Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base

I thought I would do a little write up of the primer I have been reaching for most days for the past couple of months which as you can see from above is the Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base.

I started to write the review and as I was doing so I found it easier to say what this little potion 'isn't' rather than what it 'is'.

This is not polyfiller for this skin-if you like that Benefit 'Porefessional' or Smashbox 'Photofinish' effect then this is far lighter than those formulas.  It does contain silicone but it doesn't feel like it does at all.

It's not mattifying, it won't particularly diffuse redness in the skin, it's not shimmery/pearlised at all and it's not particularly hydrating or plumping.

It comes in the worst packaging ever in terms of dispensing the product-NO PUMP FFS!!  Why???  So much wastage.

It sometimes smells a little bit like glue.

I'm probably not selling it to you am I?

Although not labelled as 'primer' as such, this little jar of white liquid does make an excellent base for make up.  It's subtly brightening without adding any colour-when you smooth it on the skin it just seems to blur imperfections and give your skin a soft focus look.  Photoshop for the skin so to speak.

Although it's white it doesn't leave a nasty white cast on the skin (Hourglass Mineral Veil I am looking at you) unless you use too much-you literally need a fingerprint size blob on each cheek and the same on your forehead.  The formula literally melts into your skin without feeling heavy or tacky leaving you 'foundation ready' in seconds.  And when you do apply your foundation on top it sits better and lasts longer.

I like it.  Despite it being more 'it isn't' than 'it is'.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Lip Six

Hello hello and happy UK bank holiday Monday and US memorial day and just happy Monday if like me you have been in work today!

I have some really exciting things to blog about that I have bought recently-the beautiful YSL Swarovski crystal encrusted couture palettes, the Jo Malone limited edition Silk Blossom candle, the Kiehls new pore minimising cream and the YSL Kiss and Blush to name a few but I am going to be dropping off the planet for the next 7 days in preparation for my first exam-which I have a LOT to do for.  I have a couple of pre-written posts scheduled but on the whole need to force myself to not get so distracted by ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING. 

Life is very much all work and no play at the moment and probably will be for some time given my exams (if I do actually pass) continue until October.  But roll on then when we can have a nice long holiday!

Am still undergoing medical treatment since I was sick a couple of weeks ago and hope to have a definitive diagnosis tomorrow morning-I seem to be keeping my doctors surgery in business!

I don't usually post on a Monday but as it's a bank holiday in the UK I thought I would sneak in a 'Lip Six' post!

Here are my last six lip choices!

Top row: (L)  Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish in Dolly (love this brand and UK girls can now get via Sephora!) (R) NARS lipstick in Transeurope Express

Middle row: (L) Tarte Lipsurgence in Believe (R) Guerlain Rouge G lipstick in Gisele 08

Bottom row: (L) MAC lipstick in Crosswires (R) Dior Rouge Dior in 757 Souveraine

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet-Pink Pong

I have to admit, I had a severe case of lip envy when I saw Laura from Laura etc wearing this exact shade, Pink Pong from Bourjois from the new Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet range.

So when last week it landed on my desk from the lovely Bourjois PR in Dubai I was delighted.

Here's the low down.  Bourjois say this newest launch is a matte, velvety yet lightweight colour on the lips without drying or fading.  I just can't disagree with their description!

Because I have been unwell recently I had been left with lips that were drier than the desert and I was really put off trying any liquid lipstick because I find them to be so drying and hate that tight, pulling feeling on the lips.

Since these have launched people have been raving about them but I also found that people raved about the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipsticks and my experience with them was bad.  Very bad.  Imagine colour actually peeling off your lips.

Now that my lips are more on an even keel I decided to give the Bourjois a go.  I honestly don't think I own a lipstick quite like it in terms of texture.  It actually feels velvety when you apply it but at the same time almost water like and SO pigmented.  I find that the applicator wand dispenses just the right amount of product to cover my lips and I picked up a tip from Antonia at A Bit of Mac and Cheese and blotted the first layer and then reapplied a second layer.  

