Monday, 31 December 2012

What I Wore: Dubai Christmas Party

I spent my Christmas in Dubai this year with my parents. It might not have been a traditional Christmas but it was lovely to get away from rainy England for a couple of weeks and Christmas day spent on the beach is a tradition that I'd definitely like to continue!

Our hotel held a party on Christmas Eve and this is what I wore:
Dress: Patricia Field @ M&S, Bag: Primark, Sandals: River Island


I've had this dress for a few years now but it's not one that I get a change to wear often. I like how its demure from the front but has the detail on the back. The shoes are also an old favourite - the party was outside so heels on grass was out of the question. The bag is this season - £4 from Primark!

I never usually wear my hair up but holidays are a good chance to experiment. This style was super easy - I backcombed my hair all over, pinned up the fringe separately, tied the rest into a loose side pony which I tucked under and secured with lots of pins.

It was nice not to have to take an umbrella, coat and cardigan out with me!

This is my last post of 2012! It's been a great year for my blog and I've loved being part of the "blogging community" - I had no idea when I started this back in 2009 how much fun and how many amazing people I would meet. I hope you all have an amazing time tonight celebrating the end of 2012! Love xxx 

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Sunday, 30 December 2012

December Empties

The last empties post of 2012! I managed to get through quite a few products this month but going away to a country with Sephora and spending time in two airports means that I now have even more products.



1. Soap and Glory Rich and Foamous Body Wash - this lasted forever! I love the design of the bottle and that it has a pump. The smell is gorgeous, too. Really sweet and warming - perfect for winter showers when you actually still want to be in bed.

2. Herbalife Herbal Aloe Strengthening Shampoo* - this was a great everyday shampoo, it lathered up well and left my hair feeling nice and soft. I probably won't be re-purchasing is its a little pricey - my usual approach to shampoo purchasing is just to get whatever is on offer in Boots.

3. Garnier Simply Essentials Cleansing Wipes and Eye Make-up Remover - these were on a 2 for £4 offer in Boots. The wipes were great for my gym bag or for removing heavier make-up before washing my face in the evening. I'm not a huge fan of cleansing wipes (it still sickens me a little that I used to only use wipes on my face before going to bed) but its always useful to have a pack around and these did the job. The eye make-up remover was pretty good, it was nice and gentle on my eyes but struggled to remove waterproof make-up as its oil-free.

4. 17 Shine Control Pressed Powder - I've lost count of how many of these powders I've got through. This one met its end by being dropped on the floor of the gym changing room but luckily I had two back ups already purchased!

5. Balance Me Pure Skin Facewash - this came free with Glamour magazine earlier in the year. At first I was put off by the strong herbal smell - I definitely like my skincare products to be fragrance free - but felt reassured that 98.8% of the ingredients are supposedly natural. This was a gym bag staple and left my skin feeling nice and clean after workouts.

6. Caudalie Vinoperfect Daycream - I really liked this day cream sample and wish it had lasted longer! The cream is quite thick but sinks in immediately and doesn't feel at all greasy. I love how this made my skin feel soft but didn't leave it shiner (I'm super paranoid about shiny skin) and contains SPF. Definitely one to add to my wishlist.

What products have you used up this month?
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Monday, 24 December 2012

Red Lipsticks

Red lipstick is one of my beauty staples and until I had a sort out of my make-up I was convinced that I only owned two. Clearly not:

Red lipstick line-up

Dark blue-toned reds most suit my skintone and while these lipsticks do look pretty similar they obviously aren't. I used to only wear red lips occasionally but these days its rare for me to use one of my other lipsticks - my lips are either bare or red.

Clockwise from far left:

Sephora R04 - this lipstick is quite sheer and easy to wear in the day time. It's not drying but does need reapplying quite often. I bought this in Spain and I think it was around £8. Why don't we have Sephora in England?

Florence + Fred (Tesco) Mistress - this bargain lipstick is amazing. Its really well pigmented, long-lasting and very moisturising. The shade of this one is slightly darker than the others, I think. I've been reaching for this one the most recently.

Revlon Revlon Red - the newest addition to my red lipstick collection. This is a classic red shade in a creamy formula. A good one to try if you are new to red lipstick as I imagine that the shade would suit everyone.

Clinique Red-y to Wear - my first and most well-used red lipstick. This one lasts so well and has a perfect matte finish without being drying. Definitely my signature red lipstick and one that I'll buy again and again.

Benefit Flirt Alert - a brighter red with a sheer finish that can easily be built up. I don't find this as long-lasting as I'd like it to be for the price but its a nice shade and one that I keep in my work handbag for quick touch-ups.


