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30 Nov 2012

Makeup haulage!

I am excited to present a little makeup haul recently completed at Sephora and MAC.

Let's start with a self-made quad from MAC. These are all repeat purchases for me and for the hell of it I got the pan versions and slapped them into a palette.

It's a neutral selection - of course! - of the 4 colours that I have used the most over recent months. If I was to market it in a collection I would call it something slightly incomprehensible but fitting like "Warm Smoke". The colours are lifting, add delicate definition and when combined creating a pretty, smudgy, neutral eye with subtle shine. So here we have...

* Top left: Nylon -  a beauty for inner corner action. This has replaced Crystal Avalanche for me because whilst it adds that pearl effect, it's a softer finish, and ultimately more flattering.

* Top right: Era - this is a dark nude with a touch of gold that I use to blend the crease with. It's one of those shades that I never hear anyone talk about, yet always comes in useful. It's like Buck by Urban Decay but infinitely prettier.

* Bottom left: Mulch - terrible name, great colour. I apply this on the outer half of my lid and lower lashline but it's just as easy to wear by itself. Think warm chocolate with a hefty helping of bronze. This could just as easily be replaced by Sable - still a big part of my life.

* Bottom right: Mythology - I will never get enough of this shade. It's a rose gold-esque colour that when blended well with a 217 (because you need to get rid of the chunk) becomes shiny and pretty. If there is one colour that I will buy for the rest of my life this would be it.

I will try and snap a good picture of these shadows applied but I highly recommend all of them.

Here's to the Warm Smoke quad :)

And now for the Sephora stash...

So here's the thing - I used to be anti-Benefit. I refused to buy it because I instinctively felt that they spent more money on branding than they did on product.

Then I got Coralista and perceptions changed. Despite that, its not a brand that I look at every time I shop for makeup but Sephora had a special offer and then this happened...

Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation is wonderful. It really is. I got it in the shade "I'm So Money" Honey and I would describe it as medium coverage with a "natural finish". It's definitely not as luminous as the likes of Chantecaille Just Skin, or as "skin-like" as a silicon based products (FACE Atelier/Armani) but on my normal/combination face it looked "kinda natural" - in a hide all my flaws kind of way. And yes, it even hid my scab!

But before I get carried away, I have heard some negative comments about this:

a) The SPF 25 causes flashback...true, this can be a problem but at the same time most of us don't get papped all day, every day so I suppose SPF should be valued more as a strength than a weakness.

b) Longevity - it is oil-free but not everyone thinks it lasts well. I see lots of negative comments regarding this from oily-combination skins.

I think these are legitimate moans so lets see how this plays out but after today I have to say that I love it - and I also love the fact that Benefit is an accessible brand. It's not crazy expensive and its available in lots of places. Brands that you have to order online in advance of running out require foresight...and I don't have that...so being able to run out and grab a good foundation is a good thing for me.

The same can be said of mascara - and here's where we start to talk about the famous They're Real.

This has lots of promising claims and I have watched/read reviews with interest but the reason I stick to MUFE Smoky Lash is because it's great from the first application. I find very few mascaras are like that. Case in point, YSL Faux Cils. This is a product with cult status and whilst it's good, it takes a couple of weeks of "drying out time" before it gives the effect I am looking for. The same can be said of MAX Factor's False Lash Effect - something I also picked up recently and have injected with air in the hope that it works better. And that whole "waiting time" process irritates me.

Today was the debut for They're Real and with trepidation I applied.

("Trepidation" added for dramatic effect)

I am happy to report that I got excited on first application. Obviously I did my obligatory two copious coats (and maybe one for extra measure) but I loved it! Thick, curled, defined...this is what I am talking about!

And after that massive diatribe about my haul all I can say is that it's so nice to find products that fit. It's what always appealed to me about makeup - applying something on your face and feeling fantastic afterwards. This is especially true when your skin/or a feature makes you feel self-conscious.

So these are the items that I currently love that I am sharing with you - what can you share with us?

