Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The review: Huda Beauty Liquid Matte

When I posted the photo of my 4 Huda Beauty liquid matte lipsticks on instagram and asked if I should review them the answer was a resounding yes.  And so here it is.

Firstly, the Liquid Mattes were much easier to get hold of in Dubai than the Lip Contours but not every single colour in the range is easy to source.  I managed to get these four from Mall of the Emirates in Dubai and they seem to be restocking frequently.  They're also now on Cult Beauty and Sephora and stocked in Harrods in London.

Again there was a huge amount of hype around the launch, Huda's own snapchat feed from the launch in Harrods was insane.  And for good reason-these are seriously good-possibly my all time favourite liquid lipstick-and definitely the least drying that I have tried.

I've included arm and lip swatches below-as usual these are totally unfiltered (eek) and in natural light at home in my apartment.

There was a little bit of inconsistency across the range-Gossip Gurl was the most drying on me.  Material Girl was the patchiest when I applied it initially and I thought I hated it but it wore amazingly throughout the day and was easily the longest lasting and most perfect at the end of the day.  Heartbreaker was also brilliant.  Cheerleader was the one the wore the worst, it seemed to fade quite a bit in the centre.  However, reapplication was easy and so topping it up wasn't a problem.  My lips weren't dry or flaky and the colour didn't bleed or peel off my lips.  They're really lightweight and very densely pigmented and dry to a very comfortable matte.

I like them so much I've just bought another 3 shades from Sephora!  And don't be afraid to ask for shades that aren't on display in Sephora here-some of them they are not displaying because they have no testers.  I managed to pick up Muse recently just by asking for it.


This picture was taken at the end of the day.  My foundation hadn't lasted as long as my lipstick had!  My lashes look great though-the mascara I have been using recently is the Smashbox Indecent Exposure.  It's really good but it does flake on me so I need to do frequent mirror checks and clean ups.

Material Girl

I was really really unsure of this colour when I first tried it but I actually love this picture which is a very rare statement from me.  I'm also wearing Urban Decay/Gwen Stefani 'Hush' blush from their palette which goes perfectly with this look and the ill fated Jaclyn Hill/Becca eyeshadow palette. which I reviewed here.  My skin has improved so much since I took those photos.  I can't decide if I got a good one or a bad one but I love the glittery shade Jaclyn created.

Gossip Gurl

This picture was taken at 7am in the morning before work.  I'm wearing the Violet Voss Holy Grail eyeshadow palette which I will review very soon-heads up-amazing!!  Marc Jacobs Reckless is on my cheeks.



More Violet Voss on my eyes in this picture and a blush you can read all about soon on my blog.  I paired this with the Cheerleader lip liner I own for a precise finish.

Have you tried any of these Liquid Mattes?  Let me know if you'd like to see the three other shades I picked up.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Lip Six

lipstick swatches

Happy Monday!  Hope you're all well, can you believe it's almost September??

Quite a subdued lip six this week-here are all the deets.

Top row (L) Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lip gloss in Hot Shot (I love these glosses, my brother and sister in law bought me a set for Xmas last year and they are amazing) (R) Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Shine lipstick in Charmed (review!)

Middle row (L) Tarte Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in Goals (review!) (R) Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in Bitch Perfect (review!)

Bottom row (L) MAC Matte lipstick in Mehr (R) YSL Volupte Tint in Oil in 5 Cherry Ma Cherie (review!)

All the glosses this week I absolutely love and would highly highly recommend!

Don't forget you can see my daily lip pick on snapchat >> username Stadybelle

Which is your favourite?


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Queen of the fancy Indian places

I've been eating out a lot recently, it's literally one of my favourite things to do.  And I like all the fancy places.  And Dubai has an abundance of them.

I've been to three of the best (and without doubt fanciest) Indian restaurants over the past few weeks in Dubai and thought I would whip up a post comparing the three I have been to.  I'd love to do some more food related/lifestyle posts on my blog which might be useful for residents and for visitors.

I love Indian food but can't tolerate very spicy food but nearly all the restaurants were super accommodating to my tastes. 