Just for fun

My red lipstick tips:
♥ Apply lipbalm ten minutes before and wipe off the excess so that the lipstick doesn't slide off.
♥ Apply one coat, cleaning up mistakes with a cotton bud dipped in make-up remover.
♥ Blot the lipstick and very lightly dust with face powder.
♥ Apply a second coat.

What is your favourite red lipstick? Are there any others that I need to try?
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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Wave Envy

December and beachy waves may not seem like the most obvious combination but thoughts of summer days and carefree summer style are a good distraction from the cold, grey winter.

I am not very skilled in the hair styling department - I'm lucky that I have naturally straight hair that seems to do what I want it to but I know I should experiment more and with the Christmas party season nearly here I couldn't wait to try the Babyliss Wave Envy styler.

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At first I thought it looked a little scary but it was actually very easy to use. The styler heats up very fast and has three heat settings to suit different hair types and textures. To create the waves you just clamp a piece of hair between the styler for 5 - 8 seconds and then move it down along the piece of hair.

It took me around ten minutes to do all my hair - much faster than using curling tongs and no risk of burnt fingers. The waver left my hair feeling volumised and bouncy and the waves lasted until I washed my hair even though I didn't use hairspray.

I created a beachy look for my first attempt - as I was going for a natural look I figured that it didn't matter if the sections of hair I waver were different sizes as I got to grips with using the styler. The smaller the section of hair, the more defined the wave comes out but with larger sections it gives a looser wave. With a bit more patience and practice I think the styler could also be used to create 1920s style uniform waves.

Have you tried a wave styler? This 3 barrel waver from Argos would make a great Christmas gift!

[Styler provided for my review. All opinions and beachy waves my own]

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

New Year's Eve - Bond Girl Style

I know we haven't had Christmas yet but new year always seems to come around so fast afterwards that its definitely not too soon to be thinking about your new year's eve party outfit.

I usually have a chilled out NYE with friends but in a fantasy world, I'd definitely bring in the new year with a bit of Bond girl glamour. Watching old Bond films is definitely a favourite Christmas activity of mine and a great source of inspiration for party looks.

And, as this is a fantasy world, I'd also have a fantasy budget for my party outfit...

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Floor length dresses are the ultimate in party glamour. I love anything red and this stunning red gown would be perfect. On a side note, I love how the Net-a-Porter website refers to this type of dress as a gown. I don't think I've even owned something in real life that could come close to being described as a gown. And yes, a gown is not the same thing as a dress.

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For the accessories, I picked the Alexander McQueen clutch bag for a fun touch (Bond is the ultimate British icon, after all, and a Bond girl really should be showing her support for British designers). Bond girls always wear amazing jewels and in a fantasy world, these teardrop earrings would be mine, as would be the gold multi-strand bracelet. For shoes, it had to be Louboutins - I love how the red sole matches the dress and how these would subtly peek out from under the hem.

What would you wear for a fantasy NYE party?


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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Day-to-Night

December not only brings Christmas but also, for those of us who work in an office, the office Christmas party. Like Christmas, the office Christmas party comes only once a year so its the perfect chance to make a good impression with your colleagues (and not to be the one to over indulge in the free alcohol/kiss your boss/photocopy your bottom).

In terms of what to wear, lugging around a complete outfit change is not very practical and you may want to save your bodycon/sequin/strapless/low cut dress for a party with your friends.

I thought I'd share some photos for a piece that I helped put together for a feature in my work magazine - it was really fun to have proper photos taken, if only I could have a photographer for all my outfit posts!

Day:

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Dress: Topshop; Jacket: Kaliko @ House of Fraser; Shoes: Nine West; Bag: Osprey

Night:

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Faux Fur Cape: Vintage; Necklace: Boots; Bag: French Connection; Shoes: Dune

The faux fur cape is one of my favourite bargain finds. I love how it really changes the outfit and only takes a few seconds to throw on. Red lipstick and a quick updo help complete the transformation and a statement necklace is probably the easiest change even if you don't have time between work and party to do anything else.

How do you change your look from day to night? And what are your tips for surviving the office party?
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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Ruby Slippers

Meet the newest addition to my shoe collection:

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My red shoes

Courtesy of The Colour Studio, these satin heels were dyed to my colour choice - I love red so a dark red shade seemed like an obvious choice and this pointed toe stiletto is simple enough to be worn to work with a plain outfit once they have been debuted at a Christmas party.

But before these shoes were mine, I got a chance to play around with dye and new white satin shoes at Dirty Martini with some fellow bloggers last Tuesday:

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My creations

Our first challenge was to mix a due according to a "recipe" and to try to colour match it to an unusual colour name. I learned that fandango is a bright pink, not green. Dying the shoes was easy to pick up but difficult to get them looking perfect! I started off with a plain shoe and, once I was feeling a little more confident, tried a toe-tone green and purple design. My proudest creation of the evening was the "Team Renault" blue and yellow shoe. By this point I was feeling brave enough to mix the dyes freehand and had ditched the plastic gloves so did end up with slightly green tinged hands for the next day.

