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30 Apr 2012

The Chanel Base Coat

It's at this point I confess that I have never been one for a nail base coat.

Even when I wear the dragon blood colour polish that threatens to stain my nails for weeks, I still neglect to layer down a foundation coat. This is part-lazy blended with part-cheapskate. Why spend the extra £5+ for something that will never be seen and looks like nothing when applied? Yes, that's my superficial self's rationale and why I have avoided buying CND Sticky Base, Butter London's Foundation etc...

Well times have changed!

Without wishing to sound too high maintenance I highly recommend investing some cash in a nail base coat. Ugh, that does sound high maintenance doesn't it? But let me continue...

The difference experienced since using this Chanel base? IMMENSE.

It's not that polish goes on smoother. It's not that it protects against staining. It's not even that it lasts a couple of days longer than usual (i.e., two days).

It's that even the streakiest and bitchiest of polishes - Essie, I am talking to you - appear more opaque and require less work. The likes of Minimalistic look good with just two of the lightest coats. They apply evenly and look great.

To be honest, it's a bit of a breakthrough as it makes my crappy nail polish application technique look almost passable. This has been the reason why I haven't rushed back to Gelish. I haven't ruled out the 2 week manicure forever but for now it's fun playing around with polish again.

Speaking of which meet my acquisitions all lined up: Essie's Van D'Go - a rich peach/pink - is a happy repurchase and To Buy Or Not To Buy - the most interesting blue/lilac/grey colour I have ever worn.

Happy days :)

Any new polish recommendations for me? I am currently in the market for an eBay binge x
27 Apr 2012

The Zara Studded Collar

Soft fabric + hard studs = impossible to resist.

As soon as I saw snaps of this on Tumblr I made a mental note to keep an eye out. I made a brave trip to Zara this week and this was, without question, one of the stand out items in store. I love the flowy fabric - looks good tucked in and worn with skinny jeans/trousers - and the gold detailing just takes it to another level.

Sometimes I feel a bit constricted when I do a shirt all the way up and I tend to avoid it...but I think if you don't do that with this, you are doing it a massive dis-service.

I wore it yesterday with my leather shorts and yes, the grey Focco!

It's still happily in my possession! :)

Shirt: Zara - Link!
Shorts: Doma
Shoes: Tory Burch
Bag: Focco (eBay)
Sunglasses: RayBan Wayfarers
Nail polish: Essie To Buy Or Not To Buy....may do a post on this as it's a lovely colour!

...and yes, I desperately need a tan on my legs...heck, all over. I might live in the sun but I mostly look at it from behind an office window during the week. I need to somehow arrange some sort of working-from-home-by-the-pool scenario right? :)

Happy Friday all x
24 Apr 2012

MAC Nick Minaj lipstick

I waited a long time before I bought this lipstick.

I read the blogger's warnings - "chalky, uneven texture", "makes your teeth look yellow" etc. - and yet, despite my research I still went ahead and invested.

Now I am never going to say that I regret buying a Viva Glam lipstick - the charity element manages to negate any guilt - but I am going to be up front and say that this is not #totesamaze.

It's weird. I look at it in the tube and all I see is happy, summery, bright pink - the kind of shade that automatically pulls me in. Saint Germain did it. Pink Nouveau did it. But Nicki Minaj? Not really...

She goes on lighter than she appears in the tube. She makes my teeth look yellow (no gnashers in this review I am afraid!). She goes on a bit patchy (or maybe that's more down to the slapdash application technique? :) and the colour itself? It doesn't suit me in the same way that the aforementioned dupes do.

It's a bit too yellow toned. And I am sorry but a colour that I can't confidently smile with? Forget it! It's that lipstick that makes a statement for all the wrong reasons.

So this is all a bit negative, isn't it?

Well I am attempting to pull it back because all is not lost! Lipsticks that don't fit the bill are made to be mixed with other shades and I can confirm that this mixed with any beige or nude - particularly one with a creamy consistency - transforms this into a super wearable colour, with a great finish.

A couple of you made recommendations on my Facebook page about how best to mix this....I can confirm that MAC Shy Girl works great! So thank you Georgina for leaving that comment.

Any other mixing suggestions are welcome and if you are one of the lucky ones that loves this lipstick, tell us your secret! I am thinking this all hinges on skintone and my pale, sad face just doesn't cut it.


Here's a sneak peak of the next outfit post...

...at least I am mentally planning to wear either one of these pieces tomorrow.... The collar is obviously standard and part of my regular uniform but the jeans....the jeans!

