Beauty Goes Cruelty-Free: Shop With Compassion

19 Oct

Fashionably Yours is now Cruelty- Free!

Well, not that I was particularly cruel earlier, but now, I’m aiming to become more aware and conscious of what I’m wearing, where my beauty products are coming from and how they’ve made their way to my beauty desk:

1. What does Cruelty-Free mean?
A cruelty-free company or brand is one that does not test their products or ingredients on animals.

Beware of brands that claim to be cruelty-free but are not verified by third party inspections. Only trust brands that are certified and endorsed by Animal rights groups such as PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

PeTA campaign against animal testing for beauty products

PeTA campaign against animal testing for beauty products

2. What kinds of tests are run on animals? Why is it considered cruel?
Beauty brands and companies conduct several tests to check effects of their ingredients on helpless little guinea pigs, mice and rabbits, which are routinely burnt, scarred and brutally tortured in the process.

The specific tests may include skin and light sensitization studies, rubbing of ingredients onto the eyes of these animals, which result in permanent blindness/scalding  – all of which is done without the use of any anesthesia- so the animals suffer excruciating pain in helpless silence.

“To insult someone we call him ‘bestial’. For deliberate cruelty and nature, ‘human’ might be the greater insult.”– Isaac Asimov.

Go Cruelty free- Stop testing beauty products on animals

Go Cruelty free- Stop testing beauty products on animals

3. If the products are not tested on animals, how can I be sure they’re safe to use on myself?
There are many alternatives to animal testing. Firstly, companies can use ingredients that are already known to be safe – these ingredients have been safely used for decades. Secondly, nearly 50 non-animal tests have been validated for use, and these modern alternatives can offer results that are not only more relevant to people, but more efficient and cost-effective.

Experts agree that animal testing is infact, an outdated, extremely cruel and irrelevant practice today.

Pledge to stop using products tested on animals: cruelty free beauty

Pledge to stop using products tested on animals: cruelty free beauty

4. How can I help end this deplorable practice?
We can together, pledge to be cruelty- free by buying, endorsing and supporting only certified cruelty- free brands. When companies and brands realize how aware and cruelty- conscious their consumers have become today, they will aim to put an end to this practice altogether (ofcourse in the interest of their sales figures).

Let’s harness the power of the consumer by making a good choice – a kind and compassionate choice as buyers of beauty products.

The Body Shop's petition against animal testing

The Body Shop’s petition against animal testing

5. What are some of the top cruelty-free beauty brands that are available in the UAE?
Some of the top cruelty-free beauty brands (available in the UAE) also happen to be my favorite such The Body Shop, Soap & Glory, Lush Cosmetics, Dermalogica and Jane Iredale. Other top cruelty-free brands that do not test on animals are Too Faced, Bath & BodyWorks, Dr Dennis Gross Skincare, Urban Decay, Smashbox Cosmetics, Montagne Jeunesse and Herbline Essentials.

These brands are verified by third parties such as PeTA, as cruelty- free products.

Remember, beauty that’s cruelty-free and compassionate is truly beautiful, inside out. Look out for a feature on cruelty-free fashion, coming up soon.

FY Weekend: Poolside Brunch at Quantum, The H Hotel

18 Oct

It’s a balmy 32 degrees outside, and I’m soaking up the sun at a gorgeous outdoor pool and Jacuzzi at The Quantum, The H Dubai. So does the Saturday brunch pack a crunch? Here’s my verdict in 5 big bullets:

Grilled shrimp and lobster at the Quantum poolside Saturday brunch, The H Hotel, Dubai

Grilled shrimp and lobster at the Quantum poolside Saturday brunch, The H Dubai


1. Grills and Thrills:
As a recently converted ‘piscetarian’ (that’s what kids are calling people who only eat fish, not meat or chicken), I am immensely happy with the variety of seafood on offer at the grill.

The three-course brunch at Quantum includes a salad bar, steaks and lamb grills, seafood and a small selection of vegetable grills as well.  I opt for a plate of shrimp and lobster and have it freshly grilled at the LIVE station – it’s absolutely crunchy and delightful! I can tell that the catch is fresh and is grilled to perfection.

