For the love of hoop earrings…

Gosh, hoop earrings. Such a simple but divisive bit of jewellery. They can be huge, they can be subtle, they can be chic or they can be…..less chic.

But I know one thing with absolute certainty, I love a good pair of hoops.

So why have I not been bloody well wearing them for a good few years then?

It’s a stupid thing to complain about but it’s the fault of my very favourite necklace. The necklace that ST bought me for our first Christmas together which I haven’t taken off since. The necklace is silver and I had, until receiving it, worn solely gold jewellery. Blame J.Lo and my desperate bid to be a real life Spanish gypsy, but all my jewellery – exquisite oversized hoops included – were always gold.

When I received the necklace I pretty much stopped wearing earrings altogether, but over the last couple of years I’ve built up a teeny collection of silver earrings that I adore.

But I still didn’t have any hoops.

Hoops are gold! They have to be gold! THAT’S JUST THE HOOPY RULE!

No?!

No.

Luckily for me I have since learnt that hoops do not need to be gold and they can actually be quite lovely in silver. A trip to Dinny Hall’s Notting Hill store earlier this week confirmed this.

Dinny Hall hoops

Dinny Hall vintage hoops

There’s a reason Dinny is hailed as the Queen of Hoops (I want an accolade like that) and I love how modern the brand feels, despite having been around more than 30 years. It’s a London born brand (Dinny’s entire Central Saint Martin’s graduation collection was bought by Liberty in 1984, how’s that for a start to your career?!) but the collections are inspired by every corner of the world. And 30 years on, Dinny is still personally involved in every one of her pieces from sketch to store. In fact she was in the workshop when I visited the store on Wednesday, designing a bespoke piece for a client with the most fabulous ruby. Oh to spend every day surrounded by jewels!

I could have walked out of the store with enough silver hoops to last a lifetime, but I chose instead to start small (relative to the size I once wore, anyway!) with Dinny’s stunning Wave hoop…

Dinny Hall Wave Hoop

PoppyD in Dinny Hall Wave Hoops

Small Wave Hoop. £120. Here.

I am wearing them as I type this and I can’t believe how much I’m *enjoying* wearing them. Maybe it’s a heavy dose of nostalgia, but I just feel really womanly when I wear hoops. There’s something sexy about them, I think, and there is that little touch of gypsy magic which I can’t deny being a huge fan of. I can see myself going from this dainty pair to full on Esmerelda swingers in a matter of weeks.

The next pair I have my eye on?

Dinny’s large bamboo style…

dinny bamboo£150. Here.

Heck, I’ve even made a Pinterest board of hoopy chicas to remind me of the power of hoops…

Follow Poppy Dinsey’s board Girls in Hoops on Pinterest.

I do recommend a trip to Dinny’s Notting Hill or Islington stores if you’re ever nearby. I’d admired the collections from afar online but it’s not the same as seeing the gorgeous pieces in person. And I love how jewellery stores just seem to be lit in that clever way that makes everything SO SHINY. They clearly have magical light bulbs to make everything that bit more covetable.

Funnily enough, since tweeting that I visited Dinny Hall on Wednesday three different brands have emailed me press releases about hoop earrings. None were as nice as Dinny’s (no offence, PRs in question) but maybe something hoopy is afoot.

Do you hoop? I’m going to hoop more.

This is the start of something, I can tell.

x

 

Pixi’s H2O SkinTint may just be my favourite foundation ever…

Back in February I went to a pre-LFW ‘retreat’ where bloggers and journos could basically get their hair done and their nails did whilst catching up with mates and boozing. As you can probably gather from that description, it was a great day out.

There were lots of brands there but the best part for me had to be discovering Pixi’s make-up range and meeting Pixi International Make-Up Artist Amanda Bell. The pic I use for my profile picture on Twitter, Instagram and the like? That was my smug “Amanda just did my make-up” face. She is amazing.

I didn’t really know much about Pixi further than their infamous Glow Tonic. Call me lazy (I am) but whenever I’d been to their Fouberts Street store to replace my Glow Tonic I just ignored the huge array of make-up and walked straight to the till with my magical orangey pink miracle water. I was given some free samples with a purchase once and I gave them straight to my sister without even looking at them.

This is a long way of saying that I HAVE BEEN A COMPLETE MORON.

The Pixi make-up range is bloody brilliant. I haven’t tried everything of course, but I have some firm favourites that I use every single day now. I’ll try to blog about all of these in due course (trying to spread it out so I don’t look like a mental fan girl) but I thought I should start with my desert island product of theirs…H2O SkinTint.