As soon as I got to the office a girl came up to me and said 'what is on your lips, I need to go and buy it'-she was so surprised it was from Bourjois!

I can honestly say this liquid lipstick offering from Bourjois is super-it's not drying at all, I topped up the colour after 6 hours and I still had a light stain on my lips.  It didn't bleed or smudge or get on my teeth.  If you want long lasting, genuinely comfortable, matte lips then I can't recommend these enough!

*Contains a PR sample

Friday, May 23, 2014

Two new

I used to do a post called 'the new additions' where everytime I found I was using 5 new things I would blog my initial impressions of them.  I thought I would make the post more bite size and 'two new' is born.

And these are two new products I am LOVING.

First up, the Dolce and Gabbana Perfect Matte Liquid Foundation.

This is my FAVOURITE foundation of 2014.  I like my foundation to be high coverage and relatively matte without looking cakey or mask like.  Foundations I would put this little beauty in the same 'category' with for comparison purposes would be Nars Sheer Glow, Estee Lauder Double Wear, Chanel Perfection Lumiere and Dior Forever.  But it's better.  I swear.

I don't have flawless skin.  This is the closest I can mimic to flawlessness whilst feeling I have nothing on my skin at all.

It feels quite thick and creamy when you pump it out and it gives lightweight yet full coverage.  It's buildable and doesn't dry too quickly so you can work it into your skin.  It doesn't oxidise at all and comes in 18 shades so offers something for everyone.  I am the lightest shade (naturally) and it is literally the perfect match for my skin.  The finish is matte without looking dull or flat.

Yes it is on the pricey side but this is the first foundation I have used in a long time that I have thought 'I want to repurchase this immediately'

Potential downside-it has SPF20 so great for daytime but not so great for flash photography.  I haven't tried it (as I haven't been out in like ever) but I would probably go for a foundation with no SPF if I was going to have my photo taken in the evening.

More bad news (for UK girls)..the only UK stockists are Harrods and Heathrow Terminal 5.  But come to Dubai and it's in Sephora and Paris Gallery :)

Oh and the perfect partners to this fab foundation?  A thin layer of smashbox photofinish primer underneath for extra long lasting ability and apply the foundation with the Sigma F82 round kabuki brush.  This is hands down the best foundation brush I have ever used.  This foundation actually makes me feel happy and ready to face the day.

Next up is the Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Antibacterial Toner.

I purchased this online in the US and had it shipped to the UK last year whilst I was on holiday but it's been sat in my stash since.

This toner forms step 2 of my nightly 'double tone' routine and is a great 'hydrating' toner.  Apart from the fact it stinks.  Well it does to me anyway.  To me it smells a bit like the sea (that'll be the algae I suppose) but most people seem to think it smells of lavender and tea tree.  Luckily the smell doesn't last at all but I thought I would mention it!

This is my second Michael Todd toner and I have loved both-I will definitely be making another order.

Michael Todd's Blue Green Antibacterial Algae toner contains blue green algae and organic kelp in a base of aloe vera juice to soothe the skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid, amino acids, tea tree oil and black willow tree extract-a proper little cocktail of good stuff that will naturally nourish and replenish the skin. This toner is aimed at removing bacteria from the skin for a clearer complexion and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  And no alcohol.

Since using this toner I haven't had one breakout and my skin just looks healthier and clearer.  I have actually decanted mine into a spray bottle which provides an excellent burst of 'wake up Stacey' in the morning when I drag myself out of the shower.  It dries really fast too.

So there we go, two new massive hits.  I am obviously incapable of doing a short and sharp post on anything so forget the 'bite size' comment!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Lipstick

I was asked by one of my twitter followers (hi Patricia) if I had tried any of the new Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Sculpting lipsticks and I remembered that one of my very dear friends bought one for me for my birthday, so especially for Patricia here is the review of the one I received which is the shade Defiant Coral.

If we wanted to keep this a short and snappy review I would say 'this is a great lipstick' but as I am not really one for short and snappy I will ramble on a bit about why I like it.

