Powered by Blogger.

Social icons

28 Feb 2012

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

At the beginning of the year a padded envelope containing three bottles of Wake Me Up arrived on my doorstep - courtesy of Rimmel.

I was happy. I am a foundation junkie and believe it to be the one make up product that can totally elevate your mood and make you feel like an improved version of yourself.

I also like a glowy finish and this promised an "anti-fatigue effect and radiant glow" for a price tag well under £10. Awesome.

So why it's taken me two months to try this out I cannot explain but last week I did and from the initial pump I knew I was going to like it.

It wasn't the artificial cucumber/salad scent that had me head over heels at that stage - it was the texture. This is one of those liquid foundations that almost mimics a gel consistency and immediately reminded me of Chantecaille Just Skin. Could this be the dupe I have been looking for?

As always I used a kabuki to apply it and the finish deepened my love for it. I can only describe it as "fresh" - like your skin naturally appears poreless, completely even in pigmentation and finely glowing.  Even under the eyes, this works well, never looking heavy but reassuringly invisible.

This natural finish business means that it's what I would describe as the lighter side of medium coverage. One or two pumps will serve you well but if you needed some extra war paint to hide those pesky "imperfections" then this is buildable. 

It takes about a minute to set so you have some time to work it in - no frantic blending a la Colorstay - and once it sets it stays on my skin for about 5-6 hours. After that time my nose shine adds to the glow factor and that's when my vanity forces me to touch up. But I don't powder over Wake Me Up and I don't use any additional concealer - if I did then maybe it would last for the 10 hours that Rimmel is quoting. 

(Some pointless photos added for your viewing pleasure :)

So it's perfect then?

Well this is obviously the subjective point and your opinion is going to depend on skin type and personal preference.

  • I am not sure how fantastic this would be for dry skin. I have a little dry skin area on my nose and it doesn't sit so well there.
  • The oilier skins might struggle keeping this on during the day without some serious powdering action. It's just not one of those foundations that tightly bonds to your skin like Studio Fix Fluid or Colorstay.
  • There are "illuminating particles" suspended within the formula. Honestly, I didn't notice any glittery bits until I was in the artificial light of my bathroom and inspecting a swatch on the back of my hand. I didn't notice them on my face and whilst they are no doubt in the formula I think they dissipate post-kabuki blending.

The biggest "but" however is the colour range. 6 colours in all and none of them seem either that fair or dark. I was sent Ivory, Soft Beige and True Nude. You would think that Ivory would be really light wouldn't you? But no, it's not. I tried it the other day and once it dries on the skin it looked more like a sandy shade to me. And yes, they do dry a little, tiny bit darker so be aware of that when shopping.

Like Gemsmaquillage said in her post, this is probably the weakest part of their proposition. Of course, drugstore brands like Rimmel are limited by the amount of merchandising space they physically have available in store. That little stand can only hold so much and as a result they have to offer the "most likely sold" shades to maximise revenue. I understand that completely but for a brand this big - and one that is trying to engage with a mass audience - it's a kick in the teeth to serve up just 6 varying shades of beige.

So all in all...

If your skintone fits into the range that Rimmel are marketing to then yes, I would absolutely recommend this for you.

Even if we forget about the fact that it's affordable, this is a great product. It's nice to work with, makes your skin look good, lasts a decent amount of time, doesn't smell horrendous and I would pick this over Chanel Vitalumiere, Bourjois Healthy Mix and Revlon Photoready any day of the week.

Find out more about the foundation here... 


PS. This is not currently available in the US but is set to launch at some point at the end of this quarter (I think!) 

Thanks for reading :)
27 Feb 2012

T by Alexander Wang Muscle Tee - my first

I ordered this white T by Alexander Wang muscle tee from shopbop and it was a bit of a tentative experiment.

  • Is it worth the price? 
  • Is it really different from what else is out there? 
  • Am I buying this just so I can throw around the word Wang?

Well it's always fun to say "wang" and after a day of wear I have to begrudgingly admit that there is something special about his tees.

