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31 May 2012

A whole lot of nice

This is a bit of a compilation post. Rather than feed you lots of mini snippets featuring the items that I am currently loving I thought I would whack them together. I think I cover all bases here - beauty, clothes and perfume.

First up...


Elie Saab. I have longed for you.

I tried a sample of this in Sephora and the white florals bowled me over. Cheesy and true. It was weirdly addictive and I drained the samples. I waited until two perfumes were used up in my collection (aren't I good? :) and then pounced, securing a full-size bottle.

So what makes it special?

Well, nothing really. When I describe it to you, you are going to think: "...and?..." I will even admit that Narcisco Rodriguez is in the same family as this so it's not a totally unique perfume. However, there is something about it that makes me feel comforted when I spray it. It's sweet, warm, feminine and memorable.

The scent itself is strongly orange blossoms and jasmine with an undercurrent of honey which adds a gentle warmth to reduce the sharp shrill of the floral punch.

I know on some people this smells like bad room incense - it's strongly floral so if that's not your cup of tea avoid, avoid, avoid! 


This is one of those nail polish combinations I read about for years. All the magazines and generic women's fashion programmes on TV talked about the "Madison Avenue" chic manicure effect created when combining Essie Mademoiselle and Essie Ballet Slippers. It was apparently the epitome of groomed.

I read it so many times and yet I never branched out and made a purchase myself. I didn't even try it out in salons and honestly, that was a mistake - a huge error on my part. Huge!

I picked up the two polishes in Superdrug last week (since when does Superdrug sell Essie? Times are a changin'!), slapped it on with one coat of Ballet Slippers followed by one coat of Mademoiselle and it was a match made in heaven.

It's opaque, creamy, pinky nude. That's the only way to describe it. And more to the point it's the easiest nail combination to apply. Ballet Slippers has potential to be a streaky mess like it's cousin Minimalistic, but Mademoiselle, a soft, sheer pink, mitigates any risk of that. That's why they work together. And there is something about the tone that makes the whites whiter and the nails appear healthier overall.

This is probably similar to the Kate Middleton wedding day manicure - Essie Allue and Bourjois Rose Lounge so that's a valid alternative for you. In fact Rose Lounge probably gets pretty close to this all on it's own - an amazing product!

Peplum tops!

I instagram'd the black version of this top. I love it so much.

The shape, the material, the fit...everything is perfect and it's one of the only Topshop purchases that I have been absolutely thrilled with for months. I will do a separate post on the black one - it's the one that I would recommend out of the two - and I urge you to snap it up if you see it in stores.

Fun shoes!

I don't need to say too much about these shoes do I?

These Melissa/Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon's have been patiently sitting on a shelf for a couple of years, used more for decoration than footwear - that's what a big plastic statement heart will do for you :)

I have never actually worn them until last week.

I think I felt they were too pretty to wear but it's like hanging onto limited edition makeup just because you are scared to touch it: nothing lasts forever and you need to start using and wearing things you love now! (A little bit of impromptu Hallmark philosophy for you... :)

I did find that my average walking speed slowed down a bit when wearing them but they are, on the whole, comfortable. Honestly, I wouldn't really care if they weren't.

New sunglasses!

On my flight back I found myself buying another pair of sunglasses in duty free. Oops!

I justify this by the fact that there is not a day that goes by when I don't wear sunglasses over here...yeah, that sounds like a reasonable excuse for the ever-growing collection :p

So here are my retro, 70's inspired Tom Ford Leila's.

 ...the lenses are so big you can see the whole world reflected in them - or rather just me trying to surreptitiously take a picture. Hello!!

Can't wait to feature them in an OOTD very soon!

Other nice things that deserve a mention include: iced americanos, catching up on Tumblrs, American Apparel chiffon skirts, Nespresso, Splendid tees that I have had for 5 years+ and yet still feel like new, the thought of the Zara sale, air-conditioning, planning summer holidays, sleeping on clean sheets, Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy candles and my daily protein shake with oodles of frozen berries :)

End of ramble

What are your favourite things right now?
27 May 2012

Remember the sideways Hamsa?

