Monday, March 31, 2014

March empties

March was such a fun month for me with my parents visiting Dubai, my birthday and doing various lovely things!  We're already now a quarter of the way through 2014-incredible!

I had SO many empties this month-I was even shocked myself when I dug out my 'empties box' yesterday!

As usual, rather than discuss them all, here are the standouts.  I do have some posts on my blog about the other products-especially the skincare so I will link them also below.

Standout 1-Shiseido Pureness Matifying Compact

I actually bought this in error when the SA in Bloomies gave me the wrong product.  I wanted the setting powder but this is the powder foundation.  However, because it is quite light I used it to set my foundation by swirling a big brush in it then buffing it onto my skin.  It gives a really nice matte effect to the skin without making it look flat.  The powder is quite soft and creamy so didn't look cakey or powdery on the skin at all.  I can see me definitely repurchasing it!  It is quite full coverage and is probably similar to MAC Studio Fix powder foundation.

Standout 2-Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist

The smell of this hydrating toner was amazing-fruity and light and a real pick me up.  I love the heavy glass spray bottle.  The bottle offers a powerful spritz of toner which absorbs into the skin instantly so you don't need to wait before applying your next layer of skincare.  This was my first Jurlique product and won't be my last!

Standout 3-Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel

This is my second tube of this-the last one was in my Feb empties post.  This cleanser is the first cleanser in years that once finished I have immediately purchased and used another one.  I absolutely love this light gel cleanser that turns into oil then milk upon application.  It's pretty much holy grail status for me-the only problem is that I love trying new things and tend to switch up cleansers often but I will always have one of these in my stash.  You can read a full review here.

Standout 4-Sara Happ lip scrub

Ok so the Sara Happ scrubs are pretty pricy for a lipscrub (around the £20 mark) BUT they really are well worth the investment because a) they are amazing and b) they last forever!  I find this scrub to be so much gentler than the Lush counterpart, sloughing off dead skin really easily.  I recently saw Shruti from Missy In The Mirror do an excellent post on the scrub, it's well worth a read if you are considering a purchase!

Standout 5-Glamglow Supermud

I love Glamglow!  It's everything I hoped it would be and is a great once a week deep clean for the skin!

I have had the black and the white version and I personally love both but I would say the white version is milder on the skin than the black version-the black version definitely made my skin tingle more and has a grainier texture to it.  I reviewed the black version in full here and a mini review of the white version here.

Standout 6-Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye

One of the best eye creams I have ever used in terms of visible results and a brighter eye area.  This is a light serum/gel which smoothes and hydrates the eye area and absorbs quickly.  I have already purchased another one.

Standout 6 (obviously I mean 7-thanks for pointing this error out James)-Living Proof Prime Style Extender

This light cream has been a bit of a game changer for my hair.  I use a tiny tiny blob raked through damp hair with my fingers before blow-drying.  It's very light and isn't sticky at all.  My hair is so smooth and sleek afterwards but without looking at all greasy.  I almost don't need to use my straighteners.  My hair stays tangle free and smooth and shiny all day.

You can read about the Perricone MD Blue Plasma, the Zelens cleanser, Biologique Recherche P50W and Laura Mercier eye cream in my AM and PM skincare routine post.

What have you used up this month?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Powder-Product Rave!

So you can see from the title of this post this is a product rave!

I went literally crazy wild when Charlotte Tilbury launched her own make up range last year (you can see my wild in the aisles buying spree here) but to be honest I have found the products to be either really good (Dolce Vita Luxury Eye palette and the Lipsticks) or just not up to scratch (Colour Chameleon Eye Pencil and the uber shimmery Cheek to Chic in Love Glow)

But from first use the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Powder is one of the goodies!!  But first up-Charlotte Tilbury-what is with the longest names in the world for each product?  Just no need!!!

The powder is incredibly finely milled and seems to instantly smooth, mattify and blur the skins imperfections when you apply it.  I have shade 01 Fair but there are two other darker shades in the range.  It's feels very light on the skin, isn't cakey in the slightest and doesn't  settle into lines on the skin.

