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29 Aug 2013

The Oasis Shirt Dress

This shirt dress is lovely....its a great transitional piece, featuring a berry tone that is bright enough to be summery but dark enough to tie in with Winter trends. It has gorgeous rose gold detailing along the shoulders and the buttons on the sleeves.

But...it's absolutely crying out to be worn with tights, boots and a military style coat/leather jacket. Then I think it would look spectacular. And it would also have the added advantage of balancing out the shortness.

For now though it has to be bare legs, flats (heels would be better but whatever) and soaring temperatures. I feel like every single post I reference how hot it is in Dubai...like you don't already know...but the last few days it has been wickedly humid. It makes you feel gross/retain water like crazy.

Anyway, I love shirt dresses. They work whatever the season and have that nice balance between formal/casual. The high street has some great ones at the moment - Oasis, Vila, ASOS...they are all at it. French Connection's version is next on my list. The colour/shape...everything about it is perfect and if I get it will be the first thing I have bought from the brand in about 5 years.





Dress: Oasis (I bought this on ASOS - Link!)
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Sunglasses: Celine
Bag: Celine

I played with makeup early this morning...here is the messy evidence :)



There has been a haul of some nude lipsticks (old habits die hard), an expensive hair product by Oribe (which I really don't think is worth the price by the way...I am the party pooper in this case) and some dabbling in Dior. I cannot wait to share all my rambles and reviews with you :)

Have a great Friday all :)

25 Aug 2013

Chanel Le Blanc review (and quick OOTD)

I am surprised that I love this:



a) I felt a bit bamboozled at a Chanel makeover and bought it on a whim;
b) I am not really a "primer person". I either don't like the texture/don't feel that they do anything noteworthy/feel that they make my makeup appear heavier.

But love it I do. This is the Chanel Le Blanc Light Revealing Whitening Makeup Base SPF35 PA+++ and out of the three shades I was prescribed Rosee to awaken my tired, dull skin.

The reason the makeup artist/salesman extraordinaire told me to get this was as follows: whilst it is a white base, and slightly lightens the skin on application, when you put a foundation over the top you end up with luminous and glowing skin. Simple colour theory. And I have to say this kind of works.

The "whitening" scared me slightly at first but I haven't noticed any removal of pigmentation (more's the pity) since using it.  I love the SPF 35, I love the smell and texture - no greasy silicones but instead a smooth and light liquid formula - and I love the fact that it stops the gathering of product between my eyebrows and nose. It seems to just fill in all the pores and help the subsequent products glide over the skin.

I am not sure on the distribution of this - I haven't seen it in the UK before but I have seen Le Blanc de Chanel which when I think about it, is extremely similar to this in effect but without the whole "whitening" feature which is more appealing to Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Neither would be fantastic for oily skins - zero mattifying -  but for those with dry/normal skin types who want to amp up the glow factor then I think you would enjoy a dabble.

The packaging is exactly the same as the Vitalumiere Aqua which although diddy and compact also makes it impossible to know when the product has run out. When it does however, I will probably be back for more.

Unless there are any other primers that you can recommend of course...? :)

Onto the OOTD...

I thought I would whack in a quick OOTD for you as a "bonus extra". This is also to make up for my blogging absence this weekend :)

I did wear jeans today. I am in denial and pretending that the weather is cool enough to do this. Seeing as I practically live indoors I think I can just about get away with it - it just makes the process of taking photos outdoors slightly sticky and uncomfortable.





Jeans: Current/Elliott
Top: Topshop - Link!
Necklace: Banana Republic
Sunglasses: Celine
Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim mini Pashli - Link!
Shoes: Christian Louboutin

This outfit counts as a sneaky introduction for my new bag. I wanted something black, structured and small enough to serve well as a day/night bag. I am in love with it. The leather on Phillip Lim bags is textured so can withstand some serious wear and tear.

I am going to enjoy bashing this about and if you think it's a good idea, can do a separate handbag post showing it in action :)

See you soon!
21 Aug 2013

Hair down/Hair up

Just a quick OOTD post for you today - I am definitely due some beauty posts and they will be coming next! - featuring some of my favourite shades: white/black/nude.