Zara I tell you, you are killing me this season! :)

20 Apr 2012

Ebay chat and winner announcements

I am in the throes of an eBay phase at the moment. It all started because I couldn't sleep one night so I decided to waste time online. And here we are, a couple of happy purchases down.

I am a specific shopper, only hunting for used Sass & Bide - an Australian designer duo I have always had a thing for since I bought their jeans in the early 2000's. I have managed to secure some absolute bargains and this top, as seen below, is one of them.

It's difficult to describe. Black jersey material, double layered, with rose gold details creating a zigzag pattern and a pronounced V at the front.

Normally their stuff retails somewhere near ££££ridiculous so I was pretty pleased with this...

FYI: That V can fall pretty low so for daytime we put a little Topshop body underneath!

Top: Sass & Bide
Jeans: Cheap Monday
Shoes: Guess
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: RayBan (I have been asked about the model number and all the details have rubbed off but I think it's these - Link!)

This top is one of those one-off items but I am keen to know from any of you if you have uncovered some great finds recently - particularly if you know the eBay seller has stock! Let us know!

Hamsa giveaway!

...and finally I can announce the winner of the Hamsa necklace giveaway.

I always think giveaways are going to be so simple and straightforward but the reality is that I look over all the comments, make sure there are no duplicates and then do the random.org thing. It's always more work than I thought.

Anyway, the winner is.....


Congratulations! Email me your details at buynowbloglater@gmail.com and I will forward them on to Elisabeth, the store owner who will ship it out to you.

Thanks to everyone for taking part - I think I have ruined the purity of the "enter me" contest for many...that's my dirty mind for you :) Happy Friday!
19 Apr 2012

The Scraggy Jeans

I don't define myself as a fashion blogger so I don't feel too bad posting about a pair of scraggy, old-looking jeans. AKA nothing special. The worst part of this is that said item is only a few weeks old and were purchased pre-distressed. Yes, I paid to look scraggy.

Still, jokes aside, boyfriend jeans are the denim equivalent of pyjamas. I feel naughtily sloppy and comfy when I wear these and on off-duty days I don't want to wear anything else. After years of donning fairly restrictive skinny jeans these are such a nice, lazy alternative.

I wore them this week and tried to make them look a little more respectable with smart separates and flats. With jeans this baggy you need to take steps to smarten to avoid "Hobo".

Jeans: Current/Elliott (if you buy these go 1-2 sizes down...I went down one and got the 25)
Top: Zara (current season)
Jacket: Topshop
Shoes: Tory Burch
Sunglasses: Elizabeth & James "Fairfax"
Bag: Celine

I have always been quite keen on the boyish, preppy look and every now and then it's nice to wear something less close-fitting and roomy - do you ever feel like that? Mmm I tend to feel like this approximately once a month ;)

Thanks for all your entrants re the Hamsa necklace - I will announce the winner tomorrow. Glad you all think it's a pretty piece like I do :) 
17 Apr 2012

Hamsa Necklace Giveaway!

The Hamsa obsession continues...

In my last post I included links to some individual Etsy sellers that I thought sold beautiful versions of the hamsa necklace. Many of you clicked on those links and due to the traffic spike one of the sellers contacted me and asked if I wanted to hold a giveaway - the only answer to that of course is abso-friggin-lutely!

I love this piece that Elisabeth makes and sells. Sideways, delicate and incorporating a tiny evil eye, it's a pretty piece and one that I personally am going to order for myself.

And FYI, not to sound like a Modern Family obsessive or anything (I love you Cam!) but apparently it is also worn by "Claire"aka Julie Bowen on the show.

(Image taken from Etsy store)

So here's the deal. I don't like to make giveaways complicated. If you would like to be in with a chance of winning just enter a comment with the words "Enter me" - a phrase that always makes me giggle in an extremely immature/double entendre kind of way.

I will announce the winner in a post on Friday 20th - so you have until then to be in with a chance :)

FYI - The store on Etsy is called maldemer and can be found here - Link! 

Best of luck :) 
15 Apr 2012

The By Sophie Hamsa Necklace

I got a little gift this weekend - of the costume jewellery variety.

Cue squeal of excitement

It's a little bit of everything, channeling the aesthetics of a pretty disc necklace, combining it with a dose of spirituality - and of course I love it.

The designer is By Sophie and this is a Hamsa necklace - an open palm shaped amulet intended to protect the wearer, much like the evil eye.

I absolutely love the way it looks on. The length and size is just right and well, you know me....little charm like sparkle things? Instant love.

