Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

Hello my lovelies! I'm just dropping in during a break in feeds/nappies/cuddles to wish you the happiest Christmas full of good cheer, love, peace and joy. All is well here; baby Anna is one week old and lovely, Lulu is coming around to the idea of her - gave her her first kiss yesterday after ignoring her since she came home! I am textbook tired, slightly emotional, prone to crying at anything sentimental especially this ad ( I just did again as I found it on You Tube!)

Anyway, I wish you all the very best for Christmas, thank you for reading, thank you for your sweet comments on Anna's arrival and thank you for being there and enjoying my musings. I've never met you, but you mean the world to me, my beautiful strangers!

If you've got a few minutes, listen to this as you potter about today. My Dad has put this on at home for every Christmas Eve of my life and now I'm playing it for my kids. Lovely life repetition...



Friday, December 16, 2011

She's here!

Hi Folks,
Ivan, Ellie's partner, signing in. Ellie asked me to do a quick post to let you guys know that Anna Isabella Sue Varian arrived earlier this morning. Ellie went to bed at about ten last night, after telling me to read more pregnancy books and calling to remind her parents to keep their phones switched on overnight. Her waters then broke at 12.07am and there was no question that things were under way.
We arrived in to Holles street maternity Hospital at 3. And with a relatively brief, but very intense, labour, Anna was born 4.48am, weighing 4.27kg (about 9 lb 6oz in old money). Which, given the time of year, is quite a small turkey but a fairly sizeable baby. She has lovely fair hair, blue eyes, and pale skin, which is quite the opposite to Lulu but exquisite nonetheless.
Quite disconcerting as she looks very similar to Ellie's brother, John.
Ellie should hopefully be home tomorrow and I'm sure she's fill you guys in in greater detail. In the meantime, here's a photo of the beautiful princess and a song from my music blog to soundtrack the moment.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Perception of Perfection

Right, so I've had the latest foundation on the block, Chanel's Perfection Lumiere, for a few weeks now and haven't posted about it in order to give it a proper test on both mine and other skins. It's always hard to see past the hype with a product launch such as this, so I try to put my 'blogger blinkers' on and not read anything about it so I can make up my own mind!
So, what did I think? I think that it's not a replacement for Pro Lumiere - it is an entirely different foundation and Pro lovers such as myself who were loyal to it's more luminous finish, will miss it. This does, however, do exactly what it says on the tin; it lasts, it looks flawless and it comes in extra shades which is always a good thing. I would advise using a very small amount per application as it really spreads and too much will look cakey. Also, a brush is key to apply and buff it - fingers just don't do it justice.
It is semi-matte as opposed to Pro Lumiere's more satin finish but if your skin is in any way combination/oily this foundation will sit perfectly. If you are more dry or de-hydrated, I don't think you will love this.  A lot of people found that Pro's finish didn't last all day and Chanel have obviously listened to those issues and addressed them with Perfection Lumiere. So what's my verdict? It's a very high quality foundation with a lot of thought behind it which may well fall into 'Hero Product' status but possibly just for normal/combination types. As with everything in life including makeup - you can't please all of the people all of the time!

It launches in Ireland on January 20th.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

{Wedding Wednesday} Celebrate!

I just love wedding photography that captures how delighted the couple are to be married  - it's the point of it all, after all!

I've posted this one before but had to include it again  - it's one of the most romantic wedding images ever I think...

Swept that dress!

Great hug!
(and a bride with glasses - love it!)

Another fabulous shot...can't you hear the squeals and cheers!
(another rockin' frock too!)

This Just Rocks! need to explain why!

Bags To Love

I've been thinking about handbags lately and came to the realisation that I now must become reliant on cross body bags alone to hold my bits and bobs as my other hands will have to be free for my TWO children and their changing bags, buggies, coats etc etc etc! (still clearly having issues coming to terms with the old 'mother of two' concept!) Anyway, I digress, have you seen Mulberry's latest arrival? Meet Evelina (above) isn't she pretty? I think I would get along very well with her. Just sayin'...

This little patent messenger bag from Zara is lovely. Kind of retro, kind of now. It's not huge so  forget using it as a dumping bag for all sorts of detritus but take it out to sling across your body when there is someone else to help with the baby kit!

Ah distressed metallics, how I love thee! This gorgeous bag called Orelia is from Red Direct and I think I'm in love with it. It is the perfect size for everyday... I'm seriously coveting it!