Firstly the packaging is really nice in navy and gold.  The casing has that satisfyingly expensive feeling magnetic 'click' closure and the Estee Lauder embossed into the lid is a nice touch.  Definitely one you wouldn't mind whipping out in public.

Estee Lauder describe this lipstick as intensifying, hydrating and sculpting.  I guess by 'sculpting' they mean defining and plumping which I have to agree with.

The new range comes in 21 colours and my friend Sylvia bought me 'Defiant Coral' which was a brilliant choice for a coral lover like myself.

I found it quite hard to describe the feeling of this lipstick-it's not overly waxy or syrupy or even gel like.  In fact it feels really lightweight, almost akin to a balm.  But yet it's super pigmented, ultra smooth to apply and opaque in one pass.  It feels creamy and hydrating but without any heaviness and without any bleeding into little lines.

Defiant Coral is a bright red toned coral on me and now a firm favourite in my make up bag.  I tried to dupe the shade from a few already in my collection and found Mac Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Lady at Play to be the closest (and slightly cheaper)

Overall I am really impressed with this new offering from Estee Lauder and I have already got my eyes on another shade 'Tumultuous Pink' from the range!  They're £24/$30 from all Estee Lauder counters.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to buy jewellery in Dubai-my experience, tips and recommendations

I have never written a post like this before but I recently bought a bespoke ring in Dubai and when I posted the pictures on instagram I had a few requests to do a post about buying jewellery in Dubai so I have tried to put together a post as 'good' jewellery (and by that I mean pieces you want to treasure forever like an engagement ring) is one of the only things I would recommend buying in Dubai that is genuinely cheaper than the UK/US/Australia etc.

This is quite a wordy post so please stick with me! Also some of the pictures were taken in the shop on my iphone so I apologise if the quality isn't great.

The only disclaimer I am going to make here is that I am not an expert at all, this is purely my experience.  And of course this is not a sponsored post and does not contain PR samples (ooohhhh if only!)

There are two places in Dubai to buy jewellery-the old and more traditional Gold Souk which is in the older part of Dubai and is winding streets of jewellers and definitely worth a visit just for the experience/ambiance and then the newer more modern Gold And Diamond Park which is a small standalone jewellery 'mall' close to the Mall of the Emirates.  If you're in Dubai taxi drivers will know both.

Buying jewellery in Dubai isn't like buying from a high street retailer in the UK like Goldsmiths where the stores across the UK will stock thousands of the exact same ring or pendant.  In my experience, what you see in the jewellery shops in Dubai will be the only piece of that item-but of course they can produce more on demand.  By buying from Dubai you can get something uniquely made just for you.

I buy from the Gold and Diamond Park because I find it a more pleasant experience-plus you can park outside!  I have lived in Dubai for 9 years and have always used the same jewellery shop and indeed the same salesman for all of that time.

I used Cara and 'my guy' is called Roger.  Cara is rather famous in Dubai and if you look on a travel forum like trip advisor there are a lot of posts.  Cara is without doubt THE most popular shop in the Gold and Diamond Park, it is always the shop with the most shoppers inside which I think speaks volumes for their work and their reputation.

You can of course shop around, feeling comfortable with who you are dealing with is super important.

I have some lovely stories about my experiences with Cara so I thought I would share a couple.

My first Xmas in Dubai 9 years ago I was 25 and broke.  Setting up here on your own is an expensive business especially when you are on a 'local' contract (ie not one where your employer pays all your housing and living costs).  The first week I had been in Dubai a friend had taken me to the G&D Park because she wanted to repair a ring she had.

I'd been to the Gold Souk as it's a tourist-y and 'I'm a new expat exploring the city' thing to do but I didn't like the heat, the hustle and bustle and the impossibility of finding a taxi.  The gold in the Gold Souk tends to be traditionally more yellow gold and caters to the Arab and Indian market.

