Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Current beauty favourites


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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fashion Afternoon Tea at Armani Hotel Dubai

Afternoon Tea at Armani Hotel Dubai

To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail
-Giorgio Armani

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

september twenty seventeen

September was manic.  In fact, as I write this on the 30th September I am actually wondering how I survived!!  Of course, the highlight was the 9-day visit from Sarah and Aimee-you can read all about their time here in this post.  But the rest of the month though was equally as busy....here's my monthly round up

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

A food lovers guide to Dubai

Gaucho restaurant DIFC Dubai
                              
   People who love to eat are always the best people

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Friday, September 8, 2017

August empties


It's been an absolute age since I have done an empties post!  The last two months empties I did on my instastories and the feedback was so so good, so I would love to know how you prefer for me to do them-through a blog post or through instastories?

I don't have too many empties this month so here's a quick run down on what I finished up.

Pixi X Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

I finished up one at the start of the month and one at the end-I go through this stuff at lightening speed-I wish she sold bigger tubs of both halves of the cleanser so I could buy both.  This cleanser is relatively bland (in the nicest possible way) and it stops my skin from misbehaving.  I've written a full blog post on it here and I recently ordered 4 more from ASOS.

Origins Eye Doctor

I personally didn't rate this eye cream and it was definitely one for the 'I'm not in love but I'll use you up' category.  I didn't find it hydrating enough and I think it would suit a 20's undereye far better than a getting towards late 30's undereye.  I didn't see any difference when using it and I wouldn't repurchase.  That being said, I'm now using the Origins Starting Over eye cream (I was on an Origins binge earlier in the year) and it's much thicker, creamier and more hydrating and I definitely prefer it to the Eye Doctor.

Clarins 'Relax' Oil

This is a multi purpose oil from Clarins and I have to say I really do love Clarins skincare and body care ranges.  This relaxing body treatment oil has Geranium, Petit Grain, Camomile and Basil and is designed to help relieve stress and fatigue and it also helps soothe tired muscles after exercise.  You can use it in the bath and as it's not a heavy oil in texture I also use it sometimes mixed into my moisturiser on my surgery scars on my tummy to help fade them.  I really want to pick some more up and might ask Sarah and Aimee to get me some at duty-free later this month!

Bliss Fabulips

I've realised this is now discontinued so I won't spend too much time on it but this was a lip plumping serum for lips and it was really moisturising as well as plumping.  I have a Dior lip plumper which I love that does a similar job if you're looking for something similar.

L'Oreal Magic Lumi

This is a drugstore dupe for Mac Strobe Cream and is also similar to the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl.  It has a really light texture and I use it as a primer before foundation-it doesn't really keep makeup in place-its just about the additional glow.  It has a pearlescent finish to it without being too in your face and is a great dupe for MAC strobe cream.

Tom Ford lipstick in Pink Dusk

Love this shade from Tom Ford but this is the second one that has snapped on me (cry face).  You can see me wearing it in my Tom Ford lipstick post here.

Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector 

Another discontinued product which shows how long I had it for!  This was really good for adding a more bronzed tone to my foundation when I had a tan without changing the consistency of the foundation.  But it's no longer available so that information is not particularly useful to you!

MAC Studio Fix foundation

Although this is, in theory, a powder foundation it's really light in texture and I use it to mattify my skin during the day.  I have lost count how many of these I have gone through but I have to say they last forever.  I must touch up my combination skin 3-4 times a day and these will last a good 6-9 months.  Non-cakey and very finely milled I don't see myself ever being without one.

Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder

I really enjoyed this setting powder from Kat Von D-it comes in 'translucent' but it doesn't add any colour to the skin-it's purely just to mattify and lock down the products you have applied before it.  It's not cakey and doesn't leave a white cast and I would buy it again.  In the marketing blurb, it states that it has 'micro blurring technology' but I didn't honestly feel that my skin looked perfected from that aspect.  It's not too matte and leaves skin with a velvety satin finish.  I do have to touch up throughout the day (with the MAC Studio Fix powder) but my skin naturally produces oils that no powder can control for a whole day no matter what I do.


