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!


Monday, March 13, 2017

The Dream


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!

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!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Three mascaras currently on rotation


Monday, March 6, 2017

Lip Six

Happy Monday!

This week I've been loving:

  • The fact it's March becasue March is my birthday month and therefore March is always awesome.

  • The gym-yes I have become that person.  Last week I did 2 body pump classes, a spinning and a step class-they were all fab!  

  • Dubai restaurant week-apparently this happens every year but I only learned about it this year.  A ton of swanky restaurants put on a specially curated 3 course menu for AED199.  I went to Gordon Ramsey's Bread Street Kitchen with my friend Lisa and Rib Room at Emirates Towers with the girls on Saturday.  Both really good value but Bread Street Kitchen was definitely a clear winner for the food and service.

Here are my last six lip picks:

Top row (L) MAC Huggable Lip Color in Feeling Amorous (review!) (R) Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Jake (review!) (I adore this lipstick)

Middle row (L) Marc Jacobs Love Marc Matte Lip Gel in Shout (R) Tom Ford Gloss in Peach Absolut

Bottom row (L) Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Liv It Up (R) NARS Audacious lipstick in Anna (review!)

Which is your favourite??

My 100th Lip Six giveaway is in it's final week-find out all the details here


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gucci Beauty Magnetic Color Shadow Quad in Rose Quartz

Gucci Beauty Magnetic Color Shadow Quad in Rose Quartz swatches
Gucci Beauty Magnetic Color Shadow Quad in Rose Quartz
Gucci Beauty Magnetic Color Shadow Quad in Rose Quartz
Gucci Beauty Magnetic Color Shadow Quad in Rose Quartz

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