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24 Feb 2013

OOTD/Foundation Review

A post of two parts...

First the OOTD!

I am pretty sure you have seen this dress already. I think this post may be its last.

I wore it yesterday to lunch and although a skater style is very flattering after a big meal it also threatened a bum reveal in breezy weather (hence the need for a blazer).

Still I do enjoy a white dress and with Dubai temperatures heading back up to "Uncomfortable" I am definitely on the lookout for it's replacement. I think this shift dress by Topshop may be the one I am looking for (Link!).  It's slightly more classic in shape - although appears just as short on the mannequin....

To order or not to order?

A recent ASOS haul, which resulted in a whole bunch of weird, has made me a bit nervous. I think I will hunt it out in stores....

Dress: Topshop
Blazer: Zara
Bag: Celine (the sunshine bag :)
Sunglasses: Celine
Shoes: I did wear them...leopard print kitten heels from Zara!

The Foundation Review

Make up wise I wore a new blush (MAC Fleur Power - super pretty!) and a new foundation.

I wasn't meant to buy this but somehow I did and the lady at the Giorgio Armani counter in Harvey Nichols was absolutely lovely...so I got the concealer and another blusher as well :)

It's of course the Maestro formula, a foundation billed as the "next generation" of face product, guaranteeing luminosity and skin perfection in a consistency that feels like oil.

At first I absolutely hated it for the following reasons:

1) The feel of the product itself makes my skin crawl. They talk a lot about the magic oils in the promotional blurb but those allergic to silicones note that this contains TONS of them. That's why it does feel a little greasy to apply.

2) The precise science of application (3 mini drops is all you need) confused the hell out of me and I typically applied x3 more than I needed which resulted in major cake face.

3) It's drying - if you don't moisturise well this will cling to those flakes. Definitely one for the normal/oily complexions.

4) If you don't shake this well before application it just won't work. The other tip is to drain the pipette of product before you shake...it's a bit of a process but means that what you use on your face is properly mixed before application.

It has been a learning process for me but once the amount had been worked out, the feel of it dealt with and the skin well moisturised before application, I ended up with the most natural foundation ever. It's like MUFE HD but I feel like it gives a more diffused finish to the skin. I would call it "delicate satin"....not glowy but not flat matte either.

You should know that it won't cover spots and it won't give you full coverage. It will however make you look like you have fantastic skin and it will last a good day (on normal skins) without looking patchy or oxidising. So...if you are looking to spend a lot of money on a natural finish foundation then this is the one for you :)

PS. I got this in number 5 - I am still in my "I-hate-fake-tan-because-when-I-apply-it-I-always-end-up-with-blotchy-looking-feet-and-hands-phase" so this is my skin colour match.

Have you tried this? What did you think? 
18 Feb 2013

The H&M Flared Skirt

If I had a style resolution for 2013 it would be this: "class it up".

I have definitely been guilty of buying things in the past because I thought they were "interesting" or "unique". These items typically end up in my wardrobe, tags in tact and never worn. They might be too young, too trendy or just not the type of look I feel comfortable with. It's such a waste of time and money and so I silently vowed that this year would be an upgrade in how I dressed.

I call it the Lisa Vanderpump effect (I proudly watch far too much Real Housewives). I want pencil skirts, tailored shirts, quality knits, delicate shoes, great bags, clean skin, glossy hair and...well, you get the idea. Ultimately it's about quality - and that doesn't have to just come from high-end stores. Case in point - this H&M skirt.

The feel and weight of this is fantastic. It could easily come from the likes of Reiss but instead cost me about £30. I wore it yesterday and loved it. The shape is very voluminous and full because of the sturdy fabric. This could be hideously unflattering but when worn high and with a blazer creates a feminine silhouette. I have to admit that without the blazer I felt really self-conscious because of the flare in shape...I think it just takes some getting used to. After an hour or two I felt completely comfortable and enjoyed the drama that it creates.

On the opposite end of the cost spectrum are the shoes. A voucher from farfetch.com made the purchase possible - otherwise I would have just looked at them for the rest of my life in envy/lust. They are probably the most beautiful shoes I have ever owned. And hello kitten heel! :)  I ordered half a size up as I heard that the front is cut low and narrow. It turned out to be a perfect fit. Unfortunately I now want to own the flat version.