My final empty is the perfume I wore obsessively throughout August-mainly because I felt like I had had it a while and I wanted to use it before it expired!  Stella McCartney 'Summer' is a light, fruity, non-offensive, clean scent with top notes of lemon, apple, peony and rose.  I feel like I say this all the time so apologies if this is old news but I have a very very very weak sense of smell (it's pretty much none existent) and I can't smell this on me.  But I finished the bottle lol so I am high fiving myself!

Have you tried any of these products?  Please let me know as well if you prefer this format or the instastory format for empties going forward.  Thanks for reading!

 
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Monday, September 4, 2017

August twenty seventeen



I loved writing my round up of July post-it was an excellent way to reflect on the month and reflect on how amazing living in Dubai really can be.  I've decided to continue and I'm realising that what I thought was a pretty uneventful August was actually a pretty amazing one!

So without further ado, here's my round up of an awesome August!

I went:


I'm starting with the best thing I did this month-I went on another road trip.  I loved going to Hatta last month but I decided to make this one just that little bit more special and hired an Audi R8 for the day as a surprise for my friend and we headed out to Jebel Hafeet which is about 2 hours drive from Dubai.  We had the most amazing day ever-what you may not know about me is that I have a motorsports background and I absolutely love driving.  I've been to Jebel Hafeet many times but this was, without a doubt my very favourite time there.

It was a beautiful day, albeit it's still in the 40-degree temperature range in the UAE but once we got to Jebel Hafeet we put the roof down, braved the heat and sped up the mountain.  The feeling of the wind in my hair and the roar of the engine was something I will never forget.  And check out the vistas.  Jebel Hafeet stands at almost 1300 metres with panoramic views across the UAE and over to Oman.

The car is AMAZING.  The R8 wasn't my dream car-it was my friends.  But it's mine now too, I absolutely loved every second driving it.  I'm a really good driver as well-I did the 11.7km mountain road (which as you can see twists and turns like a snake all the way up) in 7.09.  I want to go again so badly-it was my favourite day of the year so far.



I ate:

Gaucho, DIFC


I didn't eat out as much as in July but I had some pretty good dinners.  The first highlight is dinner at Gaucho in DIFC.  I have so much love for Gaucho, I could go there every night of the week.  They serve my favourite dessert in Dubai-the Dulce De Leche cheesecake which comes with hot salted caramel sauce and toasted marshmallow.  I cannot wait for my next visit and I would highly recommend a visit.  Danny and his team will definitely ensure you have an awesome night.

Zuma, DIFC
I also went for the business lunch at Zuma.  It's very dangerous working where I work because there are so many amazing restaurants on my doorstep-Gaucho and Zuma are literally 20 steps from my office, my office is positioned between La Petite Maison and Cipriani and I am literally spoiled for choice.  This was actually my first time at Zuma which has won award after award for its food.  They do an excellent business lunch with a really good variety of dishes.  You can choose two starters and a main and then add a dessert for a reduced price.  I had the gyoza and the beef sashimi to start and black cod for my main.  Chloe and I then shared the signature Zuma chocolate dessert but I could have easily eaten one to myself, it was amazing!

Highly highly recommended but this place is packed every day for lunch and dinner so book ahead if you want to go!

Shake Shack


Ok so if you know me at all you know I love a fancy dining experience but I also love a Shake Shack as well!  You know those places that you always go to with the same person and sit at the same table and have an amazing time?  Well, that's Shake Shack for me.  Hence why, after long days in the office we went twice in August!  

My tip? Always get the cheese fries!

Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House
Another recently rediscovered favourite of mine, I went for dinner at Buddha Bar where the food is consistently good and the cocktails are epic.  I mean who doesn't love an inflatable flamingo?  The food is Pan Asian and it's best to go on a Wed/Thurs or Friday night but you'll need to book-I could only get a 10 pm table on a Thursday night.  But we left at 3 am so we got our money's worth.  I definitely recommend checking out the bar upstairs-it's quite small and intimate but has a really nice vibe and excellent service.  I think we were the last to leave!

I relaxed:

I was lucky enough to spend time at 4 spas in Dubai in August-The Talise spa at the Burj Al Arab, The Talise Ottoman spa at The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, the Armani spa and The Ritz Carlton spa at the Ritz Carlton DIFC.  They all cost around the same and I had a 90-minute massage at all of them.  It's worth noting if you want to book a spa treatment in Dubai that although many places offer a 'couples' massage, there is a gender policy in the hotels where a female therapist treats female guests and a male therapist will treat male guests.  What this also means is that a lot of spas have separate facilities for men and women-different saunas, pools, steam rooms and relaxation areas.

