Saturday, 21 February 2015

Fashion Week - Ong-Oaj Pairam AW15

Autumn & winter fashion has long been a favourite of mine - I'm always the first to whip out tights and snap up new boots as soon as the trees begin to show signs of dropping leaves. Dark and cold nights just seem to demand sumptuous fabrics, glistening metallics, duochrome shades and witchy lace. Ong-Oaj Pairam feels no different, it seems, as his stunning autumn/collection appealed to all of my senses - including smell with one of the most inventively scented invites I've ever seen! Fast becoming a favourite of mine, I could hardly contain my excitement when I was invited to attend his autumn/winter catwalk show as the Grand Connaught hotel last night.

Above are just some of my favourite looks, but in truth I could have happily shared all of them, I adored them all. The collection just brought together everything I enjoy about sumptuous autumnal dressing, but I also thought a lot of it was quite wearable, especially the more streamlined silhouettes and midi lengths - I only wish my work wardrobe could be half as elegant! Also my penchant for a nice faux fur coat has now trebled, especially given the chilly temperatures we're still experiencing in London...

Beauty-wise I had major hair envy, the 70s-inspired float ethereal curls were simply beautiful on every model. As a perennial red-lip-lover I fully appreciated this look and I can't lie, part of me kept thinking of Taylor Swift's current look as the aesthetic was very similar. Also pleased to see sharp brows worn throughout, I do appreciate a good brow!

I'll pop some of my other photos up on my Pinterest later as I was so pleased with my position, I sat right where the models came out so got a first glimpse of every look - what more can a girl ask for?

What do you think of these looks? Have you got any Fashion Week faves?

Love Dani

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Mini review: MUA Undress Me Too palette

So I have recently become obsessed with an eye make up look I spotted on Pinterest a while back. Absolutely obsessed. The look in question is here and I have basically convinced myself it's the look I want for my wedding.

Trouble is, I cannot for the life of me uncover a tutorial or anything regarding the products used, so I sent out a distress call on Instagram the other day and the general consensus is it looks like the Naked 2 palette - or similar! As I am trying to save money here, I haven't been able to get my hands on the Naked 2 (I own 1 and 3, how typical it's the exact palette that isn't mine!) so quickly set about looking for a dupe.

This is why I love blogs - within seconds I had established that MUA do a very similar palette called Undress Me Too - for £4. FOUR POUNDS. A quick lunchtime jaunt to Superdrug later, it was mine.

On first glance it looks (and smells! If you know what I mean) cheap. I'm guessing because it is - who knew - but if you are a stickler for fancy packaging this could bother you. I'm absolutely not, so I got stuck into the shades. Your get 12 for your money, so that works out at something ridiculous like 33p per shade, and you know what, I'm quite happy with them for that price!

There is a lot of fall out when swiping or swatching, you can see a fair bit of eyeshadow dust in the images above, but again I wasn't overly distressed by this. The colour payoff varies from shade to shade - some require a bit of work or even a wet brush, but others are really, really lovely. I had read that these needed a primer for staying power but I use a primer on my eyes anyway, either a Zoeva one or a MAC Paint Pot depending on the look I'm going for. I particularly love the shimmery shades Wink and Corrupted but have also been using the matte Lavish (top row, second from right) on my brows as good for a neutral everyday look.

Pictured above is my first attempt which wasn't quite what I had in mind, but I felt it was a nice look nonetheless! Please ignore the untamed brow, I am growing them out...
I'm definitely going to need more practice - in fact, I'm tempted to take a photo of my dream look to a make up counter and try and get help that way!

I haven't done swatches for these but if you are that way inclined, may I direct you to the blogs that introduced me to this palette - particularly the Black Pearl blog which has a rather excellent comparison with the Naked 2! Find that here and also Beauty's Bad Habit has a lovely review as well!

Love Dani

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Review: NARS Sheer Glow foundation

I'm so late to this party. So late, there aren't even any inebriated stragglers left picking at the crisps and the host has passed out midway through tidying up. So late, I shouldn't even bother knocking on the door, I really ought to slink away as though I never meant to show up. But here I am, so let's get this review on the road!