Yes, the high street has some great fitting options - that I have blogged about before - but somehow this manages to feel both relaxed and luxurious. The length is perfect and the fabric itself has a flow that is especially flattering. It's one of those items that makes you feel complete. I can't recommend it enough and expect it to make a recurring appearance on this blog...much like the other items worn today :)

(Sorry about the darkness of the pics - taken before the sun went down - and sorry for not fully showing the tee. That would have been nice but hey, it's a tee :) 

 Jeans: Cheap Monday (the turn up obsession continues unabated...)
Tee: T by Alexander Wang - Link!
Blazer: ASOS
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James - Fairfax ( <3 )
Bag: Celine
Perfume: Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre

Next up is my Rimmel foundation review....I gave it a few days and yes, it's love. Who would have thought a foundation that retails for less than £10 would tempt me away from my daily Chantecaille habit?

I am genuinely thrilled about this. This stuff has got to be the best drugstore...heck the best foundation....that I have tried in a long time. I am possibly over-selling this but it's great stuff, irrespective of price.


...ooh cliffhanger ending :p

Till tomorrow :) 
23 Feb 2012

Nothing to see here...

My working week is done and as always I am living for the weekend!

I thought I would post a quick outfit post from earlier in the week. I had some internal debate as to whether this was "blog worthy" or not but I have put up some pedestrian crap before so why not now?! :)

All jokes aside this dress is one of my favourite "work-conservative" numbers. It's a rich taupe colour, made of a lovely fabric that glides over the body and has gorgeous chiffon detailing that cuts across to create a bit of interest. I will also admit that I love the length - just below the knee - as it makes me feel ladylike.

Obviously I would like to wear this with skyscraper shoes (and I have done that before) but as I spent most of the day at a networking even with lots of standing involved I went for the safe Zara kitten heel option. Glamorous they may not be but they are certainly sensible - *sigh* - and by the end of the day it was just my smile/game face waining away.

Dress: Reiss (last season but they often reuse fabrics...Reiss is great for workwear)
Jacket: Topshop (I think they still sell this tuxedo jacket. No regrets splurging on this)
Shoes: Zara
Bag: Celine

As you may have noticed I also wore an absolutely endless amount of blush. I am going through one of my phases and this is called the MAC Stunner phase. It came out in the MAC Make Me Over Collection last year and I have only just decided that I really like it. It's a light coral pink and make me feel fresh.

Talking of makeup I tried out a foundation today from Rimmel and whilst its not always wise to give a premature declaration of love I can't help myself. I am RAVING about this stuff. I think a review might be forthcoming this weekend...provided I don't wake up in a rash tomorrow that is :)

Hope you are all well!
19 Feb 2012

Another day, another collar

Talk about a lack of inspiration?! :) Yes, its another top with a collar detail.

But in my defence - and the shirt's - there is more!

This is a double layered sheer number and it's all kinds of comfortable.

I wore it by itself today but in colder climes I would be itching to put a nice fine knit over the top. Of course the fact that it is double-layered does not mean that it's not transparent - wear it without a body or vest top at your peril! 

NB: My face has been quite deliberately cropped out of these photos. I think I was going for "non-plussed" but instead came across as moody cow. I must have been disturbed by what looks like - and what in fact is - a dead bird in the background. High five to those who spotted it immediately because I sure as hell didn't. 

Shirt: Zara - Link!
Vest top (underneath): Topshop
Jeans: Cheap Monday
Shoes: Zara
Bag: Celine Mini Phantom (a recent gift :D and my new BFF. I think this is more dribbly robot than sad robot?)
Nails: Orly Hot Shot

I am absolutely in LOVE with the nail polish. I had every intention to get a neutral/boring/safe/lovely manicure this weekend but instead chose the wild card and reached for Hot Shot. It's so hard to capture the brightness but it is a fluorescent coral. I don't think I own many bright/bright nail polishes so this could be the start of something.... :)

Hope you all have a great Monday!
18 Feb 2012

Beauty boxes?

I will admit, when beauty boxes first hit the scene I thought they were a monumental waste of money.

I could not understand why I should be tempted to commit £10 a month to getting my hands on paltry samples from brands I would never be interested in exploring anyway. 

Further to that point, I knew (care of my previous shopaholic experiences) that shops like Kiehl's, Space NK and friendly sales staff at department store counters will happily pass out the samples if you catch them on a generous day - and for that I don't have to pay anything extra.

Some months later and I am slightly less huffy about it. Of course the rational part of me still thinks it's slightly insane to effectively gamble £10 away - and when I see some of the items contained in the boxes I berate myself for being such an idiot.

