Friday, December 31, 2010

My dear readers, I wish you a Happy New Year.

May all your dreams for the future become reality...


Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Tis The Season To Be...Sick

Well how was it for you? Have you had your fill of fun? We had a lovely Christmas, we were well fed and treated well only to be struck down in a blaze of festive glory just as the going got good. The three of us have the flu so this week has been spent plastered to the couch in a blur of fevers, remedies and chicken broth.
So as 2010 whimpers to a close I will be spending my time compiling some Best of 2010 lists (from my position on the couch) so stay tuned to Ellie loves....

In other news, the RTE Fashion website interviewed me, read it here if you wish and I'm joint first in the blog awards..thank you for all your votes so far. Only a week to go - remember you can vote once per day!

The winners of the Revlon Christmas giveaway are Rachel@fairycakeheaven, Savannah, Big Girl and Louise. Please email me your postal addresses x

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ellie Loves...Christmas

What do I love about Christmas?

Well, let me tell you...

I love the text that my brother still sends me early on Christmas morning to see if I'm awake. When we were small we used to have adjoining bedrooms and would whisper to each other. As we got older we took up this tradition by text and even as we live separately in our own houses; we still do it. It warms my heart like you wouldn't believe.

I love that nothing much has really changed in our Christmas tradition, bar us all being taller, older, wiser etc. The routine is the same, the music is the same, the food is the same and always wonderful. It is a blessed ritual - a security blanket like no other.

I love seeing my parents pull together in the run up to the day as they create, as they always have, a special Christmas for our little family.

I love that we don't go anywhere on the day itself; we batten down the hatches and enjoy the familiarity of it all.

I love the Christmas Cracker jokes and hats.

I love the fact that there are two more people at our table, my Ivan and Lulu.

I love thinking that one day there will be even more...

I love that now, I am Santa.

I love that we still have stockings.

I love knowing that we always will...

I love the tin of Roses chocolates, the pudding, and the real fire that eventually gets so hot it makes us all sleepy.

I love how hard we all try to get presents to really please each other, even on ever decreasing budgets.

I love that it still makes us excited.

I love the busy anticipation of Christmas Eve, the stillness of Christmas Day and the lazy contentment of St Stephens Day.

I love that even as a 35 year old mother of one, I will not be able to sleep tonight!

Merry Christmas one and all.


Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

To my dear and lovely readers, thank you for supporting me and my musings in this blog for the past six months and I wish you a happy, healthy, joy filled and beautiful Christmas. Please take a few minutes to read this wonderful letter below, written by 8 year old Virginia O'Hanlon to the editor of The New York Sun in 1897. To me, this is Christmas..... enjoy.

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Giveaway

Today is the day to spoil some of you lovely readers! I have four sets of the completely gorgeous Fire and Ice collection from Revlon to give away. Revlon recently recreated the exact shades from their iconic 1952 campaign featuring Dorian Leigh. They also recreated the shoot with Jessica Biel to bring it bang up to date.

These colours will never go out of style - they are the ultimate shades for matching tips and lips, and my nails are painted in the fabulous scarlet called All Fired Up right now. In fact they are drying off as I type; I was too impatient to wait, so painted them as soon as the courier left after delivering the stash!

Fire and Ice is the name of the corresponding lipstick and it's texture is creamy and luxurious (also on my lips right now!)

To be in the draw leave me a Christmassy comment below with your email address and I will announce the winner next week!

If you could also vote for me to win Best Irish Blogger here, I would be so grateful


My Christmas Wish...

... is that one of my favourite US stores, J Crew will come to Ireland! That would make my 2011 for sure, but it's a slim chance I suppose, so will have to make do with lusting after the pretty things on the website and plotting my purchases online.
This dress is one I would love to wear for the Christmas season - I adore the gorgeous shoulder detail and the grey tights.

Stocking Fillers

In my view, Mavala always nail it with their fashion forward new shade releases such as this winter 2010 Woodland Collection. Ranging from Mink and Onyx to Cedar Green with a deep ruby too, they always hit the mark. Although I think that the very best thing about them is the fabulously low price and the small bottles - just enough polish to reach that boredom threshold and guiltlessly move on to another shade!