Safe you say? Abso-friggin-lutely!

I pretty much love all the pieces.

* The jeans are incredible comfortable. Current/Elliott are big on stretch.
* The vest is light and airy and is long enough to cover the crotch area...I have a real thing about this.
* The blazer is a classic, comes with pockets and is the right amount of fitted versus oversized.

And I had to wear my new shoes :)

Something I also made sure I wore was my Mitchum anti-perspirant.

Too much information? Well sorry but it was hot!

You can tell that this was the case because on the first batch of self-timer photos I left my hair down.  A decision to put it in a quick bun was made after about 10 seconds. It's for the best anyway. I have been doing Bikram every day and the constant washing (and not bothering to blow dry) makes it look like cack anyway. Up dos for the next 10 days!






Jeans: Current/Elliott - Link!
Vest: ASOS - Link!
Blazer: ASOS - Link!
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Celine
Shoes: Christian Louboutin

See you soon!

Only one more work day until the weekend for me! Hallelujah!



19 Aug 2013

Yawn...

More ASOS order wearing went down yesterday. I am definitely one of those people that receive a package and then proceed to wear it all at once. I clearly get very excited!

We had a new necklace, bracelets, dress and shoes.

Now the dress is a good one. I may go back and buy this in navy because although it's skater style it's long in line and therefore does not expose bum nor make me feel too young when wearing it. I love the boat neckline too. 

I did consider wearing little boots with this...that would have looked cooler....but I opted to put on my new birthday shoes - flat nude spiked Pigalle's from Christian Louboutin. I was so excited to receive/wear these. Okay so they don't come with the vertiginous heels that made the brand famous but I really wanted the flat version because I actually wanted to wear-and-walk in them. Expect to see these a lot! :) 








Dress: ASOS - Link!
Bracelets: Orelia - Link! and Azza Bijou (middle one)
Necklace: ASOS - Link!
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Bag: Celine
Sunglasses: Celine

Hope you had a good Monday!

17 Aug 2013

Brunch OOTD

Brunches are a bit of a Dubai ritual. Every Friday the hotels put on a huge spread, charge you about £100, and in you go, to fill up on rich food and drink.

I am not big on buffets - I get overwhelmed - and drinking in the daytime seldom results in anything chic (at least for me) but every now and then it's nice to go along to one.

Yesterday, Simone and I tried the Movenpick IBN Battuta Gate sparkling brunch. Every single time I go in that hotel I take a picture of the lobby - the lanterns mesmerize - and their brunch is held directly beneath them.




The dim lighting creates a flattering atmosphere and various stalls are spread around offering dishes from the hotel's many restaurants. I think it was delicious...I say think because we were so busy talking that I didn't really get round to eating much. I had a cheese manakeesh (delicious), a cupcake and some desserts (always good) and far too many glasses of champagne. Oops.

I tend to overdress for brunches. I get carried away, don the glad rags and when I turn up to see other diners in relaxed jeans, get a bit jealous. I tried to balance things out this time - feel nice but don't overdo it. Or something like that.

The top is new and formed part of my ASOS haul. This was definitely one of those items that you add to basket as a gamble. It could be fantastic or it could be a polyester nightmare. This turned out so well. It's a lovely soft pink, works well casually or formally and has been worn 3 times this week. I may have also worn it today... :) That was £15 well spent!






Top: ASOS - Link!
Blazer: ASOS - Link!
Jeans: Current/Elliott Ankle Skinny - Link!
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban aviators
Bag: Miu Miu
Shoes: Valentino

Back to work tomorrow and also the start of a 14 day Bikram challenge. That's 14 classes in 14 days.

I think I can do this but it's going to mean a lot of hair washing, washing machine action and sore muscles. I am excited to see if I notice any changes by the end of it and whether intense practice will mean that I can actually hold a standing pose rather than stumbling out of them after 5 seconds :)

Wish me luck!

