Thursday, 31 July 2014

My Eid...!

Eid was an lovely, small affair for us, but no more fun than the usual Eids, filled with family going in and out of each other's houses and eating plenty of food to complete the day!

This is what I wore, which was a very last-minute purchase from a local store called Maria's Collection, which carry a range of non-branded formal and semi-formal outfits. I initially wanted something with a shorter hem, but couldn't find anything I liked, and ended up seeing this one and thought it looked pretty so bought it. My mum and sisters thought that it looked a little Kashmiri in style, and also a little Turkish in the style of embroidered jackets, which I thought made a change from the usual blingy outfits I wear. The outfit was a jacket style gown with a plain kameez underneath, very light and comfy to wear with colourful embroidery. Here's how I wore it:

I also managed to wear the Red Velvet shade of the Lime Crime liquid lipstick, which I was happy with because the colour was beautifully vivid and lasted the whole day! I wanted to match my shoes to my lips to make them stand out more, and was happy with the effect.

I also dressed up for the second day of Eid, although this was a lot more relaxed and comfortable, particularly as it was a warm day! I wore an Agha Noor kurta in hot pink and black, which didn't come with any bottoms so I took a hot pink churidar from another of my outfits and wore it with that instead. The kurta is a lovely silky material and was perfect for a summer's day, as well as not feeling too dressy (although I changed my shoes to flats by the end of the day because I couldn't be bothered to wear heels and would have preferred sandals!)


I wasn't the only one who dressed up though - the little babies of the family were wandering around like little princesses, and my sisters and sister-in-law looked very chic in their outfits (I only managed to capture two of them, the other ones wouldn't stand still long enough!). Here's just some of the pretty dresses, my sisters looked lovely but it was the babies who stole the show!

I didn't manage to get time to put mehndi on, but some of the girls in the family did. I had wanted to go out to on Chand Raat the night before to either buy some mehndi and bangles or get some mehndi put on, but after seeing the huge number of people on the main road and hearing the dhol players, I changed my mind!

My sister also baked us some pretty pink Eid cupcakes to enjoy, which tasted scrumptious after all the yummy food my mum made.

I completely forgot to take pictures of the food because I was too busy eating it, so I don't have a lot of other pictures from my Eid (apart from chasing toddlers around and making people pose), but it was a really fun day. We had dinner at my sister's and a barbecue at my Aunt's house which was a nice opportunity to spend the day with family too.

How did you spend your Eid? And what did you wear?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Eid Mubarak!

I've been a busy bunny this weekend, with last-minute shopping and Eid preps, but it was a lovely Eid for all of us and we managed to spend time with all of the family and plenty of little ones running around! More pictures coming soon, but here's a quick post to say Eid Mubarak everyone, and hope you enjoyed good food, good clothes and good company!

In the mean time, here's a quick peek at what I wore for Eid, which was very comfy!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

THE WEDDING POSTS: Designing Your Wedding Dress

I've just finished finalising my own wedding dress a couple of months ago, and with the outfit nearly being ready (not long to go now!), I thought I'd post some tips for brides who are designing their own dresses, especially as I found it a lot harder than I thought I would myself!

One of the biggest problems was that I have seen so many different types of wedding dresses, that it was hard to narrow down what I liked, and what I could afford as well. As much as I would have like to have gone with a high-end Pakistani designer for my wedding outfits, my budget wasn't as high as I wanted, and if I had gone with a designer outfit, it would have meant a much lighter outfit. Being the diva that I am, I wanted a little more work and colour on my outfits, so opted for a non-designer for my wedding dress ( but more about my experience with that once the outfit actually arrives!)

Whether it's your wedding dress, registry outfit, mehndi dress or reception gown, it's a special day and every girl wants their dress to be perfect.

1. Know what you want. Make a collage, a mood board, draw your own dresses, whatever helps you design and put together your outfit. You don't need to have an exact image of your dress, and it's probably better if you don't so that there's room for altering ideas, but it's also good to know what you prefer as well. Over the last few months I've been saving images of outfits that I liked before I designed my wedding dress, so that I could put them all together and pinpoint the bits I liked. This really helped when designing my dress, because I was able to see what I preferred and what worked for me.

It's always a good ideas to have a look at wedding dresses in the shops too, sometime photographs aren't enough or don't justify how pretty an outfit looks, and it can be easier to see up-close what looks good and what doesn't.

Here are just some of the bridal dresses I had saved, for various reasons like colours, design and styles - they're not all the same, and a lot of the ideas I had got discarded as I got closer to a final design. There's a lot of factors to look at with bridal dresses - colours, styles, cuts, materials and kaam, and it will help to see the range that is out there.