They have some lovely little gift boxes that are perfect for stocking fillers or something small for your best friend or sister. This Deep & Dark set holds the perfect winter shades and a classic red.

Who wouldn't love this?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Carine Leaves The Building

After 10 years at the helm of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld is leaving to mysterious pastures new. Previously a model and talented stylist, she graduated to editor-in-chief of the world's most chic title. Along the way she became VBF with Tom Ford - someone she is suspected to be collaborating with now. Rumours are abounding about her career intentions but no doubt they will be under wraps until she chooses to release the truth.
I love this shot of her by The Sartorialist; a divine ensemble and a fantastic way to wear fur. It should be fake of course, however it is probably real....but it's definitely beautiful ( and is that a plaster on her knee?!)

Carine's star will continue to rise with many of us below looking upwards to her for inspiration.

Bon chance Carine!

Ooh Shooes

Navy suede, charcoal ribbon bow, great heel and toe shape. I'm lusting after these shoes from Anthropolgie.


Truthful Chocolate Factory

I just think this is hilarious!

Blondey Brows

Calling all you who are fair of brow, I have found your best solution. This brow pencil by luxuriously lovely Sisley in Cappuccino is the perfect shade to add soft definition without looking too dark and a frankly, a bit cross! It's a great texture and the brush at one end is ideal for grooming unruly hairs and it comes with it's own sharpener. Just feather the nib of the pencil through the natural brow shape concentrating on the top of the arch rather than the lower hairs - your aim is to lift the brow not drag it down.

One for the stockings, methinks....

*** please vote for me here to win Best Irish Blogger***
thank you

For Tiny Toes

I was searching for shoes for Lulu online and came across this gorgeous site. Unfortunately I'm too late for Christmas delivery but they are so, so pretty aren't they! How beautiful are these suede ballet slippers with bow on the heels....

I'd love Lu to have some brogues to follow in my passion for them... although she'll probably hate them - isn't that always the way with parents putting their taste on to their kids!

These ballet pink Mary Janes are by old-school brand Start Rite... I remember loving my navy t- bar navy Start Rite shoes when I was 5!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Good Nude

I thought I'd share with you this lovely nude lip combination that I've been using a lot lately. I have grown rather tired of the ubiquitous 'total nude' lip; one that looks like it's covered with concealer.... I think that faces look better with some colour on the lips or you will run the risk of looking corpse-like. So this is Saint Nude by Australian lipstick guru, Poppy King. Her colours come in Saints (sheer) or Sinners ( full coverage ) and for this nudey look I think the Saint performs the best. It's basically a light brown-ish nude so it does leave the lip with some colour. It's fantastic with golds and bronzes on the eyes and some peachy shimmer on the cheeks.

I line under the lipstick to ensure lasting staying power and my latest and greatest nude liner is Nuance by Chantecaille. It's like a better MAC Spice as it's not too orange; more a nudey fleshy brown. I think it's worthy of cult status. Buy it from Space NK in Harvey Nichols...

No Day Like A Snow Day

I am typing this post looking out the window to see thick snow falling on the depths and drifts that are already there. I honestly cannot remember this much snow in my lifetime; Lulu is transfixed by it and I have to admit that I am too. Granted, there is commuter chaos and I feel so sad for the people trying to get home for Christmas, but I also feel a childlike excitement too and must admit to throwing open the curtains each morning to see how much more fell in the night!
So today, I'm lucky that I don't have to travel anywhere and will be taking it very easy... I'll take Lulu out to play and teach her to make snow angels...

....then we will retreat indoors, get warm, light a scented candle like one from the fab Miller Harris...

Snuggle up under blankets in front of old Disney Christmas cartoons...

....and eat some warming butternut squash soup!

I hope your snow day is ok too...

***the winner of The Friday Freebie is Kate - Congrats on your wedding!***

(images from here and here )

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's a Rockstar Friday Freebie!

