3 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Hopscotch

3 Dec Hopscotch Text

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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1 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Snow Globe

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It’s my favourite time of year again! Time for Ciate’s Mini Mani Month – 24 days of beautiful nails, and a whirlwind ride through all the colours of the rainbow!

1 Dec opening

First up is Snow Globe, a pretty top coat that’s full of flecks of iridescent silver foil. I couldn’t decide which colour would look best underneath, so I tried a different colour on every nail!

1 Dec Colours

On left:
Ciate: Mistress
Zoya: Gemma
Ciate: Dangerous Affair
Ciate: Power Dressing
Ciate: Vintage

On right
OPI: Keeping Suzi at Bay
Ciate: Cupcake Queen
Ciate: Cookies and Creme
OPI: French Quarter for your Thoughts
Ciate: Headliner

Which one’s your favourite?! (Many of these are from last year’s calendar – it’s so handy to have all these colours around for times when you want to try a new look or a mani you’ve seen online!)

1 Dec

I’m very pleased to start the month out with a beautiful new Christmassy top coat – I love top coats and I always wish I had more to play with!

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Halloween Confetti: Pumpkin Manicure

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Another manicure inspired by Pinterest (specifically this one), this is pretty much a copy, except it’s matte. So, in essence, it’s a completely original idea I had all by myself. Hooray!

I’ve been totally obsessed with matte nails for ages, and it’s fascinating what a difference it can make to the overall look just to take off the shine. Somehow it looks more… I’m trying to think of a word other than polished, but I can’t. Holy contradiction, Batman!

Halloween confetti mosiac

At my local Boots, I found a grand total of three different orange polishes and ended up plumping for Maybelline Orange Attack, as it was the most vibrant. I always use Nailtiques Formula 2 Plus on my nails, as they are very weak and need all the help they can get. After that, a couple of coats of Orange Attack, then a couple of L’Oreal Confetti Top Coat, then one of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Then, the finishing touch – a swipe of OPI’s Matte Top Coat to finish.

Halloween confetti text 2

An easy, effective Halloween manicure that looks much more complex than it actually is. One word of caution – the Confetti Top Coat is incredibly difficult to remove! You have been warned… WHOOOOO! (Insert spooky sound effect.)

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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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Burberry Nail Varnish A/W 2013: Oxblood and Stone

Burberry varnish

Following their runway show at London Fashion Week, Burberry has just branched out into a new range of nail varnish for autumn and winter 2013. The key colours that are available to buy  individually (priced at £15 each for 8ml) are Black, Oxblood and Stone. (You can also buy the colours from LFW in a limited edition box of six for £90.) When I visited Burberry’s flagship store at the weekend, I picked up the Stone and Oxblood colours, as I couldn’t resist – even though the range was so new, they didn’t even have testers available yet!

Burberry nail montage

As you can see from the picture above, the silver patterned cap comes off to reveal the applicator and brush top underneath – so you don’t have to struggle with a giant, rectangular handle when applying. However, I wonder whether the bottle top is a little too small for ease of use – I definitely struggled to get a neat finish with the Oxblood colour. The nail varnish is marketed as a quick drying formula – and that is definitely the case, because this dried superfast even though I couldn’t apply it evenly thanks to the thickness. I ended up using two coats and topping off with Seche Vite for a glossy finish.

Burberry Oxblood nails 2

Oxblood is just another trendy name for dark red that comes back around every A/W season, it feels like – although I get the feeling that this season no one can decide whether it should be called burgundy, oxblood or berry. Either way, I love it, and although you can argue there are differences between all these colours (berry is more purple… burgundy more bright) it certainly doesn’t matter to me about the specifics of the pantone chart. Dark red rocks, period. (Urgh, should I leave that in? Yeah, go for it.) Funnily enough, the sales assistant told me that the staff at Burberry’s stores aren’t even allowed to wear the Black or Oxblood colours, as their uniform guidelines specify only natural colours for nails. But, apparently, they are protesting about it!

Burberry Stone nails

This is Stone – and I really like it! I have a big crush on neutrals and Ciate’s Cookies and Cream is one of my favourite colours. (Favourite of all time is probably still China Glaze’s Fast Track, but I’ve not even done a post about that! Hmm!).  Now, this colour is beautiful, but considering the price makes it almost triple what Ciate costs (£9 for 13.5ml) I’ll probably not be making a lot of repeat purchases. I found this colour slightly easier to apply – perhaps because the shade is lighter so I didn’t notice mistakes as much, perhaps because I wasn’t as tired this time around – but I still think the squared off brush needs to be a little more shaped to help application.

I think I’ll plan a neutral nail-off at some point in the future, between Fast Track, Cookies and Cream, Stone and whatever else have knocking around here! Do you dig neutral nails, or do you prefer a bit of drama?

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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.

Sundance 3

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

Sundance 4

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

2 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Dangerous Affair

2 Dec Dangerous Affair Ciate Mini Mani Month (1) 2 Dec Dangerous Affair Ciate Mini Mani Month (2)

Ooo, I love this red! Red nail varnish is definitely my thing!

2 Dec Dangerous Affair Ciate Mini Mani Month (4)

Dangerous Affair is a very rich, dark red creme – the website describes it as: “Stunningly beautiful burgundy colour. Looks fabulous with a crisp white shirt and light blue skinny jeans.”2 Dec Dangerous Affair Ciate Mini Mani Month (6)

Love that style idea – in my imagination, this is the kind of thing a glossy, carefree gal would wear on a casual lunch date with her friends, perhaps with her hair pulled into a high pony tail, minimal make-up, and a great big leather tote. I think I have an overactive imagination, maybe…

What do you guys think? I’m only two days in to this advent calendar project, and loving it!

Nailed it: OPI’s GoldenEye

Ever wondered what happened to the golden nail varnish of my dreams? I’d been too afraid to try it on properly until yesterday, keeping myself to just a one nail swatch to try it out. Why, you ask? Well, because I didn’t think I could handle all that awesome at once. Who knows what could have happened? One minute, you’re painting your nails, and the next minute, you’re standing in the garden, holding your hands up to the sun, shrieking “EUREKA!” and doing a special nail varnish dance*. (Don’t look at me like that, you know which one I mean.) Frankly, my neighbours think I’m weird enough as it is. Anyway, I finally tried it out last night, and here are the glorious results:

OPI GoldenEye

Here it is in the daylight:
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Ahhh, so beautiful and shiny! The colour is actually glitter suspended in a clear varnish, I think, and you layer it up over several coats (this is three). This is the perfect way to get a complex, ultra sparkly colour, without it being overly girly or glittery (nothing wrong with glitter! But I wanted GOLD!). This, to me, is the perfect festive shade! Has anyone else planned some festive colours this holiday season?

* Actually, the real reason I haven’t worn it yet was because I was saving it for post-Thanksgiving/birthdays Christmassyness… WHICH IS NOW!