However, the parcel loving part of me absolutely laps it up. Even if the inside fails to inspire it's the very act of receiving a parcel and opening it up that gets me incredibly excited. And if there are one or two things inside that I am genuinely keen to try out then I suppose I consider it a worthwhile expense.

I am currently subscribed to Glambox.me (my Feel Unique subscription is over as they have pulled their boxes from the market - RIP!) , the only beauty box currently in the UAE, and received the February parcel after a spectacularly stressful day at work. After getting home at about 10pm it was an absolute treat to open/rip apart.

And this was a good thing because the first box was a slightly lacklustre, barren experience with more packaging than content.

In this month's I got a nice variety and a fair quantity. I rate a box that gives a little bit of everything - skincare, hair care, cosmetics and perfume:

  • Karuna face mask - intense skin therapy? I like! Need to find a spare 20 minutes where I can lie flat and treat face.
  • Philip B Peppermint and Avocado Volumizing and Clarifying shampoo - nice...always wanted to try their products and anything mint has my vote.
  • Philip B Lightweight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse - really nice conditioner so happy days!
  • La Vela Patchouli & Musk Candle - a wee candle and a scent I genuinely like. Burning right now!
  • Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Powder Foundation - not enthralled. I have nothing against Arden but I didn't "wow" when I saw this.
  • Elizabeth Arden Face Powder Brush - useful and good to get in conjunction with the powder but I didn't wet myself with excitement when I saw it either.
  • Elizabeth Arden Red Door perfume - hello Grandma! Actually that's harsh - it's a classic fragrance but one that I haven't fallen in love with.
  • Random extra - voucher for Cupcakes at a local bakery. Free cupcakes - not going to hate on them for that.

So the Arden stuff aside (apologies to Liz!) I thought this was a good effort by Glambox. For the £10(ish) fee you get a (slightly over the top) nicely packaged product (that is mailed by courier) and a decent collection of "stuff". 

So what do I think now?

After my experiences in the last few months with both Feel Unique and Glambox I am more of a realist about this beauty box phenomena. I have realised that the contents are highly unlikely to astound us. In fact it would be a miracle if they did.

People like you and me are an informed audience with an unusually high exposure and knowledge of brands and products and so 100% satisfaction at the contents is going to be a challenge. I accept that it's okay and just enough to keep us happy with some quality samples. I think I will continue the subscription until I get bored of the concept.

...my advice?

Well to the companies I would say: for goodness sake, cut down the amount of packaging. In fact I urge you to do so! It feels wasteful and quite honestly I would rather you budget for additional samples than the box-within-a-box wrapping.

And to you? This is not a necessity. It's not food, water, shelter or Hue lipstick. It's a luxury and honestly you could live quite happily without it. I have done for months and other than facing the reams of beauty box posts that proliferate blogs it has not impacted my life one bit. However, just like the daily run to Starbucks, the ridiculous often makes you feel quite good. So, if you are feeling indulgent, pick one company (in the UAE it has to be Glambox as it's the only one - easy decision-making process :)  and try your best to enjoy the monthly surprise! 


So what do you think about beauty boxes? Total waste or a monthly must-have?

Alternatively, what's the most pathetic thing you have ever received inside one of them?:)

NB: I do not get Glambox for free. I subscribed with my own cash. I don't think I will post the contents of each box every month as honestly that can get quite dull so I probably won't talk about them again unless I receive something absolutely fantastic or absolutely terrible!
14 Feb 2012

The Evil Eye bracelet

As much as I find the evil eye concept interesting, I also largely find the high street manifestations really ugly.

Sorry Topshop but I don't want to sport a ring with what is effectively a life-size eyeball on it.

For a long time then I have looked for an *affordable* and yet pretty version of the evil eye. There are many versions with 4 figure price tags and real diamonds but I will quite happily take the glass/crystal version thank you very much!

It was whilst looking through the stalls at Covent Garden Market in Dubai that I came across this beauty...it was EXACTLY what I have been looking for. A metal (although who knows what metal exactly!) chain and a dainty evil eye that embodies the design without looking ugly.

3 months later and I have worn it every single day. Even if it's not silver plated, it has accompanied me in the sea, through 3 months worth of showers and 100's of OCD hand washes. It's held up beautifully.

Where to get it

Now this is the tricky bit. The only site where I have found this charges about $50 for an identical bracelet. Do not pay $50.

I had a quick look on Ebay and came across this version....

