Saturday, 14 January 2012

FOTD: New Stuffs

High on my wedding preparation list was to get a foundation that actually matched my skin (Bobbi Brown just hasn't worked out for me alas, always just a bit out). My sister swears by NARS Sheer Glow, so I took a quick trip to Liberty. About ten minutes later I came away with what I think just might be the most perfect foundation I've found (though to be fair my search hasn't been hugely extensive.) It's beautifully light, feeling like nothing on the skin, and yet gives sufficient coverage to make skin look utterly beautiful. It's the first foundation to give a finish that truly took my breath away, rather than making me look not quite right. A**!

It looks very pale here because I was directly facing a window and noon light, but it's really perfect in terms of shade and texture. The fantastic SA also applied their concealer on me and I was seriously impressed - after seven hours there was no fading and hardly any creasing. I've loved MAC Moisturecover Select because it doesn't flake on my dry skin, but it does fade over the day. The NARS lasts and lasts!

I've paired my Armani eyeshadow with one of the two Daphne Guiness for MAC lipglosses I acquired on the same trip, Narcissus. I love the purple-plum colour, I don't have anything quite like it and it's so fresh and pretty for Spring without looking chalky and harsh like some lipstick variants of this colour. The Cremesheen Glass is the only MAC gloss formulation I love, the traditional lipglass formula is just so horribly gluey (such a shame, the colours are so lovely!)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

I see dresses and shoes and cardigans of green

 Again, a bit of a bastardisation-title. But although my head's still firmly in sales-and-winter-clothing, spring collections are arriving in the shops now, and from what I can see, there's a couple of trends emerging. The most obvious being GREEN. A fresh, zingy, grass-green shade has cropped up in several places. I love these greens, so that's not a bad thing for me! (I don't follow high fashion closely enough to be able to identify the source, but I'm sure there must be one? The botanical prints remind me a bit of Erdem...)

I think this shade looks wonderfully fresh with white, and little blue, red or yellow accents. But it looks good with royal purples too, and as the black dress shows, if you're scared to go full-kermit, it pops as an accent against black. White generally looks terrible on me, so that's what I'll be pairing it with, even if I think this green looks its nicest against a bright crisp white. Like Wimbledon in outfit form. Oh, for summer!

Spring Greens

Thursday, 5 January 2012

2012 - 20 things I'm looking forward to!

Rather than resolutions which always seem a bit grim and always end in a sense of failure, I thought I would list instead the things I'm looking forward to this year. I'm very excited about the year ahead, for one major reason in particular, that I will be marrying my soulmate and daemon-in-human-form, known to you as Bartimaeus. Nowt can really beat that. What are you looking forward to?

1. Getting married to Bartimaeus
2. 60th anniversary celebrations of the 1952 Bengali Language Movement (more on that soon)
3. The UK arrival of Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters (deeply excited about these)
4. Maintaining the creative writing I restarted after 10 years on 1 Jan this year

5. Reading lots of interesting books on my lovely new Kindle
6. Meeting and making new friends, which has been a wonderful feature of late 2011
7. Adding some flakie topcoats to my nail collection
8. Trying more pretty takes on nail art
9. The Muppets movie
10. Adding to my vintage jewels collection via Hepwrights, Southampton
11. Writing my weekly lists in my new customised Moleskine work diary (tea-themed stickers? oh yes!)

12. Spending time with my beloved friends and family
13. Filling up a fifth of this amazing thing my sister bought me for Christmas:

14. Writing more blog posts on culture and books as well as nails and dresses
15. Tom Ford Black Orchid
16. Getting hold of a star nail magnet
17. Doing more fascinating archival research on East London
18. Getting involved in lots of community events and groups in London and Southampton
19. Downton Abbey series three
20. Being married to Bartimaeus
Do comment and let me know what you're looking forward to this year!

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Year NOTD: Galactic Bathroom Tiles

Happy New Year!!!

My mum recently got her bathrooms redone, finally changing the original 1960s avocado suites (practically antique now) to something a bit more modern. We were on a tight budget and I was quite grumpily difficult when it came to decorative elements, opting for basic and minimalist over anything that might age badly or cost too much. However, one day my mum went out and bought a whole lot of tiny tiles for a border. And they were sparkly, like a little bathroom galaxy. They were way out of our budget costing more than all the floor tiles, and I did grumble at the time about the price, but I bloody love them now. They're a perfect reflection of my mum's love of all things sparkly and bejewelled (which I've inherited of course) and they make me smile every time I'm at the house because they're just so her.