When Xmas came around I wanted to buy my mum a gift but I literally had £50 to spend and I went to a few of the jewellers in the G&D Park asking if they sold any earrings for my budget only to be turned away.  Cara was my last resort and in those days was a tiny shop with 4 or 5 staff.  To be honest I only remember the owners, brothers Kiran and Anil and Roger being there.  It was quiet when I went in, pretty forlorn by this time but when I asked about gold earrings for my budget they were so welcoming and friendly and I got a pair for my mum.

I have been a loyal customer ever since.

My favourite story is from my mum and dads first ever visit to Dubai.  My mum and dad have been married 39 years this year and my mum has a sapphire and diamond engagement ring that is a cluster of the two stones set on prongs.  Two of the prongs had snapped off years ago meaning she had lost the stones as well.  She had tried to have it fixed in England but the jeweller she took it to made a complete mess of it and soldered on new prongs on top of the original setting, ruining the ring.  My mum hadn't worn it for over 10 years and it was also a little small now.

By this time I had bought a couple of things from Cara and we were chatting about their impending visit and my mum said 'I wonder if they could repair my ring'.  We took it in and they looked at it and immediately said 'no problem'.  I knew my mum was sceptical, I could see it in her face and even I was worried for her, especially as when we were leaving she said to them 'you won't make it worse will you?'.

They literally made the ring like new.  You couldn't tell which prongs had been damaged, they replaced the missing stones and resized it.  They cleaned it all up and it literally sparkled.  My mum cried bless her.  When she said to Roger 'I haven't been able to wear this ring for more than 10 years' he refused to take payment for the repairs.

They're been loyal customers ever since.

My top tips for buying jewellery in Dubai:

1-Go with an idea of what you want.  The choice is absolutely overwhelming and the shop can be really really busy meaning it's difficult to browse.  I have bought a few 'off the shelf items' but if you have seen a dream ring or bracelet or pendant you would like them to make, take pictures and try to have an idea of the composition of the piece-what size diamond is the one in the picture etc.  You need to try and compare like to like when pricing an item.

2-They really can cater for all budgets but don't disclose your budget immediately.  Don't think jewellrey shopping in Dubai is only for the rich-something very popular here are name necklaces a la Carrie Bradshaw in English or Arabic.  A gold or white gold one made for you will cost you £80-100.

3-Be realistic.  Dubai is good for special pieces and I am going to use engagement rings as an example.  Don't think you are going to get an utter bargain because the diamonds in Dubai are not fake or knock off.  You can expect an internationally recognised certificate on diamonds etc.  But in my experience you get better value in Dubai than the UK.

One of my best friends priced up an engagement ring using one of the UK jewellery sites where you can select the cut, colour, size, shape of the diamond you want and she was quoted about £3500.  She had the ring made through me in Dubai to her specification and taking some advice from Roger (I helped to chose the diamond which was so stressful because it was so important and we went for a slightly slightly smaller stone but a better colour) and it cost £1750.  We were even able to make a last minute change and flatten the band to make the diamond appear higher.  And it was absolutely beautiful.

The difference in Dubai is that the mark up on gold/diamonds etc is much much less than the mark up in the UK and the cost of workmanship here is much lower than elsewhere in the world.

Blue Nile is a great website to use as a guide and they have a very good iphone app.  For comparison purposes a round cut, 1 carat, F colour, VS2 diamond on Blue Nile quotes at between $6,700 to $10,000 (depending on whether you go for very good, ideal or signature ideal cut) for the stone only.  My jeweller has quoted me for the same stone with a 'very good' cut at $5,500.  Please remember this is an example and that they can cater for smaller budgets.

4-Don't expect to get the best price immediately.  But DO NOT BE PUT OFF by the prices quoted on the piece of jewellery itself.  I swear they pluck these figures out of the air!  I have found a good rule of thumb is to divide the price on the sticker by 4 and aim for something around there as the final price.  It won't always work that way but doing your research will help so you know approximately what to expect, and having a great sense of humour and being prepared for some banter/negotiation.

5-Ask to see the certificate for the stone, that will never cause offense.

