Sunday, December 27, 2015

Winter scarf inspiration

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! 

It'll be the new year before I get back to my normal blogging schedule but I thought I would write a post on the winter scarves I have brought with me to the UK and my thoughts on whether they are worth the money as they are all relatively high end.  For someone who lives in Dubai where the temperature rarely falls below 20 degrees I own a lot of winter scarves (even more than these here)-they are absolutely all time favourite winter accessory.  I don't consider myself to have a particular style or be 'fashionable' at all but a scarf is easy to wear and adds a finishing touch to an outfit.  I also travel a lot and get notoriously cold on planes so I always have one in my carry on bag.

So if you're looking to splurge on a new winter scarf here are my thoughts and hopefully some inspiration.

Saint Laurent Lipstick Print Wool scarf-£420-link!

First up and my newest purchase is this Saint Laurent lipstick print wool scarf.  It's lightweight so it's not the warmest scarf but it's big enough to get wrapped up in and perfect for warmer months when you want something lighter.

This scarf is a large square measuring 54.6 x 54.6 inches and is made of 100% wool.  It's semi sheer and of course I bought it because it has the lipstick print all over it.

As this scarf is so large I usually fold it in half into a triangle shape, put the middle of the triangle point across my chest and then wrap the ends of the scarf round my neck and then drape them down my chest (terrible description but see above!)  Let's call it bandit style!

It's undeniably expensive-I bought mine from Selfridges but it is now out of stock there but the link above takes you to the YSL UK site.  Definitely one for a hardcore lipstick fan!

Louis Vuitton Monogram Shawl-£335-link!

My most worn scarves, the Louis Vuitton monogram shawl comes in 18 different colours.  The shades you see above are Beige (M71336) and Pomme D'Amour (M72237).  I also own them in Black, Night Blue, Natural (which is a pale pink) and a limited edition tan ombre colour.

This scarf is a 55.9 x 55.9 square making it slightly larger than the Saint Laurent and I wear them in the same 'bandit' style.

The scarf is made from a mixture of 40% wool and 60% silk and has the LV monogram print all over it with a frayed edge.  This scarf is much thicker, softer and warmer than the Saint Laurent and is the one I take on flights with me all the time.  They can be quite delicate, I have caught them a couple of times on say a jagged fingernail but they do wear well.  These are probably my favourite of all the scarves I do own.

Louis Vuitton Monogram So Glitter Stole-£420-Link!

The Louis Vuitton Monogram So Glitter stole is definitely what I would call a dress scarf rather than a winter scarf.  It's longer and thinner than the two above 71.7 x 23.6 inches and is made of 77% silk and 23% polyester.

Its a double layer cream scarf, the top layer is slightly crinkled and has a golden LV monogram pattern embossed onto it.

I usually just wear this draped round my shoulders in the evening as a dressy scarf-it actually doesn't feel very nice wrapped around the neck and has a slightly scratchy feel to it.

Burberry Classic Cashmere Scarf in Camel Check-£335-Link!

The Burberry Classic Cashmere scarf reminds me of scarves when I was growing up and also Rupert the Bear!  It comes in a whopping 71 colours and I have the classic camel check.

This scarf is the shortest at 66.1 x 11.8 inches and is 100% cashmere with fringing at both ends.  I also have mine monogrammed with my initials on, in the small 15mm size.  Monogramming usually costs an additional £50 but I got mine when there was a complimentary monogramming offer on.

I do like this scarf but I just feel it's not big enough.  Yes I am plus size but I do feel that the Burberry Lightweight Check Wool and Silk scarf at £275 is a much better buy and I really do love mine, more so than this one.

Louis Vuitton LogoMania scarf in Pearl Grey-£235-Link!

The Louis Vuitton Logomania scarf is my biggest regret purchase.  It's the only scarf I have brought on this holiday that I haven't worn.  It comes in 9 colours and I own pearl grey.  It measures 68.5 x 11.8 inches and is 94% wool and 6% silk.