What makes you feel transformed and beautiful? Tells us so we can feel the same :) 
27 Nov 2012


When I got the Shopbop email, informing me that there was 35% off practically everything on site I started breathing quickly and moved faster than a tramp on chips.

I contemplated one of their vintage Chanel bags but ultimately decided to be "sensible" and buy a small bag that would be good for casual days and nights.

Meet the the Alexander Wang Rockie in Oyster.

This is what I would define as "cute". I love mini versions of larger bags and have major crushes on both the Celine Nano Luggage and 3.1 Philip Lim Pashli mini satchel.

The Rockie is of course the Rocco made smaller and, thankfully, lighter. Even packed with my DSLR, wallet and the obligatory lip products, it's still easy on the shoulder. The Oyster shade is a murky grey and a great neutral - particularly when off-set with some delicious pale gold hardware.

I am going to justify this as a both fun and practical purchase! Yes, that is what I am telling myself :)

Blazer: Topshop
Top: ASOS - Link!
Jeans: Topshop (still my favourites :) - Link!
Bag: Alexander Wang - Link!

Sorry I have been absent from the blog.

I am going to be completely honest here...I had a scab/burn on my face and felt Rough, with a capital R. Am I vain? Hell yes!

This burn, I think, was caused by me being naughty, picking a juicy spot and then using a Zelens Bio Peel pad on my face - no doubt rubbing it into spotty area with great zest.

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

I have been down this road before - a certain over-zealous use of Mario Badescu's glycolic acid cleanser in the early 2000's - and it looked exactly the same.

The past week has been a compelling reminder that concealer, no matter how opaque,  doesn't work well to hide scabby textures. I have just had to cope (#firstworldproblems) and simply hope that nobody thought I had herpes.

On that note, happy Tuesday :) 
17 Nov 2012

Topshop, Topshop, Topshop

I need to apologise. This post is pretty unoriginal and I am going to finger point at the following reasons:

a) It's me in my standard comfort zone uniform - jeans/blazer/shirt/big bag/sunglasses; and
b) It's more or less one brand from head to toe.

This should be very embarrassing but I am here to defend myself.  I like every item worn and so have come to terms with the lack of originality and fully forgiven myself :) 

Here are some reasons why...

1) The Jamie Jeans. As I hinted in a previous post, the jeans are amazing and plenty of reviewers on the Topshop site echo this sentiment. They aren't jeans is the true sense - more of a soft jegging - but Topshop came good with these. They are a deep wine colour, high-waisted and ankle skimming which makes them perfect to wear with heels. If you do buy these expect something very flattering and forgiving in a shade that will make you feel very seasonally appropriate. I am definitely buying more colours/prints in the Jamie style. It's a bit of revelation.

2) The shirt. Okay this is a standard affair that can be found in almost every high street store but I liked the little details that it came with. The gold tipped collar is duped on the sleeves which is a nice touch and the top gold button means that you have to wear it done up in order to do it justice. This is pretty sheer but nothing that my nude strapless Wonderbra cannot handle!

3) The shoes....the shoes! I bought these online and definitely under-estimated how much height they would add. There was some teetering. Still they lived up to all other expectations. I love the pointed shape of the toe, with a deep, angular cut to reveal toe cleavage and the pin stud detail looks intricate and well executed up close. I also love the burgundy base colour with gold - it's such a nice combination for this time of year and takes on a different appearance when viewed close-up and from a distance.

So here's the OOTD!

Shirt: Topshop - Link!
Blazer: Topshop - Link!
Jeans: Topshop - Link!
Shoes: Topshop - Link!
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Rayban

As I hinted earlier on Instagram this was also a day for a new lipstick debut. This is very exciting for me. Nothing is better than an untouched lipstick out for her maiden voyage!

Meet MAC's Saigon Summer, a light tangerine/pink cremesheen finish number. I tried to think of the word that best described this and all I can come up with is "juicy". It's just the right amount of bright and the perfect way to brighten up my Saturday without making too much of a statement. After all, I played it safe with my outfit and my lips surely need to do the same :) 

Happy Saturday everyone :) 

16 Nov 2012

The ASOS Crop Trousers in floral print

I wish I had fabricated today's OOTD. I would have loved to have worn these lurid trousers with my rose gold thin strapped heels and a loose tee, deliberately tucked into the waistband in an effort to appear nonchalant.

