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29 Nov 2011

Basics and books

This was completely unexpected. I went to the mall last night fully expecting to spend in Topshop, River Island and H&M but a quick persual of the aisles in those stores left me very disheartened and uninspired. Forever 21 was the last resort.

I haven't found anything of value in there for months and it was a delicious surprise to see that the store was packed out with great basics and, even better, it was organised and nicely merchandised. Yes, organisation in Forever 21!

Today I wore one of my purchases - a simple tee, whilst working from home. Now don't get me wrong. This outfit is boring and I know it but I love the quality of the occasional F21 tee. Some I have had for years and the fit of this one, all over-sized and bum covering with it's dipped hemline, makes it perfect.

Accessories were also largely Forever 21 - a really pretty necklace which features tiny rings on a long chain (it's so rare to find necklaces like this that hang at the right point so I consider this a find and a steal) and a cheap clutch that was purchased for the:

a) Nod to Stella; and
b) Because I wanted a cheapo day clutch that could come to get coffee with me or perhaps get ruined on a liquid-focussed night out. Welcome to my life, Clutch! :p

Tee: Forever 21 - I am thinking this is the nearest thing - Link!Trousers: Miss Selfridge (old)
Shoes: Topshop (called Gamble and they tend to always have a style like this in the summer)
Necklace: Forever 21
Little diamond necklace: Tiffany's Diamond by the Yard
Clutch: Forever 21
Sunglasses: Rayban Aviators
Watch: Rolex

Back to book talk

I haven't talked about books in a while and it seemed like a good time to tell you what I have been up to: 

* Erin Morgernstern's The Night Circus - now this was recommended by many of you and honestly, I read the description and thought "oh no - not another circus book", having read Water for Elephants earlier this year. But I downloaded and started to read it.

I felt quite unengaged in the first 15% of the book and then the story got interesting. I can honestly recommend this and I think it's a fantastic read. It builds in speed, intrigue and drama and, whilst a circus landscape feels unoriginal, the real themes are anything but.

* The Hunger Games series - I am now onto the third book in the Trilogy. It's been an interesting couple of weeks. The first book had me gripped and as a sucker for a Dystopian theme I knew I would enjoy it from Chapter 1. For whatever reason the second book took ages to read. I felt a bit thick. Finally I finished it and I admit it ramped up in pace by the end and now it's onto the final installment.

Would I recommend them? Yes, it's quite comforting to start reading the first one, love the subject, and know that there is a series of books waiting for you when you finish. It's the same feeling we all probably got when reading the True Blood series or even Twilight. For that reason alone I would probably say, "go for it"!

Other things I recommend right now?

Avicii Levels, Drake's new album, Chantecaille Just Skin, Harvey Prince Eau de Lite perfume, Dubai's "winter" temperatures, homemade food, MAC's Coppering eyeshadow, conical wands, black coffee, The Real Housewives of anywhere, San Pellegrino with oodles of lime and ice and....I think that's it for today :)

See you all soon!
26 Nov 2011


I spent some serious time watching Tamara Ecclestone: Billion Dollar Girl the last few days and I think that is what inspired me. I needed to get groomed this weekend.

So this weekend we did nails and we did hair :)

Nails first

The bi-weekly manicure/pedicure/threading session has become an embarrassingly expected ritual. The nail element is always Gelish. I was meant to have my two week break from this gel technology but um.....I haven't got round to that yet. I love it's longevity and I love the fact that my nails actually grow when I have it on.

This time though I stepped away from the neutral pinks and dove into something a bit more fitting to the season - I went for a vampy shade that reminded me of Chanel's Rouge Noir.

Rather fittingly this is called "All about me". After I was told this my decision was made. Can you say narcissist? It was meant to be.

I love the richness of this colour. I would describe it as a deep merlot and I am so happy that I went for it.

Hair second

You all know I am not that keen on haircuts. I like my hair long and I am, quite frankly, scared of hairdressers. Even the hairdresser that I love the most in the UK (Lesley at Ledbury McIntyre) has often chopped off more than I asked. I fear - rather than relish - the haircut.

But crappy ends do not look good and as my hair is naturally a very dry texture, the longer I avoid a cut, the worse it gets.

So it was time.

I went to Jetset in JBR - the place I went to about 6 weeks ago for colour...

...and dove in with a cut and a colour refresh. I wanted root touch up and more highlight flashes. And that's what I got.