So my New Year's NOTD took inspiration from the tiles and from the recent "galaxy nails" trend. I used one of my favourite winter OPIs, Siberian Nights as the base - it's a wonderful inky deep purple, much cooler toned than Lincoln In the Park After Dark, but definitely purple-black and not navy. I then added some stars with the Topshop nail art pen in Silver (I'm loving these) and a coat of China Glaze Fairy Dust on top, finishing with a coat of a new topcoat I purchased on Aysh's recommendation, No 7 Stay Perfect Top Coat. (I'll review this soon, but it's pretty good!)

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Ring In The Old, Ring Out The New

Hope you've all had a lovely Christmas - mine has been very cosy and relaxing, and wonderfully restorative. Some of the lovely gifts I received included a Flowerpot Tangle Teezer which has been a revelation, and a bottle of L de Lolita Lempicka perfume from Bartimaeus, which is utterly bewitching.

The title of this post is a bastardisation of Tennyson, but seems apt when applied to a vintage post published on New Year's Eve! Allow me to introduce you to my first piece of vintage. I've written before about my reservations about the "retro revival" and full-on 1950s nostalgia. Nevertheless, there is a romance around the 1950s for me I will never shake, which goes back to my childhood watching Douglas Sirk films with my mum (there's something very Bollywood I think about his lush sentimental melodramas), all the films of Elvis, and pretty much anything that was filmed in Technicolor. And as a result I continue to aspire to recreate a different kind of vintage in makeup and outfits from time to time, a look that is part whimsy, part 1960s Bollywood, 100% Rabbit.

But I find vintage shopping difficult - the chaos and disorder of a lot of vintage shops, the forbiddingly tiny waists of proper 1950s frocks. Still, a few weeks ago I visited Bedford Place, a little street of independent shops, salons and eateries very close to my house in Southampton, and I stopped by Hepwrights', a vintage shop that's become the heart of this charming, quirky little corner of Southampton. I left after an hour and a half, after chatting to Mama Hep and Sophie for ages about Asian fabrics and vintage, and browsing and coveting away. It's such a warm, welcoming place, and Sophie and Mama Hep know pretty much everyone who drops in. Two Year 7s stopped by to just try dresses on in their break, two students stopped by just to say they'd handed in coursework, and I just fell in love with the place (as my presence there for 90 minutes attests!)

There are some amazing dresses, coats, shoes, as well as some pieces by local craftspeople (I love the rows of little wooden cottages representing the area I live in). But the magpie in me was attracted to the jewels in particular. I was restrained, picking up a reworked silver owl bracelet for my sister for Christmas, and this necklace for me. It is strung on silver chain which gives the clear beads a greyish tinge, which I love. They look like faceted pieces of ice, and I've been wearing this necklace for all my many Christmas social engagements (all three of them) and pretty much every other day. It goes with everything, but I particularly love pairing it with my marcasite snowflake earrings from Istanbul. The combination makes me feel very glamorous and wintry.

I sometimes daydream about the woman/women who wore it before me - did she wear it for special occasions, or was she a magpie like me, happy to wear sparkly stuff during the day? Which special occasions did she wear them to? Did she have a daughter who used to play with it covetously? And that's the magic of vintage, really, the tales bound up within the pieces, the unspoken histories...

Anyway, happy New Year's Eve, everyone! I'll be spending mine at home with my mum, as it's my dad's birthday and I never feel much like doing anything else on this day. We'll be having a Downton Abbey marathon and I'll be having a mega-Chinese roast duck fest (duck pancakes and roast duck and rice, my favourites). Hope you all have a lovely time ushering 2012 in, whatever it is you're doing.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Big Thank You giveaway - Kiko Makeup Milano! Extended!

I am having a bit of a hectic week work-wise and things won't calm down until AFTER Christmas. Oh it sucks to be me sometimes. However, it sucks less to be you, because as I won't be able to count entries, get my cat to pick a name (nice technique, Aysh!) or post anything until after Christmas, I've decided to extend the giveaway. It'll now close at midnight on December 28th!