Amanda used this on my skin at the LFW retreat and I knew it felt nice as she applied it, but because I had a whole face of make-up done I didn’t realise at the time how great this product is on its own.

Luckily for me though, I was later sent a tube of it to try at home. And blow me down I am a woman converted.

I thought I would never find a foundation that would rival my fave Perfection Lumière by Chanel but it would seem I have, in the form of this deliciously silky lightweight gel of dreams.

Pixi H2O SkinTint

The consistency is not like a traditional foundation, which is probably why I love it. Pixi describe it as as “water-based tinted face gel that evens out skin tone and gives complexion a flawless no-makeup look” and this is as accurate as it gets. I don’t really have bad skin so I don’t use foundation to cover up, I just like to have something to even everything out and this does just that.

It seems to disappear to nothing as soon as you apply it, in a good way, and it just looks like your skin has been airbrushed with no trace of cakey foundation left behind. People compliment me on my skin when I wear this – even strangers (okay so that only happened once but I was very smug about it) – and I find myself telling anyone and everyone to buy it.

PoppyD wearing Pixi H2O SkinTint

I wear the ‘Warm’ shade but it comes in two cooler shades as well. I think I’d perhaps need to go down a shade in the depths of winter.

skintint

Part of me wonders if I’ve particularly fallen for it as a summer product as the gel really is lovely to apply on warm days, but I can’t see myself going back to my Chanel full-time. I don’t know, it just seems too heavy now.

I know I’m being slightly OTT about how much I love this product but it has easily been one of my fave make-up discoveries of the past few years.

My one ‘caveat’ would be to say that I’m not trying to cover spots, blemishes, discolouration etc when I use this. I have pretty good skin in the main and I can’t really comment on how full-on the coverage would be if you were trying to cover-up more.

It’s £24 from Pixi (although LookFantastic seem to be selling it for £21) and I love it. I really really love it.

x

 

Summer Reading List: The books I’m packing for my holiday…

Yesterday I recommended 12 thrillers that make perfect holiday reads – all books that I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed – but today I thought I’d blog about the books that are sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

They’re pretty much all thrillers again (hello, am I obsessed with people being murdered?) and have either been recommended to me by friends or I’ve just stumbled across them online having bought something similar.

So there’s an element of “I can’t personally recommend these yet” but they all LOOK like they’re going to be fantastic and a fair chunk of them will be coming in my suitcase when I head off to the mountains of Gran Canaria in a couple of weeks time. (No mum, I don’t want a Kindle, I like carrying lots of heavy books thanks).

Summer Reading List

If you’ve read any of these and want to shout READ THAT ONE FIRST then please do as I obviously can’t take all nine of these in my suitcase without accidentally prompting divorce proceedings.

Visitation Street – Ivy Pochoda

“Summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a blue collar neighbourhood where hipster gourmet supermarkets push against tired housing projects, and the East River opens into the bay. Bored and listless, fifteen-year-old June and Val are looking for some fun. Forget the boys, the bottles, the coded whistles. Val wants to do something wild and a little crazy: take a raft out onto the bay.

But out on the water, as the bright light of day gives way to darkness, the girls disappear. Only Val will survive, washed ashore semi-conscious in the weeds.

June’s shocking disappearance will reverberate in the lives of a diverse cast of Red Hook residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, trolls for information about the crime. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father’s murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect – although an elusive guardian seems to have other plans for him. As Val emerges from the shadow of her missing friend, her teacher Jonathan, Juilliard drop-out and barfly, will be forced to confront a past riddled with tragic sins of omission.”

I actually got about half way through this book at the end of our honeymoon, but the fact I didn’t finish it at the time shouldn’t be a damning indictment. I was just gutted to be back in cold gloomy London and the book reminded me too much of being half cut in the swimming pool, so I put it away for a while. I will be finishing it though as I was mesmerised by every single character and the clarity with which I could picture the entire neighbourhood.

I didn’t feel like I was in Abu Dhabi reading this, I was smack bang in the middle of Red Hook, wondering if June would ever be found.

This book is as much about the characters of Red Hook as it is about the central mystery. I saw someone compare it to Twin Peaks in that sense and whilst it’s not as batshit crazy, it’s a good comparison.