If you want to wow with the service and location, Amal at Armani is the one.  The interior is understated and lofty and showcases the kitchen and the creative chefs working behind a floor to ceiling glass wall.  The restaurant has a private terrace overlooking the Dubai fountains and sits within the Burj Khalifa.  It's such a beautiful place to have dinner.  The atmosphere is calm and sophisticated-this is not the place for a rowdy group dinner and the service was next level.  I couldn't reach across the table to pick up the dahl without our dedicated waiter beating me to it.  Yet it was never intrusive and Livin Joy (best name ever) was discreet, informative and helpful.  The restaurant manager even chatted to us and told me the exact last time I had been in the restaurant which definitely made me feel like a valued guest.  Interestingly enough, Livin Joy is the only waiters name I remembered from all 3 restaurants which shows what an impression his service had on me-and Dubai is a place where service levels in hotels like this is very high and you get used to it very quickly making it hard to stand out.

We chose the vegetarian tasting menu which worked out to be incredible value at AED300 per person and allowed us to try a bit of everything.  The 4 mini starters were sublime, especially the Paneer with the beetroot dressing.  The main dishes were plentiful for a tasting menu and served sharing style in little Thali dishes.  My all time favourite Indian dish is Paneer Makhni and although not on the menu, the chef made me one as a replacement for one of the more spicy dishes.  The food was relatively classic Indian fare with dahl, fresh roti, saffron rice and raita all served and everything was delicious and totally tailored to my taste.

Desserts were also traditional, with mini Rasmali and Gulam Jamun served and I went off menu and ordered their signature Chocolate Sphere because I had had it before and knew it was incredible.

Tea and coffee and petit fours are also included.

*Tip-for AED95 you can have unlimited soft drinks/mocktails-this is an incredible deal and one that we took full advantage of, especially as mocktails were around the AED45 mark each.   This wasn't advertised and Livin Joy told us about the package.

We were one of the first to arrive and the last to leave, we met the head chef and viewed several of the fountain shows during the night.  There was absolutely nothing negative I could say about this restaurant and it's firmly one of my favourites in Dubai.  Considering this is Armani, the value for money was amazing.  The total bill was AED880 for two vegetarian tasting menus, two soft drinks packages and my additional dessert.

I've also eaten twice at Hashi the Japanese restaurant on the ground floor at Armani-this is another exceptional restaurant with both amazing food and service.


Indego by Vineet has a brilliant reputation in Dubai and is so beautiful inside-it's warm and inviting and has a family feel to it and the staff have the confidence of people who know the food is great.  This was the only restaurant that I hadn't eaten at previously.  The restaurant manager was very friendly and as the restaurant was relatively quiet being midweek, spent time chatting to us about the background of the restaurant and the celebrity chef behind it.  This restaurant is perfect for family gatherings, date nights and business dinners alike.

Although they have a tasting menu we decided to order a la carte.  The tasting menu is a similar price to that of Amal.  We were treated to an amuse bouche first which is the bright yellow and pink dish below-it was a frozen beetroot coulis with yoghurt and passion fruit and it was absolutely beautiful-don't expect to get this if you go though-they change the amuse bouche every single day.

The starters here were absolutely incredible-I highly recommend the Tawa Tinkey dish which was Paneer and Roti pinwheels, Zucchini patties and tomato raita-I could have happily eaten it all over again.  I could eat it now!  The starters were creative but the main courses were more traditional-again we went for a Paneer dish, Dahl and a traditional vegetable Biryani enriched with dried fruits and paneer-all were delicious, particularly the Biryani.

We shared a Chocolicious Indego dessert which is their signature sampler dessert but it was heavy and a little too rich after what we had already eaten.  The 'chocomosa' or chocolate samosa and the chocolate buttons were delicious though.

The bill came to AED830 including soft drinks which I was pleasantly surprised about especially considering the quality of the food.  Again the staff were very happy to accommodate my non spicy palette and often checked that the food was to my liking.  This is definitely the place to go if you want a good quality Indian dinner in the Marina area and somewhere that is unlikely to ever disappoint.


Tresind is by far one of the most inventive and contemporary restaurants I have ever been to, but it has a price tag to match.  Having said that we ordered a lot of food because we wanted to try a bit of everything and experience the theatre behind the food.  I've been to lots of innovative restaurants before where they use techniques like molecular gastronomy but I've never been to anywhere else like this in Dubai-it's unique.

The dinner starts with a smoke filled urn being placed on the table to 'refresh your senses' and then with a complimentary deconstructed Pani Puri served as a shot.  The chef makes the dish at the table, talking you through each step and using molecular gastronomy to create each component.  There's a lot of liquid nitrogen and pizzazz about the cooking methods used and you pay as much for the skill and the show as you do the food.  It's a great place for groups and celebrations as long as everyone has the budget for it.  But it's certainly a 'wow' restaurant.  They do have a tasting menu but again we decided to go a la carte.  This was the restaurant I found to be least accommodating in terms of both recommending the non spicy dishes to me and also adapting the food to suit.  I found the waiter and the menu to be confusing and difficult to understand and in the end we just made our own choices.  One dish we were assured was not spicy was incredibly spicy.