This might still happen in the future but for the purposes of this post this is how I actually wore them - "plebbed" up with some flats and a blazer in an effort to shroud the loudness. And these trousers are loud. 

They are from ASOS and not something I would typically gravitate towards but since my printed trouser dalliance in the summer I am now open to wearing brights on my lower half. I also felt a bit of a strange pull towards them when I saw them on the website with three strands of thought flashing through my mind:

* Graphic floral print
* Slightly ombre finish
* Bright colours

= "add to basket"

In real life I would describe them as a "Monet" - a little bit of ugly up close and little bit beautiful from far away. 

Just to warn you my love for the floral trouser doesn't stop here either - I got a pair from Topshop that are slightly more subdued and wearable. If you kind of like the idea of patterned trousers then I would start with those - the palette is much more seasonally appropriate - Link!

Trousers: ASOS - Link!
Shirt: ASOS
Blazer: ASOS

Jeez alot of ASOS there...

Shoes: Tory Burch - Link!
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Celine
Nail polish: Gelish Shake It' Til You Samba
Perfume: Etat Libre d'Orange's Divin'Infant (more on that brand later...)

I have done a bit of makeup shopping recently, although it's just a very restrained purchase of one bright lipstick and one base product from MAC. 

They have finally promoted Face and Body foundation over here and that always brings back good memories for me. Seeing as my Chantecaille is officially done and I don't have any other foundation products that give me good vibes at the moment, I thought it was worth a trip down memory lane. I am quite excited to use it tomorrow actually :) 

13 Nov 2012

The Topshop Ponte Blazer

This is an outfit combination you have seen countless times. On one hand I thought "why bother"...but then on the other I realised that I just like the shades and the individual items featured so...bother I will!

This is what I wore for afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton. It is a very genteel hotel so I tried to channel a bit of pastel prep for the day. It felt right.

So out comes my favourite ever Zara skirt, my favourite ever ASOS shirt and my new Topshop blazer. White, pink and blue....it felt fresh.

The blazer is, as ever, a recommend. It's one of those blazers that actually feels like decent value for money - and that's not always the case in Topshop. It's powder pink and made of stretchy ponte fabric to fit close to the body. I ordered the Petite version as I like a cropped arm and length but they do this in Tall as well if you want a longer line. I am quite looking forward to wearing this with dark denim...it's interesting that this is part of their Autumn/Winter line but I think a soft colour like this can do a lot of favours in colder climates when clothes are deep, dark and sometimes too harshly toned.

Apart from the blazer the highlight was CAKE and classic scones with a wicked amount of cream.

Shirt: ASOS
Skirt: Zara (old)
Blazer: Topshop - Link!
Sunglasses: Celine
Bag: Celine

Book wise I have been slacking a bit. I finished Landfall and the ending had me so disappointed. It was crafted to lead up to some big reveal and although it was macabre it was just...disappointing.

Now is Good however is a fantastic read. It's one of those books you start on page 1 and immediately know that you will read in a flash. Don't be put off by the subject matter - a 16 year old dying of cancer doesn't sound appealing but the story is well-paced and the characterisation good. I have actually laughed reading it and I will almost certainly cry by the end. It's an emotional roller-coaster and THIS I recommend.

Happy Tuesday all! After a 10 hour day I am EXHAUSTED!

I am feeling drab so it's off to the bathroom o fake tan and then to bed where it will all come off on the sheets...story of my life! :) 
10 Nov 2012

The Sausage Dog Ring Holder

As soon as I saw this it was a done deal. It's a sausage dog for goodness sake!

It now hosts my "dainty" (oh how I have started to hate that overused word) ring collection and a couple of pairs of my most worn studs.

I have received requests to show my jewellery collection and I thought this would be a good post to give you an insight. Necklaces are a different story and once I have untangled most of them (oops!) maybe I can run through those as well...

So here we have the collection as it stands today....from the top everyone!