I know that this was purchased at Boutique 1 - Dubai based shopping mecca - and unfortunately I can't find the exact one on the website. They have something equally lovely...and plenty of snake rings that I also love....*sigh* Bring on payday!
 However, I did have a look on Etsy for you and as usual, there are so many pretty alternatives offered at a great price. My votes go to:

1 - Link! Tiny and delicate with a combination of Hamsa and evil eye for the ultimate protection.
2 - Link! More sideways action!
3 - Link! - Similar to mine!

Seriously, how many more mythical charms do you think I can buy and stack up on my person? With this, the evil eye and my sideways cross I should be set for protection :) 

PS. Top worn in above photo is by Sass & Bide (said in Kath & Kim accent) and is a recent eBay acquisition. 

I haven't eBayed for clothes for ages and faith has been totally restored. 

This was such a bargain and it's the most beautiful top - absolutely deserves a post of it's own :)
14 Apr 2012

The ASOS T-shirt dress

So my ASOS order finally made it. I should really cut them some slack as the package was only about 3-4 days later than anticipated and I didn't pay a penny in shipping but still: international order with no tracking details? I was getting nervous!

This is one of the items I was looking forward to the most. I saw Lily wear it on her blog and immediately ordered. It's one of those flowy type dresses that will be perfect in the hot summer months. This and the fact that it had a dipped hem made me add to basket.

Now be warned, the overall fit could be described as "sack".

I do like that - I don't always want to wear tight, form-fitting clothes - and I think when paired with skyscraper heels/wedges it would work well. However, when worn with flat shoes I think it has dowdy potential and for me the only way to rectify that is to add a belt to prove the existence of my waist - the one I wear below is also from ASOS and cost £8.

Dress: ASOS - Link!
Belt: ASOS - Link!
Shoes: Nico (?) random brand sold in Battuta Mall in Dubai
Sunglasses: Rayban
Bag: Celine

Other than wearing a new dress I have had a pretty non-eventful day but I like it like that at the weekend. All I need is lazy lie-ins, coffees, red wine nights, sweet potato fries with chilli mayo and  pyjamas :)

Reading update: I am currently working my way through Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. It's pretty good so far and reminds me of Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson in terms of the suspense - it's highly recommended!

Oh and I am all organised when it comes to blogging this week so a post will definitely be up tomorrow... :) Go me! x
13 Apr 2012

New in: MUFE

It's on again. That search for the flawless face and the slap that can help me get there.

I maintain that if you get the basics of brows and skin right, you don't even need anything else and ever since I first tried Studio Fix Fluid, where I saw how much better I looked and felt with a mask of base makeup, I have been obsessed with foundations.

Now of course my tastes have changed and I want a light, natural finish which still manages to hide away anything less than perfect. And preferably a product that doesn't stink.

The latest trial is Make Up For Ever's Mat Velvet +.  Every time I spot this I think "Tiffany D!" and seeing as her make up is always perfect it was about time I gave it a whirl. I was matched to the shade 35 and used it for the first time today.

The way it applied and set was a bit of a shock. In the best possible way.

I thought t would be quite thick and dry with a flat, matte finish. It's nothing like that. It's a gel consistency and looks natural - not shiny, not matte. Just skin. I think this is going to be good!  

Next - the concealer

Make Up For Ever Full Cover. Oh how I love thee!

I first bought a tube of this in San Francisco, probably 4 years ago. It's great coverage without looking cakey and a small 15ml tube will last me at least a year. No joke. It's quite rich so a little goes a long way and all that jazz but to cover redness, zits, and tired under eyes, this is what you need.

Finally - the eye brow kit

So after I had the HD brow treatment last August I realised what I needed to do to create a nice brow shape. I am one of those people who need to get artistic and draw in the sparse spots and I have been toying with a few different products to try and create a natural look.

This is pretty tricky. Try something too dark and it's "Sharpie brows". And don't even get me started with all those red-based brown brow products that have haunted my years of experimentation!?! *Angry face*

I read about the Make Up For Ever "Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector" a few months ago and got round to buying it last night.

It comes in a few colours (I spotted about 5) and is a rich cream consistency packaged much like MAC's old Select concealer.

I got the kit which comes with two little brushes as well as the product itself (number 3). And so far? It's fantastic.

It has stayed put through hours of cleaning (glam as ever) and walking outside in the heat.

Okay so application is a bit of a pain in the arse. Cream product + brush requires an investment of time and a hideously unflattering magnifying mirror if you want to get it right. I opted to use the fine eyeliner-like brush that comes in the kit and created little hair-like strokes with a teeny amount of product. It took about 5 minutes and during the working week this is likely to become something I resent.

