Weekly Ponderings 5

Friday, 30 January 2015

This week I was excited by...

A very fun evening spent watching some more world class sport as Poland took on Denmark at the 24th Men's Handball World Championships in Lusail city. It was fun to watch such a fast-paced sport which I previously knew very little about, and to witness the passion of the Danish and Polish fans who had turned up in their droves to watch!

However, I'm not ashamed to admit that I was less excited by the match itself than the post-game entertainment. Gwen Stefani had dropped in for the evening, and she rocked her little socks off on stage for a good hour following Poland's defeat to Denmark, wearing some gorgeous outfits by Qatari designers The Kayys. I was so impressed by her energy and shocked that she still doesn't look a day over 25. Gwen, whatever you're having, I want it.

As you can see, I took a few photos...

This week I was reminded...

Just how quickly the city of Doha is growing as we were given a tour of the new Marsa Malaz hotel which seems to have gone up in a matter of months!

As well as how much I love my other half, as I read through his gorgeous guest post that he wrote for Follow Your Sunshine on his thoughts about relationships.

This week I appreciated...

  • A very spontaneous night out with Rich to Prime at the InterContinental Doha: The City, which involved a hilarious conversation with some Qataris in the bar beforehand, followed by some great food and wine, and sampling extra courses of steak for an upcoming menu change.

  • Getting the opportunity to watch Rich in action as he interviewed the very charismatic Graeme Souness for The Keys and Gray Show, and snooping around this beautiful suite at The Grand Hyatt afterwards.

  • The arrival of a very special invitation.

Quote of the week

Courtesy of Chelsea Midori on Instagram.

What have been the highlights of your week?

Guest Post: 6 Things I've Learnt About Relationships

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Hello everybody. Rich here, Polly’s fiancĂ© and today’s guest poster! When Polly first asked me if I would be up for being a guest poster on Follow Your Sunshine, I felt very privileged because: 
(a) I know how protective she is of the blog (and for good reason - it’s an amazing blog that many of us love reading) but also 
(b) she knows me well enough to know I’m going to write a few embarrassing things about her
Well I’m sure she’ll be delighted to read that I’ll try and keep (b) to a minimum and focus more on (a). I’m seeing this blog post as a trust exercise which hopefully I’ll pass! 
With this in mind, I thought it would be fitting to write my blog as a reply to one of Polly’s earlier blog posts ‘6 Things I’ve Learnt About…Relationships’ but this time from my perspective. 
What could possibly go wrong…


As a twin, I know I’ve had the benefit of learning how to understand a loved one and getting to know how they feel. The dynamic is delicate. You don’t want to be apart but you also know this time together can be intense so understanding how to complement each other’s lives becomes important. 
Part of my job as a TV Producer involves watching a lot of football matches  - tough life, I know - and Polly has been very supportive and understanding, often staying up very late to watch them with me. 
As I often joke to her:
Well we are getting married, later this year. I hope she knows what she’s got herself into!


Polly and I share the same sense of humour…luckily!  The moment I realised she found all of my terrible jokes “funny” (is “hilarious” maybe going too far??) was the moment I knew she was a keeper. A silly joke can go a long way when negotiating a tricky conversation subject and, if timed well, a joke can even prevent an argument! (Be warned though: too many “jokes” can also lead to arguments so tread carefully!). 
You also need to learn to laugh at the right moments. I remember when Polly and I first started going out. Whilst getting ready for work, Polly sat on the bed and put on eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, toner, blush and lipstick, then turned to me and asked: “Does this look natural?”
Girls, hey??!


 Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a long-lasting relationship. I always try and do something each day to make Polly smile and to reinforce the idea that I’m not a total cretin, like surprising her with a little gift or leaving a note with a nice message. I know these little gestures cumulatively have a big impact. They are simple yet effective. 


The fact that me and that kid share the same name made me laugh. That “advice” probably represented my total lack of knowledge on girls growing up but I’d like to think I’ve upped my game since then! Compliments are very important and can provide an instant lift, especially when it comes from someone you love. Less is definitely more though, otherwise the compliment can complicate and be construed as sarcastic, something which I’ve learned at times!



I think if you ask any couple what their favourite memories are, most of them would refer to a particular holiday or a location where they created great memories. We are no different. We have been fortunate enough to travel to some unforgettable places and are now in the process of booking our honeymoon. 
I hope Polly would see me as a perfect travel companion and if she doesn’t, well then she can lug about her separate suitcase with all her toiletries in next time!!!


We will always do things that will infuriate our loved ones - no one is perfect after all - but if you can  learn to love, then you can love to learn. After all, as Ernest Hemingway said: 
So, those are my 6 Things I’ve Learnt About Relationships. I hope you enjoyed reading them. I’d also like to take this time to thank the many readers who have been so supportive of Polly’s blog. As I’m sure you’d agree, she’s a very talented writer and it makes her very happy to know so many of you enjoy Follow Your Sunshine. Happy reading!

Rich x
Rich, thank you so much for your, dare I say it, "hilarious" post, and (looking like a truck comments aside) for being so kind! I am sure that took some restraint! 
I would like to point out to everybody reading this that Rich sent it through 5 minutes before I posted it and I did not have any input into any part of it (not even that lovely complimentary bit at the end - couldn't have written it better myself!). 
If you would like to follow my lovely, talented blogger (who knew?!) fiancĂ© on social media, you can find him here and here. 

Consider this trust exercise passed Richy! I owe you a drink.

