiny finish… A bit subtle for my iPhone camera! I really like the simple matte look of this colour – I think it really highlights the beauty of this orange shade.

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2 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Boudoir

2 Dec text Boudoir

The second day of Mini Mani Month brings with it one of my favourite colours for nails – red, in the form of Boudoir!

2 Dec opening Boudoir

Ciate’s site describes it as: “A sassy flirtatious red. Pink may make the boys wink, but this red will knock ’em dead. Team with that figure hugging dress and killer heels to unleash your inner diva.” (Buy it here.)

A bit heartier and darker than last year’s cheery bright Mistress, and lighter than the brooding Dangerous Affair, this is another brilliant red for Christmas. The only criticism I’d give it is that it’s very slightly sheer – I used two coats (plus bottom and top coat) and my nails were still slightly visible.

2 Dec montage Boudoir

I decided to have a little fun with a matte top coat (from OPI), and then tipped my nail’s with last year’s Ladylike Luxe for a festive finish! I’d definitely recommend this one for anyone who was after a classic red for nails. It practically screams Christmas.

2 Dec Bleached

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Ciate Mini Mani Month 2013 Sneak Preview

Mini Mani Month 2013 sneek peek sideMini Mani Month 2013 sneek peek backMini Mani Month 2013 frontMini Mani Month 2013 front sneak peek wholeDec 24 SerendipityDec 24 Serendipity back
Dec 24 peekDec 23 peekDec 23 LocketDec 23 Locket backDec 22 peekDec 22 Christmas Tree Caviar
Dec 22 Christmas Tree Caviar backDec 21 peekDec 21 ConfettiDec 21 Confetti backDec 20 peekDec 20 Ivory Queen
Dec 20 Ivory Queen backDec 19 UnderwearDec 19 Underwear backDec 18 peekDec 18 Amazing GracieDec 18 Amazing Gracie back

I’ve noticed a lot of traffic coming my way from people searching for Ciate’s Mini Mani Month. So, here is a sneak peek of every single bottle inside the advent calendar, for those of you (like me!) who just can’t wait until December! Just click above to be taken to my Flickr photostream.

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Autumn Pumpkin Festival at Royal Victoria Country Park

Recently, I popped along to my local pumpkin festival at Royal Victoria Country Park, and I thought I’d share some of the photos of the day!

Pumpkin montage 1Central chapel / prize-winning pumpkins / Mulberry logo scarf / matte nails with OPI top coat and Ciate’s Hopscotch / heavenly chilli / the remains of Royal Victoria Hospital

Royal Victoria Country Park is one of my favourite places to visit. Nestled on the shores of Southampton Water, the site used to be home to the Royal Victoria Hospital, which was much used during World War I and visited frequently by Queen Victoria herself, as well as Florence Nightingale. Little of the original hospital remains except for the chapel, as a fire devastated the rest of the building in 1963. However, you can still walk the grounds and even visit the patients’ graveyard on the site, which has some fascinating grave stones.

The annual pumpkin festival is an October highlight for me, but this year it was strangely devoid of pumpkins to actually buy! I usually pick up loads of munchkin pumpkins for decoration for Halloween and Thanksgiving, but they were thin on the ground. Luckily, we managed to swing by Pickwell Farm Shop on the way home to stock up!

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The light green pumpkin is one of my favourite eating varieties, called Crown Prince (my other favourite is Kabocha). Although good meaning types will tell you to save the pumpkin flesh from your carving varieties to make soup and avoid waste, I have to say, it’s a good way of making rubbish soup. Literally, soup from rubbish. If you actually want to enjoy eating pumpkin, you need to purchase culinary pumpkins, which are delicious. The carving types are generally watery, tasteless and very stringy.

So I piled up my little trolley with some delicious pumpkins in order to make some pumpkin hummus from the first Leon cookbook – along with some other tasty tapas dishes from the same book, including sesame chicken wings, flatbread, sweet potato falafels, Imam Bayildi and magic beans. I highly recommend the book if you like healthy, hearty food. I’ve never had the pleasure of eating at a Leon restaurant, but the recipes are amazing.

Pumpkin montage 3Pumpkin votive from Cox and Cox / tapas spread / inside of a Crown Prince / pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks / trying to decide between three shades of orange nail varnish / pumpkin votives, munchkins and Design Ideas black Sherwood tree from John Lewis

The rest of the month has been a pumpkin-flavoured blur – I’ve been getting loads of use out of my gorgeous pumpkin shaped candle holders from Cox and Cox (no relation – I wish!), and downing as many pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks as my stomach can handle (a lot, it turns out!). I also bought some more orange nail varnish, as my Ciate Hopscotch was actually a cheat – I nicked it out of the advent calendar ahead of time. Naughty! (I ended up with Orange Attack from Maybelline.) Finally, I picked this pretty black Sherwood tree from John Lewis, which looks awesome bare as a Halloween decoration, or can be accessorized with baubles, birds and blossoms you can buy individually!

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Halloween Style

You don’t have to dress up as a vampire or a witch to let a little Halloween spirit into your life – I spend most of October celebrating my spooky side, and embracing every opportunity to display my love of the paranormal. This year I decided to do a round up of some of my favourite Halloween items to bring scary flair to your outfits!

Halloween Style

As you can see, I went a little skull crazy with the accessories, but thanks to Alexander McQueen, skulls are a pretty iconic fashion statement. Display them everywhere from shoes, to necklaces, to bracelets (I so need one of those adorable Links of London bracelets!). Cats also have a spooky reputation as witches familiars, so these cool tights from Monki Bibi are a great way to introduce them to your Halloween outfit – or just wear a beanie, like this one from River Island! Ciate do some great nail colours for Halloween (from left to right, I’ve featured Stiletto, Twilight and Hopscotch), so even if you’re not busting out any fancy nail art, you can still get in on the fun. And finally, if you don’t want to go the whole hog with these cool themed T-shirts and tanks I found on ASOS, then channel some gothic glam with black, sequins and glitter, like with this cool dipped hem top.

What do you think of Halloween fashion? Do you get into the festivities wholeheartedly, or do you prefer to keep it subtle with a few little touches here and there?

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24 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Enchanted Rose

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Behind today’s final calendar door is this very festive shade of glittery red, Enchanted Rose, the final exclusive shade.
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Perfect for Christmas Eve! This shade is lovely, it reminds me of the ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz.
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What a great shade to finish on! Merry Christmas everyone!

23 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Mojito

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Today is Mojito, a creamy acid green! Not very festive, but very distinctive!

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Ciate’s site says: “A true apple green. Show off your personality with this bright shade. Only for the extremely fashionable and outrageously bold.” 

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I’d definitely agree with that! The photos came out really well, but in real life, this definitely doesn’t fit in with anything in my wardrobe… It does have a beautiful, glossy finish though, and looks amazing next to those other bold colours. This is a brilliant summer shade, I reckon.

 

22 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Sundance

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Today’s shade was another lovely pot of caviar pearls! This time, the blend was called Sundance, and contained teal and yellow baubles, along with some discs of gold.

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I decided it would go perfectly with Headliner, so I broke that colour out again and did two fingers on each hand.

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I love the way the gold discs pick up the light – no wonder it’s called Sundance!