I was petting this little leather bag in Zara the other day and it may or may not have been added to a certain Christmas list! Still basically impractical for kid kit purposes but pretty nonetheless...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making Up

Happy Monday my dears! I thought I would show you some shots of recent work I did. These are from a series of test shots that I did in the past few weeks. We were playing around with some new looks for this lovely model, Aisling.  I love the one above, I saw Cindy Crawford in Duran Duran's new video for Girl Panic - she still looks so sexy so this look was my homage to her! I used a cream shadow from Essence on her eyes with my fingers for a slightly messy look and patted a Stila shadow in Pewter on top for added sheen. I contoured the cheeks with the Tom Ford Contour in shade 01 (essential for sexy smouldering!) and on her lips I used one of Ken Boylan's lip glosses from his Makeup/Play range in Nearly Naked which I think is a perfect nude pink - not too blank, just pretty!

This was our Elvis look. How cool is her quiff designed by Michelle O'Halloran! For her eyes I used a Smashbox nude shimmer on her lid and shaded into the crease with a blusher from Kohl in Sea Shell (blushers are not restricted to cheeks!) Last of all I patted a tiny bit of Ken Boylan's loose shimmer shadows in Luster just over the eye ball area of the lid. I wanted it to look sheeny and unstructured with no liner and minimal mascara. I made the brows quite strong with the Essence brow kit, shimmered up the cheeks with Benefit Coralista over Smashbox Pose blush and the vibrant lips are painted with Fuchsia by Revlon ColorBurst.

Love these lashes! They are the Rock Star Chic lashes by Ja'Maal Buster. They have a really strong vinyl sheen and jagged tips that work so well with an edgy look. On the lids I used the Catrice long wear cream shadow in shade 40 - one of my current to die for products that I'm wearing myself nearly every day.  The sockets are shaded with Rain from Stila and the lashline is lined with Blacktrack gel liner by MAC. The cheeks are defined with Blushbaby from MAC and the red lip is Dubonnet also from MAC.

Classic and quite Christmassy!

The same as the first look but with added fringe...I love how much hair changes a face. False hair pieces are not for the fainthearted or for the wobbly of hand but when done well they are fantastic...

What do you think? Like 'em?

Photos by Ailbhe O'Donnell
Model Aisling Finnegan (Assets Agency)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bumping Along...

My darlings! I'm still here, haven't popped just yet but almost (due on the 18th!). I've had a few days with a sick Lulu and then my midwives told me to go into hospital to be scanned as they thought the baby had turned around to be breech which would mean my having an emergency Cesarean...not ideal but I got my head around it nonetheless. Happily it turns out that the baby has wiggled again and isn't quite in the right position but here's hoping all will resolve itself! Seeing as I'm due next week, my blogging will reduce for a few weeks but I'll be here three times per week with some guest posts from other bloggers thrown in too.

In the meatime and until things begin to rumble I have some nice makeup reviews and style inspiration posts coming up for you...

Lot's of love!

(no the pic sin't me! I'm much bigger than this lovely girl I saw on Pinterest!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Skin Saviour - Huile Santal

Brrrr.... it's really getting nippy isn't it? My skin always acts accordingly and changes type from fairly normal/combination in the Summer to mainly dry in the Winter. I'm not crazy on this process but it's just what my skin does. It also changes how my foundation looks so I need to nurture my skin as I don't want to change to a totally different product. I'm currently wearing Teint Miracle by Lancome and loving it for it's medium and soft coverage, but my increasing dryness is making it look a little dull.
So! It's time for oils. Last week I wrote about the lovely Rosehip Oil from Trilogy but have since used up every last drop so I switched to this Huile Santal from Clarins and I'm finding it fantastic so far. I massage in a pearl sized drop at night after exfoliating gently with Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant and my skin is glowing and hydrated and bouncy looking (not quite a 'skincare' term I know!). It could be in part down to the facial massage which never fails to enliven sluggish celll turnover but I really think this oil has a lot to do with it.
Containing lavender, cardamom and soothing sandalwood oils, it has a definite aromatherapy aroma, which I happen to like but it soaks in quickly if you don't use too much so it's a winner for all you dry skinned ladies.
A little pricey at around €40 but one for the wish list perhaps??