PS. Thank you for all the comments on the coconut oil post. I have learned so much and will be looking into jojoba oil and other "dry" oils to see if things can get even better!



15 Aug 2013

Updated skincare routine..?

Now I really love products. I like to see a counter with shiny tubs of magic cream and fancy balms - the whole skincare ritual is one that I find quite relaxing and at the end of the day I enjoy removing the grime and slathering myself in anything that purports to nourish and renew.

At the same time I do think the skincare industry is a bit of a con. I remember asking a manager of a well known high-end cosmetics store what he thought really worked out of all the ranges they sold. His response was immediate. It was "absolutely nothing". Even the items with 3 figure price tags did the most superficial amount of skin refinement, in his opinion.

Over the last few months I have noticed a surge in posts that talk about natural products. These posts typically talk about a back to basics approach to beauty. Items mentioned are the kind that you can pick up in a supermarket, at a fraction of the price that you would pay for an item from a cosmetics hall. The subsequent routines that people use them in are simple in approach. An oil to remove makeup and dirt and perhaps another oil to refine skin texture..if that. There is something really appealing about that. It's almost rebellious in a way because it subverts an entire industry and moves away from the type of products that marketers would have you think you are supposed to use. So I decided to give it a go. What's the worst that could happen?

Ominous words to mutter when it comes to skincare!

But here I am, almost 4 weeks later, after an experiment of sorts with coconut oil. This is me dipping my toe into the world of simple, natural skincare and all it took was a trip to the organic supermarket.



Now coconut oil is a confusing one. Some users report horrendous breakouts but then others emphasise the fact that it is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. These are the people that don't get spots from it and instead get super soft, happy skin. That would be me...so far.

I use this at night in the same way that I would Emma Hardie/Eve Lom cleansing balms. The only difference with application is that instead of enjoying the ritual of opening lux packaging, I dip my fingers into something that could, at the very best, be described as "utilitarian".  Massage it into your skin, see the makeup melt and then use a warm wash cloth to gently massage it off.

At first I didn't feel comfortable with only using this and applied Dermalogica's Dermal Clay Cleanser for round 2. I think part of that is not wanting to depart too far from my normal routine - the clay cleanser leaves my skin so fresh that it's addicting - and part of it is fear that the residual coconut oil needs to be fully removed.

I have since relaxed this and am trying to only use only the oil. I even dab a little bit on as a moisturiser and lip balm before I go to bed. Sure, the hair around my head is permanently lank and greasy but if I get smooth and plump feeling skin then it's a sacrifice that I will be glad to make.

You can use this for so much - shaving your legs/moisturising your hair and skin/massaging into cuticles/improving your immune system...it's powerful stuff. I am currently researching how I can blend this with other oils as I read that this often results in the most effective skincare routine.

Now I wouldn't say that I will never peruse the upmarket skincare aisles ever again - I am product junkie after all - but I am really enjoying this simplicity experiment. As I said before, there is something really appealing to me about it all.

What do you think? Would you/have you tried coconut/natural oils?
12 Aug 2013

Impulsive!

So there I was on my way to yoga when I thought I would pop in to the local salon for a hair extension consultation. 1 hour later I walk out with a load of new hair attached to my head.

That all sounds very impulsive but for a while now I have been thinking about going down the tape extension route. I have been there before and it was the only method I really liked. I have fine hair and was constantly paranoid of clip-in extensions and equally terrified of the more traditional bonding methods. Tape is great for those with fine hair - it's virtually undetectable and both application and removal are fairly easy. Case in point - the last time I dabbled I did it all myself.

This time however, I went to Nicolas & Jean in the Media One Hotel and got a professional application.

The requirements were as follows:

1) Match my hair colour
2) Give me volume
3) Give me nipple covering hair

Now I didn't bark out the final order but I basically told them what I wanted with a hand gesture - that "to about here" thing you do with your hands at boob level.

They used Hairdreams and this was the final result. I am really happy with the fullness. Sad ends be gone...or be hidden amongst some fakery!