I also got a cut but I am so happy about this - I asked for a tiny trim and that's exactly what I got. She chopped away the ends that needed to go but still kept the length. Hairdressers always promise the latter but seldom deliver - this time it actually happened and I am so happy/relieved.

The only "lost in translation" moment occurred in the blow dry. I wanted beach waves but ended up with what I would call "FOX newsreader hair" - ie, very big, bouncy and to be honest, a bit scary.

Obviously I immediately came home and brushed it out and it now looks more normal. Phew! :)

So here's the before - freshly washed, air-dried hair, wrapped in a bun for an hour to give some texture and wave...but obviously looks a bit sh*t :)

...and after....bouncy, healthy and a little more put together!

It feels good to be a little bit more groomed. Of course, it's  seriously indulgent to invest so much time and thought into the external but I just know that you guys understand :)

Now I am thinking about what else I could do...did you know I have never had a spray tan in my life? I think this could be next :)

What beauty treatment makes you feel good?
24 Nov 2011

Voyage d'Hermes - nicely done!

I briefly referred to this perfume a few posts ago and now I have time to give it a thorough and wordy review. Having said that, it's notes could just as easily be summarised in a few simple words: fresh, unisex, sophisticated, citrus, warm, balanced...okay now this is getting complicated.

Give me a few paragraphs - in which I will most likely sound very pretentious - to explain...

Voyage d'Hermes is a relatively recent creation by Hermes head perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. I read that he tries to create fragrances that effortlessly flow - never overpowering the wearer but elegantly enveloping them and softening as the notes mould to their body chemistry. If that's true then Voyage d'Hermes would be the personification of that aim.

It's certainly not overpowering - whether the wearer is male or female it fades to a complimentary citrus scent, stabilised by the use of some cedar. The notes are just so refreshing and almost shocking in their simplicity. I have heard it described as a "slap in the face with cold water" and akin to the initial sip of a gin and tonic on a scorching summer day.

Expect top notes of citrus, grapefruit, tea (! yes really!) and black pepper with a spicy dry down of cardamon and a little cedar.

It doesn't sound ground-breaking does it? And in truth it really isn't.

The notes themselves are almost generic and as soon as I tried it I thought of D&G Light Blue - that fresh lemon-pepper. The different with Voyage d'Hermes however, is that it's decades more sophisticated. It's still fresh, it's not too grown up but like all things Hermes it smells....expensively fresh - like you own a yacht and permanently live in the summer.

And whilst this does get a massive thumbs up I do have two major/minor criticisms:

1) The very nature of the notes makes the longevity a bit poor - yes you will smell expensive and fresh but wait a few hours and you will be back to your old plebby self :)
2) The bottle is in some ways really impressive - hinting at a classic Hermes purse design - and in others deeply, deeply annoying. I don't know. I am a big fan of a classic bottle and lid combo and all this requires is a spin to open and close. It's not difficult but it's not convention. I guess they have managed to de-sex the bottle though and that's very much in-line with the idea that this is a unisex creation.

It's a shame that this review comes in November because this is such a great Spring/Summer fragrance. If you are currently snuggled up in knits and need a flash of summer freshness to cling on to then head to the perfume counter and give yourself a little pick-me-up ;)

And breathe!

Blimey, that was quite a full-on review wasn't it? Once again, perfume passion took over and verboseness became the only way :)

Sorry about that!

Before I forget...

Here are some of the pictures taken at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I know that the vote was split - some of you couldn't give a stuff and others are big F1/Jenson Button fans.

Ah Jenson.....

Yes there are lots of pictures of cars but there are also some amazing pictures of skies (I am obsessed with sunsets and skies FYI) and the Yas Island hotel which glows beautifully at night.

It is well worth the 3 day ticket price and fingers crossed I get to go next year :)  Of course these photos are weak because until you have heard an F1 race in real life you really have no idea of the noise - ear plugs are handed out as standard for a reason!

For these pictures I used my Canon 550d as always and alternated between a 50mm and 300mm Canon lenses.

Back to more important fashion related things next post - promise! :)

Getting my nails done and contemplating adding more highlight "flashes" this weekend so watch this space :)
22 Nov 2011

Mooching around Samui

I escaped the gates of my resort for a drive round Koh Samui yesterday. It was good to get out and play serious tourist for the day, snapping pictures and visiting the Golden Buddha, the Butterfly Garden, Fisherman's Village etc...