 So get entering, if you haven't already!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Kabir Chowdhury, RIP

On Tuesday, one of the great Bangladeshi intellectuals, Prof. Kabir Chowdhury, passed away at the age of 89. 
He was a true champion of Bengali secular nationalism. He, like all proper leftist nationalists, saw nationalism as a way to internationalism, and lived his beliefs through practice, chairing the Bangladesh Afro-Asian Writers' Union, the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Union, and the Bangladesh-Soviet Friendship Society amongst others. His loss is a profound one for all of us who share in the secular values he dedicated his life's work to preserving in Bangladesh.
I remember how warm and welcoming he was, the wide range of books, paintings and sculptures at his beautiful, modernist flat, how effusively he spoke about Bengali culture, secularism and the Language Movement. I was honoured to meet him, spend some time with him over tea, and benefit from his knowledge and wisdom.  I'm so sad I will never have that chance again.

Below is a transcription of my interview with Prof. Kabir Chowdhury, in Dhaka, on 23 March 2008.

KC: The call for the recognition of Bangla was first raised in 1948, by Dhirendranath Dutt. Sometimes we forget about that and focus on 1952, which is understandable because 1952 was the major eruption of Bengali nationalist feelings. Ultimately it was a political movement firstly for autonomy and later the demand for total independence. And it grew, unlike political movements in other countries, over the question of language and culture. This is quite a difference in comparison to other liberation struggles in other countries. Because of the West Pakistan military rulers’ insensitiveness and inability to understand the Bengali people’s total commitment to language and through language, culture, because they didn’t understand this, the situation got out of hand. There was nothing revolutionary in accepting two languages as state languages. Think of Canada, Switzerland and other places. But because of their ignorance they made tensions worse, and then of course later they made things even worse by committing genocide.

From culture it became a political movement. Major highlights were 1952, then 1969, the mass movement and 1970. And then the Liberation War 1971. I’m giving a talk on 1971 the war and our literature tomorrow at the Independent University, Bangladesh. Firstly I will talk about the liberation wars of all countries leave an impact on all cultures. That manifestation one can see in all walks of life. In art, in poetry, novels, everywhere. For example in the Soviet Union: I have visited all the regions of the Soviet Union of the earlier days, and I have seen beautiful sculptures and paintings. You can recall in the European context, Delacroix’s painting of Liberty symbolised as a woman, leading the people. She is holding a flag, running and people are running behind her. In Bangladesh there are many paintings and sculptures. You will know Shahabuddin, who has exhibited in many places in Europe. He is now an expatriate living in France. He has one picture, Muktijuddha, Freedom Fighter, with a sinewy, muscled, half-clad man with a flag running. I have decided to speak about the impact of liberation war, and specifically talking about Bangladesh liberation war and literature. There has not been a complete overvew done of the cultural impact of our liberation war, so I will begin by categorising the books that reflect all of this, historical accounts, memoirs, diaries, compendiums, novels.

Then I’ll come to literatures specifically – that is the main thing. In all branches of culture we find this reflection of our liberation war – poetry, grammar, short stories, novels, sketches. By extension, films, there have been many films about the war. But poetry is especially touching – in fact all the senior major appreciated poets, young poets, and unknown poets, all have written at least on poem on the war. There are hundreds of poems. Some highlight the glories and courage, some highlight the pain and sorrow and devastation. Shamsur Rahman’s very well known poem “Liberty.” There is another remarkable poem whose words we tend to forget – Written on the night of the genocide on 25 March 1971, just before he left for India, Ghulam Mustafa wrote a stunning poem. He printed a few hundred copies for publication, and then he fled to India. The poem is astoundingly beautiful. I have translated it. It is “Bangla Charo” “Quit This is one of the earliest poems which possesses a very militarised tone.

In terms of novels, Rabeya Khatun has written quite beautiful stories upon the war, Selina Hossain has written both short stories and novels. Anwara Shamsul Haq – Syed Shamsul Haq’s wife, has also written stories.

NA: What was happening in terms of culture in the Pakistan period? I know that Kabar was performed at Dhaka Central Jail – but was it performed anywhere else during that time?

KC: In Dhaka cultural things were happening, but things were also happening all over the country during this period. In 1952, Kabar happened in Dhaka but it was also performed all around the country. There is Mumtazuddin Ahmed, at that time, his plays were performed in the large open park in Chittagong, and his plays also expressed a strong militant sense.