2. Keep an open mind. Don't worry if you don't know what you want! I remember when my sister got married a couple of years ago, she didn't have a clue what she wanted in a wedding dress. In a way, it was easier because it meant she was open to colours and ideas, at one point she considered a hot pink maxi dress, then an ivory lengha and corset top, then finally settled on a gold and champagne wedding dress with a red dupatta! Having too many ideas about what you want can restrict you a little, especially if you really want to stick to one design without looking at other ideas. Have an idea of what you want, but it helps to look at other ones to compare ideas, or to see if you can mix them - we all want something beautiful and unique, and I know a lot of people who have experimented with ideas and loved them.

Working with your designer will also mean you will hear suggestions from them - sometimes it can be helpful to keep an open mind and consider them. I asked my designer a lot of questions and suggested a lot of ideas which she gave her feedback on, and which I found invaluable. Most likely your designer will have worked with a lot of wedding dresses before, so they will have a good idea of what works and what doesn't - make use of that fountain of knowledge!

A lot of bridal outfits I've seen lately don't always conform to the usual colours or cuts - it's less about the traditional red lenghas these days. One of the things I was really keen on was having an unusual colour somewhere in my outfits, both mehndi and wedding days, so it was great to see outfits with other colours - and I eventually decided to have a little olivey/lime green in my bridal outfit to add a little spark to it make it stand out more. Here are some of the colours and styles I also considered, which I loved because they looked a little different:

3. Think about colours - particularly the ones which suit you. For me, colours was important as this is something I really enjoyed, and I consider myself to have a good eye for colours. I was sent a colour book by my designer with samples of colour and also fabric samples, which I found really helpful in visualising the colour combinations and materials I wanted. I also found it really helpful to visit local fabric shops to look at colours in silks, chiffon and georgette so I could see what they would look like against me.

Most of us have a good idea of what colours suit us, and we tend to gravitate towards certain colours - although I would also say be confident about colours you don't normally wear! I know a lot of girls who don't wear bright red, for example, and shy away from it, to which I say try it on in your local shops, wear a bright postbox lipstick and see whether it suits you. It is also my opinion that if you like something enough, you can make it work for you - if bright red doesn't suit you, try a cooler red, a bluer-toned red, or even a pinky-red.

My sister wrote a really useful post about colours recently, and the season theory. The idea looks at your physical colouring and skin tones, and what shades suit you according to whether you are 'warm' or 'cool' and also whether you are a spring, summer, autumn or winter. I've always seen myself as a winter colouring, and always go for rich, deep colours, although lately the brighter and softer colours are in my wardrobe palettes as well!

4. Think about cuts, styles and shapes - what suits your body shape? I find these days that there is such a huge variety of wedding dresses, that there really is something for everyone. Again, most of us know what our body shapes are, and there are certain tricks which help flatter your body best.

With Asian wedding dresses, there's a range of styles, and you don't necessarily have to stick to the traditional lengha either. You could go for a traditional sharara, a chic sari, or even a maxi dress - I've seen all of these done beautifully. Again, it really helps to go and try on wedding dresses, you won't know what works until you try it, even if you are opting to use a designer online or even going to India or Pakistan for your shopping.

There are hundreds of wedding blogs, forums and websites (and Pinterest!) out there which show the best of the wedding outfits out there, and lots of inspiration - use them to your advantage. I've always suited long, A-line outfits, and opted for a similar style for my wedding outfits as well, without it being too bulky or puffy. I also wanted something simple and not too complicated in design, so I looked at a lot of traditional brides and also a lot of cuts which would be easy to carry and comfortable - a lot of the dresses I saw online and in the shops leaned towards this shape, so it helped with the designing the rest of the dress as well.

Below are just a few forms which I've seen bridal outfits in, there's a good few more styles as well  I haven't included because there are lots more (and some of the below may not be entirely accurate!) but it's an idea of what you can go for.

5. Think about themes and styles - do you want vintage? Modern? Retro? Traditional? You don't have to have a theme, but it helps if you know what look you are going for. You may have an overall theme for your wedding (or mehndi, reception etc!) which you want to match your outfit to, which can help with colours and styles. Alternatively, you don't have to have a theme at all - you can use your wedding dress as the focal pivot to base the rest of your wedding around too!

Below are some of the ideas I considered for both wedding and mehndi outfits, some of them more extravagant than others! I will be posting more about different themes and styles soon, as there are so many to pick from. And it doesn't have to be restricted to purely Pakistani or Indian themes either, there are plenty of others ones to pick from - I have seen beautiful English wedding dresses incorporated and mixed into the Asian wedding scene, which create a great fusion.