For a very long time, NARS was one of those brands I coveted but never actually purchased. I would cover my hands in swatches every time I passed a Sephora, but never made it to the till (primarily because Luxembourg cosmetics are ridiculously expensive). Then, one day, they released a lip pencil with my name on it (literally, my last name!) so I bought it. And loved it. Since then, I've had a steady trickle of products making their way into my collection, courtesy of my sister and her enviable Sephora card (I now count the lip pencil in Luxembourg among my beauty hoard, as well as an eyeshadow palette and a single shadow).

Quite literally any beauty lover worth their salt has heard of the Sheer Glow foundation. It's a name I recall from my early days of beauty blog reading, and my favourite vlogger Tanya Burr mentions it in nearly every make up look I've watched. It has been the base of choice for my bestie Geo for some months now, but I was only converted at the end of November after an impromptu foundation swap. Geo promptly went out and purchased Bobbi Brown Long Wear after using mine, and I... well, I was conflicted. On the one hand, there was my self-imposed foundation ban. On the other, I couldn't get Sheer Glow out of my head.
My resolve lasted all of 24 hours. ASOS had a 20% off discount code running, they stocked a shade I thought might suit me... so I pressed the checkout button. Then promptly suffered two weeks of guilt and confliction while I waited for it to arrive (curse Christmas couriers).

I didn't even wait for daylight to test it, instead opting to wear it for that night's Christmas party. Straight away, the coverage impressed me - it covered blemishes and uneven skintone immediately, with only a dab of concealer needed under my eyes and on some particularly dark marks. As to longevity, it lasted incredibly well throughout that night, and lasts an entire working day (which, to be honest, is my only requirement in a foundation. Ain't nobody got time for touch ups!).

Despite the name, it isn't as glowy as YSL Touche Eclat (my usual go-to when suffering dullness), but the coverage is much better. The coverage even exceeds Bobbi Brown Long Wear in my opinion, but I only noticed this when switching up bases after two weeks of Nars on the trot. It genuinely doesn't feel like you are wearing a lot of make up, and in all honesty I find I don't need to use a lot to achieve good results - and I have dreadful skin! So if you have pretty decent skin to begin with you'll only need a dab of this! I have had some really stubborn blemishes recently and found I needed to keep going back with multiple layers of foundation when using a couple of others, but I only need one layer of Sheer Glow and a dab of concealer to finish.

The shade I chose is Deauville, and it's perfect for my winter skintone - for reference, I am NW15-NW20 in MAC shades, and BD40/B20 in YSL. I didn't swatch it before purchasing online, which is most unlike me, but for once the gamble paid off! They have so many shades though, I would recommend testing before you buy if you have a Nars counter near you. I can already foresee me purchasing another shade when the summer begins, and I would be lying if I said this wasn't with my wedding in mind... I love the foundation THAT much. I've been using it virtually non-stop since the 12th December so I feel I've had plenty of time to form an opinion!

If the above ramblings are simply too long for you, I'll summarise here:

- longwearing
- good coverage
- less glowy than the name suggests (but not completely matte)
- no pump (and if you add a pump it makes it difficult to travel with? Personally I haven't felt the need to add a pump though.)
- varied shade range
- feels light on the skin
- hasn't irritated my sensitive skin

I genuinely love this foundation and can see myself repurchasing again and again, my only regret is that I didn't buy it sooner!

Finally, because I always feel a foundation review is incomplete without proof, as it were... I leave you with a terrifying close-up of my face, sans base... and then with Sheer Glow applied (no concealer, no powder).

I feel like the proof is in the pudding, don't you?

Love Dani

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Wedding: colour moodboard

Hi my loves,

Today I thought I'd share some of my ideas for our wedding colour scheme - for those of you uninterested in weddings, look away now! I have a bit of a ramble prepared...

I wouldn't say wedding planning is consuming me at the moment - with just under 7 months to go, I'm still feeling fairly relaxed! Our most pressing need is sorting some kind of invitation; as it falls on a bank holiday in August, we want to give our guests as much warning as possible. We have a few ideas floating around in terms of designs but can't really get started with anything until we have confirmed a schedule for the day with our venue. As such, I'm feeling a bit stuck at the moment as we've pretty much sorted everything else (!) so instead I have been busying myself with collecting decorations and little DIY projects!