1) The Pearl Studs - I will never get over how good these look on. It doesn't matter whether they are the real deal or from H&M, pearls look good. Just don't go the whole hog with a twinset and matching  necklace.

2) The Diamond Studs - whenever people ask me what to buy in Dubai I always reply "diamonds". It makes me sound like Joan Collins but buy anything like that here and when you take it back to the UK (or any other country) it will be worth twice (if not more) the price...a very sensible investment I think. I also say this because very little else actually works out cheaper. These were from Cara in the Gold and Diamond Park - the only place to go.

3) The Infinity Knot Ring - there are so many of these on etsy. Here's just one link for you - Link! This fits just above the knuckle and the rule of thumb when ordered a knuckle ring is to go maybe 1-2 sizes down from your regular ring size. This is such a simple ring but I really love wearing it - simplicity often makes the most impact.

4) The Hamsa Ring - Link! - I love my little amulets...tell me that something is for protection and I will have my wallet out in a blink of an eye. I got this recently and it's a pretty rose gold ring with pave Swarovski crystals. It catches the light beautifully and is extremely delicate.

5) The Arrow ring - I picked this up at a market in Dubai and I have tried to find a seller online....but failed. I am sure eBay will bring up the goods - it's rose gold plated with more Swarovski crystals. I wear this as a knuckle ring.

6) The Love Ring - Link! - I get so many questions about this and mine is by Sydney Evan. It's the original Love ring and has pave diamonds but to be honest, in the years since I have got this countless copies have emerged and they are practically identical. I would go for something like this - Link!  - it's the prettiest and most delicate one I have seen for under £40.

7) The Heart Ring - Link! - this is by Lola Rose. It's a pretty little trinket - a gold plated heart that says "Made with Love". So it seems that protection and anything heart/love inspired will also suck me in :)

8) The Evil Eye Ring - Link! - there I go with another amulet...I ordered this recently and it's adjustable so sometimes I decide that my thumb needs protection and other times it's an index finger :)

9) The Inner Message Ring - Link! - ah I love this and it was a purchase totally driven by a "Pin" on Pinterest.

The premise behind this ring is so original - on the surface it appears a simple, boring (but good quality) silver band. On the inside however is a message - it can be "always" or "marry me" but I stayed true to the heart theme. It wears tightly on your skin and leaves that impression behind when you remove it. It wasn't cheap but I like to support artists with ideas like this and I thought it was special. It cames from Korea and was shipped to me in about a week.

It would make a nice gift for someone special - I gifted myself which is a very sad reflection on me :)

So after all that I think my all-time favourites are probably the Love and Infinity rings and when I think about it that's the combo I wear most often. They are the two that feel weightless and have the most visual impact.

And regarding the collection...don't worry - I never put all them on at once. I did it for the photo below and I think it's safe to say "daintyringparty" will never trend.

PS. The Sausage Dog holder is from ASOS - Link! - and was £15.

I should probably think about getting another one because I just ordered another little ring this week...

A mini bunny for $10 from etsy - Link!

I either need help or acceptance because this obsession with dainty rings is just never going to end, is it?

9 Nov 2012

The ASOS Sheer Peplum

Sometimes you order stuff from ASOS and the reality is much better than you ever imagined. Of course there are also times when the parcel turns up and you think "WTF was I thinking" but I am glad that this top is an example of the former rather than the latter!

I ordered this because it was Peplum meets Victoriana. Flowing and flattering but still with a bit of structure. And its absolutely perfect. The double layered chiffon peplum flows and moves as you do and whilst it is sheer it's not one of those tops that requires a vest/cami underneath. A nude bra will suffice because the front pleats hide a lot of the nakedness.

It is from the Petite range but I just ordered a size up and it still worked out. They have this same top in Nude/Navy in the "regular" sizing but for me it had to be in white.

I wore it with Topshop Jamie skinnies in maroon - more of those later because they are AMAZING....who needs to spend $200+ on jeans when you have stretchy and forgiving Jamie's?