It's not exactly the same but it channels the same theme - dainty. It is also pretty reasonable at $24. Here's the link...


There are many others on eBay (here's another one Link! ) and the best priced ones seem to originate from Turkey - so keep that in your search criteria.

...and if you have no idea what I am going on about when I say "evil eye" I will let Wikipedia explain it to you. They do a far better job that I ever could :)
12 Feb 2012

TB flats and LDR lips

Yes, that was my weekend. When I wasn't in my pyjamas I was breaking in some shoes and sporting some seriously wannabe pouty lips.

The TB Flats

You all know I love my Tory Burch flats. I don't even care that the symbol looks like a Take That dedication. I love them and they are usually very comforable.

When I spotted these on shopbop.com before Christmas I fell in love. They reminded me of a pair of Chanel $600+'s that I had seen in Saks about 18 months ago - a pale nude colour with an elasticated inner edge that from afar looks like a dainty ribbon.

I got them about a month ago and whilst it was love at first sight, my toes revolted. They cried in pain. These shoes made me feel like my toenails were inches too long - a sort of scraping feeling that just feels uncomfortable an hour or two.

I am pleased to say however that I experienced a breakthrough this weekend and they are finally worn and ready to be sported without a face wince. Hurray!


The LDR lips

You all know Lana Del Rey. Well I am borderline obsessed with her.

Whilst I think her music is good I think, if push came to shove, I would rather see Ellie Goulding, Florence & the Machine or Imogen Heap in concert but yet, I am mesmerized when I see a picture of her.

I levy the blame at her lips. They are so full and just brrrrrrrrr......I won't be getting a pair of my own but for fun I decided to draw on some LDR lips this weekend, partly prompted by Tali's post.

The best product I found for this was Maybelline's liner in Toast. You could use this and just call it a day to be honest. It's a lovely liner - not as grey as MAC Stone, similar to Rimmel Tiramisu but far creamier to apply.

I added Illamasqua Sonnet and,some Viva Glam Gaga 2 gloss for a shinier finish.

It was a fun look, You never know maybe I will try stiletto nails next...(joke!)


Hope you had a good one!
10 Feb 2012

Checking in with an OOTD and lipstick chatter...

Hello! How are you all?

I spent the last few working days in Doha and whilst I went there with every intention to update you all, it just didn't happen. Damn networking events, meetings and project work got in the way.

It was my first time in Doha and I definitely noticed the fact that it is far more conservative than Dubai (not hard as Dubai is extremely liberal). You have to be a lot more mindful of what you are wearing (more is definitely better ladies!) but the people are friendly and the food was great. If you ever find yourself in Doha (hey, you never know!) I highly recommend Souq al Waqif - great outdoor eating/shisha/coffee and a good mix of expats, tourists and Qataris.

Sadly no outfit of the day photos were snapped. I just couldn't bring myself to whip out the camera and force it into the hands of my manager before barking photographic direction orders....I mean, could you?

I do however, have an old OOTD from Tuesday that I thought I would share. Why not, eh?


The Topshop peach blazer lives on!

I absolutely love pairing this with black basics. Dare I mention the pop-of-colour theory? Anyway,  I wore a variation on this theme a couple of times this week and yes, the blazer looks a lot better unbuttoned - more languid and casual and less boxy and structured.

 Oh yeah, and this is my face from that day :)

Scarf: Accessorize
Blazer: Topshop - Link!
Vest: Topshop
Trousers: H&M
Shoes: Zara
Sunglasses: Gucci
Bag: Miu Miu

Of course I did make a couple of little purchases during my trip and here they are....

Oh yes, I have replenished the nudes: MAC Creme D'Nude and MAC Shy Girl.

As you can see, I have already smeared them on :)

The purchase of Creme D'Nude is a bit of an odd one because I silently vow, with every tube, that I will never buy it again. The Mush Stage irritates me no end but then I see it on the lipstick stand and get lured in by it's pretty.

So here we go for a fifth time...

Shy Girl is a bit more stable in consistency and honestly, the more wearable. If you don't own it (and you probably do) then I would highly recommend. It's definitely light but it lightly defines and lifts - as opposed to "corpsing" out your lips. Think of it as Hue's peach cousin. In other words, absolutely essential to your make up collection.

I can't lie. Seeing pictures of lipsticks makes me very happy inside :)

What one have you purchased lately?
6 Feb 2012

Kerastase Elixir Ultime: so wrong yet so right?