6. Be realistic about your budget. Be aware of how much you have to spend, and how much of a margin there is as well in terms of going over your budget. A reasonable designer will be able to work with a certain price, whether it means adjusting the design to make it cheaper, or adding more work to an outfit to make it look more bridal.  Make sure you are aware of exactly what you are paying for, and how much - the amount of kaam the outfit will have, where it will be, and what will be used, which helps to know that you are getting your money's worth.

Bridal outfits will always be expensive, but you can try and control the costs by giving the designer your budget. One of the things I did to make my mehndi outfit cheaper was to add embellished laces and 'pattis' to the outfit in place of heavy metal and crystal work on the skirt - this reduced the price significantly but didn't take away the overall look that I was going for. Ask the designer for price comparisons as well - sometimes it can be nearly the same price or cheaper to change things on an outfit - such as mirrors instead of crystals, or sequins instead of stonework.

7. Try to be as accurate as possible - designers rely on this. When you finally get down to designing your outfit, the more details you can give, the better. This can be from measurements (I had to measure so many random things like the length of my waist to my hips, the length of my knees to my ankles, and so many more!), colours (colours swatches and samples are a big help), materials and details of kaam. The more accurate you are, the more likely the finished product will be the way you want it to be. Again, a good designer will ask you for all of this information, and will also inform you about the materials and kaam that will be used,  which will also help in designing.

There is a good guide here which explains the different type of kaam used on outfits, and what it looks like - you may want to know about the different types of work used on your dress and which is cheaper.

8. 90% of the dress is designing it. Once you've gone over all the details, finalised colours, kaam, materials, measurements, styles - leave it to the designer. It sounds like a lot to do, and it is important to be thorough, but once it's done, you don't have to do much apart from wait for it to arrive! As I have said before, a good designer will keep you updated on your outfit, and how it is progressing - mine has been sending me samples and showing me updates as it goes along, which has really put to rest my worries.

9. Prepare for it to not be 100% perfect. I don't meant to say that the outfit won't look good, just prepare for it to not look exactly how you imagine it in your mind. This is particularly something you need to be aware of if you are copying a designer outfit (or five!) and getting it made with a lower budget. Having said that, bridals are a lot of money and paying a lesser amount than you would for a designer outfit shouldn't mean that you get something with poor quality. Whether you buy online or from the store, make sure you are happy with what you get - and if you aren't, don't be afraid to take it back and change it.

10.  Don't worry too much about it! Have fun with the dress, it can be stressful but it can also be really fun designing your wedding dress. Part of the experience of getting married and organising the wedding is the dress, going shopping and trying on outfits.

Of course, I know that there's a lot of other factors you may wish to consider - for example if you would like to wear hijab with your outfit, whether you would like it to be modest, whether you want something simple so you can wear heavy jewellery, and lots more, and these are all things which will influence your outfit.

I also found it really helpful to brainstorm and discuss ideas with other people like my sisters and a couple of friends when I felt a little lost with my outfit. It can feel like you are going a little crazy looking at bridal ideas all day long as well, so take a break and get a second opinion, it can help!

For all the brides-to-be out there, I hope this is some help (and the non-brides, you can still apply this for dresses you are getting made for various events!). I'm sure you can tell my taste leans quite strongly towards the Pakistani style, and there is a lot of influence from Pakistani designers, but I've tried to add in others as well! I also haven't posted any pictures or designs from my own wedding dress yet as I'd like to wait til the big day for the big reveal - not long to go though, so you won't have to wait long!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

MAKE-UP REVIEW: The Matte Liquid Lipsticks

I've never been a real fan of lip glosses when wearing make-up because they usually leave my lips feeling sticky, or the colours don't feel very visible (not to mention getting flyaway hair stuck to my lips!) - I haven't really worn lip glosses since I was a teenager.

Recently though, I've become crazy about matte liquid lipsticks, which look like lip gloss but wear like lipsticks - they're long-lasting, they're matte and they are highly pigmented. I've built up a small collection of liquid liquids over the last few months, especially as these tend to what I reach for when I go to work, when out with friends and even to a few dos - it's convenient that they last all day and I don't have to re-apply or worry about it coming off when I eat (which is a problem with some of my usual lipsticks).

There are several brands which have launched their own collections of matte liquid lipsticks, some which are better than others. I've tried out a few brands which I'll write about below, although there's still a few other brands which I'd like to try.

