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30 Mar 2012

The Grey Zara Skirt

My recommendation? Do not go in Zara at the moment. There is a lot of stock that seems to fit the bill and you will end up spending quite a bit of money.

This week I literally sighed as I walked around as I was so overwhelmed with how much there was - and how much I wanted.

I settled for three things and this grey skirt is one of them. It's one of those basics items that you could so easily miss in store but when you find it you realise it will go with everything. Okay, so it's not really a work/office appropriate item but for the weekend/evenings it is perfect!

The elasticated waist means that you can pull it down to hip bone level if you want it a bit longer....or plonk it round your waist. Either way it works.

The colour is a soft grey and the material mimics silk. It's light and perfect for summer. The slightly tulip shape also means that you won't have to worry about a Marilyn moment - arse covered.

I wore it today to brunch at Jones the Grocer and then popped along to the beach to take photos. NB: This is not my typical beach attire and yes, that's the Burj al Arab in the background :)

Skirt: Zara - Link!
Shirt: Zara
Jacket worn in some pics: Topshop
Necklace: Topshop
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James
Shoes: Tory Burch
Bag: Celine
Nail polish: N Style (Dubai brand) in Poetic Petra which I am absolutely obsessed with.

Now I am off for Sundowner's in the same outfit - see I said that I loved it! -  but before I go, a book update.

So Fifty Shades of Grey. Pretty shocking stuff, not least because the writing is fairly poor and the constant references to Audi's makes it read like the stuff of tactical marketing. What's that all about?

I feel like it's taken weeks to get halfway through. I just can't build any empathy with the characters nor understand what their motivations are for all of this relationship business....but because it's such an international news scandal I will finish it. Whether I download the next installment is currently undecided.

Anyone else reading this?

Have a great Friday all!

28 Mar 2012

I probably shouldn't have...

....but I damn well did.

Another neutral palette for the collection...

I consider this my rebellion against Naked 2. Packaging and Half Baked aside, I really don't like it. It's a personal thing. I find the matte colours lacking in pigmentation and the effect of the shades a little too greige on my eyes. Literally every time I tried to work with it I would look in the mirror, grimace and declare that my make up looked like crap. (And no, it's not all down to the skillz of the "artist" :)

It's strange. To look at it's the perfect palette and there are some nice shadows in there, but they just don't work on my dark coloured eyes and skintone. I need warmth. I need my eyes to be lifted in subtle colour so that they don't look so ropey.

It just shows, not all neutrals are borne equal and that's a semi-expensive lesson I have learned.

Now the Too Faced Natural Eye palette? This is more me. There is only one dodgy shadow in the box and everything else is warm toned, smooth to apply and very pretty.

It's been out for years and I have ogled it from afar on many occasions. The cardboard packaging is a bit cheap and as I mentioned, there is one absolutely awful textured colour in there...see if you can spot what I am referring to in the pictures below...but it has everything else going for it. 

I love the inclusion of the "best friend" colour - Velvet Revolver. It makes the perfect transition shade (much like Buck and Naked by Urban Decay). Erotica and Cocoa Puff are the most beautiful definition colours for crease and outer corner - laced with dimensional shimmer but not the kind that will fall out on application. Heaven is a great, uber-smooth base colour and Silk Teddy, Push Up and Honey Pot have me written all over them.

I piled on about 4 of the colours today and declared it a success.

I should say that the amount of shadow included in 6 of the colours is pretty small (.9g).  It's certainly not as good value for money as the Naked palettes and the rate I pile it on I will be hitting pan sharpish!

During the same trip to Sephora I picked up the Make Up For Ever Uplight in number 11.

I read about this before and it reminded me of my beloved St Tropez face illuminator - now that stuff is the business. Anyway, the MUFE is a pearlized white-lilac and designed to be either mixed in with foundation or applied separately. It's a pretty effect and hours later remnants of that swatch can still be found on my hand.

A small confession: I have also recently purchased Chanel's Candeur Coco Lip Shine but as it looks like the other 20 "my lips but better" lipsticks I own I was too embarrassed to post it here.