The Burj Al Arab, as you would expect, is opulent.  It's rich blues, emeralds and golds everywhere and the treatment rooms were absolutely beautiful with views across the Marina and JLT for the ladies spa and across Downtown Dubai in the male spa.  The massage I had here was nice but it wasn't mindblowing in all honesty.  I loved the indoor infinity pool (available for men and women) and the views over the Jumeirah Beach Hotel are always breathtaking.



We both agreed the massage at the Armani spa was the best, hands down.  We combined the massage with a scrub and honestly, my skin has never ever ever felt as soft as when I rinsed it off in the shower.  The spa was very cool and contemporary as you would expect from Armani, there are no mixed facilities apart from the pool but as the pool was outdoors we didn't use it in the searing August heat.  Armani does not have a jacuzzi either.

The massage I had was incredible.  I wasn't offered a choice of oil although my friend was.  I also wasn't asked about the pressure I wanted but Alice, my therapist nailed it.  I felt like I was walking on air afterwards.

This is a spa I will definitely return to in the cooler months so I can enjoy the pool-it's worth noting that if you have the Entertainer spa book/app then Armani is included in there.

We had dinner at Armani Deli afterwards which has amazing views of the Dubai fountains.  They serve mainly Meditteranean/Italian food and do an amazing Burrata salad.
We also went to the spa at the Ritz Carlton in DIFC and here the staff were the most friendly and helpful.  I was advised what type of massage to have and combined it again with a body scrub and I was given a choice of 3 oils depending on how I wanted to feel after the treatment-I chose the invigorating one given I was going out for dinner afterwards.  The scrub here wasn't as nice as Armani-it felt much drier on the skin on application but my skin was soft afterwards.  The therapist was very attentive and offered advice and frequently checked everything was ok.  I was also given Natura Bissé skincare samples to take away.  Given this one is right on my doorstep I would definitely go again.

The final spa was the Talise Ottoman spa in the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.  This was, without doubt, the largest spa with the most facilities but unfortunately, because we were running 5/10 minutes late I felt that I had the worst experience here.  The treatment was at 7 pm and we arrived at 7.05pm.  Ideally we would have got there earlier but unfortunately, workload meant that wasn't possible.  I was rushed to the changing room and into the treatment room and even though I was the last client of the day, because we started at 7.10pm the therapist knocked 10 minutes off the 90 minutes I had paid for.

We both had a hot stone massage for 90 minutes (or 80 in my case) but my friend said that the stones used on them were not as hot as they would have liked and the treatment room was really cold even though the therapist turned off the air conditioning.  I wasn't given a tour of any of the facilities-after the massage I was shown to the female relaxation area and I asked for a peppermint tea but they were out of stock.  My friend was shown round though and saw the Hamman and the 'snow rooms'-I'm so disappointed I didn't.

This is, without doubt, the most beautiful spa and it's beautifully decorated with a Turkish theme-I just wish I had seen more of it.  It's worth noting that Kirsty went there this weekend for the couples treatment and absolutely loved it-she put an Instagram post up about her experience and if she blogs about it I will link it into this post.

I bought:

Nothing!  I've had a few spendy months and there just wasn't a real desire to buy something.  Prices in Dubai are so expensive compared to the UK and although I do love an online splurge I also really enjoyed actual shopping in London and France.  However I have two things on my wishlist currently that are seriously tempting me-the first is a larger YSL bag.  I've narrowed it down to the large Lulu or the large College-but I think I am leaning towards the Lulu (the bag on the left).  I want to go and look at them instore but it's likely I will buy from London in December.
The second item on my radar is a pair of Malone Soulier 'Maureen' heels-I love the look of these burgundy velvet and gold ones-they seem so perfect for Autumn and Winter.  I need to try them on to see if they look too weird on me but I think they're stunning.  If you have tried these I would love to know if they're comfortable?  The do sell Malone Soulier here so I can try them on in the Mall and then order from Net a Porter.  I just need someone to tell me to buy them lol!


I watched:
Not sure how I had time for TV but I binge watched 'Big Little Lies' which was epic and has an amazing soundtrack-it was very gripping and I devoured it over a weekend after discovering it on a flight home from Cairo.  I also started watching Line Of Duty on Netflix and am now season 3-I love crime drama the most so this is right up my street even if I am late to the party!