The reason I regret buying it again is that I feel like again it's just not long enough and also I just don't feel it's particularly soft even though it is warm.  This scarf also catches really easily on things and I have a few pulls in it.

Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse Leopard Stole-£510-Link!

Actually, this is my most favourite and most worn scarf-I absolutely love it!  This is the Stephen Sprouse leopard stole-it's huge, it's lightweight and it's warm-and it's leopard print!

This is 70% cashmere and 30% silk, has a frayed edge and the Stephen Sprouse graffiti 'Louis Vuitton' on one corner in purple.  It's huge at 76.8 x 53.1 inches and I literally throw it on with everything.  Yes it is expensive but this is by far, for me, the best value in terms of cost per wear. 

I also have another one in a limited edition coral and cream shade from mid last year but I can't find it online for sale anymore but they really are great scarves!

Here's a quick round up if you are looking for a certain type of scarf:

Softest-Louis Vuitton Monogram Shawl/Burberry Cashmere scarf

Biggest-The LV Monogram shawl/LV Leopard Stole-I have realised these are my thing.

Most fragile-LV Monogram So Glitter stole/LogoMania

Hardest wearing-Saint Laurent lipstick print/LV Monogram shawl

Most versatile-The LV Monogram shawl/LV Leopard Stole

Lightest-Saint Laurent lipstick print/LV Monogram So Glitter

Warmest-The LV Monogram shawl/LV Leopard Stole/Burberry

Wishing you all a very very safe, healthy, prosperous and happy 2016-see you then!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chanel Holiday 2015-my picks

Chanel Holiday 2015 collection
Chanel Holiday 2015 collection

If there is ever a time Chanel is a perfect gift, it's Christmas.  Today I share what I picked up from the 2015 Holiday collection and my thoughts.

My favourite thing is the highlighting blush in Coups de Minuit.  It's a subtle daytime highlight and can be used as a slightly shimmery blush topper as well.  It's subtle but beautiful, a beige-y champagne tone with zero glitter.  When I think of other highlighters I have bought this year it's comparable to the Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Dreamy Glow Highlighter I reviewed here, but with a little more impact.  It definitely shows on my pale skin more than the Charlotte Tilbury but it's totally daytime appropriate.  I have been using this a lot.  But, it's nowhere even in the same league as the Christmas highlighter from last year which I own and is utterly stunning.

Chanel Holiday 2015 collection

I got suckered in to buying another Chanel nail polish even though they chip on me in approximately 34 seconds.  Rose Fusion is a complex shade which has zero rose undertone to it at all.  It's metallic and without microshimmer but the shade is slightly duochrome.  In some lights it looks bronze/gold and in others it looks more lilac toned.  It's a good alternative to reds at this time of the year and pretty unique to my collection.  And it did last a couple of days on me.

Chanel Holiday 2015 collection
Chanel Holiday 2015 rose fusion

I was basically bullied into buying the eyeshadow quad in Signe Particulier by Sarah, and I have to say it is very aesthetically pleasing with its classic quilted patterns on the pan.  But I don't love the shades if I am honest and have a problem with this quad that I have found a few times with Chanel eyeshadows.  Firstly the taupe shade top right is the type of shade I live for but it pulls pretty grey and dark on me.  The aubergine shade bottom left again swatches beautifully but on my eyes is very indistinguishable from the taupe shade which is really disappointing.  They both look really grey toned on me.  And I found the same with the Tisse Gabrielle.

The gold shade is surprisingly wearable-it's a teeny bit more yellow than Urban Decay Half Baked but it's not too yellow.  But I have to say when I wear yellow I always want to dye my hair darker because I think yellow looks stunning on brunettes.

The formula overall is good-smooth with little fall out, decent pigmentation and easy to blend.  The top left shade is really a highlight shade, I use it on my inner corner and brow bone.