Top: ASOS - Link!
Jeans: Topshop - Link!
Bag: Celine
Heels: not pictured but Christian Louboutin
Lipstick: MAC Barcelona Red....this is a really lovely colour...red/raspberry toned and with a good sheen.

It was actually my mum that took the pictures seen above and she was the first one to grapple with my new lens. This was our test shoot :)

I was nervous about this because the lens was a lot of money and I really wanted it to make a difference to the end result. So far I love it - crisp pictures with fantastic depth of field that don't need any editing. And I am obsessed with depth of field. I have obviously also taken about 100 of Roger but will spare you the ordeal of reviewing them :)

For references I have a Canon 550d body (this is now discontinued) and the 85mm f/1.8 lens purchased via Amazon - Link! Another lens that I rate very highly -and one that is much cheaper - is the 50mm. All the photos you have seen before this have been taken with this - Link!

Have a happy Friday all! I am off to stuff my face at an afternoon tea...bring on the scones, clotted cream and cakes! :)
3 Nov 2012

The Topshop Fluoro Dress

I would describe this dress as "cracked out Lily Pulitzer".

It has a conventional shape and a pretty floral print but Topshop amped it up by adding the fluorescence factor. It is bright and the kind of brightness that brings out any semblance of a tan that you may have.

I absolutely loved wearing this yesterday. It's fun and it's true what they say about wearing colour - it's impossible to feel miserable when you are wearing brights.

I appreciate that this is not going to work for those living in the Northern Hemisphere but Topshop have this in their sale and there are rumours that it's been reduced to £10 in stores...so at that price I think you could almost justify an early summer 2013 purchase :)

If you do buy this though please be aware that the arms are cut deep and the waist pretty snug. I bought my regular size but these are two design traits that I noticed immediately.

Dress: Topshop - Link!
Sandals: Nicoli (random brand purchased in Battuta mall in Dubai)
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Celine

I also had to include the picture below....I felt that it represented a walking cliche... coffee cup, oversized bag, impractical dog walking outfit and mini dog. It made me laugh :)

In other doggy news I took Roger to the groomers today. This is always a bittersweet moment as although he doesn't mind me combing him,  he is not keen on people messing with his nails or glands. He returned slightly traumatised and with a severe puppy cut. I have been drowning him in cuddles and kisses since :)

Happy Saturday all x
1 Nov 2012

The Topshop T-shirt dress

I bought this dress during a mad dash in Topshop a few months ago. I remember seeing it and thinking that it was:

a) Unusual
b) Covered in beautiful mother of pearl discs
c) About £20 in the sale

I actually never even tried it on until this Wednesday when I wore it to an event at Boutique 1 for Project D (AKA Dannii Minogue and Tabitha Somerset Webb's clothing line). I loved it instantly. Perfect length (not too modest not too slutty), delicate slit up the side (slit is really a terrible, awful word) and just a nice casual T-shirt dress shape.

I did pair it with a blazer because the event was held in the mall and I didn't want to feel too "out there" as I trundled through. In a way this is a shame as it has pretty cap sleeves that you will never see :)

Project D itself as a brand is very dress-centric and everything is clearly crafted and designed to suit a wide range of shapes and sizes. They use classic, glamorous shapes and apply different textures and prints. I was actually very impressed with the quality and have my heart set on a little fitted gold sequin jacket.....hello Father Christmas? :)

I did meet them both for a photo call and as you can see below Teresa and I got snap happy in store with our respective outfit of the day pictures...no shame!

Dress: Topshop and no longer in stores. For those super keen I suggest eBay and search for something like "Topshop sequin T-shirt dress"- for example... Link!
Blazer: ASOS (no longer in stock), similar here - Link!
Bag: Celine (Laura 4 Celine 4 evaaaa)
Shoes: (was wearing) Christian Louboutin Soso

As you may be able to tell from the above pictures, I did trim my hair a little. Did I book into a hairdressers like a normal person? Hell no! I simply got my scissors and softly cut the dead ends off. And despite my hack job it looks and feels so much better. I don't recommend this approach but sometimes I take action and nothing can stop me :)

Next post will be about another dress. From Topshop. I am clearly on a roll :)