Having said that, whilst outsiders won't know how it's different from the rest I really think it is. Maybe I should do a post on it... :)

Hope you are all well!
22 Mar 2012

Redken Raves

I hauled Redken after my latest hairdresser visit. It was one of those purchase sprees spurred on by relief that the appointment had gone well.

Shampoo, conditioner and treatment product all added to basket and after a couple of weeks of usage I have to say, money well spent. In fact I am glad that I threw caution to the wind and deviated from my beloved Phyto.

Here's what I got:

  • All Soft Shampoo
  • All Soft Conditioner
  • Extreme Anti-Snap Treatment
First things first, the shampoo and conditioner combo works well to ensure relatively smooth, detangled hair. I will admit that there is an initial "puff head" phase where my hair appears to have tripled in size and I resemble a mushroom but by morning (I always wash at night) it's straight and pretty sleek. It reminds me of that Pantene Aqua stuff that ruled my laugh last summer....sadly not available here.

Now the really good stuff is the Extreme Anti-Snap. I am sure that this has been personally recommended by many of you. (I may be going mad but I am sure Arlene has used this and espoused it's virtues?)

Your recommendations are why I bought it in the first place and I am so glad I did. I practically use this every day and I have to say it's better than the Phyto day cream. If I am honest I also prefer it to the Kerastase Elixir...

And why? 
It smells like a fruit salad, dries quickly, doesn't weight the hair down and smooths the cuticle. It's designed to be used on those crispy ends and then works to fortify them - well, make them look healthy.

I feel that this started to work almost immediately. I apply on damp hair and it makes everything look shiny and healthy.

Now another thing...my hairdresser told me to wipe the residue on my nails and see if I noticed a difference. That's what I did. After I apply this to the lengths of my hair I wipe the residue over each nail. Two weeks later and my nails are noticeable stronger - even after I peeled off my Gelish (don't tell the manicurist). I actually don't remember my nails being this strong for a while.

This could be total coincidence but if it's the Anti-Snap...all the more reason to worship it. This may just be a miracle product! Or maybe I am just getting over-excited... :)

So that's the end of my hair ramble!

Have you ever used Redken? What is your miracle hair product? :)
20 Mar 2012

The H&M Metal Collar

So it took me a while but I am there. I now own a metallic collar. And honestly what took me so long?

It's that inexpensive piece that adds that added bit of interest to an otherwise bland shirt.

This collar was from H&M and it cost, at most, about £5. It looks great with regular blouses but also knit tops. If you can locate it in store, and you haven't already got a few in your collection, I suggest you head over to the cashier with it now!

Necklace: H&M (current season)
Blouse: H&M (current season as are the creases!)
Trousers: River Island (last season)
Shoes: Pour La Victoire (old)
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James (Fairfax model)

May I just say how much I ADORE those Elizabeth and James sunglasses? I saw their purchase as a very much unnecessary indulgence and I still berate myself for it but nevertheless my wicked side is so thankful for the spoil. They have a lovely retro shape and I find myself reaching for them all the time.

I should also give a shout out to Breezy blush by MAC. I know - shock - I have strayed from the comfort of Well Dressed :)

It's on the current rotation and adding a pretty warm glow to my cheeks at the moment. It's one of those products that you look at with fear in the pan but the effect is pure pick-me-up and reminds me why I love blush!

PS. Apologies for not posting more recently. I had some horrid news on Saturday but it's important to get back into things and there is comfort in blogging about the superficial so that's why I am here today :)

I hope you are all keeping very well and if you have a collar necklace, how do you wear it?
16 Mar 2012

The leather shorts

I found them! After months of anxious shop and website hunts, I found the leather shorts of my dreams.

 This pair was seen resting The Outlet - where the unsold clothes from Boutique 1 get laid to rest.

They were less than a quarter of the original price and the brand is Doma. All of this is a bit irrelevent though because the most important point is that they are tailored. I wanted to don a perceived "edgy" fabric that had been cut to look very safe. For someone who dresses as conventionally as myself, this is key!