More dainty trinkets and sideways necklace action for you :)

I blogged about this necklace a few weeks ago when I sourced some pretty versions of a Hamsa on etsy. Etsy is such a goldmine for independent designers and maldemer was one of the shops that I linked to. I never bought anything from there myself but I know that many of you did.
 As a thank you I received my very own and received it this week. I have worn it every day since. It's one of those items that is so light in weight you completely forget you are wearing it but just like the sideways cross it catches the light and glimmers in all the right ways.

Plus it's a double whammy of protection - evil eye and Hamsa rolled all into one. That's efficiency :)

I love easy jewellery like this.

I don't like having to remove everything before I go to sleep or take a shower - yes, I am a bit lazy -  so having something delicate yet durable enough not to either:

a) Choke me or
b) Turn my neck green

...is a major plus! :)

I think you can request to get your own made - there may be a wait for this but it's worth it for the grand total of $28!

Here's the etsy store - Link!

PS. Flying back to Dubai tomorrow night - it's always bittersweet. Part of me will miss the UK and part of me is looking forward to getting back to my flat. I am so glad that I managed to schedule this break during a week of fantastic sunshine though - England in the sun cannot be beaten :)  

26 May 2012

Hair and things

How nice is the weather in the UK at the moment? I leave on Monday but am lapping up the sunshine as I type because it's that moderate, nice kind of warm that doesn't leave you sticky and bitchy.

In other news I thought I would finally include some pictures of my hair, to give you a better idea of how the ombre turned out, and at the same time, show off about my latest eBay bargain: a Sass & Bide denim jacket which cost about £15 in some crafty bidding.

It's fitted, a rich, bright blue shade. I remember ogling this in Harvey Nichols many years ago, falling in love with the style but tutting at the price tag. To get it for such a great price is an achievement and I owe it all to waiting until the last 10 seconds before you make your bid. Nerves of steel required but it never fails - that and going in with a strange number: i.e., £15.43 rather than £15. 

As you can see the hair is quite a lot lighter in parts and the ombre has been taken higher. Not going to lie, part of me wants to now connect lighter pieces to roots, thereby sidelining the ombre and just going very light. I feel naughty when I say that out loud but that's my current thought process. We'll see...

Jacket: eBay (designer is Sass & Bide)
Dress: Topshop (current season - will do a separate post on this. Interesting print, funny hole beneath boobage area...wouldn't recommend.)
Hair: Attempted a poof. Semi-fail.

I will also admit at this point that I have been shopping - quite a bit. A little bit of Topshop, Zara, American Apparel and A LOT of Space NK. I went there for a makeover and will do a blog about products hauled...it's deliciously obscene. I did drink champagne during the makeover itself...maybe that's why I got carried away? :)
Preview picture above and I will say at this point:

a) The Rodial face mask product is INCREDIBLE
b) Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder is INCREDIBLE
c) Laura Mercier eye cream in Rose Gold is liquid MAC Mythology - and as you know for me this therefore equates to holy grail status; and
d) Shu Uemura blushes are...yes, INCREDIBLE.

Can't wait to share it with you :)  Enjoy the sunshine wherever you are! (hopefully there is some! :)
23 May 2012

Boutique 1 and Missoni Pre-fall 2012 preview

The sun is shining in the UK (hurray!) and I am going to post about cosy knitwear. That's the way it goes I suppose.

I went to the Missoni pre-fall preview a week ago. Held in the Boutique 1 store in Mall of the Emirates, the theme was afternoon tea. Cue lots of little tables dotted around the store, flower arrangements, mini cakes but curiously, considering the theme, no tea!

During the afternoon cake party then, models paraded around in the fall garb, gorgeously textured dresses and outerwear. 

The only way to describe the collection would be "cosy". Body-conscious dresses form the base, with an emphasis on leather accessories tightening the waist area. On top of that a blend of oversized heavy textured fabrics and fur trims: a nice balance of comfort and style that will undoubtedly come with a hideously high price tag.

Still it's nice to window shop  :)

I wore the ole faithful - Zara shirt and Zara skirt. I am also sporting a distinct lack of fake tan so my skintone may well be blending in with the ensemble.

Here I am pictured with the friends at my tea table. On my right I am standing next to a professional model - never a good idea for normal people like us is it :)

I am off to central London now...a makeover awaits! I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to this. My hair is lighter (better pictures still need to be taken!) the sun is out and I am ready for a bit of a spruce and a change.

