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29 Aug 2012

The ASOS Plate and Spike Belt

So there I was on the ASOS site looking for a nice, classic belt. One of those timeless pieces that will see me through seasons and years...

Did I find things like that on the site? Of course! Did I buy them? No!

No, I got sidetracked by the "trendy wendy" new additions and added a plate/spike combo affair to my basket. I am confident that it will last at least one season before I either:

a) Impale myself (or someone else) on a spike; or
b) It falls apart (it was £15 after all)

Until either of the above happens I plan to wear this a lot. It's a waist-cincher that breaks up a lazy day black outfit and whilst I don't want to come over all Tyra on you, it's most definitely"fierce".

And it's not rose gold - shocker!

Belt: ASOS - Link!
Dress: Topshop - Link!

What I would say, if you are thinking about buying it, is that the sizing is a bit weird. I got the Small but it's not as tight as I would have expected it to be. I was pitching for a close fit and restricted breathing but this definitely leaves room for expansion. Just check the measurements before you buy I guess....which of course is something I didn't do!

Bvlgari Jasmin Noir

Now onto something else... because I didn't want to upload a post just about a belt...a new/old perfume!  Bvlgari Jasmin Noir may have been out for 4 years but I am only just discovering it now.

The bottle is lux and so is the scent. It's one of those sultry, feminine perfumes that dissipates softly. It's not going to accompany you through your day in the way that Black Orchid and the like might....this is much more subtle. If I had to describe it in one word it would be "alluring" - other reviewers online frequently describe it as "sexy". Hey, here's hoping!

When you first spray it, it's pure Jasmin and Sandalwood and the dry down stays quite loyal to that. Of course after a few hours I can't even smell it - which I typically resent - but the strange thing with this one is that other people obviously can because I have had so many compliments on this. I think it's just the soft subtlety that is fairly non-offensive, crosses over every season and so appeals to most. As a compliment-whore I am obviously wearing it at every day/night opportunity.

I used to refer to Bvlgari as Vulgari - so original eh? - but this has completely removed any preconceptions about the brand. Jasmin Noir is just.....well, lovely.

Onto the nosey parker question, what perfume are you wearing at the moment?

PS. My next post will be beauty related. I have had quite a few requests for that and so a lipstick review is heading your way very soon :)

Hope you are all well! 
24 Aug 2012

The Topshop Open back Shirtdress

Hello everyone! Finally, a post!

So to update you, black seems to be the shade of choice for me at the moment. I got two orders in from Topshop and ASOS and it's basically all black - with the odd nod to a metallic embellishment.

I think out of everything I ordered, my two favourite pieces are pictured below (although there is also a belt from ASOS that I MUST share) anyway...the two items are:

a) The sleeveless open back shirt dress and
b) The studded flats.

First, the shirt dress. This is one of those double layered affairs: slip underneath and a sheer gauzey material on top. There are buttons down the front and a triangle of openness at the back which will, just so you know, reveal a little bit of bra.

It could be belted but I just like the way it flows without any interruption and the silhouette has a nice mix of pretty and weird. It's also a pretty good transitional piece. Although tights are not going to be part of my wardrobe for some time, if I was back in the UK I would definitely pair this with some opaques and inappropriately high shoe boots. I seriously miss wearing opaques....

Now the shoes? Rose gold studded ballerinas in soft black faux leather? Yes please...! I predict absolutely pounding these to death and many of the studs falling off but in the meantime they look amazing, are made of a super soft material and have not caused any blisters. They were also £28 but I think, like the dress, look like they are worth a lot more than that in real life. In my book, that's a win.

Onto the photos....