It has a slightly illuminating effect but don't think this is similar to the effect you get from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders which tend to have a little bit of a more 'halo' effect and a slightly more shimmery finish.  This is much more of a setting powder-perfect for setting make up in the morning and a great base for something like the Ambient Lighting Powders.

I have a slightly concern about how long the powder will last as it doesn't seem to have that much product in the compact-the packaging is a very lightweight rose gold disk with a large mirror and Charlotte Tilbury embossed into the inner palette.  It looks very swish in my make up bag!

This powder costs £33 and can be purchased from Selfridges

Have you tried any of the products from Charlotte Tilbury?


Friday, March 28, 2014


To celebrate hitting 600 Bloglovin followers (wowzers thank you!), 200,000 page views and almost 300 GFC followers I am hosting a giveaway!  You can win an Urban Decay Naked 3 palette in all of it's rose toned glory!

For a sneaky peek, here is my review of the palette plus swatches here.

To enter just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.  This giveaway is open internationally and will run for a month.

The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of the giveaway ending and must respond within 24 hours with their postal address.

Good luck and a massive thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blog!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Discovered and loved...

The beauty world can be a funny old fickle world where you can almost create a first impression without even trying the product.

I have been making a real effort to try the new things I have in my stash and on my trip to Cairo this week I threw in a few unopened products with the intention of trying them out.  One I was 100% sure I was going to love and two I was sure I wasn't going to like at all but wanted to try!

First up is the product I was sure I was going to love because everything I have tried from the brand so far I has been fab!!  Bliss is such a great brand-I love their face masks and cleansers and was delighted when my friend Hannah bought me the Bliss Fabulips Gift Set for Xmas which included this scrub.

I LOVE lip scrubs and have raved about the Sara Happ scrubs for being fab and moaned about the Lush ones for being way too harsh.  This Bliss one is as good as the Sara Happ ones and is probably even better if you have very sensitive lips.  Of course it smells amazing because it contains orange and vanilla (smells a bit Christmas-274 days to go people) but I have found it to be the gentlest lip scrub I have used because the base of it is a cream rather than a gel (or just solid rough granules in the case of the Lush one).  Despite being creamy and gentle it's really effective.

It also contains sweet sugar, almond and walnut shells to do the all important sloughing off of dead skin (it you have a nut allergy it may be best to steer clear...) but also all the good nourishing stuff like jojoba, olive oil, shea and cocoa butter and vitamins A, C and E leaving you with the smoothest, softest, most kissable lips.  This is a definite repurchase for me as I am obsessed with having smooth lips.  You can get it direct from Bliss for £12.

Next up is something I thought I wouldn't particularly like but have been surprisingly smitten.

I was sent the newest launch from Jennifer Lopez to try and it is a really gorgeous, fruity spring perfume.  I don't think I own any celebrity fragrances and they're not something I seek out when shopping so I have been pleasantly surprised.

'JLove'* is quite reminiscent of Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede to me and has top notes of raspberry but then as it dries down it has notes of coconut and vanilla.  It's very easy to wear and perfect for this time of year.  It's really uplifting and 'happy' if that makes sense?  As a sucker for animal print I also really like the bottle top!

You can buy JLove from most perfume retailers in the UAE for AED225.

Lastly is the Benefit 'It's Potent' eye cream.  I was bought this by my goddaughters for Xmas but quite honestly people from Benefit I was put off just by the name!!  I wasn't sure I wanted to put something 'potent' around my eye area!!

I threw it in my washbag because my Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair had run out and this is a fairly travel friendly size.

And it's lush-it's so thick and creamy and just melts into the skin-brightening and smoothing as you apply it.  I have to be quite careful with eye creams-anything with vitamin C in it works great on my face but is too harsh under my eyes and stings like crazy.  I was worried (from the name) it might be too potent a cocktail of ingredients for my eye area but I was wrong (yey!).  It contains a peptide complex and peptides are an anti aging powerhouse and tons of hydrating ingredients like glycerin and sweet almond extract.