I never really had a colour scheme in mind prior to booking our venue - although I was quite taken with the rainbow pastel idea for a time, then mismatched florals!- but upon seeing the farm decided it would suit something simple, yet effective. I am currently in the throes of a five-year-and-counting love affair with rose gold, as you may have noticed! If I recall correctly it began with my discovery of the Sleek blush way back when, and intensified when I began working in jewellery. After much perusing of Pinterest I hit upon the idea of combining soft pinks with hints of metallic copper and gold glitter, helped along by the copper trend emerging in homeware at the moment - it'll be a rose gold dream! I find Pinterest such an indispensable tool for inspiration at the moment, but I've also been trawling through clothing and homeware sites looking for bits and bobs to fit in with my ideas.

A lot of our decorations will be DIY - I'm planning a post dedicated to this somewhat closer to the day - but I've been collecting jars and bottles like they're going out of fashion, and armed with a few cans of gold and copper spray paint I'm fairly confident I can pull off some of the delightful table centrepieces I've seen along the way! I'm also planning on wearing gold sparkly shoes, have purchased rose gold jewellery for my lovely bridesmaids and am determined to find a method of incorporating the colour scheme into Jon's outfit (but ssh, he doesn't know it yet).In terms of make up I haven't quite decided yet but will try and incorporate the colour scheme somehow, just to keep it all tied together.

Above is just a selection of beautiful ideas I've collated on my Pinterest boards - I would love to hear your thoughts! Brides and brides-to-be (and indeed, anyone who has such thoughts about their wedding!)  - what colours are your favourite? How did you go about adding them into your day?

Much love,

Dani xoxo

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Satchel 2.0

Bags. I love them. I have far too many, of course, to the extent I couldn't actually tell you the number as it has long passed my capacity for memorising it. But through it all there has been one bag above all others, one bag to rule them all - the faithful satchel. Purchased in 2010 from Next, its faux-leather confines hold all manner of rubbish, form the perfect accompaniment no matter the occasion, and even survived a Disneyland trip back in the day. No other bag quite captured my adoration and loyalty like it. It has served me well for nearly five years, although when the faux leather started peeling off in places and I had to superglue the clasp back on, I realised I would have to start the search for a replacement.

I had some strict requirements of course: it had to resemble the original; if faux-leather it had to be a nice faux leather  (nothing worse than the usual high street plasticky faux leather); it had to look artfully crumpled and it had to be a fairly soft and malleable style so I could fill it with all the things. I searched for almost a year, people. Nowhere yielded anything close to the satchel of dreams, save for Mulberry (did I mention the prime requirement was affordability?!). So in desperation I turned to eBay.

And got lucky.

For £5 I picked up virtually the exact same Next satchel I was searching for - albeit in a slightly darker shade and with a slightly shorter strap, but it is absolutely 100% perfect. As you can see it's the perfect size to stuff in my usual necessities (phone, purse, keys, lipbalm) as well as other daily essentials, including but not limited to):

Lipsticks (at least 2, preferably varying shades to suit all occasions)
Magazine (to pass the time during inevitable train delays)
Thermos flask (for chilly mornings)
Travalo atomiser (currently holding Elie Saab Le Parfum L'Eau -  love this, but it's almost empty, sob)
~ not shown ~
Umbrella (because Britain)
Camera (for impromptu blogging)
Lunch for days when I can't afford a jaunt to Pod!
Spare cardigan
Hair ties, hair pins (which inevitably disappear after mere hours)
And so much more...

Unfortunately I can't link any similar items AT all, as for some reason nowhere sells anything remotely close. Unless you fancy Mulberry of course (and who doesn't?). Although I still nurture a quiet hankering for the Alexa, my new trustworthy companion should see me through until that lottery win I'm so desperately hoping for...