Chanel Holiday 2015 collection

I know that my face looks really washed out below (the light was a bit bright when I was taking this first thing in the morning) but you can see how I struggled to get the taupe/aubergine shade to differentiate on the lid.  You may also just be able to see the gold shade on my lower lash line.

Chanel Holiday 2015
Chanel Holiday 2015 collection

All of these products are limited edition and my pick would be the highlighting blush-but I have seen swatches of the Illusion D'Ombre in the shade Rouge Noir and it looks stunning.

Have you picked up anything Chanel recently?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Recent empties

Quick post on November empties today!  I'm on holiday in the UK at the moment so things are a little slow in these parts but come the new year I'll be back to my regular schedule.

I picked 5 standouts from last months empties but I've only spoken about 3 of them here on my blog.

The Clinique Anti Blemish Solutions BB cream is an amazing light liquid foundation with brilliant coverage.  It doesn't contain any actual anti blemish ingredients but is designed to not irritate the skin any further.  It's a watery consistency and it blends beautifully with fingers or a brush and provides pretty heavy duty coverage.  I loved it and if all BB creams where like this I would be a definite convert.   My full review is here.

Sticking with foundations and at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of formula is the Estee Lauder Double Wear.  This is a much heavier formula but it glides over the skin, masking imperfections as it goes.  It may be too heavy for some but I absolutely adore it.  I prefer to apply it over a luminous and well moisturised base with my fingers.  Once it's on, its on.  I have already repurchased.

The Garnier Express 2 in 1 eye make up remover is an amazing remover for heavy duty mascara.  I recently reviewed it and rated it higher than my previous holy grail, Lancome Bi Facil.  I will definitely be stocking up whilst I am here in the UK!  My full thoughts here.

I spoke favourably of the Rodial Super Acids X-treme Pore Shrink Cleansing Pads here but since I finished them I have really been missing them in my routine!  I used these as my exfoliating toner in the evening as they're packed with apple amino acids (which nourish skin by strengthening connective tissue and keep skin smooth and elastic), salicylic acid (a BHA/chemical exfoliant which my skin loves for keep it spot free) and olive oil to soften.  I have the Dr Dennis Gross version in my stash so I won't repurchase immediately but I think these are something I would pick up again.

Finally, a bit of a luxe bathtime treat, the Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Honey Bath is one of my very faves.  I always stock up on these in the Space NK Xmas sale, I just love the scent and the amount of bubbles a small amount produces.  The glass jars look swish in the bathroom too.  Let's hope they're in the Space NK sale this year too!

Have you used any of these products?


Sunday, December 13, 2015

My favourite winter scents

...and they're all from Jo Malone.  Not intentional, Jo Malone just nails winter scents in my opinion.

These are the four I am using right now, interchanging daily with my mood.

Warning: Scent reviews are not my forte given that I have a poor sense of smell.  As I can smell all of these perfumes I can only deduce they are quite strong.  I have added some thoughts from the internet on each though to try and cover the full spectrum of notes in the scent (i.e. the ones I can't smell!)

First up is from the Cologne Intense range and is Dark Amber and Ginger Lily.  These only come in 100ml bottle sizes and I own not only the scent but the body oil and candle of this fragrance.

This is a very unisex fragrance with top notes of cardamon, ginger and pink pepper, the middle notes are jasmine, orchid, water lily and rose; while the base notes encompass leather, sandalwood, kyara incense, patchouli, black amber.  I find it a very warming and comforting scent.  It works will with Vanilla and Anise as well to freshen it up a bit.  This is a strictly winter scent for me but it's not a heavy scent and the silage isn't amazing on it.  It's better layered and will the body oil you get the best lasting effect.

Pomegranate Noir is a fragrance I used to hate because all I could pick up was a strong clove note in it and it reminded me of disinfectant.  Now I get a sweeter, warmer raspberry and pomegranate tone and that's why I am literally on the last dregs of this.  Top notes are raspberry, pomegranate, plum, rhuburb and watermelon; middle notes are lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, rose, pink pepper, clove, olibanum, opoponax and guaiac wood; base notes are virginia cedar, patchouli, musk and amber.  This scent is stronger than the Dark Amber and Ginger Lily and again works well with Vanilla and Anise.  One of my best friends says this always reminds her of Xmas and I agree, this is a very December appropriate scent.