I've also been loving this view from my hotel room in Cairo this week!  I stay at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza in Downtown Cairo and at night I have loved just sitting on the balcony absorbing the energy and noise of the city down below-I love Cairo!

Three new products, two wrong initial impressions and three new firm faves.  I never usually like to be wrong but am happy to be in this case!!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sleep Saviours

Some of you may know that as part of my normal job I travel to Egypt every three weeks. Whether it's not being in my own bed or not having my cat Ali nestled into me I always find sleeping in a hotel difficult.

Coupled with a bad bout of sinusitis I have relied heavily this week on the arsenal of products I pack to help me get a good nights sleep.  This is my fail safe kit.


In my house there is pretty much always a candle burning so it makes sense that I always pack a couple on trips.  For the evening I always choose heavier scented candles such as vanilla or lavender to relax me.  I am not sure where this one in the photo is from but it smells like crème brulee so I have been loving it.


I think one of the nicest ways to unwind is to take a bath and I don't do it often enough!  I always pack a little bottle of the Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep Bath and Shower Oil (I got this as a GWP but keep topping up the little travel size bottle from my full size bottle from Cult Beauty)

Relax contains vetivert, camomile and sandalwood to encourage the body to relax.  It's quite heady but the oil is very light and I love to massage it into dry skin before jumping into the bath.  I really like Aromatherapy Associates oils and really enjoy using the Revive version in the morning when I am a bit groggy!  Again I massage it into my skin before stepping into the shower.

I also love these Roques ONeil Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts in the bath.  The idea behind these is that when you're in the bath they detox your body of all the electro-magnetic energy we absorb all day from using laptops, ipads and mobile phones.  They recommend not using any of these devices after using the salts to aid an even better nights sleep and when you finish the bath not to rub yourself dry to allow the salts to remain on the skin.

They smell amazing-they contain lemongrass and geranium and I just find the overall experience very soothing.  This small tub was a GWP from Cult Beauty but I will probably buy the full size version and just use this little tub as my travel companion!

Facial Oil

Once I am out of the bath I like to apply the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil to my skin.  Not only does my skin love it and practically drink it up but the smell of the oil is really calming and relaxing.  I did a full review of this oil here. 

Soothing treatments

Finally if these steps aren't making me drift off easily I turn to the Elemis Quiet Mind Temple Balm or the This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less rollerball.

The Elemis Quiet Mind Temple Balm was a must have purchase from Look Fantastic on my last shopping splurge and is a light non sticky gel that can be massaged into the temples, neck and earlobes.  It contains patchouli, lemon and eucalyptus.  This week because my sinuses have been so painful I have been massaging it into my hands as well as the smell of the eucalyptus has been soothing my sinuses.

I tend to use the This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less rollerball on flights because it is so handy.  This again contains eucalyptus but also lavender and frankincense so is a little more heady than the Elemis temple balm.  I also got this from Look Fantastic

Failing all this I could just smuggle Ali into my suitcase for each trip....

What are you favourite products for ensuring a sound nights sleep?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lou from 'Lou Loves Beauty' Guest Post-Lip Six!

Top L-R. Revlon Lip Butter in 'Juicy Papaya', Revlon Lip Gloss in ' Coral Reef'
Middle L-R. Revlon Matte Balm in 'Showy Flamboyante', Revlon Matte Balm in 'Unapologetic'
Bottom L-R. Mac 'Lickable', Mac 'Mac Red'

Hi Lovelies 

I'm Lou from Lou Loves Beauty and I have the pleasure of being your host today. The lovely Stacey has asked me to do a guest post for her, so here I am....hello! I love reading Stacey's blog and one of my favourite posts are her lip six, so I thought I would give you my take on her popular weekly post.
A lot of these lippy's are new additions and same are firm favourites that I've had in my stash for a while. 

First up is...Revlon Lip Butter in 'Juicy Papaya',  is a beautiful peachy coral shade that has been a favourite of mine for ages. It's my go to lipstick when I just want a little bit of colour and some moisture adding to my lips. 