I hated:


I hated my skin and it hated me right back!  I got a horrendous hormonal breakout that took ages to clear but I found 4 products really helped.  1) Lancome Hydrazen moisturisor-I know this doesn't irriate my skin and it's lovely and soothing 2) Using the Marc Jacobs coconut face primer-again I know it doesn't irritate so it's a safe bet 3) (pictured) The Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective which is a very watery serum-I apply 3-5 drops a night to my fingertips and press over my chin and 4) (pictured) Dr Sebagh Supreme Maintenance Youth Serum which I use in the morning which is helping to fade the scars left from those horrible spots.

August was pretty awesome and September is going to be incredible.  Stay tuned to my instastories because I have so much planned and some special visitors from the UK.  It's going to be epic.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Loves and regrets: Shoes I've bought recently




The fact is, it's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes.  That's why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun-Carrie Bradshaw

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Friday, August 18, 2017

I'm not in love




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Sunday, August 13, 2017

July


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Friday, May 12, 2017

'Designer' items blogsale



Hello again :))

Two posts in one day-it's a miracle!

Here are some other items from my collection I am selling.  I apologise for the quality of the photos but time is not my friend right now.

I am more than happy to provide more detail, closer photos etc of all items-am quite happy to whatsapp details/photos/videos to anyone interested,

Thanks for reading and please feel free to message me on here, email, instagram or twitter :))


Chanel Wallet On Chain // Classic black quilted lambskin // Silver hardware // Original box // Original dustbag // Original receipt // Used a couple of times, in immaculate condition // Bought Chanel Store Dubai Mall // Please message me for price  SOLD


Brand new, never used, perfect condition Burberry black grained leather Baynard tote (exact specification and size here)

Bought Burberry Dubai Mall, never ever used, in original dust bag, original receipt included

Selling for AED3500 // £700  (bought for AED4800 // £1000)




Victoria Beckham python skin clutch with fuchsia trim, small size, original receipt and dust bag included.  Never used
Gold hardware
Selling for £300 // AED1500 (purchase price £495 from My Theresa-invoice included)


Louis Vuitton Logo Mania scarf in Pearl Gray.  Worn a couple of times.  One tiny pull in it but you'd have to be really looking to see it-other than that it is in immaculate condition.  Original receipt included, bought from LV store
Dimensions/ details here
Selling for £190
SOLD

Louis Vuitton So Glitter Monogram stole..  Beautiful but never used hence selling.  Full details/size etc here
Original receipt, bought from LV in Dubai
Selling for £300 (purchase price was AED2810 / £600)






Jimmy Choo 'Valley' suede and gold slingbacks // Never worn // Size 39 // True to size // Bought net A Porter // Proof of purchase from my NAP account //  In original box with dustbag // Selling for £150


Small size orange/red Tory Burch cross body bag // No receipt // Never used // £50



LK Bennett 'Annina' shoulder bag in Winter White // light usage // excellent condition // soft leather // original receipt // dust bag // Selling £100 (cost £245)


Brand new never used Lulu Guinness glitter lipstick pouch // no receipt but original box // Bought for £95 from Lulu Guinness Dubai store // £50  //

  • Height: 16.0cm
  • Width: 23.0cm
  • Depth: 10.0cm


Thanks for reading xx
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Friday, March 17, 2017

4 things I'm using right now #9


Givenchy Teint Couture Balm

Here's my 9th snapshot/mini review of 4 things I'm using regularly right now.

The Givenchy Teint Couture Balm is not my usual type of foundation.  I've not dabbled in Givenchy foundations before because I always find the shades a bit too dark for me.  This product came to my attention via Sali Hughes-she wrote about it and I really trust her opinion.  The formula is quite a dense cream but the coverage is light to medium at best.  I tend to use this at the weekend when I want a lighter base and I do like it.  I am using the shade 3 Nude Sand which is a surprisingly good match for me and rather than adding colour to the face, the formula just seems to even everything out.  Having said that, this is a glowy base that I need to set with powder and re-powder a couple of times a day.  It's a bit heavier than a tinted moisturiser but a lot less than my usual full coverage week day base.  I just whack it on with my fingers and smooth out.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter

Adding to the glowy base the Givenchy offers, I have been using the Becca Backlight Priming Filter after I finished up using the Marc Jacobs coconut face primer (which is hands down the best primer I have ever tried).  This primer from Becca has a slightly thicker cream texture and a definite peachy undertone to it.  The peach tone isn't visible on the skin but it definitely imparts a glow/luminosity to the skin.   The Marc Jacobs primer has a slight tackiness to it which I believe helps foundation to stick longer and I don't feel the same tackiness with this primer.  But it definitely gives the skin a more radiant, soft focus look and it seems to work well with any of the foundations I have tried over it.   There's a lot of positive hype around this primer-I just don't love it as much as I did with the Marc Jacobs.  I would say if you have very dry, dull skin this is a good option, otherwise I would go for the Marc Jacobs.

Kate somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

This is my second experience with the Kate Somerville range-and my first experience was not a positive one.  The Goats Milk cream broke me out really badly, and I donated it to my mum.  I'm happy to say that this Oil Free Moisturizer is much more agreeable to my skin.  I bought this cream before I went through the menopause and my skin was a bit oilier and it's probably not something I would pick up now-but that doesn't mean I don't like it.  I love the hygienic dispenser of this moisturiser even though the packaging is a bit chunky.  This is a really light, unfragranced cream that absorbs instantly, providing just enough hydration.  There's no greasy residue left behind and it seems to even out the skin.  It's a great base for make up and doesn't destabilize anything you place over the top of it. 

Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Liner

The Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Liner is immense.  I have the shade Deep Aubergine and it was included in a Trish McEvoy gift set and wouldn't be something I would usually pick up.  Deep Aubergine is a very dark blackened purple colour-it really pulls out green tones in my eyes.  The formula is so smooth and almost fluid for a pencil liner.  I love the fact this is much softer than black and is so easy to work with.  I'm tempted to get more!

I'd love to know if you have tried any of these products and how they're working for you!


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Monday, March 13, 2017

The Dream


Image credit-TripGlide.com

As I write this post I am currently on a flight to Cairo and I am typing it into a Notes app on my phone.  I'm pretty sure the creepy guy sat next to me is reading over my shoulder as I type as well.

Scrolling through twitter this morning I saw a tweet that jumped out at me.  And it stuck in my head and through the day all these thoughts have been popping up at me.  Then, I was having another (whatsapp) conversation with a friend this morning and she said to me 'Just enjoy life Stacey, don't worry about the little things. Do all the things you've dreamed of now not tomorrow...'

And that made me think even more during the almost 4 hour flight (I'm a big thinker) 'what is the dream'?

Now I'll be honest, I like my blog posts to normally end with a conclusion-a decision made on whether I like a product or don't or, if it's a personal post, a summary of what I am going to focus on/change/start.  This post isn't going to have a conclusion because I still haven't decided.

I've spent the first 3 months of 2017 telling people 'the dream' this year is to go to Paris in Spring and buy a Chanel handbag.  I felt like that was the way to best 'celebrate' what I achieved last year professionally as it was my best year ever, but also to 'celebrate' surviving the challenges last year threw at me-the breakdown and break up of a 13 year relationship, a secondary diagnosis, further surgery and the menopause which really hit me like a charging rhino.  I felt like I deserved it.  I still feel like I deserve it.  And I wanted to do Paris in the spring because that really sounded like the dream-I want to go with Dani my best friend and enjoy dappled sunshine, cafes, wandering the streets in pastel colours (me not Danielle, she'd rather die than wear pastel) and practising my French on any poor French person who will listen.  I wanted to stroll along the Champs-Élysées and take so many Instagrammable photos I'd struggle to choose what to post.  I wanted to visit Chanel (and maybe Dior) and buy 'the' bag and then skip out, black and white Chanel bag in hand, full of the joys of Parisian joie de vivre.  And in all honesty, the trip to Paris still feels like the dream.  I would love it.  I haven't had a holiday since July 2015.  I have visited the UK but any expat will tell you, going home isn't a 'holiday' because you get pulled (and want to be) in a million directions trying to catch up with everyone who is important to you.