I also try the grilled mushroom and tomato mozzarella and find that the vegetables taste superb too, so it’s a good option if you’re trying to keep it light.

The salad station at Quantum, The H Hotel: Saturday poolside brunch

The salad station at Quantum, The H Dubai: Saturday poolside brunch

Bubbly is part of the brunch package, as is a pitcher of either the Quantum special vodka punch or a pitcher of beer. I’m slightly partial towards the bubbly ofcourse, and love that it’s served unlimited, throughout the brunch!

Desert is another huge up for the poolside brunch at Quantum. The selection is super tempting with an array of fresh fruit salads, fruit cakes, yummy tarts and my favorite, the chocolate mousse cake ( totally worth throwing away my low-carb diet for).

The dessert spread at Quantum, The H Hotel: Saturday poolside brunch

The dessert spread at Quantum, The H Dubai: Saturday poolside brunch

The dessert spread at Quantum, The H Hotel: Saturday poolside brunch

The dessert spread at Quantum, The H Dubai: Saturday poolside brunch


2. Ambiance:
The LIVE band is great at creating the perfect Saturday afternoon vibe with fantastic covers from the 80s and 90s – right from Dire Staits to Bob Marley.

A relaxing dip in the pool is just what the doctor ordered for me, especially after a grueling week of work, events and a crazy schedule. I love that the poolside is quiet and calming, with the lovely band in the backdrop and the lovely shade over the pool.

The LIVE band at Quantum, The H Hotel

The LIVE band at Quantum, The H Hotel

3. Service:
The service is good, despite a busy Saturday brunch.  The staff is so efficient that I didn’t even realize that the restaurant is full to its capacity! Attentive and informed, I’d give a 4.5 on 5 rating for the service.

4. Bar:
While the bubbly kept flowing throughout the brunch, the only sore point was that the bar was called shut about 10 minutes before the stipulated time.

 

The Saturday poolside brunch at Quantum, The H Hotel

The Saturday poolside brunch at Quantum, The H Dubai


5.  Overall experience:
For AED 300 per person with selected house beverages or AED 200 with soft drinks only, the all-day poolside brunch at Quantum, The H Dubai offers great value for money. The pool and Jacuzzi access ( 12 noon to 5 pm) is a great plus, as is the relaxed and fun vibe.

The brunch is also child- friendly, with entertainment for kids. In all, it’s a Saturday well spent with friends and family and I’d definitely recommend it for its delicious grills and ambiance.

At the Saturday poolside brunch at Quantum, The H Hotel

OK. No more bubbly for me.

Clarks Launches Store, AW 2014 Collection At The Dubai Mall

13 Oct

British footwear retailer Clarks has selected Dubai as one of only three cities in the world to debut its new look concept store. Dubai became the first city in Asia to host the store featuring a contemporary retail design and layout while putting the brand’s British roots pride of place, featuring the Union Jack flag on the store exterior, at the Dubai Mall.

Clarks Middle East launches its concept store at The Dubai Mall

Clarks Middle East launches its concept store at The Dubai Mall

The space is currently showcasing the Autumn Winter 2014 collection for men, women and children. Here’s a sneak preview of what’s in store:

Orla Kiely for Clarks:
Following on from spring/summer’s hugely successful collaboration with acclaimed designer, Orla Kiely, Clarks continue their partnership with the ‘Queen of Prints’ for a second season. Renowned for her love of colour, pattern and texture, Kiely has taken her contemporary spin on 60s and 70s design and created a capsule collection of six styles.

Orla Kiely for Clarks

Orla Kiely for Clarks

Orla Kiely for Clarks

Orla Kiely for Clarks

Orla Kiely is endorsed by a celebrity fan base that includes Kate Middleton, Alexa Chung, Kiera Knightley, Kirsten Dunst and Zooey Deschanel.

Clarks AW 2014 for Women
AW14 presents a well-established collection of classic women’s boots, while casual flats go from strength to strength with a contemporary take on seasonal classics. Mid-heels, meanwhile, comprise must-have features, including premium brush-off leathers and stacked heels.

 

Clarks ME AW 2014 collection

Clarks ME AW 2014 collection

Clarks ME AW 2014 collection

Clarks ME AW 2014 collection

A unique feature is the ‘Clarks Plus’ intelligent underfoot cushioning in selected AW14 styles. With posture boosting technology, Clarks Plus aims to redistribute body weight more evenly around the foot to subtly reduce its forward pitch in high heels.