Nail Treat

I've been using this Billionails treatment from Essie for the past few weeks as they had become a bit brittle (due to anxious biting!). I am happy to report that they look SO much better now and have truly had quite the growth spurt. Full of vitamins and fortifying ingredients, it is designed to be used on clean nails for a 90 day treatment period, which is a pretty long time but it acts really well as a base coat so you don't have to sacrifice your Christmassy colours at all. I'm not sure I'll go the entire 90 days, but I'll certainly file it under 'old reliable' on my bathroom shelf - I can see this little bottle getting lots of use.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

{Wedding Wednesday} Low Key & Lovely

This bride has great style...I love her non-wedding dress!

The necklace, the sash, the flowers....beautiful.

Isn't she lovely!

Love her bridesmaids...

And her hair... such a lovely colour, such soft styling. I think this couple have it sussed!

(seen on once wed)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Victorious Victoria

Last night at The British Fashion Awards, Victoria Beckham won the Best Designer Brand of the year. I for one am thrilled for her. I happen to love her designs and the fact that she has become appreciated by the notoriously cynical fashion industry is a very nice thing. There's been talk about who actually designs her pieces or the extent of her involvement, but I think that she has always been upfront in saying that she is not a trained designer, merely a fashion lover who has the opportunity to channel her ideas into these collections. So far, so fair in my view... Well done VB!

Here's a little reminder of her A/W11 show that she was honoured for...

Simple, elegant and classic...

I love this one in particular... I'd wear it in a heartbeat.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Healthy Pretty

This is one 'official' graphic from a cosmetics company that I actually like. In fact, I like it a lot. Oftentimes, they are too OTT, too airbrushed, too unattainable. But Bourjois have done themselves proud with this pretty image that is more Spring-like than Wintery, but a lovely healthy look nonetheless. It's a real 'me' look actually, and very similar to one I will be creating on a shoot this coming Sunday (my absolute last day of work before baby comes in three weeks!) I love the warm red lips and nude eyes - so wearable and gorgeous...
Now, is the product any good I hear you cry! In fact, it is. Very good indeed. It's another of these hybrid foundations that contain serum as well as makeup. They say it contains 'vitamin rich fruit therapy' which helps to even out the skin. I'm not too sure about that claim as I'm always dubious as to how much a foundation, that is designed to merely sit on the surface of the skin, can actually do for the state of your skin. But if you judge this merely as the makeup it is, you will be happy.

It has a nice smooth consistancy, medium coverage and a semi-matte finish that retains a slight glow. As with all of the Bourjois line, they offer good quality products at great price points so it's definitely one to check out. Keep in mind though, that if you can't find your shade, move on! Just because it's nice and cheap, you shouldn't sacrifice finding your exact shade.

Recipe Wall

Isn't this a sweet idea? Old recipes hung in frames for a kitchen wall. Doesn't everyone have old recipes that they have kept from Mums, grandmothers etc? What a good way to keep them current.
My Mum makes brown bread every day and she copies her own Mum's recipe and technique...such a nice way to keep something alive.

A Shot To Swoon Over...

Yes, I'm not exactly running on schedule with my 'Wedding Wednesday' post (blame my hormones and nesting urges!) but like everything in life, I'll get there eventually!
I spotted this shot taken by photographer Christina Brosnan, who I had the pleasure of working with last week and boy did I swoon... That dress. That veil. Isn't it just lovely?
The dress is Jenny Packham paired with a vintage veil. You can see more of it on Christina's blog here...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

It's World Thank You Day. Sometimes gratitude is one of most inarticulate emotions. It can be hard to say. It can be hard even to feel when times are a bit tough. But to say it makes you feel better; it's been proven as effective treatment for those suffering with depression or those just over-whelmed by life in general. God knows it's rough out there at the moment for so many people, but if you can find 10 things to be thankful for no matter how little or supposedly insignificant -  they matter. Start making your list. Here's mine...

Today I am thankful for...

My parents who have battled through this year facing cancer, money worries and insecurity with grace, bravery, dignity and humour. They remain my sparkling idols.

My daughter Lulu, the light of my life, the apple of my eye, the point of it all.

 Ivan for being Lu's Dad so well.

My ever-cool brother John for just being him.

My new baby who is arriving in three weeks. I can't wait to look at that little face and see those feet that are kicking me right now.