However, I do think it's worth it in terms of end result. I instagram'd a picture earlier to give you an idea of the shape I attempt to create!

And that's all for now...

I am quite excited about all of these products. It's lovely to get all the basics sorted and feel confident with the output. I will keep you updated if anything changes but so far, very good! And I have to give a shout out to the staff at Sephora in Mall of the Emirates. They were only minor-stalkerish with their approach to customer service and this can be forgiven because they were very friendly and gave me lots of samples :)

Have you tried any of these products? 

And seeing as I am on a Make Up For Ever roll, what else would you recommend?
8 Apr 2012

Get a load of me!

What's the saying....you wait ages for a bus and then they all turn up at once?

This month my ugly mug is literally plastered over 3 magazines and one online publication. I am in What's On Magazine, POSE, Grazia and Savoir Flair. What a publicity hoe.

The features - all distributed in the Middle East - involve me commenting on fashion, beauty or slagging off the outfits worn by celebrities. It's all good fun!

Here are some snippets as evidence :)

What's On and POSE...yes, lets grab a coffee and read about me, me, me....how very Samantha Brick.


PS, I did buy those Sam Edelman shoes and whilst they look killer, they very much feel like it too. Once my feet recover I will do a post about them.

Grazia magazine for GCC/Bahrain - I got to give my two cents on what some of the most beautiful women in the world are wearing...

<3 Miranda Kerr and her Current/Elliott sapphire coloured jeans...

So that's me.

Talk about over-exposed.

I will now go and fade back into total obscurity :)
6 Apr 2012

The Breton stripes

I struck gold at the outlet mall this week.

Well, strictly speaking Teresa did because she spied a few of these Celine tops languishing on a forgotten rack. As soon as I saw it I instinctively knew I would buy it:

a) Breton stripes never go out of style
b) It has a boat neck neckline - which is very flattering
c) It is a light cotton knit that feels durable but not anywhere near as heavy as my Zara version
d) There are cute zipper details on the shoulders; and
e) It was massively reduced.


I wore it today when I popped out for brunch at Jones The Grocer (2nd week in a row...it's starting to become a habit) and I think I was aiming for Parisian chic. Well a girl can dream.... :)

And yes, the H&M denim shorts are back! It's been a few months but I am wearing them again and even daring to roll them up higher. Getting brave in my old age! :) I will say however that they do not look so good from the back as there is no structure to the soft fabric. End result? It all looks a little saggy arse. I may need to find a new more fitted pair....recommendations welcome!

Top: Celine
Shorts: H&M
Shoes: Chloe moccasins (old)
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James

As you may notice from the impossibly smug picture above - sorry about that! - I wore my Rouge Coco Shine in Boy today. I have had it for a while.

I know for a lot of you this is one of your favourite nudes. On my zero pigmentation lips it comes out with a subdued mauve tone but...I think I like it. Not going to lie to you these Rouge Coco Shines are becoming a "thing". I looked at Monte Carlo last night and I think it's going to have to be purchased.... :)

Hope you are all having a lovely Friday!
2 Apr 2012

The lipstick that is as dull as dishwater.

Now there are some lipsticks that get makeup addicts very excited. For example, the likes of MAC Impassioned and Show Orchid are colours to wow. They are a statement of the wearer's confidence, and whilst they require careful application, the end result is inspirational.

Chanel Candeur is not in the same bracket/league/universe as the likes of that lot. It's a fairly dull neutral pink that glides on to present a glistening light nude-esque finish. You don't need any skills or tools to apply it - it's the no brainer.

And I love it.

There is something of the NARS Sabrina (RIP!) about this colour. If you have naturally light pink pigmentation all it's going to do is bring out that tone and leave the impression of fuller and more moisturised lips. It feels extremely lightweight and is more than a balm than anything else. And that's key. How they can legitimately market this as a lipstick I have no idea...

However, it's a great low key product that because of the rose scent and colour sits somewhere between By Terry Baume de Rose, MAC Hue and a YSL Rouge Pur Shine.

Part of me is tempted to head back to Sephora to stock up on this. But at the same time I know there are lots of other products that also fit the bill and have even stronger moisturizing and longevity properties. MAC's Calm Mode is something I think about often - yes I really do!! - what a perfect product that was and why it's not permanent I will never know.

So where does that leave us? Well all I can say is that Chanel Candeur is something I am very much enjoying this moment in time...another one of those dull as dishwater nudey pinks that punctuate a particular time in my life :)

In other news...

I am enjoying slightly less insipid colours in my accessories - namely earrings and nails. Hello neon accents!

Hope you are all having a lovely Monday :)