Dress: Topshop - Link!
Shoes: Topshop - Link!
Bag: Alexander Wang
Clearly visible bra: New Look

As you probably twigged from the inclusion of the obligatory smug face picture I am currently somewhere nice for the weekend. I have worked like an absolute dog this last week (hence my blog silence) and so I am lapping it up with plenty of gin and tonic and crappy books for company. The current crappy book in question is 90-Day Geisha by Chelsea Haywood.
Definitely aiming for a blogpost tomorrow...possibly featuring more black so I am sure that you will all be on the edge of your seats until then ;) 

17 Aug 2012

Long skirts and Converse

I bought this skirt from West LA boutique in Sunset Mall, Dubai the other night. I loved the floral print, the way it flowed and the fact that it was one size fits all - gotta love that! I didn't even know who it was by until I got home and saw the Brandy Melville tag. Then I got a bit excited because it's one of those "YouTube" brands that I hear North American girls talk so much about - including Tricia...check out her video here - Link! :)

I love the whole look of maxi skirts with Converse so decided on a dressed down affair when I went to dinner in Jumeirah. It was also an outing for my birthday present - AKA the Alexander Wang Rocco in black with rose gold hardware.

I have to say that this bag is quality...the metal detail, the feel of the leather...it's just special.

Before seeing it in real life in Seattle, I had only ever spied it on blogs and honestly, photos just don't do it justice. When I saw it in Barney's, on display, the striking hardware hit me and I absolutely fell in love. I fell in love with a bag. Cue lots of umming and aahing about buying it - in the end I didn't because I didn't feel that I deserved it. You can imagine then how I felt opening up a massive shopbop parcel on my birthday :)

Yes it is about 100 times heavier than a Focco and one arm may end up over-developed but it's a beauty.

Now of course I am perving over other Rocco's...the Mercury with silver hardware? Swoon! Link!

Skirt: Brandy Melville (cannot find this on the website so I think it's an old summer number)
Tshirt: T by Alexander Wang
Sunglasses: RayBan
Shoes: Converse
Bag: Alexander Wang - Link!

Apologies that the pictures are so dark - this was just before the sun went down! Here are some other pictures of me wearing it at an event the other night for the shop Rivaage! And PS. the love affair with the feather printed Topshop trousers continues :)

I hope you are having a lovely week :) 
14 Aug 2012

Rose Gold: Still not over it

Okay here's the thing with this: I adore rose gold. It's metals made pretty. Anything with a hint of it gives me a little burst of joy. I know its incredibly overdone and it's popularity does annoy me but I have a reserved seat on the trend bandwagon - and I am not getting off. Just looking at my latest accessory purchases you can see that rose gold is the one underlying theme that underpins all of them. It's sort of amazing/pathetic so humour me and let me run you through the items...

1) The Alexander Wang Pochette

I am not a clutch person. They feel too girly and/or I never know how to hold them. I am awkward. But at the same time I appreciate that they are handy. When I go out at night I don't always want to take my caravan of a handbag with me.

Enter the Pochette!

I saw this in Barney's Seattle and did a double take. For me this is perfect. The tough grainy leather with rose gold hardware creates the perfect balance between practicality and femininity.

I almost didn't buy it because I was about 5 minutes into my holiday and not that keen to spend serious cash but....I am so glad that I bought it. I have used it every day since. It carries my phone, keys, money, cards, passport (you never know!) and the odd pink lipstick with lots of room to spare.  For reference, in terms of size it's about the same size as an iPad.

I tried to find it online in this colour combination but could only find black and silver hardware still that's quite pretty too :) If you are anti-clutch (typically) or looking for a handy wristlet to carry your stuff/travel documents in then this is perfect.


2) The iPhone case

I love the occasional novelty phone case - bunny ears anyone? - but I can't get away with that kind of thing for work. I mean I could but I would feel stupid in front of clients...

This phone case is pretty dull in comparison to the major blinged out novelty themed ones on the market but I actually think I like it the most out of all the ones I have ever had. It's a metallic rose - they call it red copper - is super reflective (and therefore can also double as a mirror - in the picture above you see some crazy reflection of a fence :) and has a detachable bottom which is perfect as I charge my phone via a dock and don't have to therefore remove the entire case every day. I don't know what the coating is on this but it also seems to be scratch-resistant...which is good because I chuck it into my swamp of a handbag.

Yeah, it's not super duper exciting but it does the job - it's pretty and practical.


3) The ring trio

I got this little battered metal set in American Eagle for about $10 and was very happy with it.

Sure, my fingers might turn green but until they do this looks pretty stacked or spread out over three fingers. Can't beat the occasional bit of costume jewellery!