Blue Agava and Cacao is a scent I instantly fell in love with for its chocolaty undertones.  It's quite a sexy fragrance but is quite powerful so I go in with small doses.  The top notes are exotic Birgaradia citrus, lime oil, grapefruit, cardamom, and red berry.  The heart is composed of blue Agava flower, sea salt, orchid, geranium and white lily.  The opulent base unites cocoa, vetiver, cinnamon, musk and vanilla.  My nose picks up mainly the base notes, again making this too much for spring and summer but perfect for cooler winter evenings.  It makes me want to sit in front of a fire all cosy with a box of chocolates and a Baileys.

Sorry to be a bitch but my all time favourite from Jo Malone is limited edition and no longer available.  This is my third (and last) bottle.

Ginger Biscuit captures the scent of just-baked cookies spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and dipped in caramel. There are also some buttery toasted hazelnuts, tonka bean and vanilla.  It's a real gourmand fragrance, spicy but cosy, warming without being cloying.  I wish Jo Malone would bring it back-I'd buy all the bottles!

UPDATE!!!  Jo Malone brought back Ginger Biscuit!  But it can only be purchased in the 100ml size from the flagship Jo Malone store on Regent Street in London

What are your favourite winter fragrances?

Friday, December 11, 2015

My MAC Xmas pro palette


As much as I love make up and love travelling I hate packing make up to travel.  Especially for long trips because I don't have the genetic make up to pack lightly.

But as I am travelling back to the UK today, it has to be done and having been forever impressed with MAC eyeshadows I decided to fiddle around with my MAC Pro Palettes and put together my ultimate Xmas pro-palette.

Update-proof I am unable to travel lightly, checked in 70kg of luggage yesterday!!! 

Below are some of my all time faves, mainly shimmers (naturally) but with a smattering of matte to even things out.  Yes it may look like a collection of almost 15 warm bronzy shadows but they're all like totally different.



I know with these 15 eyeshadows I pretty much have all bases covered.  But I had to have Sable because its my ALL TIME FAVE.  Although Woodwinked is a damn close second.  I found my limited edition Pedro Lourenco palette has both All That Glitters and Sable plus two great matte transition shades so I have added that too.


And because the Pedro Lourenco palette contains All The Glitters I switched that out of my Pro Palette and replaced it with Naked Lunch-a great highlighting colour.



But then I got panicky-what about Sketch and Star Violet?  They're two shades I love and are perfect for winter.  And could I live without Cork in my crease?  Luckily they're all encompassed in the mini 'x9' palettes I own and so I may as well throw them in-they're tiny after all.


You can read reviews of all my MAC Pro Palettes linked from this post.  You can read reviews of Amber x 9 here and Burgundy x 9 here.

So that's my full eyeshadow wardrobe catered for. (Probably). You don't even want to see the lipsticks I have packed......


Thursday, December 10, 2015

MAC Magic of the Night 2015-my picks

MAC Magic of the Night collection review
MAC Magic of the Night collection review
MAC Magic of the Night collection review
MAC Magic of the Night collection review

I haven't been hugely excited by the Christmas collections on offer this year so far but I did pick up a couple of things when I was shopping in Dubai last week.

My timing was terrific, unbeknown to me, I walked into Harvey Nichols in Dubai the day that MAC launched their Holiday 2015 collection.  Later than everywhere else naturally but I missed the UK launch so my tardiness benefited me.

I swatched the two highlighters and then walked away thinking they were too golden/yellow for me.  But as I walked round the store they kept catching the light on my hand and I was like "These are pretty, I can make these work" so I headed back to the counter.

Admittedly I don't like the outer packaging, I think it's very 'Physicians Formula' with the mirrored finish.  But the pan is just beautiful, I love the moulded Extra Dimension pans, they're so sleek.