Another colour on the coral spectrum is the Revlon Lipgloss in ' Coral reef'. This offers a bit more colour compared to the lip butter and again is a gorgeous coral which delivers fantastic shine and juiciness to the lips, (sorry if that s sounds a bit provocative but I couldn't think of another word!)

The next four shades are my new additions. The Revlon Colourburst Matte Balms have had some serious coverage on the blogosphere and I resisted the temptation to buy them until now. The two colours I picked up were 'Showy Flamboyant', a blue toned pink that adds a vibrant pop of colour to the lips. My favourite out of the two is 'Unapologetic', a bright coral pink (noticing a theme here?), this is more on the pinky side of coral, but I love it! Both of the balms delivers a fantastic opaque finish that lasts a good 8 hours on me. When first applied they are very moisturising which is surprising for a matte lipstick, they tend to dry out towards the end of the day but I can forgive them as all my matte lipsticks tend to do this and these are a lot cheaper. If you haven't picked any up I highly recommend you do so, they're fab!

The last two shades are from Mac and have found their way into my collection recently. 'Lickable' is a gorgeous blue toned pink that verges on the purple side. A crème sheen finish that is moisturising and long wearing. I love this colour as it adds a vibrant pop of colour to the lips without being too daring and " in ya face". 

Finally is Mac 'Red'. I love a good red lip and even though the Christmas party season is behind us I still like to rock this every now and then. It's just perfect for me and what I would call a true red shade, adding that bit of Hollywood glamour to any look.... perfect!

What colours have been floating your boat this week? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Birthday Beauty Gifts!

So it was my birthday on Tuesday and I had the best day!  No one needs to know the elderly age I now am (although I am probably the oldest beauty blogger on the block!) but hey, age is just a number right?

I thought I would share some of the snippets from my day and some of the gorgeous beauty gifts I received.

As you may know my mum and dad have been visiting us in Dubai this week and I absolutely love having them here.  Some of my friends sent gifts up to my mum for her to bring over so I had lots of presents to open in the morning.

My parents bought me this beautiful sapphire and diamond ring from the jeweller we always use in Dubai.  We have been using them for 9 years and they always do an amazing job.  I am currently designing a ruby ring with my jeweller so if anyone is interested in buying jewellery in Dubai I might blog about the process.  I wear so much blue so this ring is perfect and I love it.

When I got to the office, my assistant James presented me with this painting he had done for me!  It's possibly one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received and as much as I tease and taunt James 24 hours a day he is literally my right hand man and makes my life so much easier!!  I know I won't keep him forever as he is literally a child genius but I have really enjoyed working with him for the past 15 months!  I love this painting and we're doing some redecorating so I need to find the perfect space for it.  Once James is the King of the World (circa the next 5 years) I will sell it for millions.

Halfway though the morning I received this delivery of a huge basket of cookies from my mum and dad!  It was beautifully wrapped in a wicker basket with red netting all around it and a mini balloon!  The cookies were gorgeous too-everyone in my office loved them!

For lunch I went with my team to my most favourite restaurant in the world-Gaucho!  My best friend Dani and I go to Gaucho in Swallow St, London every time I am there-it's 'our place' and a ritual.  When they opened one in Dubai, right by my office I was overjoyed.

I love Gaucho-not only is the food delicious but you're made to feel like a Princess by the very lovely staff and managers.  I love the decor and ambiance and just being there.

I had a very delicious salmon starter and then steak and sweet potato chips.  I 'liked' one of their photos on instagram of their apple and cinnamon doughnuts and they surprised me with a plate of them after the meal.  Best thing I have ever eaten.  They definitely know how to make a girl feel special.

Gaucho, DIFC Gate Village

Yes I did taste the sauce before taking the picture lol!
So after practically a three course meal, James had been out and arranged this red velvet cake from Hummingbird Bakery for the office to have in the afternoon.  I love red velvet and cream cheese-it's just incredible! (James is on full brownie points at the moment!)