I wore them to the mywardrobe.com Middle East launch that was held this week at the Ritz-Carlton. It was a lovely event with cakes, cocktails and, as you would expect, clothes!

I *almost* wore a blouse from H&M with a peter pan collar necklace but wimped out at the last minute and just went for simple basics.

As we all know, simple is what I do best :)

Apologies to my Facebook followers who have already seen this pic! 

Shorts: DomaShirt: Zara
Blazer: ASOS
Shoes: Zara
Bag: Celine

And here are some random snaps from the event.....

It was a good night and now I am thinking of going one step further in the leather league and getting my hands on some trousers...:) 

Before I go I have had a few questions from people asking what to wear in Dubai and what is considered acceptable. Some of you wondered whether the Zara skirt I featured last week for example would be considered too short. 

Quick answer would be abso-bloody-lutely. But it's important to note that the rules differ depending on where you go. 

In a Westernised hotel setting you can wear whatever you like. If you are travelling on the metro or hitting a mall? Cover yourself up and be mindful of the fact that legs on display borders on disrespectful. I suppose it's just commone sense and as long as you avoid dressing like a hoe-bag in public places you will probably be alright :) 

Hope you are all well!!!

PS. Went to MAC today and ALMOST bought Innocence, Beware before realising that I truly do not need another lipstick in an identical shade. I am quite proud of my self-restraint.  Quick Sizzle on the other hand is still on my mind :) Should I? :)
13 Mar 2012

The InLovewithfashion Beige Lurex Twist Back Dress

I am disappointed in myself. These photos didn't come out very well and it's all my fault. I was in a champagne coma and missed the sunset so all you get is a soft gauze effect, lacking focus and giving you just a basic idea of the dress.

To provide you with a bit more detail this is from InLovewithfashion and I selected it myself from their website.

I liked the back (which I didn't capture - fail part 2) and the ethereal finish. Its a pretty light beige fabric littered with gold threads and therefore perfect for summer evening wear.

One thing to note however, the material is rail thin.

You know that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie wears The Naked Dress (as declared by Charlotte)...well that's how i felt in this.

It might not be a super seductive shape but it's that kind of fabric that makes you audit your underwear drawer in order to find something that is going to work underneath. Forget anything lace or coloured - it will show.

I semi-dread to think what came through with flash photography but thankfully I never went there!

Dress: (S/M) InLovewithfashion - Link!
Shoes: Alexander Wang (most comfortable heels everrrr!)
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff - Link!

I thought I would also slam in some pictures taken during my break/1 night away.

Bab al Shams - translated as Gateway to the Sun - is tucked away in the desert and dunes of Dubai. It's design is intended to mimic an Arabian fort and this means hidden courtyards, walkways and lanterns.

It has a special ambience and whilst the service wasn't consistently amazing it's a great place to visit - should you find yourself in Dubai :)

I will admit that it was lovely to get out of my area and drive out to a part of the country I rarely even see. My love for the minibreak lives on :) 

Okay so you have now reviewed pictures of walls....

Just to let you know that I downloaded a controversial book today - Fifty Shades of Grey. I just saw a news feature on the TV about the controversy surrounding this raunchy prose and obviously I went straight to Amazon and purchased it.

Anyone else read this? As soon as Alan Carr's autobiography is done I am on it :)

Happy Tuesday all x

10 Mar 2012

My face is cheap

The high street has taken over my make up bag.

This realisation hit me last week when I counted 6 or 7 drugstore products which I not only love but sort of think I can't live without.

This is a fairly new thing. Whilst I have always been loyal to the cheaper end of the spectrum when it comes to mascara and the odd lip product, I would naughtily sneak over to MAC and Space NK for a bit of prestige. Now I am not knocking the expensive stuff - I remain a product junkie to the core and I am still representing some grossly overpriced stuff too - but lets just say that at the moment I am happily making use of some cheap (and great) products.