Skirt: H&M - Link!
Shirt: H&M (as featured in the uninspired OOTD I last posted)
Blazer: Topshop - Link!
Shoes: Valentino
Bag: Celine

I have my sister and family staying with me at the moment so the photos were taken by George - my nephew. He did a good job I think and he didn't even question the weirdness of me getting him to take my "Outfit of the Day" :)

Before I leave you, a quick book recommendation. I am currently reading The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. It set me back 20p on Amazon but is so far a cute, funny story of a rebellious old man who runs away from his old people's home. It's a little bit of a dark comedy but very much a book that rests in the "feel good" category. I recommend!
15 Feb 2013

The Animal Print Shoe (and makeup haul!)

I have wanted a gaudy animal print shoe for some time. I think they are wonderful and add a bit of "spice" to an uber-sloppy outfit like the one I wore today.

The problem though is finding the right style. I really like to be able to walk in heels and so I do tend to gravitate towards the kitten heel.

I know. I know. Some find them abhorrent but I don't care and I am going to embrace them. They give a teeny bit of height and elegance - just don't wear them around cobble stones.

The perfect pair was found in Zara and let me tell you in advance - Zara is going to be a problem for me this Spring/Summer. There are so many lovely looking shoes, dresses and blouses on offer - not even the pissy customer service can put me off.

I wore them today with an outfit I will call "The Uninspired". Dark, drab colours but in my defence, comfortable :) This also features a new blazer from....Zara. It's slightly longer in length and I like that for a change...sometimes you just want to cover your bum, you know?

Shirt: H&M (also doing fantastic things for Spring...love the shirts - perfect work/leisure attire for a good price.)
Jeans: Topshop
Blazer: Zara - Link!
Shoes: Zara - Link!
Bag: Celine

Before I run off to get ready for sundowners (a staple activity for every Friday!) I wanted to give a quick preview of some makeup that I hauled recently from the Selfridges website. I got a little overexcited at the prospect of buying into the Aerin brand - partly because it's new to me and partly because I want to be effortlessly beautiful and wholeheartedly believe that buying "stuff" will lead me there.

From the sneak peek and play I have had this morning I can definitely say that this is a brand for those seeking subtle enhancement (think Bobbi Brown's approach to makeup rather than Illamasqua's) and wanting it wrapped up in pretty packaging. Naturally I gravitated towards the lipsticks first and I can already tell that Garden Path and I are going to be the best of friends :)

Have a great Friday all!
8 Feb 2013

Quick OOTD...and Zoya giveaway winners!

What a slacker I have been about announcing the winners for this contest! I do apologise and if I could pluck out an excuse it's that I like to try and draw the winners fairly, deleting dupes from an entry list list and then using a tool like random.org to select a number that then coincides with the list.....etc.

Anyway, the delay is over and the three winners are:

1) livingchel
2) alice657
3) MessyHairxoxo

Email me your details ladies - buynowbloglater@gmail.com - and I will get the sets out to you!

Of course, thank you for everyone that did enter. I think the most common nail effect that we liked was the glitter nail - a look that has high impact and feels fun. I did also like the mention of studs on nails, made by a couple of you. If I had a steady hand and some patience I would definitely give that a go :)

Now onto the OOTD! This was not worn today but earlier this week at an event held by theoutnet.com.  It was actually "cold" in Dubai terms and there was talk about needing a hot chocolate to warm up. To be clear it was about 18 degrees celsius outside - ie, not cold.

I wore my very favourite top from ASOS and if you can keep a secret...I have worn it three times this week.

You have seen this on the blog before but I cannot emphasise enough how much I love it. Peplum tops can sometimes be very structured and create a cartoonish shape. That's great - but sometimes you want to feel softer and this has a nice romantic flow to it. ASOS did a great job and for that reason I recently hauled more tops...including this one - Link! - a possible new favourite? :) I get the parcel on Friday and I am already chomping at the bit to try it on :)

Top: ASOS - Link!
Blazer: Zara (old)
Jeans: Current/Elliott
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Bag: Celine

It was not a good idea to pair the bag with this outfit. I knew in advance that I would need to hold it away from my jeans at all time in order to prevent denim transfer. Keeping a 2 inch minimum space between bag and jean makes you look stupid and feel awkward.