I know my feet will be ever grateful! Experience the new Clarks concept store yourself, now open at The Dubai Mall.

Meet My Style ‘Sole’mate: Galibelle

10 Oct

I have a recurring dream of being lost in a massive warehouse, full of shoes of every conceivable shape and size– Suddenly, there’s an avalanche of sandals rolling towards me. Red heels, pink flats, blue kitten, chunky wedges and nude pumps they’re all in there, coming at me at an alarming speed while I just stand there, about to be floored with a gigantic smile on my face.

Yes. That’s how obsessed I am with shoes. Who dreams about Channing Tatum anyway?!

Galibelle Middle East: Multiply your shoes with inter-changable straps!

Galibelle Middle East: Multiply your shoes with inter-changeable straps!

Galibelle Middle East: Multiply your shoes with inter-changable straps!

Galibelle Middle East: Multiply your shoes with inter-changable straps!

Imagine then, how excited I was to come across Brazilian shoe brand, Galibelle in Dubai. Think stunning sandals, heels, flats and wedges… and now multiply them by 6! How? With inter-changeable straps, ofcourse. The simple buttons on the sides of the soles allow you to mix, match and create different looks and styles for your shoes – super easy, creative and quick!

I picked the Galibelle ‘Sara high heels’ sandals with two sets of straps to mix and match – a bold, red-orange set and a nude set. At just AED 180 for a pair of soles and a set of straps starting from AED 105, a trip to Galibelle proved to be excellent for my wallet and my shoe rack!

Galibelle Middle East: The Sara heel sandals with red-orange straps

Galibelle Middle East: The Sara heel sandals with red-orange straps

 

Galibelle Middle East: The Sara heel sandals with red-orange straps

Galibelle Middle East: The Sara heel sandals with red-orange straps

Galibelle Middle East:Changed the straps to mix and match!

Galibelle Middle East:Changed the straps to mix and match!

Galibelle Middle East:Changed the straps to mix and match - now they're nude sandals!

Galibelle Middle East:Changed the straps to mix and match – now they’re nude sandals!

Galibelle Middle East:Changed the straps to mix and match - now they're nude sandals!

Galibelle Middle East:Changed the straps to mix and match – now they’re nude sandals!

Do the math – Just 1 pair of soles and 2 sets of colored straps gave me 6 pairs of shoes for just AED 390! Created by Brazilian designers, these Galibelle’s sandals are absolutely gorgeous – Don’t blame yourself if you aren’t able to tear yourself away from the store at Oasis Center, Al Barsha. Blame the beauties on display.

As for me, it’s literally a dream come true – minus the horrifying avalanche of shoes and plus my gorgeous Galibelle soles and straps, stacked neatly in my shoe rack.

Galibelle Middle East: You can change it!

Galibelle Middle East: You can change it!

Banana Republic Rebooted: Holiday 2014 Preview

9 Oct

Banana Republic hosted the Holiday 14’ Fashion Show in Dubai at the Sunken Garden, The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC.

Under the leadership of new Creative Director, Marissa Webb, Banana Republic is rebooting its design strategy ( #thenewBR), aiming to make it more ‘relevant’, youth-oriented and edgy, while maintaining the brand’s upscale aesthetic and price points –a tough balance, I’d say. Well, does it succeed? Let me rewind to the event:

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Womenswear displayed a lot of leather, chambray and cashmere in layers, for a sophisticated and edgy look. The hi-lo styling resonates throughout the collection – offering the first example of Webb’s creative influence. What struck me the most was the color palette- predominantly grey and black, which I find to be rather morose, especially for a warm and sunny Dubai winter.

Having said that, the way Webb uses textures and layering is simply outstanding and even manages to redeem the moody colors. I love that the silhouette for womenswear is not overtly girly- the collection is edgy, sleek and powerful.

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

Banana Republic Holiday Collection in Dubai #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The Banana Republic Holiday campaign #thenewBR

The campaign for Holiday collection looks very sharp and distinctly different from previous campaigns and imagery for the brand. Overall, loving #thenewBR