Here's my run down and not all products featured in the photo below...that's just to make the post look pretty :)

Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation - the packaging might be a bit on the tacky side and the colour range might be dismal but for whatever reason this now coats the plains of my face and makes me feel fresh and glowing. Soft Beige (200) is the colour of choice at the moment. Full review here! 

Bourjois Healthy Mix concealer in Light radiance - reserved for days when I feel very tired (i.e., look very rough), this is placed under the eyes, around the nose and sometimes mouth. It kills redness, reminds me of MAC's Select Moisturecover and doesn't collect in any fine lines. It's not as opaque as Make up For Ever's Full Cover concealer (amazing stuff!) but the trade off is a much a lighter and easier to work with consistency. Recommend! 

Rimmel Kohl Eyes in Black - one day I fancied the smudgy look that only a kohl pencil can deliver and so I picked this up. I expected it to be good - well it Kate M wear it.... -  but I didn't expect the black to be so strong and to be so easy to apply. I wouldn't say it lasts as long as say a MAC PowerPoint but it also doesn't give a distressed smudgy eye a la Stila Kajal. 

L'oreal Super Liner Carbon Gloss - just rename this the liner that keeps giving because this NEVER seems to dry out. I must have had this tube for about 12 months and whilst the makeup expiry police would frown upon that there is no way I am throwing this out. If you want an easy to work with liquid liner nib and a dark black colour then there is no other choice (other than maybe Illamasqua). MAC and the likes of Le Metier de Beaute don't even come close in terms of quality. 

Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel eyeliner in black - another eyeliner - I am out of control! Anyway my MAC Blacktrack ran out and I decided to try this. It was a bit of a revelation. Just as long lasting, just as pigmented and basically, exactly the same as any of Estee Lauder's brand versions. Thank you Maybelline. If you did more interesting shades you may even give Shu Uemura a run for their money.  

Sleek Lash Out mascara - I had medium/low expectations of this for some reason but as soon as I applied it I love the effect. Very separated and lengthened with an inky black pigmentation. The delicate little brush that it comes with also makes it perfect for lower lashes. In fact that's where I tend to use it and then rely on my trust Max Factor Masterpiece MAX. In fact, scratch that, you HAVE to try the Max if you want defined and full lashes that you can build to crusy spider leg status should you desire...not that I would do that of course :p 

Kanebo KATE Designing Eyebrow kit in EX-4 - so this belongs within a Japanese drugstore (talk about bending the rules of the post) but its included as it's a cheap product that manages to deliver. I will link to it here - Link! - as then you will see what it looks like. Think little plastic case with three brow colours contained within. My love for this is solely levied at the fact that the dark brown (or natural brown as they call it) is completely flat. It has undertones of absolutely nothing except brown and so for those of us irritated by reddy toned brow products, this will be your new holy grail. NB I have nothing to do with the seller but included as example!

So these are some of my current loves. I would have included Sleek's Peach Perfection - THE perfect tinted lip balm complete with nauseating faux sweet scent - but I just ran out of my back-up's back-up...as you do :)

Now I am going to ask you this question and I already know that it will lead me to some possible purchases but...

What are your favourite drugstore makeup products of the moment?
9 Mar 2012

The Zara Printed Skirt

I am sorry for not posting this week. I levy all blame at work and to be honest I wore absolutely nothing of interest.

Not that today is any different of course but there is one item of clothing that I have recently fallen in love with. Introducing the Zara printed skirt!

This is a tulip shaped frenzy of blurred colour. It almost looks like a moving image, animated with neon, and sometimes even just looking at it makes me feel a bit motion sick.

I interpreted this as a good sign and so snapped it up. It's also part of the TRF range and therefore a little less expensive than the main Zara offering...even more of a reason to push me to checkout.

I "prepped" this up today with a shirt and the ubiquitous blazer (which honestly I only wore when in air-conditioning).

This whole ensemble made me realise how much I love skirts and stark white shirts....expect more of this kind of thing in the coming weeks.