My lovelies, because it's Christmas and because I love you, I have a fabulous Friday Freebie for you today!
May I introduce Rockstar Tan. This organically sourced, natural toned tanning range is the brain child of Irish actress and self-confessed tan fan, Rachel Kavanagh. Having spent years wearing other tans but never being happy with the orange colour and hideous smell, Rachel enlisted the help of a tanning expert in LA and Rockstar Tan was the result. Sounds good so far, right? Well it gets better....

A lot of you may know that I personally prefer to be my natural whiter shade of pale in the winter and rely on very gentle tanning products in the Summer for a slight glow, so I am very harsh when I test tanning products as my expectations are high. I had to judge the entire false tan category for Image magazine's beauty awards a few years ago; it was the bane of my life for the few weeks that I had patches of various different colours all over my body!
So what I look for in a tan is a realistic colour that is not too many dramatic jumps in tone from what God gave me! I also, like most people, can't bear the all.
So when Rachel kindly sent me some of the products to try, I was intrigued but not sure they could deliver something that looked good on my pale skin.
So I tried Entourage which is a body moisturiser with small amounts of DHA that can build tan over a period of time. My friends, I love it! I've worn it on three occasions over the past few weeks and I'm very impressed. It leaves me a warmer honey tone that suits me for the Winter (and it smells OK - really!)

So with huge thanks to Rachel, I have three products from the range to give away, plus a fab tanning mitt (why did I never own one of these before? they change everything!)

You can win one of the Entourage tans, one of the Groupie tans which is a light mousse that develops over 2-3 hours. It contains Aloe Vera with essence of raspberry and almond , so no smell. Also in the giveaway is the very forgiving Rehab which fixes any mistakes and brings you back to your normal skin tone. The three products and mitt have a retail value of over €90!

So to be in to win please leave me a comment below and also vote for me to win Best Irish Blogger here too...

I will pick the winner at random and announce the result on Monday.

Have a happy and cheery Christmassy weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lauder Nail It

I'm feeling so Christmassy yet have one eye towards Spring. I'm a typical Gemini - one foot in either camp! So when I spotted these new nail polishes from Estee Lauder's Spring Collection I came over all excited.

I love the shades. This deep coral is called Tempting Melon (the one on top is Sizzling Taupe). The finish of Lauder's polishes are always excellent and really professional. Super makeup artist, Tom Pechaux, is at the helm at Lauder Towers, so you can rely on great strides from this previously unexciting colour brand.

This is Purple Passion - dubious names but delightful colours! Bring on Spring-like prettiness for our nails!

But back to my Christmassy reds for now. Patience is a virtue etc etc...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chic Alert

Ok, so I think we're all agreed that Danni came first in the sartorial stakes in this year's X Factor. Admittedly, I'm quite happy it's over to be frank. Was it just me or did this years competition drag on for seemingly eons longer than before?
I digress! I was curious as to which designers Danni was championing as I really liked her grown up, ladylike yet still fashion focussed ensembles. Perhaps her glamorous confidence comes from her new motherhood or her age (sometimes feeling older has it's benefits!) because she certainly beat Cheryl in my eyes.

I discovered that she favours the young designer Emila Wickstead who is based in an atelier in London's Chelsea where she dresses Samantha Cameron and many other stylish Sloanes. I went on to her site and what a treat lay in store...

I really fell for her aesthetic. Her clothes are tailored and simple in beautiful fabrics. This girl can cut cloth!

This black dress is from New Zealand born, Emilia's current collection features pieces in lace, leather, jersey and cashmere in muted tones with some leopard and red thrown in for the thrill.
Her lines are clean and classic but with a twist of modernity. Still in her 20's, Emilia's star has risen high and fast. Her training in both design and fashion marketing from Central St Martins means she is perfectly in tune with how to move forward with success in busy flurry of the fashion world.

Her day dresses are excellent examples of a polished silhouette and her evening gowns are visions of sophistication...

Emilia pairs her dresses with pulled back hair and a red lip for uber-chic. Take a look at her site and be ready to swoon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Need A Push!

I've slipped to third place..would you? could you?

Please help me rise up a little in the Best Irish Blogger stakes here...