Lime Crime have a popular range of matte liquid lipsticks, a collection call Velvetines, which started off just with two collections, and which has now grown 7 colours in the collection. I have been hankering after a Velvetine lipstick for a while, and finally put myself out of my misery to buy some. Because this is an American brand, it wasn't easy to find, but for those who are interested, I bought mine from here. I bought two shades,  Red Velvet and Suedeberry, both which looked really good on the swatches I saw online.

The Red Velvet shade was surprisingly not as deep as I thought it would be - it has a slightly coral base to it which made it brighter. When I wore it, it looked a lot like it did on this beauty blogger - although on me it wasn't as neat! Suedeberry on the other hand, was a very bright, orangey-coral colour, which took me a while to get used to. It's also a slightly chalky orange, so I needed some base underneath to make the colour 'sit' properly on my lips and also give a little moisture. The closest colour I can show for the orange shade is probably this (for some reason, on the beauty bloggers I followed online it looked slightly redder). Out of the two, I preferred the Red Velvet shade, it's really easy to wear and suits my skin tone a lot - and it's also a very pretty colour too.

A brand I have been using a lot lately is Sleek, whose liquid lipsticks - Matte Me - I'm really in love with. The colours look exactly the same as they do in the tube, they're easy to apply and very pigmented, and I eventually ended up buying all the colours they had because they're reasonably priced and I found the colours so flattering. The pinkier and purple shades have been a lot more flattering on my lips than the lighter shades though, which I need a base or a lipliner with in order to make the colours pop.

I've also gotten my sisters and sister-in-law to try these, and they've all had various preferences over which shade they like, but my favourite by far has been the purple shade, Fandango Purple. This is how the purple lipstick looks on me, it's a very pretty purple-pink shade which has gotten me compliments everytime I wear it. It also lasts the whole day on me, although it slowly fades away a little in the middle of my lip to a more hot pink shade unless I re-apply at the end of the day or if I have oily food.

I've also discovered a few matte liquid lipsticks by Bourjois, who also jumped on the bandwagon recently with their new Rouge Edition Velvet collection. I found these a little creamier than the Sleek lipsticks, although colour-wise, there were a few similarities. I bought a few hot pink and cranberry colours in this brand, and was also glad to see a dark red shade which I've been wanting to try in a liquid lipstick, especially as most that I have seen so far are the brighter shades of red.

The shade Pink Pong was the most flattering on me, it's a pretty hot pink colour with a slightly blue base which I really liked. I think this is a shade which would suit almost anyone, and it's a very easy colour to wear - the colour on me was similar to this beauty blogger. The other two pinks are a little less bright and vibrants, but are still very pretty, easy colours to wear, both perfect for everyday wear as well as a day out. I only bought the dark red shade Grand Cru recently (you can see the sticker marks on it!) but I imagine it will look very rich and red, something I'm looking forward to trying. The finish of these lipsticks are all pretty good, they feel light without being drying or looking flaky - I've been eyeing up the other colours to see what they're like too.

MUA has also got a collection of lipsticks called MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers, which are the cheapest of the bunch at £3. Like the other brands, there are some very bright colours available, although these may not suit everyone's tastes. I bought one of these in Reckless, which is a red shade that I thought was wearable, but not amazing. I think that for what they cost, they're not bad, but the quality isn't as great as the Lime Crime or Bourjois lipsticks, especially as this lipstick peels lightly as the day goes on.

Revlon has had long-lasting liquid lipstick for a while, their ColorStay collection is a little more sober in colours though. My mum has used some of their nude and pink shades for a long time, and even I have a tomato coloured liquid lipstick in this collection that I use every now and then (I forgot to take pictures of mine though!)

TopShop make-up is another that I've been hearing good things about - I have a highlighter by them which I love because it is surprisingly one of the better ones I have. So naturally, I wanted to check out their liquid lipsticks, which they had a range of, one called Lip Paint (which is creamier) and another called Lip Varnish (which is more of a shiny lacquer). Both are in very bright shades and long-lasting, although I didn't end up buying any because I didn't think any of the shades below would suit me, and the colours that would I already had shades of in other brands. Topshop also does Velvet Lipstick but as far as I can see, it's only in a black shade. I did end up buying a Gloss Ink in a pretty cranberry shade called Smitten which is like a pigmented, glossy lipstain.

I know that there are other brands which do liquid lipsticks as well, although I haven't tried them myself - there are a few higher-end brands like Hourglass and Guerlain; Illamasqua also have a popular liquid lipstick and Stila are also another, and NYX have a big collection which I've been wanting to try out. Lastly, Lush are another brand I've been eyeing up, their products are natural and come in pretty shades, but the down-side is that there is an expiry date of a year, which I'm still trying to decide whether I want to buy or not.