There's a lot of small complimentary dishes given-small bread rolls, refreshing sorbets (two were served to us during the course of the meal-one sweet, one savory)  and the dinner closes with the presentation of Pan flavoured candy floss entwined into flowers and twigs set in an open top bus.  Sounds bizarre I know.  It used to be presented as a tree with candy floss hanging off it which was nicer.

One of the highlights for me is the Modernist Chaat Trolley which is prepared by a chef in front of you and is zingy and flavourful.  It again uses liquid nitrogen to freeze components of the dish and it's light and refreshing.  The trolley is designed to be shared and the more people, the bigger the dish.

Another highlight was the Paneer dish above, unfortunately I cannot find the Tresind menu online and can't recall the name of it and whether it was a starter or main (as I said the menu is extensive and confusing) but it was delicious.  We also loved the mock meat khurchan which was served in little thali dishes with pickles on the side with mini roti's pegged along a 'clothes line' for you to make your own mini wrap.   This also comes in a duck version for meat eaters which is one of their signature dishes.

I don't have pictures of the mains but there was a Paneer dish in gravy that was way too spicy for me, indian breads, dahl and an amazing take on a quiche with mushroom and goats cheese-not very indian but very moreish.

We went for another liquid nitrogen spectacular for dessert-the deconstructed black forest cake-chunks of chocolate sponge, caramel, cherries, redcurrants, frozen cream and an amazing amazing homemade fudge (apparently called Peda) which I literally picked out every square of.  Definitely a sharing dessert.

(photo credit who also has a brilliant review here (and much better photos than me but I wanted to explain the candy floss bus!)

Even the drinks are full of drama-my first one arrived in a treasure chest that was filled with liquid smoke and LED lights.

Tresind is probably the most innovative restaurant in Dubai that I have been to-and maybe because of that, it was the one that was the least accommodating of my palette.  I imagine a lot of the food is prepared to some extent to accommodate the overall presentation.  The food however is wonderfully innovative and you find yourself wondering what's next and how the next dish will look.  But it's also by far the most expensive place I ate-the bill was AED1770 which included soft drinks.  Worth it?  For a one time experience yes.  In future though I'll be sticking to their business lunch.

*Tip-the business lunch offered Sun-Thurs is amazing value at AED180 and a great way to sample some of the dishes.  Also, if you're feeling really spendy, try a Lava Lamp mocktail-it's a show in itself!

Please let me know if you'd like to see more posts like this on my blog-I'd love to hear your feedback!


Friday, August 26, 2016

My BFF's top 10 beauty picks

Meet Danielle...she's my BFF and has been for 11 years even though we now live 3500 miles apart.

We've had so many great times and been on holiday together to Vegas, Cyprus and Cornwall and spent lots of time together between London and Dubai.  And slowly slowly I have converted her into almost as big a beauty junkie as I am.

When I was recently in London I asked her to select her top 10 beauty products of the moment so I could share them in this post.

In no particular order here are her 10 top current fave beauty picks.

Benefit Hoola bronzer

Benefit Hoola Bronzer

Hoola is Dani's bronzer of choice because she says it makes her brown rather than orange and she loves the matte finish on the skin.  This is her first box of this cult bronzer but knowing Dani, if she likes it, she'll have already bought three back ups!

Becca Tigerlily

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush in Tigerlily

A new purchase and something Dani describes as a 'summer-ish' blusher, she says she likes the shimmery finish and that this bright orange shade goes well with Champagne Pop.  She says she is very light handed with this (I know from personal experience they are very pigmented) and just dabs it lightly on the apples of her cheeks.

Becca champagne pop

Becca v Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop

Danielle says she loves this creamy powder highlight when she is going for a sunkissed look and loves the glow it gives.  She uses it sparingly and loves the texture because it's not chalky or glittery.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Magic

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Magic Rejuvenating Balm

Danielle is extremely precious about her lip balms.  In fact she detests people using her lip balms so much that she actually sticks her lips straight into the pot so no one else will use it-haha she is going to kill me for telling you that!  Danielle always has lip balm on her-I've seen her use everything from the tins of vaseline to Creme De La Mer but she declared this one from Charlotte Tilbury to be her fave ever!  I take full responsibility for introducing Dani to Charlotte Tilbury and getting her hooked!  She loves the fact this lip balm is non sticky, really hydrating and I wrote in my notes that she said it smelt good.  When I asked her to elaborate....