In the evening, my parents, Mike and I went to Atlantis Hotel and to Seafire-their steak and seafood restaurant.  I have always really enjoyed it in the past but it doesn't measure up to Gaucho in the service or the food.

I had scallops to start and (another) steak with potato gratin and creamed spinach.  There was some nice little touches on the plate like a roasted garlic bulb and a pesto filled mushroom but the quality of the steak at Gaucho was nicer.  Seafire is mass market and geared towards the tourists, Gaucho is intimate, special and almost as though you have stumbled on a secret haven.

I had chocolate fondant for dessert but Mike chose the dessert of the evening-a Blackberry Alaska that looked like a hedgehog!  It was light and fruity and delicious.

At the meal my parents gave me a pair of diamond stud earrings, also from our jeweller in Dubai.  They are so beautiful, I absolutely love them and was utterly utterly spoiled.  Mike bought me a Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 handbag in classic monogram.

Here's my wonderful mum and dad in the Atlantis.

I know I am the worst person in the world to buy for.  Generally if I want something I buy it but I tend to always have a wishlist on my phone.  I feel sorry for my poor friends trying to buy for me but the presents I got were all amazing and I didn't have any of them already which is some kind of Christmas miracle!!  My mum did cheat a little by asking for my wishlist but sssshhhh!

My best friend Danielle bought me Burberry Touch as it's her very favourite.  I can't believe I have never smelt it before!!  My cats (yes my cats) bought me a bottle of Jo Malone 'Pomegranate Noir'-I obviously need to cut their pocket money!

My colleague Ehab bought me this lovely perfume set from Escada-the bottle is beautiful.

My colleagues at work also bought me a gift voucher for Sisters salon in Dubai.  This is one of my favourite salons in Dubai and I can't wait to spend it!  Am thinking a lovely massage after my trip to Cairo next week.

Dani also bought me this limited edition 10th anniversary By Terry Baume De Rose gift set containing their legendary Baume De Rose lip balm (so luxe!) and a Darling Baume gloss.  The lip gloss looks amazing-I will definitely try and review these very soon!

Vanessa from The Other VW sent some lovely gifts for me to my mum.  Along with the below goodies were some lovely chocolate treats (Daim mini eggs-orgasmic).  There's definitely a theme with my gifts-beauty, chocolate and cats!

Vanessa managed to get me three things I have lusted after but never tried!  First up a Lime Crime Velvetine liquid lipstick-I have wanted to try this brand for ages!  I have been stalking Boots in Dubai unsuccessfully to try and get my hands on the much raved about Charles Worthington Texturising Spray so was overjoyed to see she had sent me one!  I really do neglect my hands so I can't wait to try this Lanolips hand cream.  It smells uh-mazing.  I love applying rose scented products in the evening because I find the scent so relaxing.

My parents bought me this Smashbox palette I have been lusting over for a while.  I have seen good reviews and I wholeheartedly believe you can never have too many neutral eye palettes.

My best friend Hannah nailed it with her gifts!  I utterly love this make up bag-I have seen them around the bloggersphere and think they look so chic.  It's the perfect size as well.  Cat print scarf-total winner!  I am obsessed with my initials-I love having things personalised and monogrammed so this rose gold necklace is just perfect for me!

I got 5 new lip products-two off my mum, the Tom Ford lipstick in Cherry Lush (seen on Antonia from Mac and Cheese and lusted after ever since) and the Charlotte Tilbury lip gloss in Portobello Girl.  I really bought the Charlotte Tilbury 'Bardot Beige' and loved it so I have a growing wish list.  I am really loving very glossy sheer lips at the moment and this is perfect for that look.

My friend Sylv bought me one of the new Estee Lauder sculpting lipsticks.  I have read glowing reports of this new formula and the colour of this is beautiful-I'll definitely review soon!

Finally, Dani managed to get me two Nars lip products I don't own!  A satin lip pencil in Timanfaya-a bright orange toned red and a larger than life lip gloss in Bimini which is just the most stunning sheer coral pink.