'Oh Darling' is the light gold offering of the two highlighters.  Up close it's a little frosted and golden.  From a distance it is more glowy, as hopefully you can see in the photo below.  It's not my favourite ever highlight and I don't see myself reaching for it very frequently but it's unique in my collection and a nice to have.

I'm also wearing the Matte Lipstick in Evening Rendezvous in the photo below and I have to say this formula is awesome.  It's quite stiff in the bullet so it's actually very easy to apply and control.  The colour is opaque and semi matte and the lasting power is exceptional.  It literally lasted all day on me without drying out my lips, bleeding out of my natural lip line or going patchy.  I was a little put off by the colour initially-its a deep purple-somewhere between MACs Up The Amp and Rebel.  It's a blue based berry and works well paired with Heroine, Fashion Boost and Beet lip liners (all from MAC).  But the colour did grow on me through the day-it's a strictly winter lip colour for me though.

MAC Magic of the Night collection review
MAC Magic of the Night collection review

Shaft of Gold is definitely too golden for me to pull off as a highlight so it now has the honor of being the biggest eyeshadow I own!  It's frosted, it's golden, it's warm and it's very like Urban Decay Half Baked.  It applies well on the lid and looks beautiful over a cream eyeshadow.  Not particularly travel friendly but an aesthetically pleasing addition to my collection.

MAC Magic of the Night collection review

As always with MAC, the Magic of the Night collection is limited edition-I'd love to know if you picked anything up?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Four things I am using right now #3

Today I am back with the third installment of 'Four things I am using right now' sharing some of the things I am using every day right now.

First up, and the priciest of the bunch is the By Terry Terrybly Densillis Concealer.  I bought this for £44 from Space NK which is more than double than it's rivals the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer which retails at £17.50 and the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer at £22.  The reason I choose these two as comparisons are that in essence they claim to all do the same-conceal, brighten and perfect and are all housed in a glass tube with doe foot applicator.

I love this concealer.  It gives great coverage, it's easy to blend and I can use it on blemishes and under my eyes.  It doesn't crease or crack and it feels light and hydrating on the skin.  The only issue for me is that it slightly oxidises-I have the lightest shade 'Fresh Fair' and it's perfect when I apply it on my skin but it definitely oxidises a shade darker.  Fresh Fair is a very neutral shade-it's not yellow or pink toned yet it works really well to cover redness and dark circles.  If this came in a lighter shade I would repurchase in a second.  I am almost finished this tube and I am going to have to return back to the Urban Decay version  as that's my preferred runner up.  Having said that I am very interested in the new Bobbi Brown serum concealer.....

Next up is the Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser from Elemis.  I have a deep love for the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Face Wash and have been through bottles of it.  The Tri-Enzyme cleanser contains glycolic acid (AHA) but this one is a much gentler, non chemical exfoliant cleanser.

I really like cream cleansers as either my morning cleanse or my second cleanse in the evening and this is a light cream/borderline milk.  It's not heavy duty enough to remove make up thoroughly but is great for refreshing the skin in the morning or for removing the last scraps of make up and soothing the skin in your evening double cleanse.  I apply it to dry skin, massage in and then remove with a damp flannel.  This is a great cleanser for all skin types as it doesn't strip dry or irritate the skin.  I have listed the full ingredients below:

Aqua/Water/Eau, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Lauryl Glucoside, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10 – 30 alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Fragrance (Parfum), Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Tilia Cordata (Linden) Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol, Maltodextrin, Caramel, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex, Potassium Hydroxide, Amyl Cinnamal, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone.

The Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector is a bit of an odd product.  This is the shade 01 Rose Shimmer which is the palest shade in the range of 6.  Clarins describe this as a gliding, lightweight, fluid texture instantly melts into the skin to leave the complexion smooth and even. Imperceptible on the skin, it illuminates the complexion which stays flawless and satin-smooth in any lighting. It fixes make-up, giving a natural, long-lasting result. 