Hope you are all doing well :)

PS. Two of the pictures come courtesy of Boutique 1 - visit their Facebook page to see more! Link!
20 May 2012

I got C-3PO nails!

I have wanted to get Minx nails for years. I remember reading about it in magazines and thinking "I am definitely going to try that one day". Well "one day" came last Monday and here's what they looked like.

Tasteful? No. Fun? Yes.

Minx is not nail polish. And it's not a gel. It's what the manufacturers describe as a "protective coating" for the nail. In other words it's a sticker - just like the ones that you can buy in the likes of Sephora and New Look. They are hundreds of designs to chose from - I went for one of the "safest".

I got it applied in a salon. I didn't really know what to expect but it's the same standard process - preparation of the nail, cuticle work etc - up until the application process. Here it's a combination of a little bit of heat and some careful shaping of the sticker to ensure that it fits the nail bed as much as possible.

It took about 45 minutes to get them applied and there's no waiting around for them to dry. It's straight out the door and into the sun where the reflective nails proceed to blind pedestrians/drivers. They are seriously striking - as someone said on Instagram, they are right "bobby dazzlers".

It was love on day one. I was excited to finally have truly metallic nails - nail polish just doesn't deliver in the way that Minx does. I actually got stopped by a woman who asked me what I had on my nails. Whether she was mesmerized by the tacky or just genuinely interested I will never know but still, that hasn't happened before!

However, less than a week after I had them done, I had to peel them off myself. The Minx site talks about the product lasting 14 days on fingernails and 4-6 weeks on toes. I am just not sure about that. They got ropey pretty fast.

I don't know how I feel about this. I did know that they wouldn't last in the same way that gel nails do, it's more of a "lifestyle" nail product - and one that changes to reflect your look of the day/week. I also knew that the sticker itself is susceptible to water and oil exposure so if you want them to last for days and days you have to effectively avoid washing your hands - in fact I was told to do this.

I did try and protect them as best as I could but yes, I did continue to wash my hands (seriously, I can't NOT do this) and so by day 5 the peeling at the tips was too pronounced to ignore. Luckily they came off easily and no damage was caused - they really are a protective coating as the marketing would have us believe.

So after my little experience I would have to conclude the following:

a) Minx looks amazing and unique - it will amaze women and baffle men.
b) It's fantastic for a special event or weekend - ie, something less than 3 days because after that they may/will start peeling.
c) The longevity no doubt hangs on a combination of how you treat your nails and the experience of your technician. I am not going to blame mine as the average length of time it lasts seems to be in-line with my experience. I did read of some people getting a UV top coat applied after application...that sounds sensible.
d) If I wanted to dabble in this again I wouldn't pay for the manicure - I would just go to eBay and buy direct from the many sellers. For £11 you get your own set and after that you just need scissors, a lamp and some serious patience.
e) I would love to get this applied to toes for the summer - I think that would look amazing.

Have you ever tried Minx? What do you think about the whole nail sticker trend?

PS. On my nails right now is good old fashioned nail polish - OPI Vodka and Caviar :) 
15 May 2012

Brunch and rambles...

This feels like a non-post as:

a) It's about a dress
b) It talks about my weekend which at this point feels like years ago.

Anyway...I plough on :)

So first of all, I did the brunch at the St Regis Saadiyat Island. This means wearing a dress, drinking champagne and eating lots of cakes.

I actually hate buffets - I always wander around, admiring all the food but completely unable to make a decision.

And when I do I end up with 132940349 different cuisines on my plate and most of them the cheapest food items. The buffet strategist will get oysters and lobster. Me? I end up with a plate of beige carbs - potato, bread and cake.

Then there's the thought of spending an afternoon surrounded by a bunch of drunk expats. Well, I pretend that's one of the reasons but truthfully it's because going to brunch also becomes synonymous with slipping into a champagne coma where I fall asleep at 3pm in the afternoon and waste an entire day.

Well despite this I gave it another go and made an effort - AKA wore a dress.

This old Topshop dress remains one of my favourite buys - it's about 2 years old now but the print is so pretty - watercolor love hearts or petals...either works - and I love wearing it. The shift shape is also very flattering.

Dress: Topshop
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Elizabeth & James
Shoes: Not pictured but my new heels! :)

...and some pictures of the brunch and the hotel!

It's seriously blissful there...