Faithful Place – Tana French

“The course of Frank Mackey’s life was set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned. Frank never heard from her again. Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He’s cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie’s suitcase has been found. Frank embarks on a journey into his past that demands he re-evaluate everything he believes to be true.

I love the Dublin Murder Squad, so obviously I’m excited to read Tana’s third book. I was really pleased to see that Mackey takes centre stage in this one too, as he is BRILLIANT.

Dear Daughter – Elizabeth Little

“Hollywood It Girl Janie Jenkins has it all.

The looks, the brains, the money, the fame.

Oh, and the murder conviction – for killing her mother.

Out of jail and on the run, she’s determined to prove her innocence and find out what really happened the night her mother died.

The only problem?

Janie’s not totally sure that she is innocent…”

Don’t be alarmed Mum, but I am really excited about getting stuck into this one. Oh and Tana French herself loved this book, so that’s a good recommendation.

Little Face – Sophie Hannah

“She’s only been gone two hours.

Her husband David was meant to be looking after their two-week-old daughter. But when Alice Fancourt walks into the nursery, her terrifying ordeal begins, for Alice insists the baby in the cot is a stranger she’s never seen before.

With an increasingly hostile and menacing David swearing she must either be mad or lying, how can Alice make the police believe her before it’s too late?”

Another book that I’ve started and somehow not finished. I read the first few chapters a year or so ago but actually found it quite uncomfortable. I can deal with a lot of violence/gore/MENACE but there’s something about women being doubted when it comes to babies (or, admittedly, ghoststhat I find really hard to deal with. Probably because being the paranoid person I am I can imagine that one day I will have a baby and it will be haunted and nobody will believe me. (Which is one of many reasons that I shouldn’t watch endless child-related horror movies but hey, I like being frightened).

I have a love/hate relationship with this type of theme I guess, I think for a lot of people the fear of not being believed (especially by a loved one) is a very real and disturbing fear. But I like being scared, so do ‘enjoy’ movies/books where this is the theme as long as I can push through to get to the end. Especially as the woman is nearly always right to have been scared and then I can look to ST and say “EXACTLY! THIS IS WHY YOU MUST ALWAYS BELIEVE WOMEN! THERE WAS A MONSTER IN THE ATTIC AND HER HUSBAND NEVER BELIEVED HER AND NOW HE IS DEAD SO I THINK WE CAN ASSUME I AM ALWAYS RIGHT FROM NOW ON!” etc etc.

Basically, I need to put my swapped baby fears aside and finish this book….

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Summer Reading List: 12 Thrillers I’ve read and loved…

Ahhh summer. You wouldn’t think it’s prime holiday season if you looked out the window right now but apparently it’s nearly August. I know! And as much as I want to settle down with toffee apples and hot chocolate and plan my Christmas list (can’t just be me?!) I’m actually off on holiday soon.

And what do holidays mean? BOOKS!

So I wanted to do a round-up post of some of my fave summer reads that I have read as well as the ones that I haven’t yet but I’m excited to get stuck into.

Summer Reads - ThrillersThis is not the extent of my recommendations so do read on! Sadly I couldn’t get any snazzy photos of all my fave titles squeezed in together, as half of my books have been lent to friends and not returned. *Side eyes*.

They pretty much all revolve around at least one person getting murdered (yey!) and yes, some are admittedly a bit trashy in a thoroughly enjoyable Take a Break kinda way, but they’re all very entertaining.

Let’s begin with the books that I have read and loved already, then tomorrow I will move on to the books that I am packing for my own holiday in a separate post. (That post is live now, here).

You can click the cover pics to buy/download (if you don’t hate Amazon) or I’ve tried to make a ‘handy’ carousel at the end of this post which is like a virtual shoppable bookshelf. I’m quite impressed with myself. Hopefully it won’t break.

Some of these are darker than others but they are all books that I have recommended to friends and family. And I would hope if you read them you’d enjoy them too….

In The Woods – Tana French

“When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened.

Twenty years on, Rob Ryan – the child who came back – is a detective in the Dublin police force. He’s changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl’s body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.”

The description above doesn’t do this book justice. I cried at the end of this book and I think it was mostly because the book was over, rather than for the ending itself. (I may have also been a bit drunk as I was in a Palma beach club at the time). Rob is such a great character and there’s so much depth to everyone in this story that you’re truly kept gripped to the very last pages.

Also nice to read on holiday for ultimate summer nostalgia as Rob recalls his happier memories of playing in the woods as a child.

In Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware

“Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her? Some hen parties are bad. This one is going to be murder.”

