Addicted/Not sponsored

FYI: I like this outfit so much I will probably repeat it this week. No, scrap that. I will definitely be repeating.

A few weeks ago someone left a comment on my blog asking if I was sponsored by ASOS. At that point I realized that I should probably calm down in my ordering frequency and stop buying so much from one place.

So I consciously resisted in the hope of adding a bit more variety in what I wear. What I have concluded in that time is that I can only ignore the “New In” section for so long and so here we are, with another haul of goodies.

To clarify I am not sponsored by ASOS - I am addicted to ASOS and the new skirt and belt acquisitions featured below have only acted to reaffirm this.

The skirt is basic. It’s black, it’s midi and it’s a great staple. I initially paired it with a white shirt but I soon realized that I looked like a “back to school” lookbook gone wrong – wrong in the sense that I am a thirty-something woman whose schooldays are far behind her.

I find that midis, especially those with volume, can be dangerous territory. If the waistband isn’t cinched in properly and if the fabric begins to flare at your hips you can look very expansive (i.e., frumpy) very quickly. Thankfully this one is elasticated at the waist so you can choose where you want it to sit.

I plopped a metallic belt over the top because that was also new and I feel a compulsion to wear new things immediately. I love how it looks and I say this because the aesthetics of an elasticated waistband scream to be disguised.  It ties with a chain at the back, which is handy because it can expand, or contract depending on where you wear it on your body/how big your dinner was.

This outfit would probably look significantly better with heels but these Steve Madden leopard flats are a daily must for me right now. After an initial abuse-of-the-Achilles they are now nicely worn in and feel like slippers J

Top: Topshop – Link!
Skirt: ASOS – Link! (PS. The fabric of this is so nice - enough weight to flow nicely and zero creasing)
Belt: ASOS – Link!
Flats: Steve Madden – Link!

The background is so boring – my sandy terrace AGAIN – but at the moment I am either in meetings or at home and asking clients/Roger and Rose to photograph my new skirt is not an option. I might rope Laura Carlson in for a photo session tomorrow though – I plan on wearing the other part of my ASOS order and I am excited for it :) 

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting lipsticks continued...

Right. Let’s cut to the chase.

I went to an Estee Lauder event last week for the official Middle East launch of Pure Color Envy. I received 4 more lipsticks from the range and after a bit of experimentation I can confirm that the formulation is as good as Rebellious Rose led me to believe.

  • Good wear time - 4-6 hour wear on the lips, after which time a nice tint remains.
  • Opaque – a pigmented finish  - you only need one swipe so make sure it’s a precise one.
  • Hydrating (ish)– the finish is lightly glossy and although the formula hugs the lips it does so without feeling especially drying.  The marketing spiel states that these continually hydrate upon wear – something I don’t quite agree with – but they are definitely lightweight and won’t noticeably interfere with moisture levels.
  • Well packaged – a nifty magnetic closure (that I enjoy playing with) and packaging that feels pretty sleek.  The packaging feels like a fresh welcome departure from the classic Lauder casing that I have seen over the years.

Shade-wise, the 4 new additions to my stash include (l_R): Desirable, Dynamic, Infamous and Tumultuous Pink.

  • Desirable – a magnificent lip-toned nude.
  • Infamous – vibrant party pink
  • Dynamic – a tawny neutral, a little less rose than Rebellious Rose but in the same family.
  • Tumultuous Pink – an easy to wear take on a fuchsia. 

I put them on my face and surprise, surprise, Desirable is my favourite. 

Those of us who have loitered in the beauty world for long enough will remember a certain YSL Rouge Pur 148 Tea Rose. I long for that shade and Aerin’s limited edition Garden Path came close but in my mind, Desirable is dupe-worthy. It’s nude made pretty. If you don’t own it and nudes are your thing, then make sure you add it to your ever-expanding “Want” list.

Tumultuous Pink ranks as my second favourite. I love a fuchsia and Estee Lauder have interpreted this tone in the most wearable of ways. It’s statement of course but not clownish and the smooth finish of the formula helps make this appear more flattering than you might think.

I’ll wrap this up with a comment on the price. These are £24 each (or 180 AED in the UAE).  For some reason that seems like a lot for me. I think I expected something in the £19 range but I am truly deluded because department store brands no longer adopt that kind of pricing structure. If only lipsticks, as well as money, grew on trees….

Illamasqua Matte Lip Liquid in Forbidden

This post was really meant to be about the Estee Lauder Pure Color lipsticks but it has been gazumped by a cheeky Illamasqua lip stain.