I've actually posted a full review about this lip balm and the lip scrub-read my thoughts here.
Fun fact about both Dani and I-we both suffer from Anosmia-or in other words neither of us are able to smell much at all.

Kylie lip kit in Posie K

Kylie Lip Kit in Posie K

A bit of a surprise entry here because Dani barely every wears lipstick.  Lip balm constantly but never lipstick-lip gloss is usually as good as it gets and that's on a special occasion.  But she is obsessed with this Lip Kit and even though this isn't a shade she would normally wear (she is all about the sheer peaches usually) she says she likes to use the liner to slightly overdraw her lip line and fill in her entire lip before going over with the liquid lipstick.  She admits it does dry down a little tacky and that it is drying but she also says it's really long lasting and fuss free.

Becca lip primer

BECCA Lip Priming Perfector

This is something I had never even heard of but Danielle says this lip primer really helps to perfect the tone and texture of her lips whilst also softening them.  She says she uses it in conjunction with the Charlotte Tilbury lip balm for the perfect pout.

charlotte tilbury legendary lashes

Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes

Dani says she is really enjoying this newly launched mascara.  She loves the fact it is very black and gives her lashes a wet look, whilst elongating and defining.  She likes the fact it's easy to build up and it dries quickly but she did tell me that it's not waterproof and it can smudge-this is a complaint I have heard a lot about this mascara.

Kevyn Aucoin super soft buff brush

Kevyn Aucoin Super Soft Buff Powder

This is a pricey brush at £48 but Dani says it's a great multitasker and she likes the soft 'stubby' bristles.  Dani uses it for her bronzer or highlight and loves the fact it's so easy to control how much product gets deposited on her skin.

Kevyn Aucoin Soft Clay

Kevyn Aucoin Eye Shadow Single Matte in Soft Clay

Once a die hard Stila 'Kitten' eyeshadow wearer (we both were, when Stila was removed from the UK a few years ago we used to source the single pans from the States) Dani now prefers something more subtle  and wears this matte neutral shadow every single week day-so much so this is her third pan.    She likes the fact it 'looks like nothing' because she prefers the 'no make up make up' look for work.  She loves the texture as it's very light and this shadow really evens out any discoloration on her eyelid without looking made up.

Kardashian Beauty dry conditioner

Kardashian Beauty Dry Conditioner

Dani's final current fave is something she has also got me hooked on after giving me some to bring home to Dubai.  Dani says she much prefers this to dry shampoo because it doesn't give her the dry, stiff and brittle feel you get from a dry shampoo and this dry conditioner actually makes your hair feel really soft (as well as smelling great).  It doesn't have the oil control properties of a dry shampoo but this something you would mist onto mid lengths and ends to condition and add shine.

So there are Danielle's current top 10 beauty picks-I like to think I have trained her well.  I love the fact she whatsapps me whatever she buys or is finding she loves and yet still messages me randomly saying 'what do I use this for'?

Have you used any of Dani's faves?  I'd love to know if you and your BFF bond over a love of all things beauty related?


Monday, August 22, 2016

Lip Six is back!

lipstick swatches

Update-I'm such an idiot!  I realised today I posted this lip six back in July but hadn't deleted the pictures off my 'still to blog about folder'.


Fun fact!  Even though I haven't written a blog post in like 4 weeks I still photograph my lips every morning!

So I now have a backlog of lipstick swatches so I thought a lip six post would be an easy way to break back into beauty blogging-they're so easy to do and take me literally 5 minutes #LazyBlogging

Here are my (probably 4 weeks ago) last six lip picks!

Top row (L) Marc Jacobs Love Marc matte lip gel in 136 Shout (R) NARS Audacious lipstick in Fanny (review!)

Middle row (L) YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 13 Pink in Paris (R) Clinique Plum Pop lipstick (review!)

Bottom row (L) Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in Velvet Underground (review!) (R) MAC matte lipstick in Pink Plaid

Don't forget you can see my daily lip pick on snapchat >> username Stadybelle

Which is your favourite?


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Life updates, how it feels to go through early menopause and the future

Whilst I understand this is not the usual make up review post you might be here for, and that my story is probably highly irrelevant to most of you reading, I've been AWOL for a little while and I wanted to explain why.  I am currently going through early menopause and it has been such a nightmare that I wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings about what has happened to me in the hope that someone, feeling the same worry and stresses I have felt in the last few weeks might one day find this post and feel they're not alone.

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