My best friends. A small number I like to call 'The Committee' - they keep me sane, make me laugh, give advice, make me tea (and wine when not pregnant!) They bear witness to my life. I don't have riches but I am wealthy with the company I keep.

My work as a makeup artist which I continue to love after all this time. I truly believe the saying that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.

You lot! This blog which started as a hobby, has since become a true passion and I sincerely love hearing from you and finding beautiful things to show you.

Girl stuff. By this I mean makeup, clothes, magazines, nail polish etc. They are not just flippant - to me they are fun and make me feel like me when I feel a bit too much like a frazzled mother worrying about bills, health and serious things...

The kindness of strangers. By this I mean the people out there who are doing wonderful work to help others who are struggling. I have experienced this kindness myself lately and I now know that this is the energy that makes the world turn.
Be kind or be nothing.

So, there you go. What's on your list?

Happy Thanksgiving


P.S. have a look at this cute blog where Leah writes a thank you note per day

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bow Goes Online

One of my favourite Irish stores has gone online. Bow is the sweetest little boutique run by designers Eilis Boyle, Wendy Crawford and Margaret O'Rourke. The actual shop is in the Powerscourt Townhouse in Dublin 2 and is a treasure trove of loveliness and now their virtual shop is here...

I'm crazy about these cashmere arm warmers by Eilis...

And this scarf...

And this bow!

How cute is this lunchbox?

And these beautiful earrings from MoMuse are On. The. List. It's official!

Trilogy Skin Saviour

Brrrrr...I think Winter has finally landed. It's a freezing morning here and I have turned the heating on. It's a slippery slope till Spring my friends! The only inevitable outcome of this is drier skin (for me anyway) so it's time to load up the nourishment and for me this means buying my annual bottle of Rosehip Oil by Trilogy. It's organic and outrageously good for keeping skin looking and feeling good when switching between warm and colder temperatures. Massage it in night and day and watch that dry pelt turn to softer skin before your very eyes!

P.S. anyone living on Dublin's South Side should check out this Trilogy offer from the fab Select Stores (and have one of their to-die-for juices whilst there!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Swooning at Loulerie

I spotted these lovely pieces on the Loulerie site the other day and can't stop thinking about them. I think they will certainly make their way on to my wish list for Christmas. The stacking ring above is made of antique rose cut diamonds and 18k gold. Buy them one at a time and stack 'em up with each birthday or Christmas or any old excuse at all!

I love these initial pendants. Available in silver or gold and also with a semi-precious drop. Wouldn't they be lovely with separate ones with the initials of your kids for example? I think I'll drop some serious hints to my Santa!

Angel wings! I don't wear long earrings very much, but I think I'd make an exception for these. Aren't they pretty...
Have a look at Loulerie's site for more beautifully chosen pieces. Or ideally visit her pretty store on Chatham St - it's one of my favourite shops to look around when I'm in town.

On The Fringe

Every year, and I mean every year, for some reason I become a little obsessed with fringes (or bangs for my US friends!) The thing is that I inevitably get one cut in, like it for about two weeks and then lose my mind with trying to keep it looking good. Mine tends to go a little wonky as I have a slight kink in that portion of my hair. So while I was working on a beautiful 1930's themed nautical wedding shoot the other day, the very talented hair dresser told me the trick to keeping a fringe looking ok... Simply blow dry it in the opposite direction that you want it to sit and then let it fall.... It will magically correct itself and look perfect!

You may know that, but it was news to me! So, now the fringe obsession is hotting up for another year...what to do? what to do?

Wanna see a sweet little video of all the styling team working on the aforementioned shoot? Click here!
I'll share the pics when they are released...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Navy & Gold

It's a classic pairing for a good reason. They look wonderful together. I love the subtle shot of sequins above...

Dress down the sparkle with a navy woolly jumper from Zara...

Ooh, I love this DVF divine for a glam Christmas party!

There's nothing I don't like about this shot...blazer, bag, watch, rings...swoon!

Silk simplicity with a delicate chain...

Now, that might just be the perfect blazer...

Navy metallic smoky eye...the contemporary way to rock a dark eye.

How lovely are these earrings, I'd love them to dress up a plain white T...

And this necklace with same white T!

Navy and gold work so well in interiors too..

I love that gold unusual.

Gorgeous arrangement...

(pics via pinterest)
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