As mentioned above, my natural hair texture is fine so achieving long lengths with healthy, full ends is unlikely to ever happen. Faking it is an easy way out and whilst I am sure there will be a little damage along the way, this is the quickest way to live out my mermaid hair fantasy.

For those of you who have no idea what I talking about when I say "tape extensions", it's exactly what it sounds like. You take a small section of your own hair and sandwich it between two small wefts of hair extensions that have a clear silicon-based tape at the top. Press them together and they stick...for about 3 months provided you don't drench your hair in oil. It looks something like this....



They are flexible so you can put your hair in a ponytail and the clear tape helps them disappear from sight.

I will definitely be back to Nicholas & Jean for blowdries. I have never seen so many women walk out with Victoria's Secret hair in my life.

I do love this kind of impulsive decision-making. I will keep these in for a couple of months and then who knows what's next? :)

Have you tried these hair extensions? 
9 Aug 2013

The Lace Waist Maxi Dress

This is one of those easy breezy dresses that could take you anywhere. That's what I thought when I bought it in Topshop the other day. I am a sucker for that sneaky lattice cut out action and I quite like giving the world a view of my ribs (or fat roll when sitting down :)

It's 100% viscose so creases like a mother if you get hot and bothered but on the plus side has a nice weight to it that makes it feel like a good value purchase.

It might look overcast in these pictures but its about 40 degrees and seriously sticky. Yuck. I am just longing for winter so that I can finally wear jeans again. I have started seeing those Autumn/Winter collections come into the shops and am salivating at the knits, leather boots and military coats. No fair!





Dress: Topshop - Link!
Shoes: Forever 21 wedges...still going strong - Link!
Clutch: Alexander Wang
Sunglasses: Celine

By the way, on my nails is the Dior Mystic Magnetics polish.





I have never tried that magnetic nail polish trend and Dior sent this to me after seeing my post the other day.

If I am completely honest I don't love the effect. It was easy to do - the polish dries incredibly quickly, you only need two coats, and as soon as you slap on coat number two you hover the dinky Dior magnet over the top to create the magnetic look. You know the drill.

However, I am not convinced...maybe it's too funky for a fuddy duddy like me who is getting another year older this month :) We will see....I think maybe this is one of those effects/shades that needs cold weather.

How do you feel about magnetic nails?
6 Aug 2013

On my nails: Dior Galaxie

I have loved the look of deep, dark nails ever since buying Boots 17 "Dragon's Blood" nail polish in my teens. There is just something appealing to me about reddened blacks against skin. It's also a colour that hides a multitude of uneven nail sins.

Despite that I haven't worn anything this dark for what feels like months. I have religiously kept to my pale pinks and bright corals but when I saw Galaxie I immediately felt compelled to slap it on...and you can probably tell that when you fixate on the cuticle area of my nails :)





This is part Dior's Autumn collection and it's a gorgeous plummy shade laced with pink shimmer. There is a slightly metallic finish to it which doesn't always excite me but I think dark shades get away with it quite well.

The lighting in these pictures does not accurately reflect the gloriousness of this. Take it out into bright sunlight and it's a different story. This blog post will give you a good idea.

I do like Dior polishes. You have already heard me talk about my love for a short, fat brush. It's easy to work with for my stumpy fingers. The fact that the formula dries quickly and lasts for about 4-5 days without chipping is also a reason that I can arm myself with as justification for spending so much :)

What do are you wearing on your nails right now? :)

PS. Apologies for the blog absence. You haven't missed much:

I have been:

* Hiding from the heat/humidity in my house or in my office at work.

* Waiting for Ramadan to be over. I have no idea how people fast here - it's amazing to have that much faith and determination really. The only impact it has had on my life is that my favourite coffee shops and cafes are closed during the day. I know, I know: "cry me a river".

* Going to bikram yoga. This is my new "thing". I am five sessions down and feeling fantastic. I did it before, many years ago, but feel very committed to it right now. The only downer is that my hair constantly looks like crap as I can't see the point in styling it if I am going to class. Any bikram bores out there? :)

See you tomorrow :)