Pssss: Lots of high street stores have versions of this - a kind reader told me that River Island also have a similar set...and it's cheaper!

4) The nail polish

This was my only nail polish purchase made whilst on holiday. I honestly shouldn't have even bought this as I am quite Gelish loyal and so polish feels pointless. However, just LOOK at it! It's of course Essie's A Cut Above. I need to work this into my life in some way....sparkle rose gold talons feel like a good thing to do.

NB: Photo also features a hair tie accessory from H&M....I got this a couple of weeks ago and I wish my ponytail was fat enough to do it justice! Instead it rests limply on my head :(

5) The birthday gift

...and so we come to the last item...ooh what could it be? ;P

I will do a proper outfit of the day featuring this soon (hopefully tomorrow) but all I can say is WOW! There is a slightly boring back story about this that I will no doubt share with you as well... :)

So that's the accessory round-up...rose gold. Still not over it! Are you? 

PS. Have so many posts planned - lets hope I can create some sort of schedule and stick to it.

Hope you are all well!
12 Aug 2012

Back to brown

I dyed my hair. 

So why did I do it?

I felt too beige: beige clothes, beige bag, beige lips, beige skin and beige hair. There has to be some contrast somewhere and whilst I loved my initial colour, the toner went faster than a space shuttle. What that left behind was a lot of beige highlights that were starting to go brassy in the sun.

The options then were return to the hairdresser for more toner and/or lowlights OR dye it dark brown. I fearlessly went with the latter. This was partly because:

a) I am fickle
b) Putting a dark dye over a ton of highlights creates some nice multi-faceted colour that isn't flat or dull;
c) From previous experience I knew that it would lighten and fade nicely; and
d) I used foils to try and preserve some of the "flashes"of lighter pieces peeking through the bottom layers. I loved this effect when I got it professionally done last year so I tried my amateur best.

The brown dye came courtesy of Schwarzkopf.

I bought it in the local convenience store and it cost about £5. I almost feel like the last sentence is a shameful confessional.... :)  Anyway, Schwarzkopf is a brand that I really rely on for this sort of job. Clairol is also great - L'oreal however promises brown but almost always delivers black.

I tried the Perfect Mousse in Chocolate Brown. As a general rule when choosing a dye I keep in mind that it will almost always go darker than the guide on the reverse of the box....so I choose a shade lighter than I intend to go.

I slapped this on for about 35 minutes - the guide is 45 but my hair is so porous I can speed up the process.  It's a foam consistency which I like in some respects - it feels easier - but hate in others - I seem to be messier than ever and end up with a stained neck and random blotches on my arms. Lovely.

And the end result is pictured above. I do like it - as ever, going darker feels like coming home. My skin and eyes looks clearer and I am less beige overall. Makeup is also a joy - lipsticks like the L'oreal Caresse in Lovely Rose are back on my face - and I am piling it on. The flashes of colour are there (although you can't really see them pictured) and the colour is a lovely warm dark brown. I am quite excited to see how it fades out over time.

I think the lesson learned here is that ombres are fine and dandy - and in fact fabulous for brunettes. But don't get carried away!

My hair has undertook an adventure and now asks for lots of moisture and a mini holiday away from hair dye. I think I have to now oblige. End of story :) 

PS. Some of you on Instagram were asking how it got so long. I was thinking about this and there are a few things:

a) I have waited years for it to be this length - so it didn't happen overnight. I did use some hair pills to help the growth - I think the Phyto ones were the best. Hair Sublim a close second.
b) I only use heat about twice a week - I wash it every 3 days and then use the conical wand very quickly to curl large sections.
c) I try and use nourishing products as much as possible - Phyto and Redken are brands that serve me well for that. I also just tried a sample of Kerastase Ciment Thermique - woah. MUST PURCHASE.
c) Clutching at straws now....for the last 4 months or so I have religiously had a protein shake for breakfast and since starting this both nails and hair have stopped breaking. It's possibly related as an increase in protein is always cited as one of the main ways to boost hair growth.