I do however now feel completely justified in looking for the perfect pair of white jeans...any ideas on where I should start that search? :) 
6 Feb 2013

The Wildfox Take 10 Project

Q: How do you style a Wildfox jumper with a big glittery heart on it?

A: Not easily!

I was sent this jumper by Self Service UK as part of their "Take 10 Project" which has an obvious nod to Valentines Day.

I agreed to take part in this because it is a little challenge for me to sport something that I wouldn't typically gravitate towards. I also loved the concept of the project itself.

As the title suggests it involves 10 bloggers, with each blogger receiving the exact same item. The idea is to style and photograph it in a way that stays true to your personal style.  I always think its interesting to see how different an item can look on one person versus another.

I wore this in the only way I could - by prepping it up with a light, sheer shirt and a tweed blazer. This was a combination that toned down the loudness of the jumper and made it feel more wearable.

And you know what I realised when wearing this? People smile at you in shops and on the street. The big glittery heart causes a whole  "good mood" exchange. When you are feeling stressed about how much work you have to do that soon makes the jumper feel pretty special.

Jumper: Wildfox
Shirt: Whistles (old)
Blazer: ASOS - Link! (in the sale :)
Jeans: Current/Elliott
Shoes: Isabel Marant
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Celine

Now to the good part - go and see the other bloggers and how they wore the jumper on the Self Service blog - Link! 

You can also vote for my picture as your favourite if you like but there are some AMAZING submissions...

Anyway, how would you style this jumper?

4 Feb 2013

Skincare update

My skincare ran out, my skin shrivelled up and so I did what anyone would do and ran to Boots, scanned the aisles and ended up with a range from a company that I can't even pronounce convincingly - yes, welcome to my NUXE ("newks"?) haul!

I quite like this brand and trust that they will deliver (their clarifying mask with rose is one of my all time favourites!). Admittedly all a skincare company has to do is hint at a French heritage and I blindly invest without question - the same can be said for anything that talks about "radiance" or "anti-fatigue".

I got three products and together they have managed to:

1) Create a nourished/hydrated feel to the skin; and
2) Achieve that without any irritation.

The chosen three were:

1) The serum - Serum Creme Fraiche de Beaute - Link!
2 ) The day moisturiser - Creme Prodigieuse Anti-Fatigue Moisturising Cream - Link!
3) The night moisturiser - Creme Prodigieuse Nuit Anti-Fatigue Moisturising Cream - Link!

The routine goes like this: Cleanse/SK-11 Facial Essence/Serum/Cream (day or night)....x 2.

After 3 weeks of usage I am really pleased that I hauled NUXE. I feel like it's a brand that performs in a way that defies it's price tag. It would never be defined as "cheap" but when you look at the skincare landscape and the price that some brands levy at us for a pot of cream, this feels like value for money. I also feel secure in a way because I know that I can: a) afford to buy this again and b) it's accessible at any time in my local Boots.

I do think the star of the show is probably the Serum Creme Fraiche de Beaute. If you have never tried a serum before, or are looking for an upgrade, I would get this. I like that it's super lightweight and that it contains hyaluronic acid to soothe and bolster the hydration levels of the skin. I also like that it leaves a satin finish with no stickiness and you can apply it to both face and eye.

The day cream gets second prize. This I like because it feels quite rich but yet is not one of those creams that interferes with makeup. I have sometimes been put off by moisturising because I don't want my slap to slide around and go all Picasso on me. Like the serum this sets in a satin finish. The nightcream of course is rich and will leave your face a little shiny but if you wake up with happy skin who really cares?

Before I end the NUXE discussion I have to of course mention the lip balm - Reve de Miel. This has been RAVED about and unfortunately I am going to sound like a broken record by saying that yes, it is fantastic. I know, I know...how boringly predictable.

BUT there was a time, right at the beginning, when I HATED this product and couldn't understand why one pot was sold every 28 seconds. I just hated the texture and the little granules. I didn't think the scent was anything to get excited about and I felt duped. So I relegated it to "night lip balm" status - ie, not something that I would reach for during the day but begrudgingly swipe on before I went to sleep.

This is still how I use it but here's the thing....a few weeks after buying the first pot and resenting each night time application I noticed how my lips felt overall. They weren't as dry during the day, there were no flakes and they definitely felt healthier. Now it's a ritual to apply this. So let's say hello to pot number two! :)

Have you tried NUXE before?

Am I saying it right when I say Newks?  :)