This product isn't especially new - it came out in the Spring/Summer collection - but the reason I am deeming blogworthy is that I just really liked how it looked! That's enough of a reason, right?

I think this is especially justifiable as when I first saw and swatched it I assumed that it would look horrendous on my mug. It's a colour that both excites me in it's intensity but also makes me realise that I am not Nicki-Minaj enough.

But sod it. It's Saturday and it's time to experiment.

Now a few things to say:

1) The colour is a lovely mid-tone cool pink. It's not impossible to wear as I had previously thought and although not a conventional lip colour, feels less clownish than say MAC Saint Germain.
2) It's a proper stain so you have to be committed to the colour. Once it's set it's there and will remain in place for a good 6 hours.
3) You only need a little bit - I slathered this on first time as the applicator brush does hold a lot of product and quickly realised that I had made a mistake. As it dries excess product "balls" up so don't be over-zealous with the amount - you only need a dab top and bottom and try to use a different lip brush to apply it.
4) It's a moisture-zapper and your lips will need a balm both before and after application. I am not joking with you here either - if I had to rate it according to how dry this is, we are talking desert.

When I read the above points back to myself it seems like an awful lot of hassle for a medium/bright lip but still, I am glad I temporarily crawled out of my Nude Lips habitat to try something a little different for the day.

Foundation: Illamasqua Skin Base - a reliable performer: lasts well, great coverage, good colour selection.
Blusher: Velvet Blusher in Flirtatious (absolutely ZERO complaints from me about this. Such a gorgeous pink that really makes your cheeks glow. I love the cream-to-powder finish as well).
Eyes: MAC Indianwood with Illamasqua Ore over the top and a little of theBalm's Mary Lou Manizer in the inner corner. Okay, ALOT of Manizer.
Lips: Illamasqua Matte Lip Liquid in Forbidden

You know what I realised today though...I really don't buy a lot of Illamasqua when I compare my spending habits with the other department store brands.

When they first hit the scene their art direction was so "alternative" to mainstream offerings that I just felt that they didn't relate and that they were not really targeting me as a customer. Let's be real here - I am the type of person who gets most inspired by a Becca campaign, a style that looks positively insipid in comparison.

While Illasmasqua haven't relented on the type of performance imagery they push for advertising, I have been more exposed to the product over the years, getting comfortable with "safe" choices like Katie blush and Hollow cream pigment and I guess there really is something for everyone. I should consider visiting the counter more when I am makeup shopping especially knowing that things like the Vintage Metallix eyeshadows in Embellish are out there waiting for me to buy :)

What's your experience been of Illamasqua?

PS. If you are in the UAE you can buy Illamasqua at Harvey Nichols (MoE), Bloomingdales (Dubai Mall) and Areej.


You know what I thought the other day: "I could sit this season out". The shops are full of jumpers, coats and other winter paraphernalia - basically everything that feels totally unnecessary in these climes.

So it makes complete sense that no sooner had I uttered those words, I promptly trotted into Zara and bought "essentials" like a grey leather jacket (to be worn sometime in December) and some nice thick stretchy trousers.

I think this proves one thing: I cannot resist Zara new season. That store could be packed full of puffa jackets and I would still find a way to justify a purchase.

Now the trousers and top - standard fayre - but after wearing both I have a couple of conclusions:

1) Skip the top - it's a stage 5 creaser. Sit down/creased. Move/creased. Lay immobile/creased.
2) The trousers are a must. They are navy and although a skinny fit, the fabric has a happy slimming side effect.

But the best bit has to be the shoes. I wore them yesterday and I wore them today. The heel is mid-sized so you get a lift while still remaining able to walk and the lace detail is a major pain the arse to deal with when you put them on but very much worth the struggle. I have seen these on quite a few bloggers recently so I am not the first but I wholeheartedly recommend them. The dusky green/grey faux suede is also destined to work with anything in the wardrobe.

Top: Zara - Link!
Trousers: Zara - Link!
Shoes: Zara  (can't find these on the UK Zara site but they might be in store!)
Bag: Sophie Hulme

I wore this to a lovely evening at La Serre with Estee Lauder. The dinner was all about truffle pasta and lipsticks - what a combination! I have four new beauties to share with you and I think I will do a swatch post next. I can tell you one thing though, that lipstick on the left? Yep, that nude? You need it.....

See you tomorrow!
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