Thank you my lovely readers.

Beauty In The Detail

My dream home would contain elements of all of these pictures. Not the piles of washing and crayon splattered walls that my actual home contains! I really like the fashion shots in the black frames above...

Gorgeous collection of perfume bottles displayed on a very feminine

Cute brass dog standing guard over the cool books...

Love, love, love this chair...

I always liked hanging my prettiest things outside my wardrobe, what's the point of hiding them away only to wear them a couple of times a year... get them out and admire them!

Great art wall and collection of Buddhas.... right up my street.

(images picked from here )

The Anti-Veil

Isn't this a nice option for brides who don't want to walk the aisle trailing tulle! I think it's so pretty and the unstructured braided hair beneath is just lovely...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Weekend

The ice has just thawed and we can finally move from our homes without skating or slipping! I've had a busy few days with the launch of my Bespoke Beauty sessions in Harvey Nichols and working on a beautifully stylish wedding yesterday where I was working alongside the very talented hair dresser, Micheal Leong. You should have seen how gorgeous the bride was; she wore an off the peg non wedding dress by Irish designer Roisin Linnane in a soft, almost buttery colour and her bridesmaids were in black loose tulle. Her little girl wore a Paul Smith dress with a tulle underskirt. It was picture perfect but in a chilled out, super cool way. I'll share pics when I have them.
So now on with the business of Christmas! I'll be putting up trees, going to the Christmas craft market and we're having some dear friends over for dinner this evening. We have also taught Lu to say Ho Ho Ho when she see Santa, so here we go! Let the festivities begin.
So enjoy your weekend and your Christmas preparations my dears, may it be filled with festive cheer, tree decorating, mulled wine and secret present shopping!

*** could you take a moment to vote for me to win Best Irish Blogger here***
thank you so much

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kitted Out

I went to do some makeup explorations yesterday to find more cheap and cheerful bits and bobs to use on my Beauty on Your Budget makeup course. I have been fascinated by German brand Essence for some time now. For a pharmacy brand it is very comprehensive, very up to date with their shades and very, very reasonable. Ridiculously reasonable in fact! Considering the brutal Irish financial budget cuts yesterday will leave us all rather worse off, I reckon that so many of us will be looking to trim down their beauty expenditure so I'm looking forward to getting this course going in the new year and brands like Essence will flourish as long as people know how to use their products.

So, back to my explorations; I couldn't resist the Smokey Eyes Set in shade 01 which is a dead ringer for the Ligne de Chanel that I posted about last week, but at the amazing price of €2.99. It comprises of a gel liner on one side and a charcoal shadow with a slight shimmer on the other side. It contains a nifty little brush to apply them too. Now, I found that the best way to build an intense look is to cover the eye lid with the gel side; it's quite creamy so is very easy to work with. Blend it into the socket with your fingers for a soft, diffused look. Then add a layer of the dry shadow all over the gel layer. This sets the colour and keeps it in place. I was very impressed with it - it gives a great look and is impossible to beat price-wise.
The second kit that grabbed my attention was the Eyebrow Styling Kit. Most of the budget brands tend not to have such a kit, so I was happy to see the attention to detail in this little beaut! It contains two tones of highly pigmented brow shadow, a little slanted brush for precise application and to top it all off; you get three eyebrow stencils. Now, I wouldn't advice using the stencils to apply the colour, as you should only colour in what hair you have. But they are good guides for shaping your brows - just hold over the hair, fill in the shape very strongly with colour, remove the stencil and pluck away the hairs that are not coloured outside the stencils shape.
Price wise, I think it's €1.99, (I lost the receipt) but it's definitely under €3.
I will be definitely reviewing the range further; mascaras and eye shadows are next on the list!

*** I would be delighted if you could vote for me to win Best Irish Blogger here***
thank you

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I'm having a Julianne Moore moment! I just came across her shot above, for the 2011 Pirelli calender. I love her fashionable sensibility and her majestic red-head looks...

Her acting talent enables her to be great model. She takes on the persona of a fashion creature for Harpers Bazaar...

...and Vogue

She dazzles in her real life too....

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