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!

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!

11 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Bumble Bee

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Yay, another bottle of Ciate Caviar Pearls! Today it’s Bumble Bee, a mix of black and yellow-gold. There are no sequins this time, just pure microbeads. Because yesterday was Ladylike Luxe, a gold shimmer, I decided to keep that varnish on and layer Bumble Bee over the top.

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What did you guys think of today’s colour? I have to admit, I love the Caviar Pearls even more than I thought I would! I wore some during my trip to Bath at the weekend and got so many compliments… It really is a bit of a show stopper. If you’re looking for a present for a nail varnish addict this Christmas, a bottle of these would be brilliant!

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6 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Angel Wings

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Day six of the Mini Mani Month, and today’s colour is Angel Wings, a pretty, shimmery white. Ciate says: “The perfect pretty pearl. Clean fresh and perfect for the ultimate high fashion look. Team with your cropped jacket and pearls for a finish of class and luxury.”

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In all honesty, I found this hard to apply – it was quite streaky and I needed three coats to get rid of all traces of my nail colour. Also, because my nails often peel (ugh, I know), the shimmer caught the imperfections of my nails and showed them up, rather than helping to conceal them.

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That said, the colour is very pretty and pearlescent, especially under soft lighting.

I had a Christmas present delivery today for my sister in law, and of course, I couldn’t resist adding a little something for myself too (the old one for me, one for you rule, I’m sure you’re familiar with it…) – a lovely new bottle of Pirouette My Whistle from OPI, which is part of the New York City Ballet collection, but is also beautiful for frosty, winter nails! It’s a subtle glitter in a clear top coat, with white hexagonal shapes inside (tricky to get those to stay on my nails, but I persevered!).

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I think it adds the perfect festive finish to these nails – an extra dimension of Christmassy-ness!

5 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Cabaret

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Aah, I really love those bows… Do you think everything would be better with a little bow on it? Looking around my study: Coca Cola can – yes. Computer screen – yes. iPad – yes. Keyboard – yes. Cat – yes! Could it be, I am onto something? Let me wander further… hmm, the bathroom. Toilet – err… Okay, I give up. Bows have their place in life – and I definitely think they look like they belong on these pretty Ciate bottles!

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Onto the colour! Today, it’s another creme – Cabaret! The website says: “Creamy purple with lashings of pink. The perfect mix of cuteness and sophistication. Incredible when paired with dark suits for stylish work wear.”

I love these style tips from Ciate, it really adds something to the description and lets your imagination run wild. Cabaret is also the colour paired with the Berry Poncho Velvet Manicure Set, which is sold out (boo!). I’d love to try the velvet one day – I have the Blue Suede version, but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. Let’s say, I’ve had my hands full trying all these other shades. HO HO HO!

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In other news, yesterday I tweeted a picture of my Prom Queen Caviar Manicure to @ciatenails – and won a matching Paint Pot! Every day this month the company is giving away a matching Paint Pot – all you have to do is tweet your photo to them and add #minimanimonth. Great fun! I hope everyone gets a chance to join in so we can all see your lovely nails!

4 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Prom Queen

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Yay! My first ever Ciate Caviar! I’ve been dying try these out ever since I heard about them, so this morning was like an early Christmas for me!

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The calendar comes with a cute little funnel to pour the beads back into the bottle when you’re done. I’d read about how to do these Caviar manicures on various blogs, so I knew what to do – and it was very easy, I have to say! I’m not sure what I thought would be hard about it, but it was very quick and simple to pour the beads onto my wet nail, push down, and then repour for extra coverage. I applied it over a plate with a sheet of greaseproof paper on it, so I could just fold the paper up and pour back into the bottle, and it all went without a hitch. I only did one nail on each hand, because I didn’t want to get carried away – plus, I cook a lot and I didn’t want to shed baubles into my fajitas tonight (oo er!).