Hope that helps although reading it back, it probably doesn't :)
10 Aug 2012

The Palm Tree Playsuit

I enjoyed wearing this whilst on holiday but let's get this straight - it's far too "cutesy tootsey" for me to ever feel comfortable wearing it outside of beach/Vegas type scenarios. I am pretty old after all!

What I will say about it though is that:

a) The print is fun - mini turquoise palm trees.

b) The shape is retro - I can't help feeling a bit Lana Del Rey in this..."I wish"...it's that flare at the hips and the corset top that makes that happen.

Other things to note:

a) The cups are small. I fit because of course I have a limited offering in that department but if God or the surgeon blessed you with plenty then you may have serious boobage - this may not be a bad thing.

b) Unlike a lot of playsuits, it won't disappear (if you know what I mean) when you walk. It flows nicely and looks like an indecently short skirt.

I had fun wearing this and of course I had to wear it with my favourite Tom Ford, Wild Orchid - it's a very necessary match :)

Unnecessary matches however were the shoes I paired it with (sandals - out of shot)...they were all I travelled with. In a similar vein I don't think the blazer works (white would have been better) but it was all I had with me and performed as my comfort blanket - good in air conditioning and good for toning down the Barbie factor until I felt a bit more used to wearing so much pink.

Ignore my hair.

Playsuit: Topshop - apparently sold out online now (it's in the sale) but it might be lurking in your local store
Bag: Celine
Blazer: ASOS
Sunglasses: Prada

In other news:

* Beverly Hills Nannies is filling my trash TV void until a decent series of the Real Housewives returns to our screens. Get it on watch-series.eu.
* I am reading a pretty heavy but very interesting book - In The Garden of Beasts. It's about Hitler's rise to power as told by the American ambassador in Berlin: part truth and part fiction. It is of course a little disturbing and full of eery suspense - it's not a part of history that anyone comfortably "enjoys" - but I like the blend of history lesson and human interest story. I am also reading it in actual book format - as oppose to e-format: and not going to lie, the turning of actual pages feel nostalgic and cosy.
* My skin is TERRIBLE but I am dealing not with spots - I am dealing with dryness. I blame the flying and dry air. I have tried smothering it in thick creams but it doesn't seem to be improving. It's so difficult to combat, isn't it?  If you have any tried and tested product recommendations please let me know!

Until tomorrow.... :) Hope you are all well!
7 Aug 2012

The Holiday Dress

I may have lugged 20kg of goods with me in my suitcase but the last few days have seen me relying on one cheapy, Forever 21 dress for day and night.

This always happens with every holiday - I get fixated on one easy item and forget about the rest.

I got this in Forever 21 in Seattle and it ticked all the boxes:

a) The back detail - you know I am a back detail sucker by now! Despite the bra/no bra dilemma this often presents I can't resist it.
b) It's a pretty eyelet/broderie anglaise finish on the fabric. This means scalloped edges and intricate detail that tricks me into thinking that it looks more expensive than it is.
c) The swing shape - there is a nice flare to this...not too much to make me feel like I am in fancy dress but enough to create a girlish, summery effect.

I had to get a size up as I couldn't find my regular size but all that means is that it looks best when worn with a belt.

I have paired this both with and without a blazer and with sandals and grey boots. I absolutely love it. Forever 21 really did well this month! :)

Dress: Forever 21 - Link! 
Belt: American Apparel

The holiday is nearly over now and then it's back to Dubai and 40 degree heat. Yay? :)

As you may have seen from my bitch tweets I couldn't wait to leave Las Vegas. My mistake was staying there too long - the Strip drives you crazy in the end and I there was something about it that made me sick. I have been there before so I knew what to expect and I cannot really articulate why I wasn't feeling it this time, but I wasn't. Perhaps it was the mix of obnoxious idiots at the pool, the smell of sick in the hotel (Encore) corridors or the consistently bad service....can't really blame the wait staff on the latter point though -  if you look around and see the type of clientele they have to deal with every day you bet that I wouldn't be Mrs Chirpy either.

I almost feel like a traitor for saying negative things about Vegas because you just don't hear it that often but I have to be honest. It's a great place for 2 days but I would put a cap on it for that amount of time. After that it's time to get back to the real world - and in my case the fresh air and friendliness of Seattle :)