I was lucky enough to get a press copy of this book and I raced through it in Nice last month. It’s the perfect creepy setting (a hen do in the middle of the forest) and the promise of marriage and murder was always going to lure me in. I loved every page and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m the exact age of the girls in the book or just because I never quite trust ex-friends who may have access to weapons, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Into The Darkest Corner – Elizabeth Haynes

“Catherine has been enjoying single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. But there is a dark side to him and his erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, she plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything…”

If you thought a book couldn’t make you scared of red buttons, think again. I was bought this as a present (thank you Derrian!) and have proceeded to recommend it to everyone I know. Parts of this book are very claustrophobic and you can really feel Catherine’s fear building. Whilst it’s not exactly easy to read in parts, it really is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s genuinely very scary, with the worst part being knowing that people like Lee exist.

Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris

“FBI trainee Clarice Starling walks down the state asylum’s deepest keep, through the moans and whispers of the criminally insane.

She is here to meet the monster in the final cell. He knows she is coming.

She finds Dr Lecter reading the Italian Vogue. He looks up, looks into her. His gaze seems to pulse in her head, but she is only hearing her heartbeat. He listens to it too.

Meet Hannibal Lecter.”

Of course you’ve seen the film, but have you read the book? This was my jolly summer read back in 2013 and I do recommend buying this 25th anniversary version of the book if you can for the new foreword alone. Thomas Harris goes into fascinating detail about how he came up with the Hannibal character and then of course you get to enjoy the book itself. Which is absolutely BRILLIANT.

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

“When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes.

Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family’s mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows – a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town.

As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims – a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.”

I read this on honeymoon and loved every sentence. ST also read it and declared it “absolute nonsense, will never get that time back, is this actually the type of rubbish you read?”. So, there you have it….

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The hair mask of dreams…label.m’s new Honey & Oat Treatment Mask

I seem to be doing everything one handed at the moment, so it will probably take me a long time to type this post. I haven’t hurt myself, simply retired my left hand to full time “running fingers through hair” duties. To onlookers I probably look slightly demented, but then I invite them to stroke it themselves and they begin to understand my obsession. My hair feels amazing and I don’t care who knows it.

The culprit?

label.m’s latest addition to their sumptuous Honey & Oat range – the new Honey & Oat Treatment Mask.

label.m Honey & Oat Mask

My love for label.m needs no introduction. I’ve used little else to wash and style my hair since being introduced to the range by TONI&GUY Guildford way back in my student days.

Yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with them more recently, but it was their Honey & Oat Shampoo and Conditioner which started this long-term love affair way back in the day. It’s their global number one best-seller cleansing duo, and with good reason. Alongside label.m’s Therapy and and Deep Cleansing shampoos, it’s been a staple on my bathroom shelf for years.

Tbh their products are the main reason I can keep my hair so long and healthy with minimum maintenance and I’m forever grateful for that ‘salon at home’ feeling. But this isn’t a sponsored post (aware it sounds that way!) and this is meant to be about the mask. SO BACK TO THE MASK.

label/m Honey & Oat Mask on bathroom shelf

Designed to be used every third or fourth wash, it’s easy to use (you can rinse after a few minutes, so no twenty minutes of idle ‘what do I do now?’ downtime mid-shower) and it rinses out easily too. It’s staggeringly lightweight given how effective it is. The ingredients are divine: two types of high-grade honey (Royal Black and Luhua), Plum Kernal, African Myrrh and Baobab Oil and the scent is heavenly (think more like honeyed bananas than oaty porridge). And the results? Well they’re the selling point.

I love the scent and finish of all the label.m conditioners (believe me, I’ve tried them all), but I didn’t expect to love this new treatment mask as much as I do.

You will not be able to stop touching your hair when you use this.

I’ve been so happy with the shine and texture that I’ve enjoyed not actually styling my hair at all for nights out, just letting it fall naturally and then encouraging people to stroke it.

PoppyD soft hair with label.m Honey & Oat Mask

For absolute maximum softness, I’ve been adding a teeny drop of Rejuvenating Radiance Oil once it’s dry (also by label.m – £26.25) but this is more to tame the fly-aways I have around the roots where I have baby hair growing back after losing some of my hair last year. (Thank god that saga is seemingly over!).

I will definitely be buying another tub of this as soon as it runs out.

It’s £15.75 and you can get it in TONI&GUY salons, approved label.m salons and online here.

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