I was sceptical. Another supposed hair oil amongst a sea of hair oils.


*Shrugs shoulders*

But I tried the sample tube and...well, it was love from first *pump*. This stuff smells like a diluted Tom Ford Black Orchid, left my hair looking and feeling silky and de-frizzed the fuzz.

The flirtation with the sample tube clearly lead to a full size purchase and so here we are.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime is supposedly the Daddy of all hair oils if the marketing spiel is anything to go by. Get a load of this mesmerizing copy peppered with outlandish promises...

"...our first versatile beautifying treatment enriched with a complex of four precious oils. Maize, Argan, Camellia and Pracaxi oils combine to create a luxurious Elixir for all hair types.

With a few drops of elixir Ultime, hair is transformed into silky, weightless matter. Applied before cleansing, hair is instantly nourished and visibly regenerated. Applied before styling, hair is incredibly supple and protected."

Okay then!

I do think it's lovely and I am not yet regretting the financial outlay to pick this up - a pretty hefty £34. Here's why:

a) The consistency is easy to work with and control - thinner than the likes of Moroccan Oil or Shu Uemura Essence Absolue it makes me feel like I am not weighing down my hair with product;
b) It's light enough to be used daily - I often apply this on the ends of my hair and don't find that it makes me look like a scrub. I don't look oily - just someone with slightly less crispy hair.
b) It absorbs immediately - Moroccan oil can sometimes hang around and then make me paranoid that I am going to look like a grease slick. The Kerastase, like the Absolue, disappears and instantly makes hair feel stronger and better.
c) It leaves hair looking smooth, relatively frizz free and shiny - I apply it on the lengths when my hair is damp, let it air dry and this is what I end up with.

So yes, in terms of what I have tried before I can say that I would absolutely recommend it. It's a lovely styling product that will probably last me 12 months+. 

BUT there is a but...

I say that this is a lovely styling product - as oppose to miracle moisturising conditioner - because part of me cannot forget that this contains a bunch of silicones.

Now I went into this purchase with my eyes open - I saw it as a premium Frizz-Ease rather than a miracle moisturiser but the marketing accompanying both this product and other commercial oils on the market makes me a little cross inside.

The emphasis - or at least my take away from the ads - always rests in the transformative ability of the product and the fact that the natural oils will help strengthen and nourish. What they never mention of course is that the natural oils are bolstered by the use of cheap silicones. It all feels like a naughty, dirty little lie.

Kerastase isn't the only one at it. Moroccan oil and Shu Uemura have added in the odd -cone and then charged £30+ for the pleasure.

So what am I trying to say?

a) Elixir Ultime is the best commercial "hair oil" I have tried - a fantastic serum that will superficially soothe the ends.
b) I will achieve good condition through haircuts and Phyto but I will keep applying the Ultime for truly great looking and smelling hair.
c) The marketing accompanying these types of products makes me cross.

End! :)

What do you think of these kind of products? Can't live without? Or do you prefer to use something different and completely natural? If it's the latter let me know what you recommend!
1 Feb 2012

The Sincerely Jules/Gabriela Artigas ring

Lets get one thing out the way first. If you don't follow Sincerely Jules then you really must do something about that now. She has an incredible blog and it's packed full of inspiring images.

Here's the link...follow her! :)

My new ring was bought via her site. She featured her collaboration with jeweller Gabriela Artigas way back in December and I fell in love.

A tiny infinity knot, it is designed to sit above the knuckle. I contemplated it for a few weeks before ordering and I finally picked it up when I went back to the UK this weekend.

It was well worth the splurge. To be honest they had me with the packaging....

(I think) I ordered a size 5 and have decided to wear it on the same finger as my Sydney Evan "love" ring. 

It's a little odd/scary wearing a ring that sits on this part of the finger. Whenever I wash my hands I am petrified of watching it fall down the plughole but for whatever reason it appears to be staying put.

Now this particular ring is now sold out (although Gabriela has other lovely rings!)and it would be remiss of me as a blogger not to mention that you can pick up something identical for a relatively low price on Etsy.


I haven't used this seller before - although I am thinking about buying a couple more of these as I like the way they look either stacked or worn across three fingers...pure greed I tell you! :)  - but her feedback is positive, she is called Laura :) and it's $21 as oppose to $70.

Ah...I do love dainty accessories :)