6-Look for older salespeople in the shop (they will usually be male in Dubai), they're generally the most knowledgeable and have been in the industry the longest and you get less of the sales spiel.

7-Leave plenty of time.  If you're on holiday and want something making allow 3 days, more if they need to search for a stone for you.  You may need to go back to the shop twice, once for a fitting and any minor adjustments and then to pick it up.  Some jewellers will deliver to the hotel, Cara do.  Cara often has a large stock of diamonds but if you are looking for other gem stones they may use an outside dealer.  It look 3 weeks to find the ruby I have just bought.

8-If you're buying a bespoke piece you can ask to go to the workshop (which is on site) and see the stone being set.  This is especially lovely if you're buying an engagement ring.

9-You won't need to pay anything upfront if you are getting a bespoke piece made for you.  You only pay when you purchase.  You can pay in local currency (AED) or in USD, GBP or EUR.  You can ask them to quote you in those currencies too in negotiations and their exchange rate is always reasonable and close to the spot rate.

10-Cara (and all jewellers in Dubai) are really good at copying famous designs-Tiffany, Cartier etc.  Bear in mind with these jewellers you pay a lot just for the name.  If you dream of a Tiffany engagement ring but don't have the budget you could get something very similar for a fraction of the price.  And made just for you.  They can copy pieces from Tiffany etc easily but don't expect it to an 'exact' copy ie to have Cartier engraved inside-that would be forgery and an infringement of copyright.

11-If you're not 100% happy say so!  The salesmen in the shop are not the people who actually make the jewellery so if the guys in the workshop have misinterpreted your design or it isn't quite right they will work on it until you are happy.  The ring I have just had made took 4 attempts to get right!  But I was spending quite a lot and I wanted it to be perfect.

If you genuinely do not like your piece of jewellery it is likely it will just go into the shops stock on display and someone else will!

12-Take their advice (I really recommend Roger or Vijay in Cara)-if they say something won't look good it's because they know it won't.  They can advise you on the best way to make the stone look bigger or wider, how 'safe' a setting is in terms of the possibility of losing a stone (because things like that may happen with smaller diamonds especially if they are only set with two claws), how high the stone will sit and help you to pick the best stone in your budget.

Here's a little bit about the ring I just had made.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you've probably gathered I am not much of a saver.  Since I realised a couple of years ago I can't spend all my money on lipstick I have starting 'investing' so to speak in jewellery.  When I received my bonus this year I decided to use some of it to buy something that I could give to my niece when she is older.  I have two nieces, Violet Grace (6) and Lylah Rose (3) and this time I thought I would get Lylah's ring and get something with a ruby to reflect the 'Rose' part of her name.  Don't get me wrong I will wear it now but it will be for Lylah when she is older.  For Violet I will get a piece with either an amethyst or a tanzanite to reflect the 'Violet'.

I did a lot of research and look my ideas which are largely based on a Tiffany design to Roger.  The first thing I needed was the ruby and it took 3 weeks for Roger to find the size and colour I wanted.  I wanted a pink toned ruby rather than a true blood red ruby and I wanted 3 carats.  I also wanted a cushion cut which are quite difficult to find and it's worth bearing in mind that often cushion cut stones are not exactly symmetrical.  I looked at several before settling on a 3.16ct cushion cut stone.
where to buy jewellery in Dubai
Finding the perfect cushion cut ruby and my ideas for the ring
Initially I wanted a double bead set halo (2 rings of diamonds) cushion setting around the ruby based on the Tiffany 'Soleste' design.  However, the first interpretation of it by the jewellers in the workshop was not what I wanted.  The halo was too pave, the halo wasn't as 'cushion set' as I wanted, the ruby sat too high and I just felt the ring looked too big and fake.  Roger agreed and we sent the ring back to have the halo more bead set with bigger diamonds  so the diamonds looked more seperated but with less of them so the ring didn't look any bigger.

where to buy jewellery in Dubai
Roger had a wax mould of the ring made first so I could see if I like it-which I did
where to buy jewellery in Dubai
Version 1 of the ring which I really didn't like
But the next day I had second thoughts and was worried the ring was just going to be too big so I called Roger and said could we go to a single halo and simple arms rather than the 'V' arms I had first chosen.  This was no problem (phew).