Lastly and off my wishlist my mum got me these two Antipodes products-the Organic Avocado Oil and Rosehip Divine Face Oil and the Manuka Honey Mask.  I have read such great things about these two products!

Massively massively spoiled and I had a wonderful day!  Getting older isn't so bad at all!!

I had so many tweets and instagram comments on the day-I felt incredibly blessed and loved so a massive massive thank you to anyone who wished me happy birthday!  It really made my day very very special.

Much love


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Afternoon Tea-Al Bayt, The Palace Downtown

I normally blog about beauty but it's my mums birthday today and we did something so lovely I wanted to share it on my blog and recommend it to Dubai residents and visitors alike!

Last year I took my mum to New York for her 60th birthday-it was a surprise which I blogged about here.  We had such an amazing time and this year it was always going to be impossible to top that!

I sent mum to the spa this morning for a relaxing massage and facial and then had a car pick her and my dad up at 4pm to go to an undisclosed location which was the Palace Hotel in Downtown Dubai.

The hotel is so luxe and is located in the prestigious Downtown Dubai development.  It's close to my office but to be honest I have never really been before apart from to the shisha lounge by the pool.

I did quite a bit of research before choosing here for my mums birthday and I was really thrilled with my choice!  My mum and dad have done a lot of afternoon teas in Dubai over the past 9 years I have lived here and this one was definitely one of the best-if not the best.

The hotel is inviting, serene and calm with a huge water feature full of roses in the lobby.  Al Bayt is the lobby lounge where afternoon tea is served and we had a table on the terrace overlooking the iconic Burj Khalifa and the hotel pool.  Inside, there is a violinist playing live as well.

The hotel offers two options for afternoon tea-a traditional English afternoon tea or a version with an Arabic twist.  I went for the Arabic version and mum and dad both had the traditional English.

I loved the three tiered stands the afternoon teas were served on.  Reminiscent of very Arab style doors and windows.

The sandwiches on the traditional tea were so delicate and so English-egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, roast beef etc, all beautifully presented.

The selection of pastries were to die for, again beautifully presented.  There was also 2 scones with fresh cream and homemade jam.

The sandwiches on the Arabic version were uh-mazing!  I loved the aubergine in Arabic Bread, Kofta Finger sandwich and houmous with breadsticks.

The saffron scone was delicious, especially with date jam.  Scones are always my favourite part of afternoon tea and I was so happy these were amazing!

My favourite desserts were the Chocolate Qatayef which was a mini pancake with chocolate filling and the mini lemon curd meringue (stolen off my mums plate!)

They also gave my mum a complimentary cake with a big sparkler in it-she jumped when it was lit as she wasn't expecting it to go up as it did!

The whole experience was lovely-the setting was perfect, the atmosphere was welcoming, relaxing and luxurious, the service was very good and the food was delicious.  I did have to giggle though when we got there and there was no booking in my name.  The hotel was unfazed and it later transpired the booking had been in fact made in the name of 'Facey'.  That's a new one on me-the local lebanese calls me 'Spacy' (lol) and the pizza place has me down as 'Daisy' but 'Facey' is a new moniker.

The afternoon tea is AED130 (just over £20) for the traditional and AED150 for the Arabic version.  If you live in Dubai and have the Entertainer there are 3 vouchers for afternoon tea in there-buy one get one free-I didn't actually know that but the hotel kindly told me and I redeemed one of the vouchers so we only paid for two teas.  For what you get and the location and service I think that is amazing value and I will definitely be going again.  I'm still full up now!

Finally here is the necklace I bought my mum for her birthday-I think it's really pretty and my jeweller did a great job.

Mum and dad leave in the morning, I have loved them being here with us over the past 10 days.  I think I might do a post about my birthday as it was a fantastic day and I received some fantastic beauty gifts!!

Do let me know if you like these type of posts or if you prefer for me to stick to beauty :-)

I am a bit behind reading my favourite blogs but will hopefully catch up this weekend between studying and packing for my trip to Cairo on Sunday!

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