But Chanel?  And here's where the story might get a bit controversial and this is NOT a dig at anyone at all, this is my own personal thoughts.  And something I am still completely undecided on.  I own two Chanel WOCs-one is brand new, still in the box and has been for 2 years.  The other I have used maybe 3 times.  The thing I use from Chanel the most is my Chanel card holder and that was a gift from Danielle.   I'm actually thinking of selling them both WOC's to put the money towards something I would use more. But why am I thinking of buying more Chanel if I don't use what I have? 

To me Chanel is the most luxe I would buy without stepping into Hermes (and personally, I'm not going there).  A Chanel bag was always, in my mind the symbol of success.  But I now feel like it's losing its exclusivity a bit.  It seems to be becoming more and more mainstream (I feel) with seemingly every twenty something YouTuber I watch owning multiple Chanel bags.  Now again, please please please do not think I am making a statement of hate, jealousy or being snide here-I watch Lydia, Victoria, Claire and Tamara (to name a few of the UK based bloggers) and I absolutely enjoy their content.  They all have completely different backgrounds and I am a big believer of you don't know what goes on behind closed doors.   You can see how hard some of these girls work because they're constantly on the go, churning out content.  Some of them have agents, brokering deals behind the scenes and a lot of what you see is, I suspect bought with discounts, gift vouchers or is simply gifted directly.  Some of it is just bought with cold hard cash they have earned.  I'm not touching on disclosure here, that's a whole different topic, I'm simply saying that it's important to keep perspective that this is their job, we see a tiny fraction of their lives, we don't know their financial backgrounds or situation and therefore we have no right to judge and that not everyone can 'become' a YouTuber who spends their days being dressed in Dior, Chanel, Gucci etc.  These girls have wardrobes that are completely unattainable for me-and I'm a 36 year old investment banker. It's important to retain perspective.  These girls make it look effortless and easy-who wouldn't want paid trips to the Maldives, to attend exclusive events held by luxury brands and to collaborate with a promote these luxury brands?  But it's not 'normal' and sometimes I worry that viewers may start to feel inadequate if they can't afford the lifestyle some of the big youtubers enjoy.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, you won't have the opportunities you see Youtubers getting.  Maybe I overthink these things-maybe young girls are savvy enough to separate youtube life and what they see in a 20 minute 'luxury' vlog from the reality of most peoples daily lives.   But I hold my hands up and say I do watch their content avidly and I do lust after certain bags-and that's why big brands are working with these girls.  But honestly, the vast rate at which some of these girls are accumulating luxury, designer handbags is starting to feel uncomfortable.  My YouTube subscription feed is filled with unboxings and luxury hauls and 'come shopping with me at X luxury store'

But back to me.  I am questioning if I am falling for this very consumerist, materialistic 'I must have designer to show I too can have my Instaglam life'.  Is it the dream or is it just what I am being told is the dream?  I genuinely haven't decided. 

Then there is the minefield of which Chanel bag I would buy if I did go.  And here's where I have actually made a decision.  I'm going to stop listening to everyone elses opinions and chose what I like.  I've had conversations in real life and online where people have said 'oh I don't like that style of bag' or that colour/material/size and I've made a mental note that I mustn't then buy that bag-that's just insane!  If I'm going to drop a toe curling amount of money on a square piece of leather I am going to god damn love it.  Other people's opinions don't and can't matter in a purchase like this.  I mean, yes I will do my research into the bag-see if people who actually own it dislike anything in particular about it so I can make a sound decision that it's the right bag for me. 

Longer term and being more 'deep' for a moment, I know that I need in invest some time working out what is 'the dream' ultimately.  I've lived in Dubai almost 12 years now.  I honestly thought I would be married and have children.  The dream would be based around my hopes for my children and giving them the best life possible, making memories and not necessarily buying things.  Taking photos of everything and making old fashioned scrap books of our adventures.  But that's not the way life panned out.

At the start of each year I write down 3 mantras I want to work towards that year-they might be a single word or they might be a phrase.  One of the three things I wrote down at the start of the year this year was 'make more memories not buy more things'.  And that's why Julie's tweet stood out to me so much today because it reminded me of one of my mantras for the years.

This 'dream' though kind of encapsulates both.

I honestly don't know whether I will take the trip to Paris and buy the Chanel.  If I don't do it by May, I feel like I am unlikely to do it at all.  Part of me thinks 'just do it, you deserve it, go and make memories/treat yourself', the other part of me thinks I should be more sensible and save that money for some yet undetermined event in the future.  It's that feeling of 'screw it, you only get one life' versus 'am I doing this for the right reasons'? 