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As for the Caviar itself, it was everything I hoped for and more! Again, not a colour I would have picked for myself, but I love it – the mixture of blue, silver and pink is very pretty, and the nail’s texture is divine. There are also pieces of flat, hexagonal, reflective discs in the pot, which add a bit of interest to the baubles.

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I’m very impressed with how well the baubles are sticking to my nail at the moment – I applied top coat to the tips, but all of the balls feel very sturdy. However, the test will be whether they can withstand a shower – I’m betting not, but I’ll let you know tomorrow!

3 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Halo

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Third of December already! Today, it’s Halo! The website description reads: “Let this beautiful colour see the light and you are sure to see the rainbow. A delicate pearl that can be built up or left for a natural irridescent glow on the nail. Perfect for those who like a barely there look with a smile-inducing twist.”

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It’s a beautiful, ethereal and girly colour, with flecks of shimmery pink and blue embedded in it – I wore it with three layers to create a stronger look.

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It’s a very subtle festive look – I’m definitely feeling in the Christmas mood now!

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Ho ho ho, it’s a Ciate Mini Mani Month ahead!

Well, well, well – look what got delivered to my house today!

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I decided to treat myself to an advent calendar with a difference this year, and the Ciate Mini Mani Month looked so enticing I couldn’t resist! (Especially as I was lusting after the Caviar pearls – four colours inside!) Expect an update every day in December (well, up until Christmas Eve!) with a brand new shade…

In search of: the perfect gold nail varnish

You know, sometimes you get an idea in your head, and you just can’t shake it out. I was like that with gold nail varnish for the past year and a half. I got it in my head that what I really NEEDED for the holidays was gold nail varnish. Proper bright, sparkly, beautiful, rich gold nail varnish, varnish that would say “HELLO CHRISTMAS! Yes, indeed, I am ready to party!”

People, I am pleased to say, my search is over.

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Please excuse the hasty rush job on these nails, I got over-excited when they were drying… Sigh. Anyway, I hope you can see that gorgeous shade on the bottom thumb there – that is the gold of my dreams! What is this exotic metallic varnish called, I hear you cry?! Why, it’s OPI’s Goldeneye! The MUST-HAVE gold varnish for 2012, I reckon!

In a clockwise fashion from the bottom, these are the ‘gold’ varnishes I am wearing: Goldeneye (OPI, the clear winner), Gold Coin (Revlon, just not at all what I hoped for, it’s basically just silver!) Glimmer (TopShop, my second favourite, but more of a bronze), Gold (GOSH, another tame looking gold), then Star Dust (Rimmel, another bronzy one).

Here, though, is the clear winner. Isn’t it beautiful? You can purchase this shade from HQHair for £11.

Glitter and glimmer: Effie Trinket’s reaping nails

I’ve always been a tad lazy when it comes to nail varnish – if you call lazy sticking to plain colours! Nail art and decorations always felt a bit beyond me, but when I saw Effie Trinket’s amazing reaping nails in The Hunger Games, I knew I had to try and replicate it for my Hunger Games party costume! While my finished nails look nothing at all like Ms. Trinket’s, I am actually really pleased with the effect that I came up with – glittery gold over festive fuchsia, just right for the holiday and party season coming up! Glitter and Glimmer nails

To achieve this effect, I layered two coats of Fuchsia Hype nail varnish by Bourjois, and allowed to dry. Then, using a makeup sponge, I patted over bronze Glimmer by Topshop three times – once over the whole nail, second just the top half, and the third time, just the tips – making a graduated effect where the bronze shade was much thicker towards the end of the nail. Then I covered the whole lot with Saffron London’s gold glitter, and finished with a top coat. Honestly, this is probably the most complicated thing I’ve ever done to my nails – but it definitely wasn’t difficult, it just involved a lot of stages and layers. I used to find that my nails took so long to dry if I applied more than one coat, but these days it seems like formulas dry quicker, so it’s not as much of a pain as it used to be…

Anyone else tried to do an Effie on their nails? What did your end results look like? And, if anyone gives this a whirl, let me know!