Love Dani

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Rose gold nails : Essie and Maybelline

Essie A Cut Above 
Maybelline Color Sensation Rose Chic

Hi lovelies,

Something you won't see a lot of on this blog is nail varnish. Not because it isn't an integral part of my collection - I have enough to put a whole stand together - but because I am singularly incapable of applying it nicely. Blobs, scratches and uneven lines abound, and you can almost guarantee that a mere hour post-application, part of it will have disappeared.

This is where glitter comes in. For the less talented nail varnish appliers amongst us, glitter is a true lifesaver. Slap it on. Let it dry. Keep it on your nails until it begins to flake off (I am guilty of doing this, constantly). Eventually succumb and remove it all, only to reapply a few days later. And repeat. 
I have a whole host of glitter polishes but my current favourites all fall into a pleasing rose gold inspired shade that when layered, works surprisingly well! Essie's A Cut Above is a gorgeous metallic pink glitter with large chunks. I received this from my mum in my Christmas stocking and it hasn't left my nails since - such a beauty! I was inspired to pair it with Buy Me A Cameo (also Essie) after spotting this in my sister's collection and falling in love with it. It's a really lovely pale gold/taupe shade with a rose sheen, and looks stunning on its own or layered under others as I have done here.
Finally, I decided to really ramp up the glitter by using a coat of Maybelline Color Sensation in Rose Chic. I actually think this polish has more of a silver tone to it but it lasts really well for such a cheap product!

Now I'm not going to win any prizes for nicest nails or best application but I'm happy with it and enjoying experimenting with different glitters. I really want rose gold nails for my wedding day - are there any other shades out there I should be adding to my collection? I noticed a rose gold shade in the new Models Own release, I foresee a purchase being made in the near future...

Love Dani

Monday, 26 January 2015

What I Wore #117 - the Kua 'Aina edition

So it's been nearly two months since my last outfit post and I haven't progressed much beyond massive jumper and sensible boots... In fairness, I had the best of intentions with this outfit. The dress is a beautiful gold and black sequin number I spotted in H&M some months ago and obsessed over, as I am wont to do...then by a miraculous twist of serendipity found it on the sale rack for 15€ over Christmas - score! It's so comfy despite the shapeless shift style, but due to short sleeves it's just not quite suitable for these nigh-on Arctic temperatures we've been I found myself reaching for my trusty sequin jumper. Cosy times abound!
The boots are another sale purchase, snapped up on a whim from Dorothy Perkins. I had a hankering for some wedge heel ankle boots and these do the job perfectly - they're high enough that I can reach the overhead rail on the tube (tall people have NO idea what a challenge this is!) but comfortable enough that I can totter around all day without wanting to slice my feet off. Good stuff. They certainly served me well on Saturday for a stroll around Carnaby Street, with a delicious Hawaiian lunch at Kua 'Aina and my very first Back to MAC experience...

I had never heard of Kua 'Aina before but can hand on heart say I will definitely be visiting again! The Carnaby Street location is rather cosy but comfortable, with servers darting around in brightly coloured shirts (they are very appreciative if you turn up with a flower garland adorning your neck, as we did!) and the food is well worth a visit. They serve a variety of burgers and sandwiches, with plenty of mahi mahi and spicy chicken if that floats your boat! I opted for the seared ahi tuna salad with extra avocado and it was enormously tasty, with sesame and ginger dressing to give it an extra kick. Admittedly I couldn't stop myself pinching some sweet potato fries along the way, but I really struggled to clear my plate! It's in a fab location too, opposite Choccywoccydoodah and a stone's throw from Liberty if you fancied a wander afterwards (we did!).

As it was Jon's mum's birthday, I decided to go for quite a polished make up look, with defined eyes and my new favourite MAC lipstick (more on that later... I am planning a dedicated lipstick post because why not?). I am still absolutely loving Nars Sheer Glow - kicking myself for not purchasing it sooner, really - and I used a fab cheap-as-chips eyeshadow stick from Collection which surprisingly has not been reviewed yet, but rest assured it is fabulous. I have a fair few beauty posts in the pipeline, all half-finished, but raring to go - just waiting for my skin to clear up a little bit so I feel somewhat less self-conscious when posting close ups...

I hope you all had a super weekend too, I for one am struggling with the fact it's almost the end of January... where is this year going?

Much love,
Dani xoxo