I also fully accept that it could be pouring with rain in Paris in May and that the SA in Chanel could potentially be rude as hell and I wouldn't enjoy the shopping experience!  The other thing I lack at the moment is the time to plan the trip-to research properly where I want to stay, to shop and to eat-because eating is important in Paris and I want all the excellent French food. 

As an aside, I did spend the whole weekend thinking I was going to stop blogging.  Temporarily at first until my exams are done in July but maybe if I didn't miss it, just stop altogether.  I really do love Instagram and feel sometimes you can make a point more easily there than in a blog post.  It's 'lazier' and it's easier.  And it takes so much time to do good blog content and although I believe I have a valid voice I'm just not 'big' enough even after 4.5 years to get the views I think that effort actually warrants.  But a strange thing happened.  I got a flurry of comments on my last two posts over the weekend. And it made me feel kind of 'valid' again. 

If I have learned one thing about all these jumbled up thoughts today it's that I am going to focus on doing things that make me happy.  I don't need to please or impress anyone else.  I also don't need to justify myself to anyone.  I won't be ashamed of liking a bag because I've seen it on social media.  I'm not in competition with anyone.  I'm going to do me.  And I don't need a designer handbag for the Instagram post.  I think I am quite a 'real' person, I've blogged about difficult times and on my instastories I try to be positive but also real.

And that's why I need to be sure about this purchase-that it really is going to reflect surviving 2016 to me and not just be a way to boost my own self esteem through an Instagram post.  Every blogger has done it, everyone wants to create content others like.  I openly admit, I sometimes need validation that people like me.  Even though I am a grown up, I have massive insecurities about pretty much everything about me.  It's my birthday this weekend and I am hugely excited but at the back of my mind I am already thinking of the photos I want to take and have you seen my friends???  They're all god damn goddesses.  I'm going to look horrendous next to them.

But Instagram isn't really validation and it shouldn't really be a measure of validation-because people are liking the content they see on the screen not necessarily the person behind it.  Those likes on an Instagram post are a very temporary high.

I would love love love it if you shared your thoughts on any of the above-I know it was a bit all over the place and covers a few different streams of thought but if you have any thoughts on my thoughts I'd love to hear them!
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

I really like this cleanser but....



Let's be honest, a Caroline Hirons cleanser collaboration was also going to interest me-she's the reason my skincare routine looks the way it does and she brought double cleansing, a deeper knowledge about acids and a love for facial spritzes into my life.

I asked my friend Sydney to pick this up for me when she was in London and I started using it almost immediately, shunning other cleansers in my stash to jump onto the bandwagon.  It was also the reintroduction of double cleansing back into my routine because I had admittedly gotten a bit lazy with my cleansing and my skin really does benefit from taking that extra time and effort and doing a proper double cleanse.

I won't ramble on and on because I am sure the internet is flooded with bloggers reviewing this but the concept is simple-a solid cleansing oil on one side and a nourishing thick cleansing cream on the other.  50ml of each in one solid round tub-good for travelling as it's everything you need to break down make up and grime and then treat the skin.

I really like it.  The solid oil literally melts on the skin and you can get a really good facial massage because of the 'slip' in the oil. It contains Vitamin E, Camellia Oil and Evening Primrose Oil and it feels really lovely on the skin as well as being very effective.  It rinses easily but I do use a damp flannel to ensure it's all removed.

I then pat my skin dry and massage in the cleansing cream.  This to me, feels luxurious and nourishing.  It contains Vitamin C which my skin really likes and is good for brightening and Arginine which improves elasticity.

After cleansing my skin just feels clean, balanced and nourished and when using this cleanser I did not get one spot.  My skin literally welcomed it with open arms.

The only downside?  I feel you get such a small amount of product and I went through the cleansing oil in almost exactly one month.  I still have some of the cream left but I felt I went through the balm at lightening speed.  I probably could have used less but I don't feel I was overly generous in my usage and I have a big face ok?

But that is literally the only downside.  I want to repurchase it.  I really rate it and it's probably my favourite cleanser I have tried in a while.

I'd love to know if you have also tried this cleanser and if you agree with me!


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Friday, March 10, 2017

Three mascaras currently on rotation



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