My professionally dyed pair are perfect and it was great to see the entire range of shoe styles and options that there are for dying them - the possibilities are endless and these would be a perfect solution for matching shoes to a wedding or prom dress or just if you've always wanted shoes in a particular colour but can't find them anywhere.

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The shoe tree and undyed shoes
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The lace looks so pretty after being dyed

What colour shoes would you have picked?
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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Insta-updates: Christmas is coming

Christmas jumpers are now acceptable attire and I might be listening to Michael Buble's Christmas album as I type this. Maybe its a good thing that Christmas only comes once a year...

Photobucket 1. Veggie pizza in Vapiano

2. Quick OOTD - American Apparel top and skirt, vintage belt

3. Mini baubles in Paperchase

4. Spicey chicken don in Wasabi - too cold for sushi!

5. Revlon exhibition and the goodie bag

6. Coat and mittens

7. Winter Wonderland

8. Can Santa bring me this Rilakumma plush, please?

9. Dinner at The Diner

10. Christmas trees in Paternoster Square

11. Jammy dodger cheesecake

Are you feeling Christmassy?
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Saturday, 8 December 2012

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas...

Scented candles are one of my favourite homely indulgences. After living in student accommodation for four years where I was too scared to light one for fear of setting off the very sensitive fire alarm and causing 600 people to be evacuated, the first thing I did when I moved into my flat was to finally start working my way through the collection of scented candles I'd accumulated over the years.

The newest addition to my collection is the beautiful Voluspa Winter Cherry candle from Amara:

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My flat is decorated in a red theme so this co-ordinates perfectly and also nicely matches my Merry Christmas decoration!

The three wicks give the candle a lovely glow when it is burning. The winter cherry fragrance is really lovely - my whole flat smelled Christmassy for long after I'd stopped burning the candle and unlike some scented candles the smell isn't fake or overpowering. I'll use the tin for storing accessories once I've burnt the candle although this should last me a while!

Are you a scented candle fan?

[Candle sent to me for review, all views and love of scented candles my own]

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

November Empties

Another month, another batch of empty products. I love doing these posts as it means I can finally put the empties in the bin!

Photobucket 1. Skin Doctors Ingrow Go - Not the most glamorous of products but one that I have used for years. I've always waxed my legs which can lead to ingrown hairs but using this really helps stop them forming and if I do get one it clears up in a few days. This bottle lasted me over a year which makes it great value. Be warned - the product does not smell too nice due to its ingrow-battling ingredients so I'd recommend using it at night.
Repurchase: Definitely - this is one of my bathroom staples.

2. Elegant Touch Get 'Em Off Nail Polish Remover - I bought this when I started using false nails and getting gel manicures. Acetone is the only thing that will remove these. I pour this into a shallow dish and soak my nails for 15 minutes to remove the gel. It's not that much fun and incredibly drying but it beats paying £10 for a salon to remove them and is easily done in front of an episode of SATC (#bloggercliche).
Repurchase: Yes - it wasn't expensive and did the job.

3. Johnson's Eye Make-Up Remover - This is a two-phase oil based remover, it was around £3 on an offer so pretty reasonably priced. It did a good job at taking off my mascara and liquid eyeliner and didn't irritate my eyes. The only downside is that it did leave a slightly greasy after feel so it's not great for touch-ups or if you're re-doing make up before a night out.
Repurchase: Maybe.

4. Umi Palm Milk and Acacia Honey Bath Soak - I picked this up from the Waitrose bargain bin, it came with a scented candle which was a nice touch. I love relaxing in baths, especially when its so grey and cold outside and this left my skin feeling  nice and soft. No complaints!
Repurchase: No - I have a lot of bath products left to use up!

5. Marc Jacobs Dot Perfume - I love Marc Jacobs perfumes and this one didn't disappointed. I'm not very good at describing scents but this was is quite fruity without being overly girly and sickly. I think this a great year-round, day-to-night fragrance. I don't have a signature scent and like to try different perfumes - I'm glad that I tried a sample of this first although I probably would have bought it on the basis of the red polka dot packaging alone!
Repurchase: I already have the big bottle to work my way through.

6. Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask - I've only just got in to using face masks. This one is designed to exfoliate and promote radiance. I have normal-oily skin and this was perfect for the skin on my t-zone, it left my skin feeling so soft and clean as well as helping to clear up any spots. I don't think this would be suitable for drier skins as the ingredients could be quite harsh but it'd be great for oilier skins that need a deep cleanse.
Repurchase: Yes - this tiny tube lasted for ages so the full-size doesn't seem too extortionate.

What products have you finished this month?

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