  • I had Minx nails applied yesterday. Whilst the results looked great on my day off, and I was happily throwing my nails around, I felt a bit of an oddity at work today. They do make me smile and they will only last a matter of days on the hands so I am not too disturbed by them. Nail experimentation is fun I suppose.
  • I also had my hair "did" yesterday and the ombre has been taken to the next level. Some parts of my hair are now VERY blonde. Well blonde for a brunette anyway. Photo to come - alongside a more comprehensive Minx review.
  • I am thinking of attempting Insanity - the crazily hard series of DVD's. It's one of those structured programmes from the sadists that gave the world P90X. I need to do something. I can no longer run outside comfortably due to the heat so this might be the answer. Plus I do get passionate about a structured programme....for at least a week :) Anyone tried it or willing to join me? 

New post tomorrow :)

13 May 2012

The Lace Skirt

I was meant to post this far earlier today but I got a bit sidetracked by the Man City match. Apologies!

This is my new favourite item from Zara.

Surely that is the phrase to describe anything from that store?

We have all said it - Zara is the sh*t this season.

Onto the item - I love this skirt for a few different reasons:

a) White is always a great shade to wear in the summer - it's fresh, light and makes me want to wear Marc Jacobs Daisy.
b) The lace print further compounds my desire to wear Daisy and skip around innocently.
c) It's the perfect length - not too short to be tarty, not too long to be plebby.

It's a little bit A-line on me and I know some people have a mortal fear of that shape but it's only very gentle curve outwards at the hip in this number - nothing to be afraid of.

All in all, you cannot ask for more from a skirt. And since buying it I have worn it about 3 times (in less than 10 days). In fact, I know for certain I will also wear it tomorrow.

I typically pair it with shirts in a pastel colour. It feels all preppy and comfortable and the cotton combo fights summer sweat. Yes, sorry to burst the bubble of "glorious warm days enjoyed in Dubai" - this is the reality of summer of round here. Sweat and crap hair.

PS. These pictures were taken at the St Regis Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. I went for a mini-mini-break this weekend and I absolutely LOVED the entire experience. It is one of those hotels built for luxury but in a completely unpretentious way. I will post one other outfit post from the weekend and here's the sneaky Instagram preview - link!

Shirt: Zara - Link!
Skirt: Zara - Link!
Bag: Celine

Getting my hair done tomorrow - exciting! At this moment in time I am dipping into more balayage. Looking forward to the outcome from the colour and the loss of some pesky split ends from a much needed cut!

Hope you all had a great weekend!
8 May 2012

(Probably) the best heels in the world

This post is pathetic because I have only worn these shoes a day but I am completely in love with them.

I adore everything:

  • The height - 100mm is big enough for my 5ft 7 inch frame
  • The colour - a pretty nude that doesn't drain from my fair skin
  • The open toe - toe cleavage is hot. Or something.
  • The fact that I can walk in them - mobility is in this season.
  • The comfort factor - I look normal when I walk in them because my feet feel like they are cushioned by the platform.
  • The red sole - not going to lie, the red sole does add an extra element. Brand whore? Yes. Simple as that.

I have one other pair of Christian Louboutin shoes and comfortable they are not. They are the Simple pump and whilst they look smart they are unbearable to wear. I actually hate putting them on due to the toe pinch and discomfort.

I wanted another shoe for work and play - something that would be versatile enough to fit in both kinds of environments. Coupled into that I also wanted a shoe that would work in hot weather - 40 degrees celsius round this neck of the woods now.

Sadly for my bank balance the perfect pair were found in Christian Louboutin in Mall of the Emirates. But as soon as I tried them on it was a bit of a Cinderella moment. Practical and pretty - they reminded me of a super comfortable platform heel that I used to love from Nine West.

It's love and if I hadn't depleted my bank account already I would go out and buy every shade possible.

Its like something has clicked and the perfect shoes has been found. Telling the boy this does not make any sense - to him a shoe is a shoe but oh no, we all know different, don't we?

If my dream flat is my Tory Burch (cool or not I love them) then my dream heel would be this - the Christian Louboutin Soso 100mm in patent nude. I know for some this is a piddly heel but for me it's just enough.

What's your dream shoe? :)

PS. I am sorry this is a post just about shoes :) Forgive me just this once!
6 May 2012

Blazer good, playsuit bad

I think this post was originally intended to be about my new Cheap Monday playsuit.