Overall I can see liquid lipsticks becoming more popular, they're not as fussy as normal lipsticks, they look beautifully elegant and they're very flattering. Who knew something which looks like a lip gloss would look as good as it does!

What do you think of matte liquid lipsticks - passing trend or here to stay? Which ones have you tried?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

BOLLYWOOD ISHTYLE: Prachi Desai in Wedding Times Magazine, and Deepika in Vogue India

It's been a while since I've lusted over some Sabysachi, so here's some beautiful pieces worn by Bollywood actress Prachi Desai for the Wedding Times magazine (I only really remember her from Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai) which I thought was lovely.

I love the two outfits being featured here, the first which is a combination of dark red with a corally coloured skirt, and the second outfit being a summery mix of yellow and white. I love that there's a pretty, playful look here, it's fun and summery, and looks elegantly put together without Prachi dripping in jewels or an overly-blingy outfit.

Image Source

I've also seen this being compared to Deepika's photoshoot, which was featured in Vogue India last month. Deepika's look has a lot more of a grown up feel to it - it's luxurious, sexy and elegant, and Deepika pulls the look off well. I love the beautiful red lips, the golden make-up and the simple but striking henna circles on her hands - it only emphasises how rich these outfits are. Deepika wears a mix of Sabyaschi and Manish Malhotra, accessorised with gold jewellery with precious stones, and the effect is very rich, glamorous and sparkly - perfect for a brides to be looking for eye candy.

Image Source

I found that there is a big difference between the two shoots, which is interesting as they both feature outfits by the wonderful Sabyasachi. I loved Prachi Desai'd outfits (and her short, curly hair!), but I loved the red lips on Deepika, the shimmer golds and the poise of her photshoot equally.

Which look did you prefer - Deepika or Prachi?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


I've been finding it difficult to find the time to blog these last few days,

I mentioned earlier than I've been doing various trials for the wedding, one of them being a mehndi trial. My manager at work made fun of me about this, laughingly saying that in his day you used to just put on mehndi and make-up as it came (which your mum probably booked for you) and didn't have trials, and how 'you young girls'go overboard and need a trial and party for everything.

While I agree with his sentiments in a way, I also don't see any harm in doing a trial - the last few brides I have spoken to have done trials to make sure that they're happy with the results. Personally, I was a little fussy in who I wanted because I wanted someone reasonably price who was able to do intricate mehndi. Because my bridal outfit will have longer sleeves, I don't want the mehndi applied all the way up my arms, and would prefer the focus to be on the smaller, beautiful details. My other concern was the colour of the mehndi, which I wanted to be as dark as possible.

I've been looking at a lot of mehndi artists, both people I know who do it as amateurs as well as professionals (there were a few who had been trained by the famous Ash Kumar which caught my eye!). While I would love to save money and get a friend to do it for free, a lot of my friends don't do bridal henna to this extent, and I'll admit, I'm a little fussy - my sister confirmed my feeling that you only get married once and it's nice to get it done professionally.

My mehndi artist I ended up with was recommended to me by one of my best friends, who used her a few years ago for her own wedding. One of the biggest reasons why I opted for her was because of the colour that came out - the mehndi artist mixes her own mehndi rather than use the shop-bought ones, which I preferred because it meant that the henna mix and colour would be purer.

So I went to visit the mehndi artist at home and we discussed what patterns and styles I wanted, how much I wanted applied and she also showed me her portfolio of her work. We then finally did a trial, which was done quite quickly on both sides of my hand so I could see the differences in colour and design. I was really impressed with how neat the design was, and how it flowed - the mehndi artist explained that she couldn't go too intricate and small as it would make the mehndi mix together and ruin the pattern, and when dry the pattern would just be a red blur. I love round floral patterns as mehndi as well, so naturally asked her to draw a flower on my hand, which she obliged with! Here are the quick designs she did on my hand (I don't know why my hands look fat, they're not really!)

After the trial, the mehndi artist told me to wait for the colour to come out in the next day or two before making the decision to go with her, with I thought was helpful of her. This is the colour after nearly two days of the initial application, which I was quite happy with - the colour was quite red and the pattern was still very neat.

In the end, after the week wore off, I was happy enough with the trial that I confirmed my booking. I didn't want to do too many trials, and was happy with the price that this mehndi artist gave me, which was a lot cheaper than the other ones in area.

I'm still looking around for small mehndi artists who can do cheap mehndi on my family closer to the time, but I'm less worried about this, especially as we know friends who can do this, and my sisters are not bad either at henna patterns!