Renegotiating the ring design with Roger

The single halo and simple sides were perfect-but the claws holding the stone were not.  Because of the facets of the stone, the jeweller had tried to be extra careful where he placed the claws so that the claws didn't damage the stone.  But the result was 4 claws that all looked different and not symetrical so again the ring when back to the workshop to be changed and to a prong setting.  I know it's quite difficult to see what I mean about the prongs but it was visible and bothered me!

Cara jewellers in dubai

Finally I was happy (actually thrilled) with the result.

where to buy jewellery in Dubai

buying jewellery from cara in dubai

To illustrate my point about not being put off by the prices on the label, I noticed Roger had actually produced a label for my ring, presumably to put it in their stock if I didn't like it.  The price is in local currency but literally seems to be a number pulled out of the air.  I have never understood why they do that here in Dubai.  Aim roughly to pay a quarter of the price on the label but always ask the salesman what the price is-it definitely will not be what's on the label!

where to buy jewellery in Dubai

The day I collected the ring it also happened to be 9th anniversary of me landing in Dubai and I ended up picking up this diamond cluster ring off the shelf!  I really like it and the cluster effect matches a pair of earrings I own already.   I only actually noticed yesterday when I was photographing the ring that is has the heart detailing under the stones.
Cara jewellers dubai

I hope this post has been useful for anyone interested in buying jewellery in Dubai.  I do highly recommend Cara, I am such a loyal customer.  Please do let me know if you would like any additional information-am happy to help.

Cara is in the gold and diamond park in Dubai and they have a website here.  They're open every day from 10am until 10pm except Fridays when they open at 4pm.  The quietest times to go when you'll get the best service and undivided attention (trust me the shop gets VERY busy) is from 10-12 in the morning and after 8pm. 

Update: I receive so so many emails about this post and I am always happy to answer any questions you may have but please remember I am not a jeweller, just a consumer :))  I have spoken to Roger recently who has told me many of you have been in and bought jewellery following my recommendations and that makes me super happy!  One thing I am always asked is 'if I get an email quote from Cara on a diamond how much room for negotiation is there?'  The answer is not much-if you are going to the trouble of getting a quotation Cara consider you a serious potential customer and will close fairly close to the cost-especially as presumably you are shopping around other providers.  My tip here would be get all the specifications of the diamond and check out a site like Blue Nile to assess if you are getting a good price for the size, cut, clarity and colour.  I am not saying there is room for any negotiation down from there, but the email quote price will not be the 'sticker price' you get in store.  Hope that's helpful!!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

MAC cool palette

Anyone who knows me knows that hell no, I don't need another neutral palette.  I practically own every neutral eye palette ever made but there is something so tempting about a well put together neutral shade range that I just can't help myself!

I also have enough MAC eyeshadow to sink an (albeit small) ship-I already have 3 of the '15' size MAC Pro palettes and 4, maybe 5 quads that I have lovingly put together.  But I really do like the quality and blendability of MAC eyeshadows and there really is something for everyone.

When MAC announced they would launch a permanent cool and warm toned, pre-filled 15 palette, my heart obviously skipped a beat.  The colours looked sublime and I was drawn instantaneously to the 'cool' toned version.  And of the 15 shades I only pre-owned one of them-Blackberry which is a shade I love.

This palette is value for money-I think in the UK it retails for £65 for 15 shadows but if I am not wrong, each single 'pro pan' that you would buy to fill your own palette is about £10 plus the palette itself.  So to make one yourself you would be shelling out around £165 so you're making a massive saving.  The downside is, when making your own you chose all the colours you want whereas these palettes are pre-set and in your own pro palette you can remove the colours once empty and switch them around a bit.  The shadows in the pre-filled palettes are stuck down and cannot be moved/replaced.  But-many of the shades in the Cool and Warm palettes are entirely exclusive to these palettes which is what swung it for me.