Skirt: Zara - Link!
Shirt: Zara
Blazer: ASOS
Shoes: Tory Burch
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James
Watch: Rolex
Smile: Fake :)

I hope these photos show up the hair colour dye job that I had last weekend. The hairdresser didn't use bleach but rather a tinting cream that lightens and tones in one step - I didn't even know that existed! She painted it on to look more haphazard and "grown out" so yes, the ombre adoration lives on. I don't even care that it's been "done". It's the perfect way to bring a bit of colour to my dark hair without the dreaded responsibility of roots. I like it and am naughtily anticipating the sun lightening it even more :)

Photos taken at Bab al Shams resort!

How have you all been this week? :) 
3 Mar 2012

The VIPXO scarf

Prepare for some "share the love" type chatter as I pay some respect to two great bloggers.

Here we go...

First Up

This scarf was posted on Victoria's blog - www.vipxo.co.uk - way back in November. It formed part of her popular "Designer Inspired" posts which see her scour eBay for cheap finds.

I loved the combination of colours and prints. The fact that it cost less than £10 including shipping didn't escape my attention either. I clicked, I ordered and I have worn it quite a few times since.

It is as light as a silk fabric so it drapes nicely and is perfect for Spring weather. It also washes well despite the el cheapo price tag.

So thanks to Victoria for finding this :)

Scarf: eBay - Link! 
Tee: T by Alexander Wang
Jacket: Topshop
Jeans: Seven for All Mankind (Roxanne)
Shoes: (more of an FYI obviously - Tory Burch)
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James
Hair: Giving serious fringe today which I remain undecided about....

...and secondly

Another blog follow recommendation for you is Teresa of candyandcookie.com.

She is the Dubai based blogger I mentioned meeting up with yesterday and last night we enjoyed a 6 hour chat-a-thon at Shades pool bar at The Address Dubai Marina.

Infinity pool views, adult drinks, sweet potato fries and longing glances at her neon orange Cambridge Satchel...

We did attempt outfit pictures towards the end of the night but by then the alcohol and humidity ruined the effect. Until next time :)

Find her blog here and Twitter here and say hello from me :)

Hope you are having a great day! I had my hair colour "sorted" today and am relieved/happy to report that it all ended well. Such a relief!

I now have more "flashes" or a lighter caramel/honey colour courtesy of some skillful balyage highlights. I will probably post some pictures once I have washed my own hair (you know what it's like after a salon blow-dry) and give you a run down of the Redken treatment product I picked up as well.

See you all soon x
2 Mar 2012

Back to Gelish...here's Carnaval Hangover

I have been Gelish free for a few weeks and whilst I enjoy applying different polish colours (LOVE that Orly one!) I also enjoy a chip-free existence. It irks me to see a perfect (and if I have applied it, a less than perfect) manicure disappear little chunk, by chunk.

It was time to return to the world of the 2 week manicure.

As always I went into the salon with the intention of having a neutral, safe colour applied. I was thinking Pink Smoothie and was quite looking forward to seeing it again. It's so clean and pretty....

But then, at the last minute, I got seduced by a bright purple/pink by the name of Carnaval Hangover  and here it is...

Just like Tiny Tower, I am basically in love with it. 

The purple tone that forms the base of the colour stops it from looking too bubblegum so whilst it's not classically sophisticated, it's wearable, fun and bright. I feel like this is the nail colour equivalent of a MAC Impassioned or Show Orchid lipstick.


Another obsession of the day/week would be lashes. I finally got my eBay Ardell lash order in from the same trusty shop that I order the odd Essie/OPI from. Here lashes are expensive so even with shipping costs, I am making a saving.

I ordered a ton of "Babies" and lots of corner lashes. Sometimes I cannot be bothered to fiddle around with layers of mascara in order to create drama...it's so much easier just to slap on some falsies and go. And that's exactly what I intend to do :)

Link to the store here:


Hope you all have a great Friday!

I am excited about this weekend as I am meeting up with a fellow blogger in Dubai and have an appointment at the colorist planned...I am thinking of something semi-transformative. Lets see what I go for :)

What are your weekend plans?