There was a poem by Shamshur Rahman “Na Ami Jabo Na” “No I won’t go’ -  “I won’t go, I stay with them who are fated to die.” “Obishap Dicche” uses classical image of Greek mythology, the Tantalus myth.

Going back to novels, there are also Anwar Pasha’s Rifles Roti Women and Shaukat Osman’s Jahannam Hocche Bidhay and Neke Aranya. The West Pakistanis incompletely missed the meaning of Kritadaser Hasi. Missed in the sense, it was a symbolic story of the defiance of the downtrodden against the oppressor. And finally, the defeat of the oppressor in the sense of what is demanded he couldn’t get in the last chapter in the scene. But, they thought it was a novel featuring Harun ur Rashid, he was projected as a cruel sultan. That point was missed but because somebody from East Pakistan has written a novel about Harun ur Rashid, they gave it a prize.

Others who have written dramas include Abdullah al Mamun, also there is Syed Shamsul Haq’s Payer Awaz Pawa Jai. Zahir Rahain has written about 1952 but he didn’t live to write on the liberation war. He was a very talented filmmaker, but also wrote stories – Arek Phalgun, on 1952. As well as the celebrated Jibon Theke Niye. Like Osman, he wasn’t able to present facts in the direct fashion but had to use metaphoric images. Ahmed Safa’s Omkar, is similarly metaphorical - he uses an image of a dumb girl who witnesses all the repressions. She cries out at the end, finally, and then dies.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

FOTD: Gothic Forties

This is one of my favourite looks of late. I know every blogger and their cat has blogged about Armani Eyes To Kill Intense shadows, but I love the Purpura shade I was given for my birthday (and I've pretty much decided it will be used in my bridal look! I know standard practice is to opt for a natural, fresh-faced type of look, but meh, I'm not really a neutrals kind of girl). It was  a bit of an accident, this combination. I wanted to wear my new Revlon Just Bitten stain in Twilight as I was wearing this Warehouse dress, and I wanted to go for a Dita von Teese-esque frosty, cool look to match its awesome gothic Forties-ness. Yup, me, about the other side of the skin tone spectrum to Miss Teese. I initially planned on a silver shadow, but don't have a nice one, so I used Purpura instead. I love it paired with the vampy lip!

check out the stripy hair!

Impossible to capture its complex loveliness, the interplay of gold, silver, pewter and purple...

MAC Moisturecover Select concealer

Urban Decay Primer Potion as base
Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in Purpura
Avon Supershock pencil in black on waterline
Maybelline Colossal Mascara

MAC Brow in Spiked
Sue Moxley Breath of Plum blush

Daphne Guinness for MAC Cremesheen Glass in Narcissus


  1. Hi Naz,

    It's BP from the Bag forum. :-)

    Just wanted to say that the Nars foundation looks perfect and beautiful on you (must look it up as they discontinued my favourite and I'm now looking for a replacement).

    If you're after a non-gluey lip gloss, then I can very highly recommend a couple for you. Best I've ever tried for longevity and non-gunginess is Nubo Instant Lip Perfection (transparent and expensive, though) and also Lipfusion Micro Collagen Lip Plump (you don't need the plumping, but this performs fantastically well and there are gorgeous colours).

    In case you're interested, I asked Ellis Faas to send me a couple of samples of their Skin Veil foundation. They sent me the colours 102, 103 and 105 (101 would probably have been better, but never mind). 105 is way too dark for me, so I haven't even tried it. However, the formulation is lovely and it really does sink into your skin and give you a very natural, your-skin-but-better look. If you'd like me to send you the 105 sample to try, just send me a PM on the Bag and I'd be very happy to do so.

  2. As always, you look lovely, beautiful lady! That foundation looks amazing in those photos, glad you've got one thing ticked off your wedding prep list!

    Love the colour of Narcissus; I've been trying to avoid the SG and Iris Apfel collections because I got overexcited by the winter collection, but some of the lipcremes look beautiful....and so does the Iris Apfel beauty powder. Argh. Temptations!

  3. The NARS foundation looks great on you, your skin looks amazing!

  4. I am in love with the red lip for sure. You look absolutely amazing. A true glamour girl.