The first was a Christmas gift. I can't deny I was a little excited - after all it seemed very indulgent getting someone to do something for me that I could do in five minutes at home .
Unfortunately the experience was dreadful.
The beautician wielded the nail file like a saw - the polar opposite of what nail specialists recommend - and left ragged edges, throbbing cuticles and oddly shaped nails.
I've heard that those in the beauty industry say they function as sounding boards and counsellors to their clients as much as they provide beauty treatments but my manicurist must have missed that memo. She chatted almost exclusively to her colleague and the only time she addressed me it was to tell me that she had failed to find anything worth buying in the January sales because they only had "fat sizes like 12" - my dress size at the time.
I didn't even bother asking her to fix the mistakes because I was so keen to leave - instead I bought a nail file from the chemist across the road and fixed them myself. Not exactly a luxurious and indulgent experience.
The second manicure was courtesy of my sister and her impending wedding. As a special treat she booked us both in for a manicure and some sisterly bonding.
The manicure itself was far better - professional, well finished, didn't draw blood. It was everything I could have asked for. It also taught me, once and for all, that manicures are not for me.
I was bored out of my tiny mind waiting for my nails to dry - the manicurist actually had to reapply the polish twice to a couple of my nails because I was so rubbish at sitting still and ended up with wrinkly polish (from gesticulating particularly forcefully) and fabric imprints from trying to get my phone out of my pocket. I also discovered that trying to fish a credit card out of a purse with only-just-dry nails is no mean feat.
THEN I was expected to keep said manicure flawless for a whole 24 hours until the wedding. WHAT? As maid of honour I was contending with dress pins, hairclips and zips as well as normal day-to-day life* - how could anyone escape that without a few chips and peels?
Anyway, the upshot of all of this is as follows: any nail polish I might wear from now on is applied by me and any tenners I might save in the process are applied to the menu of my local rib restaurant.
*Word to the wise: the ring pull tab on cat food tins is the natural enemy of the manicure.