I have included some random pictures below for another crazily picture heavy post. I am sorry about this - I will get it out of my system once I get back to Dubai (FYI - fly back tomorrow!)

I wore my trusty H&M shorts, New Look blouse and couldn't resist the compulsion to add a recent purchase - a cream/taupe pashmina/scarf that I picked up in MBK. This is probably the best £3 ever spent - ombre finish and super handy.

NB: My hair is transitioning into full on frizz attack in the picture which is probably why I look like a sulky moo.

On my feet I sported Tory Burch flats coupled with the gnarliest - yes I am using that word - bruise on my foot.

Thanks to a metal rod sticking out of a wall at Bangkok airport I managed to pick up this little "souvenir" on my way to the departure gate and it has come out looking like an aurora. Ouch.

Shorts: H&M
Shirt: New Look - Link!
Shoes: Tory Burch
Scarf: MBK
Bag: Miu Miu

Before I go I have to share with you some fantastic lip product purchases made in Bangkok. I was looking round a store called Loft - which by the way sells amazing stationary...cute little page post-its and bookmarks anyone?

...and noticed that they had a small selection of Canmake cosmetics. A Japanese (I think!) brand, they have a lipstick range called...Melty Nude Lip.

Cue an internal swoon as I make my way over to place products into basket

I got two - each cost under the £5 mark. The quality is more than just a passing nod to YSL - yep, they are that good. Soft, pigmented and with a metallic rose packaging - I love almost everything about them and would say that if you can get hold of them, go for it!

I got 01 Baby Beige (left - and clearly already attacked and used by myself) and 03 Baby Pink (my absolute favourite - reminds me of a slightly creamier MAC Hue).

These two beauties have renewed my interest in Japanese cosmetics. I used to be somewhat obsessed with the likes of Kate, Majolica Majorca and Canmake but it can be tricky keeping up with the trends. I really must get my finger on the pulse of these kind of product releases - lipsticks can be life-changing after all :)

PS. Thank you to all of you for your support on my blog - I am nearly at 5000 followers already and I really appreciate you taking the time to follow. x
20 Nov 2011

Pink jeans get an outing...and more Bangkok

WARNING - Exceedingly picture heavy!

FINALLY - the Zara pink jeans get an outing. I bought these literally months ago and although I tried them on and loved them, never wore them out. I am not sure why but in the colourful world of Thailand - where as many of you noted, buses and taxis are pink - I felt it was an appropriate time.

Whilst I think the pairing of blazer and tee with these little bright numbers is acceptable I have to  be honest and admit that I am a little sad at what I bought with me to Thailand. I did one of those frantic last minute suitcase stuffings the night before the flight and it was only once I had arrived that I realised I didn't bring the items I really should have. So frustrating but thankfully some core H&M basics made their way in to the mix.

These photos were taken in a random alley off Silom Road as I always feel a little funny/self-conscious about OOTD's taken in public. Not quite sure it has hit the mainstream yet :)  And yes, I am still working the conical wand wavy hair in the most obsessive way possible - I just canNOT do straight hair these days.

Don't you just love the nose imprint received after heavy sunglasses wearing? :)

Jeans: Zara
Blazer: H&M
Tee: H&M
Bag: Miu Miu
Shoes: Tory Burch
Sunglasses: Gucci

Bangkok all wrapped up

Bangkok was everything I thought it would be. Metropolitan and sprawling. I was only there for a few days and barely scratched the surface. I would love to go back to explore it in more detail.

For those of you interested (or not :) I stayed at the Lebua hotel. It's the one featured in The Hangover 2 and they are riding the tails of that claim to fame hard with lots of mentions of the film in the hotel - not sure why, it's hardly Bond is it?

Anyway, it's a fantastic hotel and many of the photos that follow show you the incredible Sky Bar and Sirocco restaurant - located 63 floors up - and Breeze, located a mere 52 :) The views are just amazing.

Here are a random collection of photos - I have many more, including some more traditional sight-seeing temple ones but I can hardly share 100s of photos with you so here's a small selection...

And some of the Lebua hotel...

Apologies that this is such a long post - fingers crossed none of you are on dial-up connections!

I leave Thailand on Wednesday so it's a few more days of spotty blog service from me. Hope to get another post up tomorrow though, if only to show you the goodies I got in Bangkok :)

Goodnight from Koh Samui :)