6 New Beauty Products for 2015

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I returned to the desert at the end of December with my pockets full of brand new make-up and beauty goodies. Christmas (and Heathrow's Duty Free) had been good to me.

It was well-timed, because I always find it quite therapeutic to have a big clear-out of my old cosmetics at the start of a new year - that bottle that has been sitting stagnant and unused on the shelf for far too long; the mascara that's been over-loved and has started to dry up; the numerous empties.

Now, after one month of trialling and testing (where on earth has January gone?!), I am ready to give you my verdict on the best of my 2015 beauty buys.

1. Mac Lipsticks

I went a bit make-up haul crazy at the Mac counter on our way home and purchased not one, not two but three new Mac lipsticks (I'm laying the blame entirely on Milly for this new obsession). Being a fairly unadventurous (boring) kinda girl when it comes to my lips, I usually plump for a glossy pinkish-nude. However, after perusing Mac's extensive selection of textures, finishes and shades for a good ten minutes, I bravely decided to try something new. To the left of the picture is a 'Frost' lipstick in shade Fabby. It has a thick-ish coverage and a pearlescent sheen to it, which looks great on a night out. Centre is a 'Lustre' lipstick in shade Lovelorn. This bright and shiny lipstick feels light on the lips, yet lasts for hours. To the right is my favourite: 'Cremesheen' lipstick in Creme Cup. More matte than the Lustre, yet somehow just as moisturising, it glides on like butter and smells of vanilla. Dreamy.

Find out where to purchase Mac products in Doha here.

2. Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Nail Polish

It's no secret that I don't really get on with gel nail polish. Don't get me wrong, it's great that a manicure can, in theory, last for two weeks. It's just not so great that at the end of those two weeks, my nails have started to break and split, and when the gel is taken off, they are so brittle that I have to cut them right back to the quick. Imagine my delight then, at discovering a nail polish which looks and feels like gel, but has none of the horrible side effects! It's quick to apply, lasts forever (N.B. for me, forever = any time over a week), and at less than seven pounds a pop, you can't really go wrong. The shade pictured above is my favourite: All Or Nothing which is an almost-white pale pink.

Pick up Revlon products in Doha here.

3. Benefit "They're Real!" Mascara

I have my awesome sister in law-to-be to thank for this gorgeous product, which is an absolute saviour for me. I find that if you manage to get hold of a mascara that's thickening, it's usually too claggy, and leaves you with spidery lashes. Find one that's lengthening, and it's usually not thickening enough! It's a constant frustration. I'm happy to report that this beauty both thickens and lengthens, while maintaining the natural look and feel of your lashes. It really does live up to its name!

I'm yet to find a place where you can purchase Benefit products in Doha. If anybody knows of somewhere, I'd love it if you could drop me a comment at the end of this post to fill me in!

4. Falah Aly Mascara and Eyeliner

This mascara is much lighter than my usual choices, as the brush doesn't seem to pick up as much product. However, it is perfect for a more subtle daytime look and I enjoy the fact that you can slowly build up your lashes with extra coats. The eyeliner has an almost needle-thin brush, and while I'm usually a fan of a nib or a pen for more control and precision, it glides on fairly easily and leaves an even and bold finish. I think this might be the product for me to use in an attempt to finally master that perfect feline flick.

Falah Aly is a relatively new brand, which is making inroads into the Middle Eastern market. To keep up to date with news on launches and stockists, follow Falah Aly here and here.

5. L'Occitane Vanille & Narcisse Lait Parfume Body Milk

This sumptuous bottle of almost-edible body lotion is liquidy-light, makes my skin glow and smells absolutely divine. I love it so much that I've been hunting around for more L'Occitane products to play with ever since my first application. I adore anything vanilla-scented, and this one smells especially summery, evoking memories of sunshiney walks through flowery meadows. Yup, I love this product so much that it makes me turn all poetic.

Shop for L'Occitane En Provence products in Doha here.

6. Kerastase Forme Fatale Voluptuous Blow Dry Gel

When your hair is as fine as mine, giving it any kind of 'oomph' requires product and lots of it...the result of which is usually heavy, sticky locks and me looking like I've walked through a hedge backwards. This lovely smelling blow dry cream, however, builds volume subtly from the roots, protects your hair against heat damage as you style it and lasts all day. Crucially, your bouffant even looks pretty natural.

Find Kerastase products in Doha here or at most good hair salons.

What are your top beauty finds for 2015?


Disclaimer: some of these products were given to me for review purposes, however as this is a 'top six' list, I have only included the products which I would personally recommend.

Female Role Models 2: J. K. Rowling

Monday, 26 January 2015

After the great reception that my last post on inspirational female celebrities received (mainly friends messaging me saying, "Oh my God I LOVE her!" - great taste ladies), I have been rather looking forward to writing this next one on J. K. Rowling. Why? I'm not ashamed to admit I am a little bit Harry Potter mad ('potty', you might say), plus I love a good rags to riches success story.

As an aside, don't you think Jo looks great for her age?

Here are the reasons why I think J. K. Rowling is a great role model.

She believes in setting the goalposts high

She views failure as a driver, rather than a roadblock in life


She recognises the weaknesses of human beings

But also the strength we all have within us


She understands the power of a well-written piece of writing

And through her own writing, she has conveyed some beautiful life messages

Are you a little potty like me? Are there any good 'life lesson' quotes in the Harry Potter series that I've missed?