I read from that it's a foundation primer which I have been using it as.  But I am not sure I am wowed.  It has quite a heavy texture and feels quite silicony on the skin.  I have been all about the glow recently but I don't get an obvious 'impact' of glow on my skin.  Foundation does sit nicely on the top of it and skin feels hydrated and plumped.

I also have 03 Bronze Shimmer and this is my all time favourite product for mixing with foundation to darken it when I have a tan (on the very rare occasion!)  It mixes well with every foundation I have tried it with and its a holy grail product for me.  But I have just found out it's discontinued!!!

By the way, despite the names, neither contain any shimmer in them at all!

Lastly the Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Pressed Finishing Powder is the powder I am carrying around in my handbag make up bag right now.  This is a white setting powder in a pressed form, similar to the Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder I talked about in this Disappointing Products post.  I much prefer the Tarte version although I still feel it is still quite a loose texture and I need to be careful not to get covered in 'setting powder dandruff'-especially when touching up in the office and wearing my default black.

But it doesn't leave a white cast on the skin and it does a decent job of controlling oil-I like it-but it is a bit pricey at $35.  I'm still a massive fan of the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish powder and I just can't find anything better!

Have you tried any of these products?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lip Six...and a chatty catch up

Happy Monday!  I thought I would do a bit of a rambly post alongside this weeks Lip Six with a chatty life update-those who follow me on snapchat get a lot of random musings but my blog is mainly strictly beauty.

I cannot comprehend that it is December and that it is almost Xmas.  I genuinely don't know where this year has gone-yadda yadda every one says that but I just can't deal.

I'm going to be honest and say that I am looking forward to seeing the back of 2015.  It's been a hard year emotionally for me.  I may not have shouted about it on social media but cancer is a motherfucker to deal with.  My whole values and beliefs system was wiped out last year but I am slowly at a stage now where I am ready to move on and rebuild.  The last four weeks have been pretty pivotal for me and I am feeling happy, more confident and more at peace with myself.  I may do a full update in the new year about what has changed and why.

I am off to London on Friday to start a manic Xmas break.  I start in London for the weekend, staying with my best friend and catching up with two of my other best friends and my old boss Nick and then head north to my parents.  I have no friends in my hometown but will travel further north to see more friends whilst I am there.

Then I am on the move again to Cheshire where I will be spending Xmas and seeing more friends.  The idea behind it is that Cheshire is where Mike is from and he can spend time with his kids-I am more than happy to take myself off to Liverpool, Manchester and Chester whilst he does-all of which are in spitting distance.  We have hired a cottage again and will be spending Xmas day with my parents, my brother and sister in law and my three utterly beautiful nieces.  This makes me happiest of all as it has been many years since we were all together on Xmas day.

So it's going to be a whirlwind December coming up-everything on my blog is pre-scheduled now so I can starting living in the moment and enjoying my time and maybe even (whispers) relaxing.

This is my first trip back to the UK since last year so I am very much looking forward to it-there's no place like home after all.

This is probably the last Lip Six of 2015 so here's a look at my last 6 lip picks.  I am still going methodically through my lipstick drawer (possibly half way there now) and this weeks discovery was how beautiful Givenchy lipsticks are and a rediscovery of stunning limited edition Dior lipstick-definitely one I will be wearing over Xmas.

Top row (L) Givenchy Le Rouge Givenchy lipstick in 202 Rose Dressing (R) L'Oreal Collection Privee lipstick in Julianne's Nude (review!)

Middle row (L) Dior Diorific lipstick in Minuit (review!) (LE shade sadly but the formula is still available and I WANT MORE) (R) Dior Addict Extreme in Princess Extreme

Bottom row (L) Givenchy Le Rouge Givenchy lipstick in 311 Rose Precieux (LE shade) (R) Givenchy Le Rouge Givenchy lipstick in 301 Magnolia Organza

Which is your favourite?
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