I say originally because after wearing the playsuit yesterday I can't say I love it or would recommend it. It's that polyester material that makes a crinkle sound as you walk - cue self-consciousness - and the crotch area hangs super low. I so thought I would love it as much as my Cheap Monday shirt dress but it's a no from me. It just looks a bit weird.

Thankfully the Zara blazer pulled the outfit back from total disaster. This was something I picked up a month or so ago. It's a soft white colour with lace detail all over the fabric. It's super light to wear and has just the right amount of tailoring.

I know they do some trousers in the same fabric and I tried them on in the hope of becoming the ultimate in matchy-matchy but as always with Zara, there was weird excess fabric around the hip area. Boo!

Anyway, here's what I wore yesterday and as the weather is getting humid, the hair had to be tied back.

Hair, as with makeup, is feeling jaded. I have an appointment next Monday and I am definitely getting an inch lopped off but what to do about the colour? More balayage all over in an attempt to be sunkissed or dye it all chocolate? I really don't know so it's going to be one of those instinctive decisions I make on the way to the salon.

You can help me if you like - what direction do you think I should go in? :) 

Blazer: Zara - Link!
Playsuit: Cheap Monday
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James

So my lucky UK readers, you get a Bank Holiday weekend! I am very envious - even if the weather is cold, there is something to be said for being cosy indoors and enjoying a well deserved day off. For everyone else, hope you had a great weekend :) 
4 May 2012

Sod it and wear leopard print

I have been working like a woman possessed this week. Possessed with deadlines that is. This meant very little fun and very little blogging. I hope it eases up over the next few weeks but the signs are not good. I shall try not to bitch and moan too much - I have a job and that's a blessing etc. - but boy, am I tired.

So in order to get back into the blogging swing of things I thought I would post up a quick outfit of the day. This is what I wore when I eventually made it out of bed to get a mani/pedi and gin and tonic - the latter being absolutely essential of course.

Blazer (yawn!), very old top from Forever 21 (can I call it vintage?!) and some leopard print shorts.

Oh yes, the leopard print shorts.

I have agonized over this particular Current/Elliott print for months. I loved the jean version but sort of instinctively knew that I wouldn't feel comfortable with a full leg of leopard. Then I spied the shorts on shopbop.com and I swooned. The grey and faint print almost takes them into neutral territory and whilst they might not seem like a practical choice I plan on getting a lot of wear out of them. In any event, I shall christen them The Sod It Purchase. :)

Blazer: Zara (lace print - current season)
Top: Vintage F21 :)
Shorts: Current/Elliott
Shoes: Tory Burch
Bag: Celine
Bracelets: Evil eye from a market in Dubai and a By Sophie Hamsa
Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James

Oh and make up wise these days I have found myself using the following:

Chantecaille Just Skin - eeking out the last few drops of the last tube I have left. Every time I use this I am reminded why it's worth the price. Considering buying in bulk when I pop back to the UK at the end of May but every time I add to basket on Space NK I cringe at the total. On the one hand it's worth it, but is it really THAT worth it?

MAC Print eyeshadow - I LOVE this for the outer corner. It's a dark grey that immediately makes your eyes look delicately smokey. I am not normally a fan of greys but I HIGHLY recommend this. It's so soft and softly smouldering - perfect when paired with warmer shadows.....yes, Mythology :) May upload a pic over the next few days....

MUFE Smokey Lash in Brown - Brown mascara? Really? Yes! This was a complete accident - the sales assistant gave the wrong colour and it was only when I went to apply it for the first time that I realised it was brown. Cue screwed up disappointed face. EXCEPT after a few weeks of use I can say that I love this. Smokey Lash is always good in my books but the brown seems to perform even better? Volume, curl, longevity - it's got it all and comes wrapped up in the darkest brown/black pigment.

Apart from that all other parts of my face routine are feeling a bit drab and dull. I fancy a change and am tempted to book in for a makeover to feel a bit refreshed. The only hesitation I have is choosing the right counter and artist....I have had many makeovers in my time and whilst some have been fantastic (Becca, By Terry) others have been a disaster. We have all been there I am sure - blackened eyes and starkly contoured cheeks. Yikes.

If you have any recommendations of places/people to see in London for some makeup direction let me know :)

...and after that ramble, how are you all doing? :)