So it's a good job MAC have got the shade selection pretty much spot on.

On the top row After Dusk and Blackberry are the standouts although Sweet Allure is great all over the lid.  Blackberry is brilliant for a smoky eye and less drastic and intense than pure black. 

In the middle row, Pick Me Up is the least pigmented but will make a decent highlight.  Crushed Clove and Deception are brilliant and Cozy Gray can double up as an eyebrow filler.

I love everything on the bottom row, especially the taupey French Clay.  Black Tied is in the Permanent range and is the only shade in the palette to contain flecks of glitter.

The palette definitely leans more to a shimmery/satin finish rather than matte and the formulas are consistent with other MAC eyeshadows making this a great introduction into the range for a first timer.  Did I need it?  No.  Will I use it?  Definitely.  I will say, if you have the NARS Narsissist palette you probably don't need this as the shade range is fairly similar although the NARS palette has more matte and darker shades.

These palettes are flashing on and out of stock on the MAC websites in the UK and US so you need to be patient and persistent to get your hands on one.  Out of interest they take a while to find on the site-they're not under the 'new' section where I expected them to be but under the 'make up > eye > eye kits' section but here is a direct link.  The 'notify me when in stock' does work by the way!!

I wasn't really interested in the 'Warm' version but I saw it in Dubai Duty Free just before I flew to Cairo and lingered over it for a long time.  But don't worry, I put it back....


Friday, May 16, 2014

April empties

'April empties?' I hear you say?  Yes I know it's now the middle of May but I am super super behind due to being unwell and then throwing myself back into work with a vengeance last week. 

Am still studying like a teenager sitting GCSE's but have a few posts scheduled now.  I did toy with whether to post this at all but it's written so hey.....

So here are my April empties and the best of the best of them.

The Standouts

Clinique Take The Day Off balm-You can read all amount this balm cleanser in my recent Evening skincare routine post but I think this no fuss, no nonsense cleanser is a great introduction into the world of balm cleansers.  Gentle but effective and safe to use round the eyes it's a brilliant first cleanse to remove your make up.  My top tip is to use a wet flannel to remove from the skin.

Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes-Lancome mascaras are just brilliant, I don't think there is one I haven't tried and loved!  This mascara is great for a fluttery, separated look.  Keep your eyes peeled for a full post about this soon on my blog.  You can see it in action here if you don't want to wait that long.

Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover-I read about this on Vivianna Does Makeup absolutely ages ago and when Anna raves about something I am usually all over it.  I was definitely not disappointed.  This is a super effective bi-phase eye make up remover that breaks down even the toughest mascara (and I tend to use a primer, mascara and then waterproof top coat).  Nothing is too much of a match for this bad boy.

Tarte Lipsurgance Lip Tint in Glee-I really love the formula of the Tarte Lipsurgance lip tints-they have a satin finish, last ages on the lips and are totally non drying.  The pencil makes application a cinch as you just colour in your lips-the pencil won't tug at all.  The colour is very saturated and rich-Glee is a vibrant mid toned pink.

Daniel Sandler Micro Bubble Lipstick in Micro Femme-I have a whole post dedicated to this lipstick here so for swatches and an in-depth review just click the link.  This lipstick really blew me away and the colour is so unique-it's like a deep raspberry shot with gold, just stunning.  The formula is glossy and moisturising. 

Sadly both this lipstick and the Tarte lip tint met a premature end and succumbed to the Dubai heat when I left my make up bag in the car overnight and they both snapped the next day-to be fair both were stubs but when two of your favourite lipsticks basically die in one day it can be devastating.

Do let me know if you would like to know anything about any of the other products I used up and photographed above.  My empties posts were becoming so long and boring I just stick to the standouts for review now.

For the record, I definitely wouldn't repurchase the Nivea eye make up remover, terrible stuff.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A little update!

A little life update-I don't normally do this kind of thing but I had a few messages on instagram and twitter wondering where I have been the last 10 days and so I thought I would give a little update.

When I got back from Cairo a week last Thursday I came down with another kidney infection, but because I hadn't heeded the advice of my doctor or taken the full course of antibiotics she had given me the previous week when I had the same thing, this second infection took a hold of me hard.

I began feeling ill on Friday, the day after I got back from Cairo and started to take the antibiotics she had previously prescribed but by Sunday evening I had gone rapidly downhill and had to go into hospital.  My body wasn't responding at all to the antibiotics-I hadn't slept, eaten or been able to drink for 2 days and I was running a fever.  I was given an IV cocktail of hydrating fluids and (new) antibiotics.  Hospital is ok in Dubai, I am lucky enough to have excellent private medical insurance provided by my employer and was well looked after apart from the soggy processed cheese slice sandwiches they kept bringing round.  A cliche I know, but I did literally feel like I had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

Diagnosis was 'chronic obstructive pyelonephritis' which is basically a kidney infection.  Have been back and forth a little bit to have my kidneys scanned etc and am back again tomorrow for most of the results.

My mum is hilarious

I was back at work as of yesterday but of course literally drowning in paperwork and emails!

In other less relevant infomation:

My skin hates me at the moment-it's so dry and dehydrated!  I didn't wear make up for over a week (unheard of) and being too unwell to be bothered with a proper cleansing routine has left my skin extremely dry and dull.  I'll definitely be reaching for anything that says hydrating/brightening/miracle worker on the label for the next few days.  And my lips-literally drier than the desert at the moment.

I had to get Mike to cancel TWO hair appointments and have the roots from hell.  Haven't painted my nails for 10 days (gasps)

I dropped my beloved ipod on the stone flooring at home and smashed the screen.  It still works tho phew!

One of our supermarkets in Dubai, Choithrams has started stocking Tesco products!  Major excitement especially over the strawberry fizzy laces!  Stocked up on them yesterday.

It's gotten super hot in Dubai, 40 degrees when I left work at 3.30 this afternoon.  And the humidity is back with a vengeance.  Cue make up lasting all of 20 minutes and frizzy hair for the rest of the summer.

I barely looked on the internet/my iphone/laptop until this weekend (a 7 day hiatus which is literally unknown) which has meant NO online shopping!  I may have done a sneaky Sephora and Dorothy Perkins order to catch up and keep the UK and US economies running smoothly yesterday.

For those who are fans of hearing about James my assistant's exploits, well whilst I was sick he was on vacation in Amsterdam.  He messaged me just enough to let me know he was still alive and he DIDN'T buy my a present.  Disappointing James.  On Saturday night he messaged me saying 'erm why haven't you been blogging'.  Who knew he was such a fan?  It's been good to see him again after a two week break and we're back into our normal routine of him buying me breakfast and amusing me greatly for 8 hours a day.

Speaking of food-we're going carb free.  This news does not make me happy at all-I am literally a carb whore.  Mike hasn't been well and the doctor has diagnosed him with high blood pressure and borderline diabetes and wants him to cut out carbs.  We have a list as long as our arms of things we can't eat.  I do need to support him but we had out first carb free day yesterday and I am ashamed to say at 4am I was wide awake, starving and eating biscuits in the kitchen!  It's going to take a LOT of getting used to for us so any tips/support would be welcome.  We are both overweight so it will do us both good but it will be a massive lifestyle change for us and probably more for him more than me as I have the worst diet in the world.  I rebelled on day 2 of carb free eating this morning by asking James to buy me a halloumi manakish.  Also not sure that the strawberry fizzy laces fit into this carb free lark.

Thank you to everyone who did message me and also who responded to Mikes instagram photo on Saturday.  I didn't even know he knew how to use instagram but the comments were lovely.

One last thing-I have learned not to leave Mike in charge of running the house.  1 ply toilet roll and a hair gel (for him) called 'Touch Me Please' has been purchased......

Bear with me, hopefully will be back to blogging normally soon!

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